The YMCA is more than a gym—it’s a community, a support system and a place for all. YMCA of Greater San Antonio’s mission is to make a positive impact on the community and work towards creating a better future for everyone.

Vice President of Marketing and Communications Shannon Gowen said there are a number of factors that set the Y apart from other gyms.

“A membership with the Y means more than a place to work out,” Gowen said. “We provide programs and services for the physical, mental and spiritual well-being of individuals.”

Childcare and youth programming

The organization provides free childcare for parents and guardians while they work out as well as a vast array of programming and services for families and youth, including:The YMCA offers after-school programming at 65 sites in several school districts across Greater San Antonio, including Boerne ISD, Charter Schools, La Vernia ISD, New Braunfels ISD, New Frontiers Public Schools, San Antonio ISD, Schertz-Cibolo-Universal City ISD, Southwest ISD, Sunshine Cottage and the Gathering Place, as well as a homeschooling program in Potranco. Gowen said it’s important to note these are trained professionals taking care of individuals’ children, and all YMCA staff are certified and complete rigorous, annual childcare training requirements as mandated by the state.

“You know when you’re walking into a YMCA that you've got the best person taking care of your child,” Gowen said.

Fitness training and equipment

In addition to its programming and childcare services, Gowen said the Y also invests in state-of-the-art equipment for its members. YMCA of Greater San Antonio was one of the first YMCA facilities to partner with Peloton, and the Thousand Oaks location also features the largest pickleball courts in the city.

While other big-box gyms may be intimidating, the Y offers personal training services so members can learn how to use the exercise machines and prevent a decrease in motivation.

Personalized membership costs

There are different membership tiers at the Y, but Gowen said that pricing is a sliding scale and staff can personalize customers’ costs based on their needs.

“We fundraise year-round to offset the cost and help make individual and family membership more affordable for their budget,” Gowen said. “The Y is a place for all—we never turn anyone away.”

Giving back to the community

Even those who already have a Y membership may not know just how much the organization does for the San Antonio community. Gowen said the Y offers swimming lessons, sports programs and even has a partnership with MetroHealth to offer a free diabetes prevention program. Anyone who completes the program receives a free Y household membership for four months.

The Y also hosts a number of free community events throughout the year, which are especially helpful for families looking for something to do with their families without breaking the bank. The Y cares for its members at all stages of life and makes a concentrated effort to offer senior dances and potlucks to keep senior community members engaged, supported and away from isolation.

Gowen said the organization also offers things money can’t buy, such as its close-knit community. Those who aren’t yet members can see how tight the community is and the support members find in each other, whether it’s new moms finding their people or veteran families leaning on each other for support.

“There's just so many stories out there of people that have been able to build that [community] with us,” Gowen said.

Ready to join the Y? Learn more about the youth programming, community services and locations the organization offers at

The above story was produced by Senior Multi Platform Journalist Summer El-Shahawy with Community Impact's Storytelling team with information solely provided by the local business as part of its "sponsored content" purchase through our advertising team.