As part of the new Armed Services YMCA (ASYMCA) and Department of Defense (DoD) Outreach Initiative, the YMCA of Clay County will provide military families with access to youth development, family strengthening and health and well-being programs at community YMCAs nationwide.
Membership fees will be underwritten by the DoD and administered through Military OneSource, an information and referral service for military families.
YMCA of the USA, the national resource office for America's 2,686 YMCAs, will help launch the initiative at participating YMCAs across the country.
"The YMCA of Clay County is happy to help meet the critical needs facing families of deployed military service members," YMCA of Clay County Executive Director Chad Zaucha said. "Families are the most affected when a loved one gets deployed, so we are deeply committed to providing them with the support they need."
The ASYMCA-DoD Outreach Initiative responds to a provision in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2008, which requires the Secretary of Defense to develop a plan to support military family readiness and to ensure that military family readiness programs and activities are available to all military families, including those of the National Guard and Military Reservists.
Eligible military families participating in the initiative are eligible for YMCA memberships based on participation requirements.
Those eligible to participate in the new initiative include:
* All interested families of joint deployed National Guard and Reserves of all military branches,
* Families living in newly established Joint Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) bases,
* Active Duty Independent Duty station personnel and their families, and
* Relocated spouses and family members of deployed Active Duty personnel.
"The YMCA has a long history of supporting military service members and their families -- since the Civil War -- so it was natural for us to join this initiative," Zaucha said. "During this time of conflict, it is more important than ever that we continue providing services and support to these families in the absence of a deployed spouse."
More information about the ASYMCA-DoD Outreach Initiative may be found by visiting www.asymca.org.
For more information about participating YMCAs, visit www.ymca.net.
The YMCA of Clay County provides the community with more than $40,000 in financial assistance on an annual basis so those less fortunate may participate in YMCA programs.
In addition, the area YMCA serves 3,300 members and an additional, 1,200 unduplicated program participants.