Pictured: YMCA Casey staff, including Executive Officer Anthony Neal on the far right, at the Endeavour Hills Leisure Centre in 1997.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the YMCA’s association with the Casey community.
We were proud to take over management of the Endeavour Hills Leisure Centre, Berwick Leisure Centre, Doveton Pool in the Park and the former 25m Indoor Pool in Cranbourne on behalf of the City of Casey back in 1997.
Since then, in 2001, we began managing Casey ARC. Casey RACE replaced the old Cranbourne Pool in 2008 and YMCA was awarded the contract to manage the new facility, before adding the Casey Indoor Leisure Centre (now Casey Stadium) to its City of Casey recreation portfolio in 2013. The YMCA recently added community facilities in new schools in Casey which include two Early Learning centres and stadium facilities.
Today, we are proud to be among the largest local employers in Casey with staff numbers reaching over 750 across the six sites.
Anthony Neal, YMCA Victoria Executive Officer – Recreation and Global Initiatives, started as the inaugural Leisure Centre Area Manager in 1997. He said that the ongoing partnership with the City of Casey is a highlight of his career and maintains close ties with the local community.
“As a not-for-profit, our aim was to create the best and most inclusive recreation and leisure facilities for all and our success in Casey has been amazing. Our partnership with Council has grown to be one of extraordinary strength and trust and our impact both within and outside the centres we manage, continues to grow,” said Mr Neal.
“Throughout the past 20 years the YMCA’s commitment to ensuring an inclusive approach to enabling a healthier, happier and more active Casey community has never changed. Through the centres we’ve managed and the programs and services we’ve run, YMCA really has helped build strong people, strong families and a strong Casey community.”
As the City of Casey has expanded, attendances and participation at its aquatic and recreation centres have also grown.
In early days, the old Cranbourne Pool at its peak had 1,500 students enrolled in swimming lessons. Today, Casey RACE and Casey ARC combined, have over 7,000 students enrolled in YMCA swimming lessons.
Gymnastics participants have also flourished, growing from approximately 900 to over 2,000 participants at Endeavour Hills and Berwick Leisure Centres.
Along with these great achievements, the region’s YMCA Open Doors has raised $250,000 to assist thousands of children and families doing it tough, enabling them to access programs and services at Casey recreation facilities for free or at a significantly reduced cost.
Throughout the two decades the YMCA has also helped shape many high level sporting successes, including national aerobic champion from Endeavour Hills, Ryan Smith who represented Australia in triathlon, and Melbourne AFL player James Harmes who undertook swimming lessons as a child and also worked at Casey RACE.
More recent success stories include London Commonwealth Games swimmer Matthew Lawson and Rio Olympian Josh Beaver, together with former world champion boxer Sam Soliman, who is currently training at Casey RACE in preparation for his fight against Anthony Mundine.
Anthony praised the collaboration that has been the achieved with the City of Casey over the 20 years and said it had been a benchmark relationship in the growth of both organisations.
“The City of Casey has been a leader in local community and achieved extraordinary growth in that time, and so has the YMCA. We had only seven management contracts when we started our association with Casey and now hold almost 80 across the state and are the largest partner with Local Government for the provision of community recreation facility management,” he said.
“We have worked alongside Council to deliver the programs and services needed across the local community and, while the future is exciting, it is wonderful to look back and celebrate a partnership of great substance.”