The YMCA Continues To Provide Core Community Service

The YMCA has ensured that it will continue to provide important community services for years to come by changing with the times.
YMCA Youth Rugby Camp

It is the quality and experience of YMCA personnel.

The YMCA and Denver go back. Way back. The organization, which is woven into the fabric of the American culture from coast to coast, was here in Denver when Colorado became a state in 1876. The first Y opened in 1844 in London, where its 11 founding members intended to assist young men “seeking escape from the hazards of life on the streets.” Less than a decade later it arrived in Boston, and its footprint, and influence, spread quickly. It helped men who were moving from rural areas to quickly growing American cities — a much needed resource in the new railroad city at the gateway of the Rockies whose population was going through the roof. Today, the Denver YMCA has 68,000 members, which is enough people to be Denver’s seventh largest suburb. The Y’s role in Denver has changed a lot since those early frontier days, but its mission remains.

Jim Hiner is a cornerstone of Denver’s YMCA history. He grew up in the area and was active at the Y throughout high school and college. In 1981, after graduating from college, Hiner began his first job, at the Lakewood branch of the Y. Since then, he’s worked in various capacities at the YMCAs in Boulder, Longmont, and Arlington, Texas. In 2006, Hiner became CEO of the entire metro Denver area.

Denver has changed since Hiner began in 1981. Denver has had nearly three decades of of growth, adding more than 200,000 people since 1990. Counterintuitively, the demand for the Y’s physical presence — gyms, pools, workout equipment — has actually declined, despite the boom. Hiner explained: “The Denver-Boulder area has been the number one market in the country for fitness centers, health clubs, and outdoor recreation.” In other words, while the population grew, the number of places to work out grew even more quickly. And that’s just part of it. Hiner added: “But what really affected our numbers were public rec centers. Because of the tax base, those centers typically could charge less for services.” The combination of great public spaces, an increase in the number and types of private facilities, and the advent of publicly-funded fitness facilities led to decreasing usage of YMCA buildings. Although it’s a nonprofit, the YMCA still needs money to operate. Declining membership led to declining revenue, which meant that older facilities didn’t have the funds needed to upgrade their buildings and equipment in order to compete with the alternatives that were wooing away the Y’s members to begin with. A classic negative feedback loop.

But an organization doesn’t stick around for a century and a half by being unwilling to adapt to changing circumstances. Hiner said that Y leaders recognized that their best asset wasn’t a gym or a weight room; it was the quality and experience of YMCA personnel. “So there was a refocus in the mid 90s on programming,” Hiner said. “That’s what we’re good at. We really got back to serving communities.” The shift to programming meant thinking outside the walls of its facilities. “Our core youth programs — aquatics, childcare, youth sports, camping — those are still our core programs,” Hiner said. “But we’ve branched out to delivering services in areas that typically are underfunded.” This means health and wellness initiatives like diabetes prevention, programs that promote nutrition for kids. It means going out into the communities and finding people instead of waiting for people in the community to find them.

That shift to service-based service has worked. And it’s developed even more in the decade since Hiner took over as CEO. The Y, with its seasoned staff of leaders who know how to run successful programming, provides the staff for many places that don’t have the familiar “Y” logo on the building. A homeowners association might build a workout center for its residents, and to staff it they’ll hire the Y. YMCA staff manage 24 outdoor pools in the Denver area. The Glendale Sports Center, for example, is a low-cost, municipally-owned facility run by Y staff.

In addition to its traditional role of delivering physical education services to children, especially its well known aquatic lessons, the Denver YMCA has also has been successful in encouraging young people to become active in government with its aptly named Youth In Government program. Students spend three months learning about how laws and government shape people’s lives. At the end, students have a mock legislative session at Colorado State Capitol, where they write bills, lobby, debate, and vote, using the real House, Senate, and committee rooms. Teen after-school programs, arts programs, and more add to the Y’s diverse programming. And, despite the move away from relying completely on its own facilities, it does still operate six successful Y sites throughout the metro area. In fact, Hiner said a major remodel for the downtown Y is in the fundraising phase. They’ve raised more than half of the $3 million goal for the project, which will add space in a currently unfinished basement and upgrade the gym, locker rooms, and lobby in the 110-year-old building.

The Y has ensured that it will continue to provide important community services for years to come by changing with the times. The Y has also continued this long because of its unwillingness to change its core mission: “I think the Y exists to serve the community in whatever way we can,” Hines said. “We tend to reach out where we can provide leadership. We solve problems in the community. That’s what we’re ultimately about.”

Photo by Justin Purdy

Leave A Comment


Recent Posts

Get EVent Updates

Enter Your Details Below And Let Us Know What You Which Events You Would Like To Stay Up-To-Date On.

Event Notifications


Tickets For This Event Are Not Available Yet.

Would You Like Us To Notify You When They Are?

Get Notified Of Upcoming Events

Event Notifications
Throwdown Showdown Logo


TDSD Entry
Please enter the URL to the video you want us to review for a chance to be enter into the TDSD competition.
You can upload a max of 5 files.

Applicants must be 21 years of age or older. The City of Glendale shall have at least one business day after receiving application to review. The City of Glendale reserves the right to take additional time to review any application.

Full payment of rental fees and required deposits are required at the time of application. A deposit will be required prior to your event and will be returned within 30 days after your event as long as no damages are incurred. An employee from Infinity Park and/or the Glendale Public Works department will report on any damages or cleaning charges before your deposit will be returned.

Rental fees are charged for the entire reserved time which is to include set-up and tear down/clean up. Your group will be expected to vacate space promptly at end time listed on permit. Additional fees may apply based on the size and scope of event.

The City of Glendale reserves the right to: 1) amend the rental rules as needed to serve the best interest of the City; 2) relocate any meeting/activity based on unforeseen circumstances; 3) have a designated employee visit any activity site or require that the Glendale Police Department enforce the terms of this rental agreement; 4) terminate the permit at any time in the interest of public safety without refund of rental fees or deposit.

The City of Glendale assumes no liability for lost or stolen property on park premises or for personal injuries sustained on the premises during the permit holder’s activity.

Permits will be issued upon approval of application. Reservation notices will be posted on the day of the event.

Changes to date or site may be charged $25.00 per permit change.


Applications should be submitted at least 10 business days prior to requested date of use. Applications received within 24 hours of event/activity may be charged a $25 service fee. Payment and all applicable documents must besubmitted at least 5 business days prior to permit date. Depending on the nature of the activity, “applicable” documents may include an Athletic Organization Information Form, Waiver of Liability and/or Insurance Agreement.

All applications will be handled on a first-come, first-served basis and will be accepted via mail, fax or email. Payment must accompany application before being considered. Any application submitted without complete information and/or without payment will not be reviewed.

Mailing Address: Infinity Park Operations, 950 S Birch St., Glendale, CO 80246
Fax: 303-639-4611


By mail: Applications must be accompanied by payment: check (made out to “City of Glendale”), money order or Visa/MasterCard.

By email or fax: A credit card authorization form must accompany application.

Rental Guidelines, Terms & Conditions

1. Daily Park Hours: The Synthetic Turf Athletic Field at Infinity Park is available to reserve from 8:00 AM until 10:00 PM. The volleyball courts, as well as the pavilions and fields at Creekside and Mir Parks, are available to reserve from 8:00 AM until 9:00 PM. Use of all spaces may be limited to certain months of the year and select days of the week

2. Park Permit: A permit is required for any group activity (“group” is defined as activities with 10 or more people). The permit must be in the possession of the group while the site is in use. Permits are non-transferable and non-refundable. The City of Glendale reserves the right to change and/or revoke any permit and restrict activities in the park at any given time. Any violations of City of Glendale policies, rules, regulations, or guidelines may result in immediate revocation of permit. Use of any of the facilities described in this document without the appropriate authorization may result in fines and possible loss of future scheduling privileges.

3. Usage Priority: If a site has been permitted, the permit-holder has priority over other users. Contact Park Operations (number listed on permit) for any site issues.

4. Fees: Fees are due in full; deposits or partial payments are not accepted. Acceptable forms of payment include cash, check, and money orders (made payable to City of Glendale) or Master Card or Visa Credit Cards.

5. Attendee Conduct: The permit-holder is responsible for his/her actions as well as the actions of gathering attendees.

6. Restroom Facilities: Restroom facilities are taken on an “as is” basis and are not part of any reserved space.

7. Vehicular Access: Motorized vehicles are strictly prohibited. Roadways and parking areas are clearly marked and established. Driving beyond designated boundaries to load and unload equipment or transport goods is prohibited. Vehicles will be ticketed and towed at the owner’s expense.

8. Site Clean Up: It is the permit holder’s responsibility to clean up after each use. Trash must be properly disposed of in dumpsters or trash barrels (depending on the size and scope, certain permit holders may be required to provide additional trash receptacles/dumpsters). Ice may be placed in barrels or spread out on hard surfaces. Grills of any type are prohibited. Trash is not to be left in flowerbeds, on grassy areas, under/in trees, shrubs, vegetation, buildings, or structures. Excessive trash removal on the part of Infinity Park or the Glendale Public Works Department may result in forfeiture of deposit, fines and possible loss of future scheduling privileges.

9. Destruction of Property: It is unlawful for any person, other than authorized personnel, to mark, remove, break, or climb upon, or in any way injure, damage or deface trees, shrubs, plants, turf, or any of the buildings, fences, monuments, goal posts, or other structures or property within or upon the park.

10. Damage: Broken fences, seating, goals, or any potential safety hazards such as holes or broken sprinkler heads should be reported immediately to the phone number listed on the permit.

11. Glass Bottles/Containers: Glass bottles and containers are prohibited.

12. Alcoholic Beverages: 3.2% beer is the only alcoholic beverage allowed in the park, except under special licensing. Beer must be served in cans or from a keg in plastic cups. All State liquor laws apply. Alcoholic beverage sales, including purchased tickets, are prohibited, except under special licensing.

13. Dogs: Dogs must be on a leash at all times. Bag dispensers are provided, and dog owners are expected to clean up after their pets.

14. Amplified Sound: Amplified sound (i.e. P.A. systems, music) is prohibited without Assembly Permit or Special Event Contract.

15. Canopies and Tents: Tents, canopies and additional tables and chairs provided by groups using the parks/pavilions will be permitted. Staking is prohibited; weights, including water, lead and sand are allowed.

16. Signage: Signs, banners, party decorations, and canopies may not be attached to trees, shelters, light fixtures, or other park structures. Blocking areas, including sidewalks, parking lots, paths, and roadways is prohibited.

17. Prohibited Activities/Items: included, but not limited to: aircraft, air castles, carnivals, climbing walls, dunk tanks, fireworks, golf, horseback riding, hot air balloons, inflatable games, model airplanes, moon walks, petting zoos, pony rides, and search lights (some of these activities may be allowed with limited hours and Assembly City of Glendale 950 South Birch St, Glendale. CO 80246 Page | 6 permit or Special Event Contract). Weapons, including but not limited to such items as knives, firearms, bows and arrows, martial arts weapons, javelins, shot-puts, discus, and all other projectiles, are prohibited. All Federal, State and Municipal laws apply.

18. Admission: Charging admission or gate charges is prohibited, except under a Special Event or Assembly permit.

19. Gambling: Raffles, gambling, bingo, and games where money buys a chance are prohibited.

20. Grills: Mir and Creekside Park Pavilions: portable gas grills are allowed (permit holders may also use the grills located at the pavilions); Infinity Park: grills of all types – charcoal, gas, portable, etc., – are prohibited. Two (2) stationary, charcoal grills are located west of the pavilion.

21. Event Equipment Needs: The permit holder is responsible for providing all necessary equipment and services, including but not limited to activity-related equipment, canopies, tents, chairs, tables, scaffolding, portable toilets, hand sinks, water or water containers, trash receptacles, trash pick-up, recycling, and clean-up crews. All equipment and fixtures provided by permit holder must be temporary in nature and may not be affixed, attached or permanently change the condition of the playing surface.

22. Insurance: Insurance is required for reservations for 100 or more people. In such cases, permit holder must provide commercial general liability insurance for the benefit of all activity-related individuals and groups, including permit holder group members, participants, attendees, invitees, and the City of Glendale. The commercial general liability insurance shall provide coverage of at least $1,000,000 and name the City of Glendale, its employees, agents and/or assigns as Additional Insured. The certificate of this commercial general liability insurance shall be received by theCity no later than twenty-one (21) days prior to the permit holder’s scheduled use of the site reserved. Permit holder expressly acknowledges and agrees that homeowner’s insurance coverage does not meet the requirements hereof. Certificate must read as follows with this exact language: ADDITIONALLY INSURED: THE CITY OF GLENDALE, ITS OFFICERS, OFFICIALS AND EMPLOYEES. If you are unable to obtain this insurance, please contact Park Operations at 303-692-5799

23. Permit Revocation: Permits may be revoked for failure to follow guidelines in any way.


1. Field Conditions: Athletic field permit holders may be asked to limit field use hours and days as determined by Infinity Park Operations and/or the City of Glendale Public Works Department. In the case of adverse field conditions, such as weather, sprinkler operations, field repairs, etc., athletic fields may be closed. Any use of the athletic fields without the appropriate authorization or when the fields are closed may result in fines and possible loss of future scheduling privileges.

2. Snow Removal: Individuals are not allowed to remove snow from any of the fields.

3. Equipment: All teams, organizations and players are required to provide their own equipment for practices, games and tournaments. All equipment and fixtures provided by permit holder must be temporary in nature and may not be affixed, attached or permanently change the condition of the playing surface.

4. Field Markings: Any field markings not applied by the Glendale Public Works Department may result in forfeiture of deposit, penalty fees and loss of future scheduling privileges.

5. Insurance/Waiver of Liability Options: Option 1. The permit holder provides 1) a roster with player names, addresses and cities of residence listed and 2) proof of insurance on an “Accord Insurance Certificate.” Insurance Certificate must 1) reflect a minimum coverage amount of $1,000,000; 2) reflect a 30 day cancellation period with notice of intent to cancel provided to Infinity Park AND the City of Glendale at the address listed on the permit; and 3) state the Additionally Insured as “THE CITY OF GLENDALE, ITS OFFICERS, OFFICIALS AND EMPLOYEES.” Binders and pending or blanket policies are not acceptable.

Option 2. In lieu of an Insurance Certificate, permit holder signs waiver form on behalf of all participants (form located next page).