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Founded in 1844 in London, the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) is the oldest operating wellness facility of its kind in existence. The original purpose of the organization (and its female counterpart, YWCA) was to provide low-cost housing in a safe Christian environment for rural young men and women journeying to the cities for work during the industrialization era. The YMCA combined preaching in the streets and the distribution of religious tracts with a social ministry. Philanthropists saw YMCA as a place for wholesome recreation that would help to deter youth groups from the temptations of alcohol, gambling, and prostitution. Today, YMCA programs throughout the world still hold strong to the values of caring, honesty, respect, and responsibility. These values continue to be taught in its facilities today to help teach children right from wrong. YMCA has since developed a culture of fitness and wellness at its locations communities with paid gym membership programs and fitness classes that promote healthy living. The association conducts many different types of outreach and social programs to raise awareness of its services, and currently serves over 10,000 neighborhoods across the United States.

 

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The Good

  • Price and contracts
  • No hidden fees
  • Cleanliness
  • Classes
  • Trainers and nutrition
Price and Contracts

The YMCA lists its membership prices upfront, which include a recurring monthly membership ranging from $47 to $55. For $90.00 a month, a family can join. This membership can be paid monthly, or annually in one lump sum. YMCAs across the globe also promote healthy lifestyles through fitness and nutrition by allowing their communities to access their exercise equipment and take group fitness classes for a very affordable rate. If you can't afford the monthly fee, you can "pay-as-you-go" for $10 for a full day pass. For $10, you can take any class for free or use any of the facilities' amenities, from the pool to the basketball court to the weight room.

There are also special perks for seniors, who can get a free membership under the Silver Sneakers program offered through certain insurance plans. As a community center, YMCA also offers financial assistance for those in need. Applicants should bear in mind, however, that they would have to go through a full paperwork process, and provide information W-2s. Also, YMCA may disqualify anyone receiving public assistance-the demographic that needs this help the most.

No Hidden Fees

While many gyms we found had hidden fees, the YMCA does not. Pricing is pretty straightforward but a few members ran into additional fees with family memberships. Most gyms we reviewed have at least one or two "hidden fees" customers encounter after joining; but the YMCA does not seem to follow suit.

Cleanliness

The level of cleanliness at the YMCA depends on the specific location; however, most tend to be clean and well kept despite the caliber of neighborhood. Members are responsible for cleaning any equipment they use, and YMCA provides disposable paper towels to wipe the equipment down. Staff maintenance overall appears to be consistent at keeping the facility clean.

Classes

The YMCA offers an average of over 700 classes each week. This is the most out of almost any gym or fitness center we reviewed. Classes cover the broadest base of activities in the industry and are tailored for beginner, intermediate and advanced levels, so members can choose which level is best for them. Most national gyms do not offer levels, just one class for everyone. This can be problematic for a novice to take an advanced class and risk injury. The YMCA's classes include low-impact group exercise and chair classes, stretching and strength training, indoor cycling, boxing, boot camp, water exercise, tai chi, Couch to 5K Beginner Running, yoga, and X-PLODE Group Training.

The YMCA also provides massage, pool, locker rooms (you have to bring your own key or pay for one), mind and body rooms, an indoor track (in suburban locations), and a full-length basketball court and skating rink.

Trainers and Nutrition

All YMCA locations offer one-on-one personal and group sessions with personal trainers. Members can purchase sessions in 1-, 5-, and 10-hour packages. YMCA's personal training sessions focus on goal setting, cardiovascular conditioning, muscle strength and endurance training, and overall body restructuring. Sport-specific training is also available. It should also be noted that the YMCA does offer programs for health and wellness, some of which incorporate some nutritional training. For example, they have a Chronic Disease Programs which offer nutritional consultations.

The Bad

  • Upfront Fees
  • Equipment
  • Other Available Amenities
  • Training limitations
Upfront Fees

The YMCA has one membership type: month-to-month. The enrollment fee is $100, which is expensive, though, occasionally the Y will advertise specials where this fee is dropped. Some of the other major gyms we reviewed had similarly expensive enrollment fees.

Equipment

The quantity and quality of the equipment at the Y varies from gym to gym. Facilities in inner cities are lacking updated equipment while locations in the suburbs have all the best machines. Quantity also varies according to facility location. Some YMCAs have less equipment than others.

Other Available Amenities

As with any fitness facility, the complaints and issues will vary from gym to gym. The majority of reviews for YMCAs across the United States are positive, but there are quite a few complaints about a lot of children in the fitness area. Many fitness clubs have rules against bringing children into the fitness area of a gym. Because YMCA offers family passes and are very family-oriented, the majority of the complaints are about the number of children present at the gym throughout the day. In addition, the YMCA's many amenities are not consistent across all locations.

Training Limitations

Prices for training programs at the YMCA depend on the branch you are a member of and are not advertised; rather, they require in-person consultations with YMCA personnel. This is less favorable than some gyms that offer their pricing packaging upfront. YMCA's personal training programs do not seem to be as holistic as other gyms' in terms of nutrition and exercise training. We also found the YMCA doesn't offer nutritional plans for one-on-one training.

The Bottom Line

The YMCA has been in business for longer than any other wellness center on earth. It also offers youth outreach programs, affordable rates, family passes, and free childcare (in most locations). And with over 700 fitness classes per week, YMCA provides one of the longest lists of fitness classes and programs anywhere. Seniors also benefit as members, with free membership under their insurance's Silver Sneaker's program.

The downside to the YMCA is that amenities vary with each location. Nicer neighborhoods have better amenities while poorer neighborhoods have poor facilities. Most locations, however, are clean and maintained. The YMCA's $100 enrollment fee is expensive for a community gym, making membership enrollment expensive. Membership fees, however, are relatively affordable ranging from $47 to $55/month, depending on location.

If you're looking for a place to unwind after work and enjoy a quiet, kid-free workout, you will want to look further than your local YMCA. If you have children, or don't mind children being present at your gym, then YMCA might be a good fit for you.

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User Reviews

Star Rating

4.3
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74 Reviews

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Angelica Dela Cruz
November 13th, 2019 Jacksonville, FL DETAILS
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I have had a YMCA membership for three years now, and I love it. They have so much equipment and classes to offer.

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Mellissa
November 11th, 2019 Greeneville, TN DETAILS
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I loved working out at the YMCA. I actually met my husband there 7 years ago. We definitely need to get back into the gym. Sometimes it can be hard due to price and having child care

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taylor
November 4th, 2019 Miami, FL DETAILS
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i have a membership to this gym at home and couldn’t be happier. the facility is very clean, trainers and employees are upbeat and nice, and the atmosphere is very energetic and uplifting.

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Ben blair
October 17th, 2019 Phoenix, AZ DETAILS
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I love the ymca, it is such a great place for the whole family. It has really good sports leagues for the kids to play in and is way cheaper than competing leagues.

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Derick
October 15th, 2019 Spring, TX DETAILS
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I love the family friendly environment. My kids have participated in the sports programs. The leadership has been helpful at every step.

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Mary
October 9th, 2019 Clarks Summit, PA DETAILS
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We have had YMCA memberships in 2 different states and I liked the one in Washington state better than here in PA. I liked the programs they had available and how my kids had something to do while I was working out as well. Clean and convenient.

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Zac Marx
October 8th, 2019 Brighton, CO DETAILS
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I used to be an active YMCA basketball player. My family also enjoyed the YMCA family sports camps we could all attend. Very kid friendly and great deals for youth to learn, play, and make friends. We also really enjoyed the archery and pools available at YMCA.

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Rushie Gregory
October 7th, 2019 Pleasant Grove, UT

My friends love using the Y, but I think the facilities are a bit run down, and the employees aren't very nice. The pool was fun for the little kids, but if you're over the age of 8, it's pretty boring.

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Sarah Watters
October 7th, 2019 Quinlan, TX DETAILS
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Always clean and up-to-date facilities. I feel good about giving them my money because of their mission to help young boys and girls who are at risk. And their annual Turkey Trot is super-fun for the whole family!

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Jami Howell
October 7th, 2019 Farmington, UT DETAILS
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Great equipment and a fair price for everything they offer. The basketball courts and swimming facilities are great.

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bailey jo
October 7th, 2019 Orem, UT DETAILS
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Loved all the equipment and the basketball facilities they have. Price was great for all the options they have.

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Anonymous
October 2nd, 2019 DETAILS
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we have an annual family membership at the y, my mother is retired and when she is local she enjoys there yoga palaties and swim classes my son and I use the pools year round. our Y also just upgraded to a family bathroom with some amazing showers bathroom the works they also upgraded the hot tub love it at Dunmore.

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Amy Decker
October 1st, 2019 Bloomington, IN DETAILS
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We love the family membership at the YMCA - it’s the best value for a family gym membership. They offer plenty of activities for everybody in the family, with a lot of variety. We love their available hours, and the assistance they offer.

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Madison Scott
September 16th, 2019 Pleasant Grove, UT DETAILS
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The YMCA provides that wonderful community feeling. I have lived in various parts of the country and have joined many YMCA's, it is the quickest way to feel like you're part of a community.

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kristin Gneiting
September 9th, 2019 Pleasant Grove, UT DETAILS
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The YMCA is a great treasure for every community. It provides a place to go for people of all ages to enjoy working out or helpful classes on bettering your life or just on interesting topics. They house youth leagues that help our youth to grow not only athletically, but also learn to push themselves and be part of a team. YMCA brings out the best in people.

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Campbell Blair
September 4th, 2019 Phoenix, AZ

My boys have loved attending the YMCA to play basketball with their friends. Respectful and positive place and I know that they can have fun and not take the game too seriously. Great equipment options too for working out! The lockers are absolutely clean and amazing.

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Cambria Blair
August 28th, 2019 Phoenix, AZ DETAILS
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My boys have been playing basketball at the local YMCA for years. I have loved everything about it except the recent increase in price.

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Mazi Marcel Womack
August 5th, 2019 Cedar City, UT DETAILS
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I love the YMCA fitness center! They have great machines and they also have great customer service.

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Shanae Boully
June 24th, 2019 Kaysville, UT DETAILS
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I like the variety that the YMCA has and it is focused on a family centered place. I enjoyed working out a lot here.

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Kaitlin Ashcroft
June 20th, 2019 Mesa, AZ DETAILS
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I had a membership with the Y for about 3 months and didn’t love it. Their facility seemed small and a little crowded. Wasn’t bad just not for me.

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Teresa LeBaron
June 11th, 2019 Lake Villa, IL DETAILS
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Family friendly environment but facilities at the Hastings Lake IL facility need updating. Workout area is very small.

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Nicholas
June 11th, 2019 Lake Villa, IL DETAILS
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Their pools are well maintained with nice locker rooms. There is a single free weight rack that I like versus the weight machines.

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Brittney Anderson
June 11th, 2019 Provo, UT DETAILS
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I love the YMCA. They create such a wonderful network of family and friends. I love all the activities and fun runs the YMCA provides. Not to mention the great coaching and people running everything. I’ve had a great experience being coached in track and field.

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John Burnside
June 10th, 2019 Colorado Springs, CO DETAILS
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Here in Colorado Springs, the YMCA is not the economical alternative. My wife and I were disappointed with the monthly cost for what we would actually use at the facility. The facility was clean and upscale. However, we have no kids at home now so all the services they offer for children doesn't appeal to us anymore.

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Anne Sainsbury
June 10th, 2019 Payson, UT DETAILS
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Last year when visiting my brother in California we went to the YMCA and it was amazing! so family friendly, and great service and exercise equipment!

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Brooke Herbon
June 5th, 2019 Kaysville, UT

This gym felt very relaxing and I like all of the equipment options. Also plenty of space to do your own workout.

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E S
June 5th, 2019 Meridian, ID DETAILS
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Over the years we have use the YMCA for exercise and also for sports teams and also their facilities for other sports activities. They provide a valuable service to the community.

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Nicole LeBaron
June 3rd, 2019 Provo, UT DETAILS
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I love the YMCA. They have a great pool to swim laps. They have a gym and a weight room but it’s a little small. They also have great opportunities to help volunteer as well.

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Jimmy Monroe
June 3rd, 2019 Provo, UT

I grew up a swimmer. YMCA pools were the best. I highly recommend them. If I had a YMCA pool near me, I'd totally go.

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Jacob Shaner
June 3rd, 2019 DETAILS
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I have really enjoyed all of the YMCA’s I have been too. It isn’t the fanciest place, but is good for the price. Worth it for our family.

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Dale L Farmer
June 3rd, 2019 Littleton, CO DETAILS
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was a great place to work out with good equipment. I met a lot of good people there and enjoyed my workouts.

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Rika
May 29th, 2019 DETAILS
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I've been a member of the Berkeley YMCA since 1989! I love the facility and the community, most of all the women's fitness center. With my Berkeley membership I can also go to the SF YMCA and to the Oakand YMCA, I also go to the YMCA in Maui. The variety of classes is fabulous, and the price is right. I love the sauna and steam room.From young woman, through raising children ( child watch, family night, swim classes, birthday celebrations at the Y, to now entering elderhood, the Y was always right for me, kept me active and loving it!h

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Alyssa skinner
May 28th, 2019 Gilbert, AZ DETAILS
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I had a membership at the Y and didn’t love it. They didn’t have very much equipment meant I always felt like it was over crowed. They did have a pool so that was nice but I didn’t love it for working out.

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Sarah
May 23rd, 2019 El Cajon, CA DETAILS
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Great equipment and good workers! You feel like you are part of a family when you go here.

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Vincent Arena
May 20th, 2019 DETAILS
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Excellent....great gym amenities and clean facilities

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Anonymous
May 20th, 2019 DETAILS
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Outstanding!!! A huge assortment of cardio equipment and weights, facility is very state of the art

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Debby Nash
May 20th, 2019 DETAILS
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I have worked at the Dunigan Ymca for 13 years our service is excellent we take care of our members their way once and dislikes we help we have childcare where are excellent and swimming lessons and workout classes of all different levels we have indoor and outdoor tracks with a huge green sport still

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Reese
May 15th, 2019 Pleasant Grove, UT DETAILS
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I have used the YMCA many times and it has all of the work out facilities that I need. I love that it is made with helping the community in mind and offers things at a great price. I like the basketball gym and the pools. Great for the whole family

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Mary Tiller Bourdages
May 14th, 2019 DETAILS
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Excellent, helpful staff, good prices,financial assistance, very clean, well maintained equipment, accessible pool

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Anonymous
May 14th, 2019 Terrell, TX DETAILS
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Fantastic facility, great staff, all of the amenities.

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karen engels
May 14th, 2019 DETAILS
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Good variety of classes but it would be a bonus to get a free pass issue for each 10 visit punch card submitted automatically as a reward for attending the 10 times per month, not just having name in a drawing for a prize and only having a few get rewarded each month for making the effort to get there at least 10 times per month.

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Terryll L Rex
May 14th, 2019 Kirkwood, PA DETAILS
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Excellent! You couldn't ask for better. Great instructors, great management, Friendly and caring staff!

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JenniLee
May 14th, 2019 Camp Hill, PA DETAILS
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My experience at the YMCA has been positive with the classes and staff.

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Ashley
May 14th, 2019 Pleasant Grove, UT DETAILS
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I joined the YMCA fitness center in Utah primarily for the classes offered for my youngest son. He loved the basketball programs they offered. The price was very reasonable for the extra classes offered as well as the gym membership.

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March 27th, 2019 Colorado Springs, CO DETAILS
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if one has a family or is elderly the prices are okay but everyone elsie hold on to your purse strings because its costly especially when my tax bracket is approx. 28% also we end up paying for their staff, bills like utilities etc... it is sad and unfortunate because I am one who has worked for non-profits organizations - they do not pay taxes and have many different tax benefits, write-offs, vendor discounts and deductibles

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Ennock
March 26th, 2019

One day I went to ymca and was this guy at the redemption who was bringing his own laws saying that I can’t play basketball cause two months younger than 18. I tried to ask him if I can play only that day but he tried to act like he is the coolest guy in ymca

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Sara
March 5th, 2019 Anoka, MN DETAILS
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We were not impressed with the gym set up at all and it is always packed. This place is not worth the money. I recently contacted the customer service department to cancel our family membership. I was told there is no way to cancel the membership other than physically going to the location to fill out the cancellation form. This is not a viable option for me at this time as I am traveling for work for the next few weeks and my husband is also working 12 hours a day and taking care of the kids while I am away. After I asked a few additional questions the customer service representative revealed that the site may be able to work with me in regard to the cancellation. I thought it was distasteful to have to draw that information from them instead of having them try to meet the customers needs at the beginning of the conversation. I was directed to the Andover YMCA and spoke with a lady named Sharon. As soon as she heard that I needed to cancel she was rude. I explained to her our situation and asked if my husband could cancel the membership as I am away from work. She said that they don't usually do that sort of thing but might be able to work something out. I told Sharon "I am surprised that the YMCA does not have some sort of system for its members to cancel other than having to physically be there as it is extremely inconvenient and that as a customer I would recommend not making this such a difficult process." As I was saying this she kept on interrupting me before I could finish my sentence and hung up the phone on me! So I called the YMCA customer service line a second time to register a complaint and was directed back to the person that would not help me in the first place. Thanks but no thanks YMCA.

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Donald Dayton
February 19th, 2019 Lancaster, NY

If i could I would not give any stars 1.As per the Y policy, a 30-day notice in writing is required when terminating a membership. As your February 1 draft did not process, as a courtesy, your February dues were cancelled and your membership was terminated effective 01/31/2019. Your masterkey membership gave you access to all YMCA’s in the Buffalo Niagara area, including the Southtown branch, which you mentioned in your email. In confirmation with my supervisor, January dues would not be refunded. We will waive the join fee for you and Carole, as well as for Evie, if you should decide to give the Y another try. We appreciate your interest in our community here at the Independent Health Family Branch YMCA. If you have any questions, please contact me. My step Daughter is disabled and lives at home with a seizure disorder she would not have been able to use 90% of the gym but would have used the pool. They would not work with use and wanted her to have a separate policy. Will not issue a refund because it was done over the internet. Would not recommend this gym

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S Suguturaga
February 13th, 2019 Orem, UT DETAILS
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I like that you can join different fitness classes and the prices are very affordable.

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Lori Fletcher
February 13th, 2019 Saratoga Springs, UT DETAILS
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I loved YMCA when our family lived in Oregon! I wish more states had them! Family Friendly and big enough. Never felt crowded and the employees were happy people! Day care was high quality as well.