Yukon city leaders asked to partner with YMCA on new facility

'Y' looking to expand to west metro


By Conrad Dudderar
Staff Writer

Talks have been initiated about bringing a YMCA to Yukon.

The Yukon City Council recently heard a presentation from Kelly Kay, president and chief executive officer of the Greater Oklahoma City YMCA.

Kelly Kay

“The ‘Y’ can be that hub where a lot of different community needs are met,” Kay told Yukon’s elected city officials.

“We have a pretty significant reach across central Oklahoma.”

Kay and Vice President/Chief Operating Officer Mike Roark want to partner with the City of Yukon to open a new YMCA here.

“Any community, we feel like, is a better community with the Y,” Roark said. “We would love to ‘crack that code’ on getting more people active.”

Kay and Roark have had several meetings with Yukon city administrators to share ideas about expanding their reach to the west side of the metro.

“Being from this area, I know Yukon has very robust family programs and youth programs,” Kay told city officials during a June 27th city council work session.

“We’re very interested in exploring what might be possible.”

The Greater Oklahoma City YMCA – organized in 1889 and incorporated in 1917 – has partnerships with municipalities, schools, churches, healthcare facilities, and military organizations across central Oklahoma.

“Our main focus areas are youth development, healthy living and social responsibility,” Kay said.

“Our mission is to put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all. … Our vision is to be a place that welcomes all, serving as a beacon of hope and health – and a catalyst for improving quality of life and creating lasting change in our communities. … Our values are caring, honesty, respect, and responsibility.”

A lifelong Oklahoman, Kay has been with the YMCA for 34 years – serving the last five years as CEO.

“We have some very important guiding principles, being very mission driven, focusing on our values and providing access to everyone in the community,” he said. “Over 134 years, we’ve built a lot of trust in the community – being good stewards of the resources that have been entrusted to us.”

YMCA typically contracts with municipalities to operate facilities – such as buildings and pools – that the cities own.

“With our membership model, it does provide the resources to sustain and maintain these buildings long-term,” Kay said.

Operations “is our specialty,” Roark pointed out.

A very diverse organization, the YMCA is always striving to grow.

That’s why central Oklahoma’s YMCA leaders came to make their pitch to Yukon City Council members.

Teresa Gray

INTEGRIS Canadian Valley Hospital CEO Teresa Gray voiced her support for the Yukon YMCA proposal.

“We are partnered with the Y in several different communities,” Gray said. “It’s been beneficial for all generations – for our youth all the way through our elderly population that utilize it. It’s for healthy living – INTEGRIS is here for your health and for life.

“We think it would be a great partnership for Yukon to consider this.”

Yukon Chamber of Commerce CEO Pam Shelton and District 18 State Sen. Jack Stewart (R-Yukon) also attended the city council work session to endorse the proposal.

Mayor Shelli Selby believes having a YMCA in Yukon would be tremendous for the community.

“This is such an amazing opportunity to partner with our schools, hospital and the Y to bring a facility that can benefit so many,” Selby said.



The YMCA (often referred to simply as the “Y”) is much more than exercise classes, youth sports leagues, summer camps, and swim lessons.

“Really, the YMCA is an association of people all grounded in a common purpose and joined together with a commitment of nurturing the potential of children, promoting healthy lifestyles and fostering a sense of social responsibility,” Kay explained.

The Y is a membership, volunteer-led organization.

“We try to meet people where they are and meet the needs that they have – whether that’s a sense of belonging, opportunities for achievement, inclusion, or connection,” Kay said. “Ultimately, we’re trying to strengthen and engage everyone in the community.”

The Greater Oklahoma Y was greatly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, seeing a significant drop in membership. Total members declined from 83,879 in October 2019 to 67,270 in October 2022.

About 65% of total memberships are families. Monthly membership rates are $40 for individuals and $69.50 for families.

The Greater OKC YMCA did serve an all-time high of 232,000 people enrolled as members or in programs between Nov. 1, 2021 and Oct. 31, 2022. About 88,000 of those were under age 17.

The Y provides financial assistance to members – totaling $2.8 million to 20,282 individuals in fiscal year 2022.

“We never turn anybody away because of an inability to pay,” Kay noted.

There are 11 YMCA branches across central Oklahoma. Each of these facilities are complete with a gym, fitness center and pool.

The Y operates 32 summer day camps, 15 before- and after-school sites, three housing authority sites, three adult fitness centers, along with a senior center, child development center, program center, military welcome center, and resident camp.

Two health and wellness centers, funded through the MAPS program, will open this fall in south Oklahoma City.



If they decide to allow YMCA to come to Yukon, city leaders will have to decide how to fund a new Y facility.

One option is to propose a dedicated sales tax or other revenue source to construct a new building or expand/remodel an existing property to house a fitness center, gymnasiums, indoor track, family pool, and lap pool.

There are no specific plans yet about what other features a Yukon Y could have.

“We have programs and services for all ages and all sorts of different amenities,” Kay said.

Current YMCA building projects in other cities feature senior programs, community sports fields, and library space. Costs range from $32 million-$37 million.

“Our original Mitch Park project (in Edmond) was done through a sales tax that was passed by the city,” Kay noted. “Lots of amenities were added to the city over the couple of decades since then and it’s been renewed.

“When we first agreed to put this whole thing together, they really used the Y project to ‘sell’ that sales tax vote.”