History of Our Y
History of the YMCA of West Central Florida in Lakeland:
In 1965, nine men led by Dick Klusza met to organize the Lakeland Family YMCA. $21,460 was raised in the initial campaign. After nearly a decade of fundraising and off-site programming, Lakeland’s first YMCA opened on June 7, 1977.
Facilities included: a weight room containing free weights, a gym for basketball and exercise classes, an indoor swimming pool, locker rooms, a men’s fitness center on the second floor, four outdoor courts for racquetball and handball, a crafts room, and a club room for meetings, ballroom dancing lessons, guitar
lessons, and the like. Our programs included Indian Guides, Indian Princesses, summer day camp, aquatics and SCUBA, volleyball, gymnastics, fitness, including weights and classes featuring Slimnastics with music.
Over the next 10 years, our YMCA continued to thrive with the additions of lighted ball fields, a women’s fitness center, Nautilus room, and the development of a Lakeland afterschool program and by 1986, our in house computer system was installed.
Seeing a need for youth and family wellness programming in other areas of our community, through a generous gift from Denis Fontaine, we opened a 5,000 square foot North Lakeland YMCA in 1993. We continued programming on and off site until our 20,000 square foot facility on 30 acres opened its doors in north Lakeland in 2005. Fontaine Gills Family YMCA facilities included: Outdoor seasonal pool, group fitness classes, outdoor walking/running track, athletic field, indoor/outdoor gymnasium, wellness center, youth, adult, and senior programming.
Also, in 2005 the YMCA Par 3, Home of The First Tee opened its doors after renovations to the Par 3 golf course began in 1999. The total cost of renovations totaled 8 million dollars. Facilities include: 9-hole par 3 golf course, lighted driving range, putting green and chipping greens, short game practice area, outdoor covered hitting area, indoor artificial putting green. Programming includes The First Tee , private lessons,
adaptive programming, youth, adult, and senior leagues, golf fitness.
Current Total YMCA of West Central Florida Members: 12,045