August 2023

YMCAHere’s a tidbit not many people know: The Ashland Family YMCA (540 YMCA Way) has been around since the 19th century! Founded in 1899, the 501.C.3 nonprofit now serves approximately 8,500 members and many more future community members.

Executive Director Heidi Hill, who arrived in the Rogue Valley 26 years ago as a single mother whose primary skill was teaching dance, knows the importance of a shared physical experience.

“I’ve had a long and varied career that has included running dance studios, an at-home day-care, local government, and the last ten years in healthcare administration from both the payer side and the operations side,” Heidi said. “Through healthcare I witnessed firsthand the importance of investments in social determinants of health, and organizations that bring people together. I love the community that is created when people listen to unimportant pop music and sweat and move together. It is deeper than what it appears on the surface. I was fortunate enough to teach for approximately ten years at the Rogue Valley Family YMCA, while I also climbed the career ladder in the healthcare world. It was there that I fell in love with the YMCA. When the position of Ashland YMCA CEO opened up, I was very excited. I am fortunate that the Board of Directors here recognized value in bringing someone in with experience broader that the YMCA world, and I continue to be appreciative and amazed at their commitment to the organization and the community.”

According to Heidi, the Y has three areas of focus: healthy living, social responsibility, and youth development.

“We offer fitness opportunities for all fitness levels and all age groups,” she said. “We actively advance a Y for all approaches because in an age of polarization, we seek to bring people together through activities and social connections, and we have youth programs of all types. We are currently undergoing a strategic planning process that includes determining how we can also create more opportunities for people to connect through arts and enrichment programs, and STEAM based programs for birth to young adults. We are known for our state-of-the-art facility that includes a community pool. However, we are so much more than that. There is something for everyone.”
At the Y, members can expect the best customer service possible with Yteam members and volunteers who learn their names, their personalities, and embrace their personal goals.

“We have fantastic facility assets, including gorgeous studios for movement and cycle, a pool, two established child classrooms, and of course our crowning jewel at Lake of the Woods—Camp DeBoer,” Heidi said. “All of these facilities are nice and important, but what has kept the YMCA in Ashland growing for over 120 years are the people. We create community, and if we don’t know your name and family, we will. This year we are going deeper into several important areas. We are establishing a ‘YFit Den’ for functional fitness, off-site youth programs for all ages, and one area I am particularly excited about is the area of utilizing our lobby for social events, lectures, and an art gallery.”

Heidi is excited about the expected launch of a pre-school with extended care options to serve working families. “We will start with locations at Walker and Helman Elementary and are exploring how we can extend care and service to the Talent region into the future,” she said.
As a nonprofit and because of the breadth and depth of their services, the Y is always in need of volunteers and experts.

“We are currently building intentional intergenerational opportunities and are looking for volunteers who want to share their experience with the broader community,” Heidi said. “There is so much history within our own membership and volunteer crew that are creating ways to share is a priority for us, so that all generations benefit. I love the Y, and every day I am humbled by the palpable fact that every one of my team, board and membership loves the YMCA as much as I do. We are focused on not only the individual’s well-being but also the community. You can come for a workout and leave with a community.”

For more information, call 541-482-9622. You can also see them at Ashlandymca.org and on Facebook and Instagram.