The Cumberland County and Northern York County YMCAs have joined together to form The YMCA of Southern Maine.
The Northern York County Y in Biddeford will become a branch of The YMCA of Southern Maine, joining Casco Bay Branch (in Freeport), Pineland Branch (at Pineland Farms in New Gloucester) and Greater Portland Branch (in Portland).
This announcement on Monday comes after months of planning, according to a press release from the YMCA. In May 2012, the two YMCAs entered into an agreement to share management resources. Based on the success of that initial partnership, the boards of both organizations voted to work towards a permanent unification.
Helen Breña, CEO of the Cumberland County YMCA, will remain as CEO of the new association.
"We are thrilled to be able to move forward as one, united association," said Breña. "We entered into this process driven by the goal of determining how the YMCA could best serve our communities. This partnership will elevate our impact in all of the communities we serve in Cumberland and northern York counties."
Cumberland County YMCA board of directors Chairman Scott Maker said the merger was "an incredible opportunity to enhance the Y in this area and advance our cause of strengthening community."
"By combining our resources and traditions, we will be able to more effectively address critical community needs in our focus areas of youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. We also will be able to offer an enhanced membership experience to our current and future members," said Maker.
Similar benefits are seen by Karin Gregory, Northern York County YMCA board chairwoman.
"We sought to strengthen our organization to better serve the communities in the Northern York County Family YMCA 's service area and have found such a partner in the Cumberland County YMCA," she said. "Our members and their families will benefit from the integration of our two organizations."
As part of the merger, Heather Gendron has become the executive director of the northern York County branch.
"Integrating with the Cumberland County YMCA will allow more resources to come to our community, better serving our members," said Gendron. "Staff will gain more advancement and opportunity. I can't be more proud about this decision and want to thank the Northern York County YMCA board of directors for their wonderful vision and leadership with this decision."
In the coming months, the combined association will announce new resources and programming for each facility. Answers to frequently asked questions about the new association can be found at www.cumberlandcountyymca.org and www.nycymca.org.