Question about the YMCA. Applying for membership assistance.

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Date Joined Jul 2009
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   Posted 7/8/2010 4:08 PM (GMT -6)   
I was wondering if anyone here is a member of their local YMCA or have ever applied for financial assistance with the membership fees.

What I am curious about is what the application was like. What kind of information did they ask for?

We picked up an application at our local Y and I am in shock about what they want to know. I can understand wanting to know about income and family size but what has gotten me is them wanting to know about how we spend our money. They want to know how much we pay in rent, how much we spend on food, medical care and medicine, car payments, car insurance, misc insurance, utilities each month, clothing, entertainment, how much we put into any type of retirement account. They also want 3 letters of reference as part of the application stating that we do have a "need" for financial assistance with their fees.

At the bottom of the application it also states that if not completed in it's entirety with the letters of reference attached the application would not be processed.

Needless to say I pitched the application in the trash.

I am curious if this is a YMCA thing or if it is just our local one who wants to know so much private and sensitive information.
2 confirmed herniated lumbar discs. Spinal Arthritis. Spinal Stenosis, diabetic peripheral nueropathy.

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Date Joined Nov 2007
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   Posted 7/8/2010 6:31 PM (GMT -6)   
Gee, I don't have an answer for you, but I don't blame you for trashing the application! I know that locally the subsidies at our Y's I believe come from the United Way, and it may be the UW policies that rule.

I know the Y's are hurting like most non-profits, and are probably swamped with applications for assistance with fees, but what you're describing seems to go above and beyond! Of course, I'm noticing the same thing with just about every program for financial assistance I'm applying for. I feel like my personal financial and medical history is all over the small city I live and used to work in. In lots of computers and probably being seen by lots of people who know me. As if it's not humiliating enough, right?

I wish there was one place we could go and have all this stuff verified and then be given a card or something that we would just take to these other programs.

One thing I've not heard of - yet - are the reference letters. That's ridiculous. Talk about an invasion of privacy. I wonder if some of this stuff is even legal. You know people sometimes come up with these things on their own in a small agency and no one knows if they're legal or even cares because they're usually not challenged. It's obvious they want to discourage applications.

Is there anyone you can speak to at the Y - or at the source of whoever provides the subsidies to them? Don't know if it's worth it, but that's all I can think of.


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Date Joined Jan 2005
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   Posted 7/9/2010 12:27 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Jim,

The Y in our area also does assistance programs. They happen to be located in a snooty area of town but I would guess they have very similar requirements. I know someone who's going to apply so I'll ask. My guess is that they have been scammed many times by people who just didn't want to pay the fee. Then when others who truly need the help come along they pay the price by snooping into every nook and cranny of your life. I can somewhat understand it but I agree with PaLady...the letter are over the top. It's humiliating to have to ask for help but to have to spread it to your very personal friends and then ask for a way! The concept and mission statement of the Y is lost at that point, IMHO.

If you're going through hell, keep going.

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Fibromyalgia, PTSD, UC, Diabetic on insulin, collapsed disk, arthritis scattered around and a few other delights.

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Date Joined Jul 2009
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   Posted 7/9/2010 4:14 AM (GMT -6)   
I did some checking with some other Y's in my area and there seems to be no set criteria on the applications for financial assistance. Most of the Y's I checked with via their web sites had their applications available online.

Out of the 5 I looked at only 1 asked about monthly expenses. The rest just asked for basic information like gross annual income, number of family members etc. NONE of them asked for letters of reference.

After learning about the application process at other area Y's I ended up looking up the contact info for my town's Y and found an email addy for them and sent them a blazing email telling them my feelings about their application process and how intrusive it was. I know it won't do any good, but it still felt good to tell these people how I feel. After seeing the info they wanted I lost all desire to ever join the Y and it will be a cold day in you know where before I ever support this town's Y.
2 confirmed herniated lumbar discs. Spinal Arthritis. Spinal Stenosis, diabetic peripheral nueropathy.

Mrs. Dani
Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2009
Total Posts : 2787
   Posted 7/9/2010 10:30 AM (GMT -6)   
   Dear Jim,
     All I can think to say is HOLY COW. shocked   I am suprised they didnt want to know you clothing sizes while they were at it! I dont blame you one bit for tossing it in the trash. Were I in your shoes, I would have done the same.
     ......rediclious. Don't even have to provide that much information to get free veggies at the local growers market. Just plain crazy.
TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
Chronic Pain Moderator

Veteran Member

Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 7/9/2010 1:59 PM (GMT -6)   
That sounds just like what I was thinking - that some people sitting around (or one person with an attitude) made this stuff up, and apparently just for that one Y. I would be surprised if they weren't violating something legal, as they are a non-profit and thus are tax exempt.

One thing you might consider doing is going up the food chain, so to speak, and trying to contact a regional or even state director of the Y's and write a letter (maybe not so blazing, and assume it may be read by a sane person! lol) and see if you can get someone's chain jerked a bit. Might be a bit of justice even if you do never darken their doors. Thing is, it affects your family, not just you.

Maybe you'll get a complimentary membership? Another thing you could do is write your local newspaper or try to get a reporter to do a story on it, but asking that you be kept anonymous.

Or you could just let it go. It does show clearly how some people really don't "get it", doesn't it? When you're hurting financially like some of us are, the repeated humiliation and sense of powerlessness are enough in themselves. I got an application in the mail for food stamps. Makes me sick, but I need the help. Course, they want a copy of everything, too, but at least that makes some sense.


Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 440
   Posted 7/9/2010 2:03 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi! well we've always been a YMCA family. Last year I let my membership lapse and well when I went to rejoin "THIS" year...some things had CHANGED!!!!
It doulbed for a family monthly charge! I was shocked. It's just didn't seem to be so (family) friendly anymore. Probably because of the recetion and goverment issues. and liability!
We did not join. Just could justify it any longer.
 "Get busy living or get busy dying"
Dx in 2005 with Crohns after a Hysterectomy. Re-section in 2006...came apart so got to do it again! Frequent Kidney stones and Shingles... a new present as of 08-09 Diabetes Type 2. Total of 12 surgerys.
Imran, Asacol, Colestid, Bentyl, Lamotil, Paxil, Nexium, Probiodicts, Vit D, Folic Acid, Lots of Potassium, Fish Oil, up to 6 Immodium a day. Oh, and one Giant Pill holder!

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