La Porte County Family YMCA offers the community healthy minds and bodies

La Porte County Family YMCA offers the community healthy minds and bodies
By: Beth Ireland Last Updated: March 28, 2020

For more than 110 years, the La Porte County Family YMCA has been a positive force in shaping happy, healthy communities. They’ve seen it in the smiles of children, the wonder of babies’ faces when they swim, the tears shed by seniors who have found their “people” while recovering from cancer. They’ve seen it in so many ways, it’s almost hard to count.

From developing youth to improving the community’s health and well-being to providing for neighbors, the La Porte County Family YMCA is a local organization committed to enriching members’ lives and the county as a whole.

“The role we play in the community is so vital because we provide a safe, nurturing environment for families, individual adults, and seniors to come to whether it’s to work out, play, or swim. We’re a home base away from home,” said Laurie Halaska, CEO of the La Porte County Family YMCA. 

The iconic triangle in the YMCA logo sums up their mission emphasis on the whole person.

“Physical wellness is important but we also focus on the mental and emotional part of overall wellness,” Halaska said. “Little communities are formed within our larger community and we’re a great place for people to come and gather.”

One such little community within the La Porte County Family YMCA is the LiveStrong cancer survivor program. The group was formed to reach those going through or who have come out of cancer treatment. It was essential to the recovery of one couple, diagnosed with different forms of cancer within months of each other. 

“They both needed a support system, besides just physically working out for their health, they needed that emotional support as well for their recovery process,” Halaska said. “Fighting cancer is a mental battle as well. Seeing the same members, seeing the staff who welcome them and know the journey they were on, and knowing that someone out there appreciates you was so meaningful to them. They truly attribute the YMCA for helping them through their recovery process.”

Youth Development

From daycare to camps to sports programs, the youth development programs at La Porte County Family YMCA offer children the opportunity to socialize, play, and participate in structured activities, all under the YMCA core values of honesty, caring, respect, and responsibility. 

“So many of our programs build confidence in children,” Halaska said. “Our sports programs are not competitive on purpose because we’re about building character and talent. For kids after school, they have a safe place to hang out, which is important in today’s world.”

Healthy Living

Healthy living is at the core of the YMCA’s mission,, and maintaining several locations throughout La Porte County makes healthy living accessible and convenient for the whole family.

“This is a place where all ages can come and be together. It’s great for families,” Halaska said. “One-third of our members are seniors and for them, we could be the only outlet in their day.”

Scholarship help make programs accessible to everyone. 

“Our mission is to never turn anyone away because of their inability to pay. We have scholarship programs that can provide a membership or program at a greatly discounted rate. Last year alone we gave out $202,000 in scholarships,” Halaska said. “I’ve been with the YMCA organization for 18 years and when you’re able to give a family a scholarship and see them cry right in front of you, you get to see that the work you do behind your desk has a direct impact on people who live in your community.”

“I don’t think I’ve run into one person who hasn’t been touched by the YMCA, whether it was themself personally or a child or family member,” Halaska said. “It’s a place where people can look back fondly over their lifetime and say that they were a part of the community and have fond memories.” 

Stop by and become a member today! You can find more information on what makes the La Porte County Family YMCA so much more than just a gym on their website: https://www.lpymca.org/.

Hours and Locations

The La Porte County Family YMCA has branches located in La Porte, Michigan City, and Long Beach. There is also a childcare & learning center and an outdoor center, both in La Porte. Here is a full list of locations & hours.

LA PORTE BRANCH 901 Michigan Ave., La Porte, IN 46350 219.325.9622 

HOURS OF OPERATION Mon. - Fri.: 5:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m.; Sat.: 6:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.; Sun.: 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

KID WATCH Mon. - Fri.: 7:30-11:30 a.m.; Mon. - Thurs.: 4:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.; Sat.: 7:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. 

MC ELSTON BRANCH 1202 Spring Street, Door L Michigan City, IN 46360 219.221.4055 HOURS OF OPERATION Mon. - Fri.: 6:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.; Sat.: 6:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.; Sun.: 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

KID WATCH Mon. - Thurs.: 4:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.; Fri. - Sun.: Closed 

LONG BEACH BRANCH 2501 Oriole Trail Long Beach, IN 219.879.1395 

HOURS OF OPERATION Mon. - Fri.: 5:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m.; Sat.: 6:00 a.m. - 5 p.m.; Sun.: 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. 

CHILDCARE & LEARNING CENTER 2510 Monroe Street La Porte, IN 46350 219.326.7646 HOURS OF OPERATION Mon. - Fri.: 6:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. 

INFO ON HOW TO ENROLL Contact Stefanie Gurband at sgurband@lpymca.org

ANDREW AVE. OUTDOOR CENTER 1400 Andrew Ave. La Porte, IN 46350 219.325.9622 HOURS OF OPERATION Seasonal hours based on programs. For more information on renting the pavilion, contact the La Porte branch member services staff at 219.325.9622. 

Facility hours are subject to change. All La Porte County Family YMCA branches are closed on Easter Sunday, Labor Day, July 4, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day. Limited hours on: Memorial Day, Christmas Eve, and New Year’s Eve. Open on New Year’s Day.