News You Need To Know

90th Birthday Party, Sept. 18, 4-6 pm

We invite all Y members and supporters to join us on Wednesday, Sept. 18, from 4 to 6 pm, when we'll close down Church Lane for an old-fashioned street party in celebration of our 90 years of service to generations of members and of our longstanding role as a center of community life and wellness.

From 4 to 6 pm on Sept. 18, the Y’s Birthday celebrations will “take to the streets,” as we close Church Lane for a range of family-oriented activities. Among the activities planned (weather permitting) are special performances by Y gymnasts, a bounce house and other games for young children, music, food vendors, a display of vintage cars and a pep rally for the 200-member Water Rat Swim Team, as well as Afternoon Tea for adults served in the Bresslin Room.

At 5:30 pm on Church Lane, we’ll have a group sing-along of “Happy Birthday, Family Y,” and offer cake and a beverage to our guests. The local volunteer leaders who guide our charitable nonprofit organization will also make a special announcement to commemorate not only the Bedfords’ founding gift 90 years ago but also the continuing support of our Y by the Bedford family. That legacy now extends to a fifth generation of Bedford descendants, through the service of Y Board members Libby McKinney Tritschler and her brother, State Senator John H. McKinney, the great-great grandchildren of Mr. & Mrs. Edward T. Bedford.

We’ve created a video invitation to our 90th Birthday Party, featuring Family Y CEO Rob Reeves and Y Trustee Emeritus Allen Raymond, who proudly shares the same birth year with our Y -- 1923. The road leading to the new Y has been renamed Allen Raymond Lane in his honor. Click on the image below to view the brief clip.

The Family Y opened its doors on Sept. 5, 1923, following a public ceremony on the steps of the new Bedford Building. “In the name of Mrs. Bedford and myself,” said industrialist turned philanthropist Edward T. Bedford, “It is a very great pleasure to present this building and its property to the town of Westport. All we desire is that it may be most generously and properly used and that we may be permitted with you to continue to contribute to both its upbuilding and financial support.”

Please click here to read a fascinating extract from the Westporter-Herald, the local newspaper of the day, about the momentous proceedings 90 years ago. We've also created a photo gallery of images from those early days and on through our Family Y's history for you to enjoy.

Construction of a modern new home for the Family Y began in January 2013 and is expected to be completed by early next fall. The new facility is located at the Y’s 32-acre Mahackeno campus, longtime home of the Y’s summer day camp. Purchased in 1941 with the help of Frederick T. Bedford, Edward’s son, Mahackeno is less than two miles from downtown Westport at State Route 33 (Wilton Road) and Exit 41 of the Merritt Parkway, and is bordered by the Saugatuck River as it flows into Lees Pond.

The new Y will begin as a fully equipped, family-oriented 54,000 sq. ft. facility that will include a 10-lane, 25-yard lap pool and adjacent warm-water family/teaching/therapeutic pool; expansive Health & Wellness Center; multi-purpose Gymnasium; three group-fitness studios; a Child Watch/Kids’ Adventure Gym area; five locker rooms, including one for those with dependent care; and other amenities of a modern, family-oriented Y facility.

The first stage of our new Y will be built on a portion of the footprint that has been approved by the Town, with subsequent phases also within that footprint. Upon completion of all construction stages, the Family Y at Mahackeno will comprise 102,000 sq. ft. and is expected to include a Gymnastics Center, Child Care wing and expanded Aquatics and Health & Wellness areas.

For more information about the Family Y’s year-long 90th Anniversary celebration, beginning with our 90th Birthday Party on Sept. 18, as well as the Y’s “Building What Matters” capital campaign to fund and construct a modern new home, please click on this link.

90th Birthday flyer