YMCA youth program gets new site

JERSEY SHORE – Youths who participate in the Jersey Shore Branch of the River Valley Regional YMCA Brickhouse Program now have a new and improved site for their activities.

“This room will only stay as nice as you want it to stay,” said Dave Fagerstrom, president and CEO of the River Valley Regional YMCA. “We thought it was a perfect fit for the teen center.”

On the first floor of the building, the teen center actually is two rooms that will provide easy access to the gym and provide youths with additional space.

The Brickhouse program serves about 50 youths, according to Laura McMahon, West Branch YMCA executive director.

“I’m real excited about it,” said Ricky Frankhouser, a Brickhouse participant.

The Brickhouse program was started in 2009 by Abe Williams and Josh Hines in an upstairs room of the building.

But it was not long before it was recognized that more space was needed.

“It started with humble beginnings,” Williams said.

Williams, a Lock Haven University student, said lots of generous donations helped bring about the new youth recreation and activity area.

He said it’s important to have The Brickhouse as there isn’t much in the community to keep youths occupied and out of trouble.

“I was shocked to see it turned out like this,” he said.

The area includes a lounge, a pool table and plenty of space for activities, socializing and doing homework.

“It leads straight out into the gym,” McMahon said.

Barb Schmouder, chairwoman of the board of the West Branch YMCA, said the space certainly is an improvement over the former upstairs area.

“I’m glad they decided to keep the program going,” Williams said.

He thanked everyone who made the project happen.

McMahon said it represents yet another phase of YMCA renovations.