YMCA plans to broaden image for new year Advertising campaign targets 'Generation Y' for membership boost

January 02, 1996|By Suzanne Loudermilk | Suzanne Loudermilk,SUN STAFF

The YMCA wants to spruce up its old image in the new year.

Starting this week, the YMCA of Central Maryland is launching a campaign to attract more members with mailings, billboard promotions and membership discounts throughout the metropolitan area.

"We want to broaden awareness of the Y," said Lilian Bomgardner, director of communications at the Baltimore office. "January is a good month. People make resolutions to strengthen family ties and to strengthen health and fitness."

The first billboard promotion features a 30-something mother and her school-age daughter stretching together, with the message, "You'll build more than muscle."

It's part of a strategy to target Generation Y, or members of all ages, YMCA officials say.

"Our Y's offer programs designed to serve the young as well as the young at heart," said Lee Jensen, president of the Central YMCA. "Generation Y captures the spirit of today's YMCA."

That theme will be used throughout the membership campaign, which continues until Jan. 20.

"Generation Y defies all the labels and reflects the scope and diversity of our members," said Will Gallagher, executive director of the Towson YMCA, where the area's first family center YMCA opened in 1991 to meet a commitment to child care and family involvement.

After 143 years, the YMCA -- a nonprofit health service organization -- emphasizes the same basic motto of enriching the spiritual, mental and physical well-being of the community.

"We hope people will come in and blossom," Ms. Bomgardner said. "Someone may learn to dive eight feet and also form relationships that go much deeper."

The central YMCA serves more than 75,000 people in the metropolitan area -- with facilities in Druid Hill in Baltimore; Catonsville, Towson and White Marsh in Baltimore County; and in Carroll and Howard counties.

Programs also are offered in Anne Arundel and Harford counties, which do not have permanent sites.

"We're here for the entire community," Ms. Bomgardner said.

Around the country, the YMCA has 13.5 million members.

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