Business of the week: Woodson YMCA

Pilot and review of Wausau

Editor’s Note: Company of the week is a sponsored article that shares the stories of locally owned and operated businesses in the Wausau area, highlighting the products and services they offer and how they contribute to the unique flavor of the metropolitan area. Learn how to present your business by emailing [email protected]

This week’s flagship company is the Woodson YMCA, a 130-year-old Wausau institution. The organization dates back to 1891, about half a century after the birth of the world’s first YMCA in England “for the betterment of the human condition”. Around this time, a YMCA was started in Wausau at CJ Winton’s home, according to the organization’s history page. The first YMCA building was constructed in 1893 and had 267 members. Wausau quickly overtook this space and in 1907 much of the current YMCA site was purchased. Major changes occurred again in 1962 with a new taller building and a change in the constitution of the YMCA which allowed women and girls to also be members, paving the way for the organization to become the YMCA centric. about the family she is today. Through all of its decades of growth, advancement and expansion, the YMCA of Wausau has always been “an organization for everyone”, regardless of economic status, thanks to its generous scholarship program. The Woodson YMCA-Aspirus branch opened in Weston in 2005, and the most recent effort to transform the downtown facility began in 2019. These robust plans have provided more classrooms to meet the needs. growing community in childcare, launched an activity center for seniors – The Landing – and expanded a thriving gymnastics program. Today, with the YMCA’s flagship facility in downtown Wausau, the Aspirus YMCA branch in Weston, and satellite programs in Mosinee, the Woodson YMCA continues to have a positive influence on people’s lives. Woodson YMCA CEO Bryan Bailey, who has been with the organization for 28 years, said the Y has a strong team of administrators, staff and volunteers who share a common goal: to improve the community. “We have a very positive culture at the Y,” Bailey said. “It’s a great place to work and belong. Here is what he had to say about the Woodson YMCA, its programs and its future in Wausau.


Q: When was the YMCA created?

A: The Woodson YMCA is a 501c3 non-profit organization that was first established in the Wausau area in 1881. Over the past 130 years, it has continued to grow and serve the needs of our community.

Q: What services do you offer?

A: The YMCA has three main areas of focus: youth development, healthy lifestyles, and social responsibility. There is something for everyone at all ages. We offer a wide range of group exercise classes in large studios, in the water and online. Our exercise equipment is state-of-the-art, making it easy to watch your favorite shows or navigate the Grand Canyon on a treadmill. The new indoor glass walking track offers panoramic views of Wausau, highlighting the historic downtown district and new modern buildings near the Riverwalk. Our sports complex, gymnastics studio, ball fields and summer camps all support our youth programs which help provide a safe place for children to play and build confidence. We have mini-daycares for small children, giving parents the chance to join a class or workout. Several pools offer swimming lessons and water safety techniques for children. The Landing serves our 55+ community with a place to connect, exercise and socialize.

Q: What makes the YMCA unique and what sets you apart from other establishments?

A: The Y is not just a gymnasium, it is a community center. One of the greatest needs of our community was child care for infants and toddlers. Our expansion has allowed us to almost double the number of families we serve. Our daycares provide much-needed care at our two sites in Wausau and Weston. The dedication of our teachers and staff is incredible, our daycares never closed during the pandemic.

Q: What are you most proud of?

A: We are very proud of our community supported membership program. We never turn down someone who cannot afford to subscribe. We raise funds every year to help anyone who wants to join the YMCA to be able to do so. Donating to the Community Partners Campaign gives children, seniors and families the opportunity to be part of the Y community.

Q: How have you changed and evolved over time? What is different now from the opening of the YMCA?

A: The Woodson YMCA has embarked on a $ 25 million expansion project to better serve our community with a larger daycare facility as well as to expand all aspects of our building and the programs we offer. We have partnered with Aspirus to create a health and wellness campus in downtown Wausau. The Davis Foundation enabled the Y to create The Landing and meet the needs of our 55+ communities.

Q: What challenges did you have to overcome?

A: The three-month closure in 2020 has been difficult because the Y is a place to come together and connect. Our community needs us and we need them. The expansion happened just at the right time. This created an opportunity for people to come back to a larger YMCA with plenty of space to feel safe and healthy.

Q: Where do you see the YMCA heading in the future?

A: The Woodson YMCA has two main branches at our Wausau and Aspirus sites, The Landing for our 55+ community, as well as our Sturtevant summer camp, which has over 3,000 children each summer. Our hopes and dreams for the future are to continue supporting our community by providing a safe and healthy place where everyone can belong and feel connected. It’s a beautiful day at the Y!

Connect with the YMCA Woodson

Visit the Woodson YMCA online here. For more information on membership, click here. For class, gymnasium and swimming pool times, click here.

Wausau branch

  • 707 Third Street, Wausau
  • 715-845-2177

Aspire branch

  • 3402 Howland Ave, Weston
  • 715-841-1850

Mosinee satellite

  • 700 High St., Mosinee
  • 715-693-2550 x 3441
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