Free YMCA Memberships for Military Families

December 1, 2008
By Rita Boland

Families of deployed members of the National Guard, Reserve and active duty service members on independent duty and their families are eligible for free family memberships at participating YMCAs in their local communities. The free memberships for Guard and Reserve families are available when service members are deployed for at least six months, and the deploying family member is eligible for a three-month pre- and post-deployment membership. Active duty families assigned to independent duty stations and not receiving support from the service component also are eligible at participating locations. While memberships are free, some classes may have costs associated with them, which military members must pay. In addition to free memberships, 32 hours a month of no-cost respite child care is available for families of deployed National Guard and Reserve members and geographically dispersed active duty service members in 10 states with YMCA child care programs preapproved by the U.S. Defense Department. Those states are Indiana, Maryland, Montana, North Carolina, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia and Washington. The Defense Department is working with the Armed Services YMCA to expand this offering. Active duty families at select bases also are eligible as part of a pilot program for free memberships on a first-come-first-served basis with between 300 and 450 memberships available per location. The select stations are: Lackland Air Force Base (AFB), Randolph AFB and Fort Sam Houston, Texas; Langley AFB, Fort Myer and Henderson Hall, Virginia; McChord AFB and Fort Lewis, Washington; Fort Carson, Colorado; Pearl Harbor and Hickam AFB, Hawaii; Naval Weapons Station Charleston, South Carolina; McGuire AFB, Fort Dix and Lakehurst Naval Air Engineering Station, New Jersey; Anacostia Naval Air Station and Bolling AFB, Washington, D.C.; Elmendorf AFB and Fort Richardson, Alaska; and Andrews AFB and Naval Air Facility Washington, Maryland. A completed eligibility form, a copy of deployment orders (where applicable) and a military identification card are all that are needed for local YMCAs to process memberships. The YMCA/DOD eligibility form and more information are available by choosing a military branch at this link. The programs listed on these pages are not affiliated with our publication or association. We highlight these independent efforts as a service to our military and our readers. For more information about these programs, please contact the organizations directly.

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