LEXINGTON – A new Game Room for tweens and teens is now open at the Orthman Community YMCA thanks to a $10,000 gift from a Lexington native.
Josh Baldwin, a 2000 Lexington High School graduate and now a chiropractor, said he wanted to give back to a place that truly makes a difference.
“I’ve been very fortunate and especially grateful over the last few years of my life,” Baldwin said. “I decided to give back to the one place where actual change begins; and that’s within the business and families supporting each other in our local communities.”
Baldwin visited the Orthman Community YMCA for the first time in April 2016 and was impressed with what he saw.
He sees the YMCA and the new game room as a place to help youth avoid trouble and be exposed to positive experiences. He said hanging out at the Y may even entice youth to catch the ‘workout bug.’
“An exercise routine established at a young age can significantly improve the chances that one will be committed to their health throughout life; even more so the case if they have a place to feel safe and enjoy themselves among their peers,” Baldwin said.
Baldwin is now is back in Lexington and frequently exercises at the Orthman YMCA.
“All the members, staff, and facility operators in charge – everyone that frequents the Y, has an excellent attitude generating a very positive environment that I get to enjoy on every single visit,” Baldwin said.
Orthman Community YMCA Executive Director Riley Gruntorad said the Y is “blessed” to receive this donation.
“I think it is admirable that Josh, as an alumni, came back to Lexington and wanted to give back to this great community,” Gruntorad said. “The YMCA’s new Game Room is another example of how every day we work side by side with our neighbors to make sure that everyone, regardless of age, income or background, has the opportunity to learn, grow and thrive. The YMCA is the hub of the community, a safe place for all ages, and the Game Room adds another option for kids to have while spending time at the Y.”
The Game Room is located in a shared classroom with the Lexington Middle School. Previously, kids could play ping pong or board games in the Game Room.
But, thanks to Baldwin, the room has been transformed with a fresh coat of bright paint and YMCA core-value window skins. Now, in addition to the board games, kids will be able to play PlayStation 4 and Xbox One or Kinect games on one of two 70-inch televisions or enjoy a game a pool, air hockey or ping-pong on the new convertible game table. New life-sized Connect 4 and Jenga games have been added, along with new board games like Operation, Bop It, Rock Em Sock Em, puzzles and playing cards. Or, kids can just relax and connect with friends on the new benches and Big Joe Bean Bag Chairs.
The Game Room will be open from 4 p.m. until the Y closes during weekdays and during normal YMCA hours on weekends. During the summer, the Game Room will open at 8 a.m.
The YMCA is dedicated to strengthening the community through programs focused on youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. For more information about the Y, visit www.orthmanymca.org or call at (308) 324-1970.