Duneland Y Half-day Preschool at Trojan Learning Center

The Duneland Y Preschool Expands to be Part of the Trojan Learning Center – Open House to be held on August 15th.

The Duneland Y is excited to announce a new program offered in partnership with the Duneland School Corporation (DSC). As part DSC’s Birth-to-School initiative, the Duneland Y Preschool will be expanding to provide early childhood learning opportunities and support for families as part of the Trojan Learning Center located at the Chesterton Middle School. (601 W Morgan Ave. [Door #9] Chesterton, IN) 

The Y currently offers full-time preschool programming for children 6 weeks of age to 5 years at the Forchetti Family YMCA Center for Early Learning (270 E Burdick Rd, Chesterton, IN). This existing Y program site currently serves 97 children and their families. The addition of Y preschool to the Trojan Learning Center will provide exceptional learning opportunities to young children as well as much needed support to young families.

“Bringing the YMCA half-day preschool to the Trojan Learning Center is the first step towards the Y expanding early childhood development services to children and families in the Duneland community,” said YMCA COO Shannon Spratley. “As plans evolve for the YMCA Healthy Living Campus, we see our partnership with the DSC, additional classroom space at the new Y and the Forchetti Family YMCA Center for Early Learning allowing the Y to work with more young children and support more young families in the years to come.”

The Duneland Y Preschool at the Trojan Learning Center will encourage children to reach age-appropriate developmental milestones over the course of a school year. Both AM (8:30 – 11:30 am) and PM (12:15 – 3:15 pm) Pre-K classes will run Monday through Friday. The Y will also offer a Monday/Wednesday/Friday class from 8:30 to 11:30 am for children 4-5 years old and a Tuesday/Thursday class from 8:30 to 11:30 am for children 3 years old. Children must be 3 years old by August 1 and potty trained to register for these programs.

In the half-day preschool classes, children from ages 3 to 5 will engage in age-appropriate activities that focus on the development of the whole child. The classroom environment and curriculum will challenge participants to develop cognitive, social/emotional, and physical skills. Curriculum and activities include literacy, mathematics, science & technology, and social studies. Children will engage in extensive motor activities in the gym, take field trips and explore the outdoors.

“With the values of caring, honesty, respect, and responsibility as our guide, we work with you daily to help children have fun while realizing their full potential,” said YMCA Early Childhood Director Melissa Griffith. “At the Y, we believe that the values and skills learned early on are vital building blocks help make confident kids today as well as caring, contributing adults for tomorrow.”

Registration is now open! The Y will hold an open house at the Trojan Learning Center (601 W Morgan Ave. [Door #9] Chesterton, IN). Attendees will have the opportunity to meet teachers and see the preschool classrooms on August 15th, from 9 – 10 am for the morning classes and 1–2 pm for the afternoon classes. Following the Duneland School Corporation 2023-2024 School Year Calendar, half day programming will begin on August 16, 2023. The final day of classes will be on May 30, 2024. To learn more about the program, pricing and to register, please email [email protected] 

Six Tips to Keep in Mind for Water Safety

Six Tips to Keep in Mind for Water Safety!

As the weather starts to heat up, the pools, Lake Michigan, rivers, and other bodies of water start calling! While swimming can be an enjoyable activity this summer, it is important to remind all parents and caregivers of the importance of water safety. We are sharing these six tips on how children can stay safe in and around the water.

Tip# 1: Make sure children know to always ask permission before going in or near the water.

Teaching your children to be water smart is the first step in water safety – be sure they understand the importance of asking permission before going in or near the water.

Tip # 2: Never swim alone without a water watcher.

When children are swimming, make sure they are actively supervised at all times. Teach your children that they should only swim in locations where a lifeguard is on duty or where a responsible adult agrees to watch the children in the water without distractions.

Tip # 3: Supervise your children whenever they’re in or near water.

Whether it’s bath time or taking a dip in a pool or waterfront, make sure your children are within arm’s reach at all times.

Tip # 4: Don’t engage in breath-holding activities.

Children should not hold their breath for a prolonged amount of time while swimming, as this can be dangerous.

Tip # 5: Wear a life jacket.

Inexperienced or non-swimmers should always wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket while in or around the water.

Tip # 6: Don’t jump in the water to save a friend who is struggling in deep water.

If a child finds their friend in deep water unexpectedly, their natural reaction may be to jump in the water to try and save them. Even if a child is a great swimmer, a panicked person will overpower them, pulling the rescuer underwater. The Y’s Safety Around Water program teaches the “reach, throw, don’t go” concept of using a long object to reach for them, and pull them to safety. By using this technique, children can help their friend without compromising their own safety.


    Swimming is one of life’s most essential skills: the ability to swim can help save your life or someone else’s life while introducing you to a lifetime of healthy, enjoyable activity in the water.

    At the Y, our swim lessons help kids and adults of all ages and abilities develop the skills they need to become strong, confident swimmers.

    Join us in Five Days of Action to Help Prevent Child Sexual Abuse, April 24-28

    April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. As part of our commitment to protecting the children in our community, we’re participating in the Five Days of Action – a week-long campaign to increase awareness of child sexual abuse and empower and equip us all to prevent it. By taking part in this important campaign and through implementing abuse prevention practices year round, Duneland Family YMCA is committing to the safety of all children in our community.

    The Know. See. Respond. campaign is back this year, tying in three impact areas – preventing child sexual abuse at both summer camp and in youth sports, and internet safety. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, U.S. Center for SafeSport and Praesidium have shared resources to support this campaign.

    Know: Summer Camp

    KNOWing about child sexual abuse can help adults better understand what to look for and how to prevent it. As parents, caregivers, and trusted adults to the young people in our lives, we play an important role in protecting them from abuse. This requires our commitment to continually learn and then ask questions about the safety of our loved ones. The Y – and other youth serving organizations implement a series of measures to keep the kids in their care safe. Next time you enroll your loved one in a new program, ask them about their child protection practices. For this summer, you can use this list.

    See: Youth Sports

    When we SEE boundaries being crossed or suspect a child is being abused, we can and should act quickly. Sports should be safe places for children to grow, both as people and athletes. As a parent, caregiver, coach, or volunteer, it is up to you to make sure any environment in which children in your care interact is free from abuse. Learn more about the signs and how you can help prevent child sexual abuse in youth sports at US Center for Safe Sports.

    Respond: Internet Safety

    Did you know that you don’t need evidence to report abuse—only reasonable suspicion? But even for adults, reporting abuse is hard. We don’t want to falsely accuse someone or get someone in trouble. On the other hand, reporting might be the one thing that saves a child – or children – from abuse. It is our responsibility to RESPOND to any and all disclosure, discovery or suspicion of child sexual abuse.

    As adults and children alike have turned to digital tools for school, work and socialization, online safety matters now more than ever. Many online dangers put children at risk, such as cyber bullying, online enticement and more. As an adult, keeping an open line of communication with any children in your care who may access online content can be key to helping prevent sexual abuse. Learn the facts, how you can keep kids safe, and how to respond to online victimization at MissingKids.org

    We take our commitment to child protection seriously and we hope you do too. Check out our protection policy here to learn more about how we keep kids safe in the Duneland Community. Visit the Duneland YMCA Know. See. Respond page for local resources and information. We pledge to protect the children we serve, and we hope you will too!

    You can report abuse and neglect anonymously. Call the Indiana Department of Child Services’ Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline today if you suspect a child is being abused or neglected. It is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, including weekends and holidays.

    Indiana Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline

    Do not wait for someone else to make the call. Your call may be the critical first step in protecting a child.

    The New Duneland YMCA and Healthy Living Campus is on it’s way!

    A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Duneland Family YMCA and the Duneland School Corporation (DSC) has been executed by the Duneland School Board of Directors. The MOU was unanimously supported by the Board of Directors at their meeting on Monday, April 3, 2023.

    For Immediate Release – April 3, 2023 DSC YMCA PRESS RELEASE

    This MOU results from a shared vision for the future of this property, dedicated leadership, and the support of our partners. This is the first step toward a new YMCA in Duneland. We can’t wait to continue this story with our members, staff, and the Duneland Community.

    “The new YMCA, the Healthy Living Campus it will anchor, and the creation of a community park will help advance the Y’s cause and stand as a testament to the visionary leadership of the YMCA, the DSC Board, and our partners.”

    Dave Kasarda, CEO of the Duneland YMCA

    The MOU gives the YMCA the right to renovate and build on the portion of the Chesterton Middle School (CMS) site not designated for demolition or continued use by the DSC. The MOU allows the YMCA and its collaborative partners to reimagine, repurpose and add to the remaining facility and surrounding real estate. The new Duneland YMCA and the YMCA Healthy Living Campus it will anchor are being designed to serve as an education, health, and social equity hub accessible to all Duneland community residents.

    You can learn more about the new Duneland YMCA, the YMCA Healthy Living Campus, and its partners in the link below. For a better us. For a better Duneland. Tomorrow begins today!

    YMCA Day of Giving 2023

    Tuesday, March 21, 2023

    The YMCA is launching its annual YMCA Day of Giving on Tuesday, March 21, 2023.  YMCA Day of Giving is an annual one-day giving event that provides an opportunity to give to your local YMCA. The Y is one of the nation’s leading nonprofits strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility. 

    YMCA Day of Giving was started in 2015 by the YMCA of Northwest North Carolina and launched by the YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas in 2018. In 2022, 68 YMCAs took part in the national one-day giving event. Since its inception in 2015, YMCA Day of Giving has enabled the Y to raise almost $3 MILLION in charitable gifts supporting local communities nationwide.

    Funds raised this year will support the community through membership financial assistance, camperships, program funding for adults, seniors, children, and children and families, and community outreach.

    Imagine what the Duneland Community would be like if…
    • More kids had a safe place to learn, laugh, and play.
    • More people had the guidance and tools to lead healthier, more balanced lives.
    • More of our neighbors could access the support needed to create a better future for themselves.

    What do you Imagine for Tomorrow?

    The Y continues to grow and evolve alongside the community they serve, bringing people together from all walks of life. Your help is essential as we adapt to our community’s changing needs. When you support the Duneland Family YMCA with a financial gift, you strengthen your community and advance the mission, vision, and values of the YMCA. As the nation’s leading nonprofit, the YMCA uses your gift to make a meaningful, enduring impact right in your own backyard.

    Membership Madness



    Stop in before the buzzer sounds to score big savings on the Y’s joining fee!

    Depending on membership type, savings will range from $40-$75. Monthly membership rates apply. You’ll need to sign up in person or online. Use code “MarchMadness” to purchase online.

    We Love Our Members

    When you join the Y, you’re committing to more than simply becoming healthier. You are supporting the values and programs that strengthen our community. At the Duneland Y, children learn what they can achieve, families spend quality time together, and we all build relationships that deepen our sense of belonging. 
    Join today through February 28th with only a $14 joiners fee, AND enjoy $14 off any personal training packages. New or returning members!


    Only $14 to Join in February

    Enjoy no payment to join the Y on Black Friday – up to $130 savings!

    This deal is available through Tuesday, Feb. 28th for new or returning members! Use code “LOVE” to purchase online.

    $14 OFF Personal Training Packages

    For existing and new training clients, enjoy $14 OFF on personal packages.

    This deal is available through Tuesday, Feb. 28th. Training packages must be purchased in person or over the phone. Call (219) 926-4204 or visit the Duneland YMCA front desk.

    Holiday Group Exercise Schedule

    Holiday Modified Group Exercise Schedule

    Christmas is just around the corner and we all know that the holidays are not only a time for feasting and seeing family and friends, but can also be stressful and tiring for a plethora of reasons, regardless of whether or not you’re the host! Get in a quick and effective workout at the Y to help mentally prepare for the holiday ahead, in mind, body, and spirit, or to get more energy after a big meal! A great workout calms nerves, focuses the mind, relaxes tension, and helps keep you healthy and fit!


    The Duneland Family YMCA will be running a modified schedule for the weeks surrounding Christmas:

    Dancing Like the Stars 2022


    The 2022 Dancing Like the Stars, Duneland Family YMCA’s signature fundraising event, was held at Blue Chip Casino Stardust Event Center on Saturday, November 5. Over 600 guests attended to cheer for nine local celebrities who performed a variety of dances to raise to provide critical funding that enables the Y to make an impact in the Duneland community and ensure that ALL are welcome and can participate in programs, classes, and activities that build a health spirit, mind and body for all. This year’s theme was “Party Like It’s 199.” Guests were encouraged to add to the fun by breaking out their fanny packs, windbreakers, and best 90’s themed attire. 

    The impressive 2022 Stars lineup included Jim Anton, Shepherd Insurance, Jim Crawford, Lakeshore Mechanical; Corey Hecht, Merrill Lynch Wealth Management; Aimee Monik, Duneland Family YYMCA: Cami Osborn, Precision Dental; Jenny Soffin, The IN Coast; Traci Urban, Duneland School District; Dan Marchetti, Urschel Laboratories, Bri Nguyen, Trinity Displays. These community leaders sought sponsorships and popularity votes, and invited countless guests to be part of their “cheering sections” all in an effort to entertain the crowd, help others, and, of course, win the competition! Each dancer was provided a series of dance lessons at local studios including DanceBizz Dance Center. The performances were dazzling and the entertainment was phenomenal.

    At the conclusion of the program, prizes were awarded in appreciation of the contestants’ efforts.  Judges for the evening were Calla Baily, Jessica Amling, and Raeann Trakas. Traci Urban won the Judge’s Choice Award honoring the best performance of the evening. Jenny Soffin was awarded the People’s Choice Award, which was determined by the number of popular votes received by each Star (votes were purchased for $5 each by supporters). Dan Marchetti won the Big Bucks Award by raising the most money for the event, bringing in over $17,000 in sponsorships and donations. Cami Osborn had the loudest cheering section and was awarded the Team Spirit award. New this year, Jim Anton was awarded the “All About the Benjamins Award” raising the most money that evening through donations.

    Sponsors for the evening included Platinum Sponsors; Precision Dental, Trinity Displays Northshore Health Centers, Trout Family (Jim and Lindsay), American Licorice, Urschel Laboratories, Bozovich Wellness, Merill Lynch, Wells Fargo Commercial Banking, Lakeshore Mechanical, Gariup Construction, Paul Boyter McColly Real Estate, Berglund Construction, 1st Source Bank, Kroft Family, Royko Concrete, Cleveland Cliffs, NiSource, Tonn, And Blank Construction, Edmonds & Evans, Monosol, The INCoast, Adelman Trucking, Biggby Coffee, RV Sutton, Ennis Builders, Benjamin F Edwards, Metropolitan Steel, SEI Solutions, CAPTRUST, Tim and Kathy Harris, Shepherd Insurance. Northwest Health, Discovery Charter School, Waxi Taxi, Fit Body Bootcamp, Dig the Dunes, Ronald ‘Red’ Stone, NITCO, Smith Legal Group, Shinn Builders, Chris Frain, Chesterton Feed and Garden.

    The Duneland Family YMCA has been serving the Duneland Communities for over 50 years focusing on youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility. The Y is open 7 days a week. For more information on Y programs, services and membership, visit us online at www.dunelandymca.org, call (219) 926-4204, or visit the & at 215 Roosevelt St. in Chesterton. The Y. Always Here for Our Communities

    What is Les Mills?

    What is Les Mills?

    We all know it can be hard to find the motivation to work out some days. But what if you could hop out of bed excited about your daily exercise class? Les Mills hopes to make this dream a reality by offering modern group workout programs that make fitness more enjoyable and accessible.

    Les Mills classes fuse science, movement and music with the latest exercise trends and technology to deliver a workout experience that will change your outlook on exercise. Although available in different exercise styles and intensities, all Les Mills classes focus on one goal: bringing people together to harness the power of group fitness and collective determination.

    Whether you’re new to the Les Mills trend or need clarification, this article will explain everything from the origin of Les Mills to the different types of programs and their benefits. Keep reading to find out why Les Mills might be your new exercise program of choice.

    Where Did Les Mills Start?

    The Les Mills story began in 1968 when Les Mills, a four-time Olympian, started his first gym in Auckland, New Zealand, because he wanted to make athletic workouts more accessible to the public. But the Les Mills method didn’t fully evolve into the cutting-edge group exercise classes we now know and love until Mills’ son Philip became fascinated by the power of group fitness and started the first aerobics group workout in 1980. Those early group workout sessions drew lines that stretched down the street, motivating the younger Mills to keep creating group exercise classes revolving around the sounds of trendy music.

    Over the next decade, Philip Mills and his wife Jackie built upon the concept of group workout classes before introducing weights and launching the first BODYPUMP™ class in 1990. Since then, the Les Mills brand has grown to include a variety of exercise styles, from high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and cycling to martial arts and yoga. Each Les Mills class incorporates contemporary music, movement and technology, with a spirited and knowledgable instructor leading the way.

    Currently headed by Philip and Jackie’s children, Les Mills continues to produce heart-pumping fitness classes perfect for group settings that lead to mutual perspiration and inspiration. As an international brand, Les Mills now offers 21 fitness programs in more than 100 countries.

    What Are the Different Types of Les Mills Workout Classes offered at the Duneland Family YMCA?

    The wide variety of Les Mills group workouts allows athletes of all fitness levels to find a workout that suits their ability. Whether you’re up for a high-intensity cardio class or want to dance your way to fitness, Les Mills has a program for you. At the Duneland Y, we currently offer the following classes on our group ex schedule: