YMCA Waives Joiner's Fee for Veterans and Families

News Advisory
November 1, 2016
For Immediate Release

Contacts:
Ralph Heussner, Public Affairs Officer, Minneapolis VA Health Care System, 612 467-3012, ralph.heussner@va.gov
Joan Schimml, Senior Director of Communications and Marketing, YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities, 952.210.4515, joan.schimml@ymcamn.org
Barry Venable, Public Affairs Officer, St. Cloud VA Health Care System, 320-255-6353 barry.venable@va.gov

YMCA Waives Joiner's Fee for Veterans and Families

Minneapolis, MN - Effective November 1, all Minnesota YMCAs, a leading nonprofit dedicated to strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility, will waive the joiner's fee for veterans and their families. The monthly membership fee still applies.

The Minneapolis and St. Cloud VA Health Care Systems and the Minnesota Alliance of YMCAs recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that drops the enrollment fee and also allows the VA to use space at YMCA facilities for outreach events. The MOU is for a 28-month period.

"Our nation's veterans, and their families, have dedicated so much in service to our country," said Theresa Hillis, chair of the Minnesota Alliance of YMCAs. "The Y is honored to have the opportunity to show our appreciation by doing what we do best - improving the lives of individuals in the communities we serve. Minnesota is proud to join many YMCAs across the nation that are already working with the VA and providing services directly to veterans, and honoring their service."

The fee waiver applies to all Minnesota veterans, including those who are not receiving VA benefits.

To apply for YMCA membership, veterans should go to their local YMCA and present their Veteran's Health Identification Card, a copy of their DD214 form or a military ID card.

A list of all Minnesota YMCA locations is available at: www.mn-y.org/locations.

"The purpose for developing this partnership was to improve access to fitness opportunities and enhance the overall well-being of veterans and their families throughout the state," said Dr. Kathlene Scholljegerdes, a psychologist and health behavior coordinator at the Minneapolis VA Health Care System.

The local outreach activities will depend on space availability at each YMCA. Outreach activities could include job fairs, town hall meetings and events related to employment, homelessness and healthy lifestyle programming.

"This important partnership is only a beginning but we envision other creative opportunities to work together with the YMCA to benefit our veterans," said Patrick Kelly, director of the Minneapolis VA Health Care System.

The Minnesota partnership is an extension of a national level agreement announced in December 2015 by VA Secretary Robert McDonald that the VA and Y-USA had agreed to work together on a national level to improve veterans' health.

One of the VA's goals under Secretary McDonald is to "enhance and develop trusted partnerships."