The YMCA offers free memberships to military families during deployment
The Military Outreach Initiative offers free memberships to eligible military members and their families. I'm sharing the requirements and how to apply.

The YMCA offers free memberships to military families during deployment

There are many organizations that help deployed service members and their families and the YMCA is one of them. As soon as we received Drake’s official orders I made sure to sign up for the YMCA Military Outreach Initiative because we have two facilities right in our neighborhood.
 

First off, let me say that I love being a YMCA member and even after this deployment, I’m going to make sure we’re always involved with the YMCA!

Camden has been able to enroll in more swim lessons ($60 for 6 weeks of Saturday morning lessons, $120 for non-members) and they work! He just started swimming like a fish thanks to their guidance. He’s doing great. They also have youth sports and I’m going to sign him up for soccer for this Fall!

I’ve been attending yoga classes a couple times a week to get back into the swing of things and to calm my nerves during this deployment and it’s been so great for my body and mind! There are so many options when it comes to group fitness classes and the kids can play while I work out! Even better, I’m meeting my neighbors and other Moms who are in similar situations!

I’ve been really impressed with everything they have to offer and if you’re a military family facing a deployment, you need to check this program out! The experience has made such a positive impact on our life during this challenging time.
 

So, what is the Military Outreach Program?

The YMCA Military Outreach Initiative is offered by The Department of Defense, in partnership with the Armed Services YMCA. It offers free memberships and respite child care services for qualified military members and their families across the country. There are more than 1,700 Community YMCA’s and more than 2,300 Private Fitness Facilities that currently participate in the program. 

You must fall under one of the following four categories to qualify for the program:

  • Category 1: Active Duty Independent Duty Personnel

    This category is for military members who are assigned to a command/unit that is geographically isolated from any military fitness facilities and does not offer any access to free physical fitness equipment. Family members may be added to this membership.

  • Category 2: Unaccompanied Spouse/Family of Active Duty

    This category is for spouses/families that have remained at an Independent Duty location following the deployment of an Active Duty Sponsor, or for spouses/families that have relocated to an area where fitness facilities/services are not provided for military dependents following the deployment of an Active Duty Sponsor.

  • Category 3: Unaccompanied Spouse/Family of Joint Deployed Guard and Reserve

    This category is for spouses/families following the deployment of a National Guard/Reserves Sponsor.

  • Category 4: Community Based Warrior Transition Unit (CBWTU)

    This category is for military members who have been sent home to complete rehabilitation/recovery orders due to combat related injury. Family members may be added to this membership.

If you’re interested in the Respite Child Care, you must be eligible for one of the four categories above to be able to use drop off child care at select YMCA facilities. 

How to apply

Once I got Drake’s orders I filled out the YMCA Member Application for the Military Outreach Initiative. I included a copy of his orders, had his commander sign the “Unit Request for Active Duty Independent Duty Personnel” and I went to my neighborhood YMCA to submit the paperwork. They went over everything with me, gave me my keychain card to scan each time I visit the facility and they sent my paperwork on to the main office to be submitted to the YMCA Armed Services to be approved. I was able to use the membership that day while they process my application and we’re all set and members of the Y for the next year while Drake is deployed.

YMCA Center Applications:

Military Outreach Initiative – YMCA Member Application

Military Outreach Initiative – YMCA Member Application for Warrior Transition Unit Category

Military Outreach Initiative — Respite Childcare Application

Private Fitness Centers Application: (This is for places like L.A. Fitness, Gold’s Gym, etc.)

Military Outreach Initiative – Private Fitness Center Member Application

 

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