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YMCAs join forces; Montachusett merges with Central Mass.

Byline: Priyanka Dayal McCluskey

WORCESTER - The Montachusett Regional YMCA in Fitchburg has merged with the YMCA of Central Massachusetts, creating an association that serves more than 35,000 members in about 60 communities.

The merger comes nearly two years after the boards of directors at both nonprofits started exploring sharing resources. Collaboration will give members access to more facilities and services, said Sharon Henderson, marketing director for the YMCA of Central Massachusetts.

"It makes sense for all of us," she said. "We can give more to the community, because now they can use all of the four branches, depending on what they want to do."

The YMCA of Central Massachusetts includes the Greendale and Central branches in Worcester, and the Boroughs branch in Westboro.

Each location has different facilities. Greendale, for instance, has clay tennis courts, while Boroughs has a rock climbing wall.

According to the merger, which was completed Sept. 30, executives from the Fitchburg location will join the leadership team of the parent association. No employees will lose their jobs in the transition, Ms. Henderson said.

David Connell, regional executive director, will manage day-to-day operations at the Fitchburg branch and continue to oversee the Central branch in Worcester.

With the addition of the Fitchburg branch, the YMCA of Central Massachusetts has 550 employees.

It is funded through membership fees, activity fees, donations and government grants. YMCAs offer exercise facilities, youth programming and other services.

One benefit of the merger, Ms. Henderson noted, is that successful programs, like one that helps minority high school students in Worcester prepare for college, could be expanded to the Fitchburg branch. "It just makes sense for us to do it together," she said.

Membership prices will not change for at least a year, she added. At that time, executives will consider changes to pricing, as well as programming.

The roots of YMCAs in Central Massachusetts date back to the 1800s.
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Title Annotation:BUSINESS
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Geographic Code:1U1MA
Date:Oct 16, 2012
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