Dahl and Houser Y's to Close - Will Become School Age Childcare Sites

For over 137 years, the La Crosse Area Family YMCA has always been an organization that walked in the direction of a challenge. Today we must focus our resources on those who need us most during this unprecedented time.

As we share additional news and updates with you, you will continue to see that your Y is committed to being there for those who need us most and we ask you again to join us in the effort. We ask that you continue to invest in your membership so that we can maintain vital life-changing and life-saving programs in our community.  At this time, we invite you to join us in service to others needing our help. If you prefer to put your membership on hold, please contact us at [email protected] and we will do that for you, but we invite you to join us in service to others needing our help.  We know your membership is meaningful to you and that meaning lies in the relationships you have built at the Y. Those relationships are based upon how much you care about our community and want everyone to have the opportunity to thrive – no matter what our world is facing. Thank you in advance for joining us.

As we indicated yesterday, we are pivoting our resources to best support the most pressing needs in our community. We are aligning with our community partners to serve parents who must work including health care workers, first responders and “essential” employees protecting our community. These families need safe and reliable places for their children and we will be there for them.

Please note that due to updated recommendations from the CDC, Governor Evers, in concert with what most Wisconsin Y’s have decided, and in an effort to slow community spread, we have made the decision to close both Y facilities.  As of the end of business on Tuesday, March 17, both of our Y facilities will close to members so that we can repurpose our facilities in order to provide emergency school age childcare, in support of Governor Ever’s push for childcare, which is a critical community need during this time.  Additionally, childcare is exempted from the Governor’s orders. 

An important note about emergency childcare:  Emergency childcare is an absolutely essential service for our community.  We have received many amazing responses from our community regarding this service including donations to support this critical service.  While it would be ideal if every parent was able to stay home and shelter in place, it is simply impossible.  Many families in our area must work.  They are employed by hospitals, they stock your groceries, they are doctors, nurses, and the important people who support local medical teams.  Many of these people have children who deserve to be in safe care while their parents provide these critical community services. 

The YMCA is planning emergency childcare for approximately 200 children.  The local school districts serve approximately 16,000 students in total, so the community can assume that the vast majority of children have other options.  The Y is here to serve the group that does not have other safe options.  In preparation for offering emergency childcare, our experienced and professional staff are taking serious and appropriate precautions:

  • Health aides on site during drop-off to screen children and staff.
  • Small groups of students spread out in our Ys.
  • Parents will drop off and pick up children in the entrance area in an effort to limit movement throughout the facility.
  • Children will be monitored throughout the day for symptoms.
  • All CDC recommendations are being followed.
  • Our staff team for this critical service, are not in the group of compromised individuals (due to age and health history).
  • Of course, if mandated by the County Health Department or the State of Wisconsin, we will close down these programs.

We plan to restore full operations at both Y’s as soon as we are able.  Of course, we will continue to make day to day decisions as we receive updates from the La Crosse County Health Department, the YMCA of the USA, Governor Evers, and the CDC.  Please visit our YMCA website at www.laxymca.org.

Finally, to support your health and wellbeing goals we are offering Y360, an exciting new YMCA on-demand fitness program for adults and kids to do at home. You and your family can exercise together and have some fitness fun! You can access it today at Y360 On-Demand. Also, for your wellbeing and mental health, watch for Mindful Minutes from Sarah Johnson, our Mental Health Director.

In the meantime, we invite you to join us in service to others needing our help through your continued membership.  Again, if you prefer to put your membership on hold until operations are restored, please contact us and we will do that for you, but we invite you to join us in service to others needing our help.  Thank you for your support as we work diligently to ensure the health and safety of our community.

Best regards,
Bill Soper