The Y at Pabst Farms

Lindsey Wieland

About the Y at Pabst Farms

The YMCA is a community based recreational facility. They are an inclusive environment and strive to serve all people in their community. They are more than just a gym though and through our programs we try to meet the emotional, spiritual and physical needs of the people we serve.



The Y at Pabst Farms is located in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin-halfway between Madison and Milwaukee. The Y serves the Lake Country Area, including Oconomowoc, Pewaukee, Hartland, Delafield, Watertown, and even as far as Mukwonago, Menomonee Falls, Jefferson, Johnson Creek, and Sussex.



The Y at Pabst Farms is located at 1750 East Valley Road in Oconomowoc. They are open daily; 5 am - 10 pm Monday-Friday, 6 am - 8 pm Saturday, and 8 am - 8 pm Sunday.

History of the Y at Pabst Farms

The current Y at Pabst Farms began in 1926 as the YMCA of Waukesha County in the city of Oconomowoc and had many program offerings for young people, included "Y" Clubs for grade and high school youth, play days, educational trips, day camping, and swimming lessons. The majority of programs were targeted for youth, however, there were also programs for adults of all ages. As membership increased at the Y, extra space seemed to decrease. With an estimated cost of $12 million dollars and about 4,800 current members, the Y moved outside of the city of Oconomowoc to a new, developing area, Pabst Farms. The new Y at Pabst Farms opened in late 2003, and membership increased to over 15,000 members within the first year! The new Y at Pabst Farms offers over 115,000 square feet for families to spend time together in different forms, including a rockwall, full size aquatic center, Family Prime Time center, and multiple gym courts.

How does the Y interact with schools, parents, and youth?

The Y at Pabst Farms provides a variety of programming for children, including a child care facility. They proved before and after school programming, summer day camp, children's programming, drop off care, youth sports and special programs designed for children and adults with disabilities. Through all of these programs, the Y interacts with the community's children and parents often. Before and after school programs are held at area schools around the Lake Country area, and have a great collaboration with local school districts to provide quality care for children.
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How is the Y at Pabst Farms funded?

YMCA funding comes from a variety of sources. They get funding from membership and program fees, however, they do not cover the cost of operating the facility and programming. Therefore, the Y at Pabst Farms relies on funding from other sources. Being a non-profit agency, much of the Y's funding comes from donations from individuals and corporations. United Way funding also helps cover some costs of the child care facility, special programs for individuals with disabilities, and the youth and teen programs. The Y at Pabst Farms also receives funding through a variety of different grants.

What services does the Y at Pabst Farms provide?

The Y at Pabst farms provides the same amenities as many health clubs, including work out facilities, swimming, fitness classes, personal training, etc. In addition to this, they provide a variety of classes specific to children, ranging from dance to art to cooking! They also have a full child care facility providing care for children ages birth to 5. The Y also provides a variety of youth sports, before and after school care for school age children, and summer day camp.

The Y at Pabst Farms is unique because they offer programming specifically for individuals with disabilities. They offer adaptive aquatics swim lessons, fitness classes designed for individuals with cognitive and/or physical disabilities, and summer recreating activities including hiking, camping, canoeing, baseball games, summer festivals, etc. The Y also offers a variety of sports opportunities for individuals with disabilities through Special Olympics. In addition to these things, they offer a variety of programs that provide respite for caregivers of individuals with disabilities where the caregiver can leave the individual in our care for a few hours and have some time to take care of themselves and their needs. This is a much needed service for caregivers and they are happy to provide it for them. The latest addition to the Special Programs department is their Day Program for adults with disabilities who are done with school and looking for something meaningful to fill their days. They have this program based around the idea of community service and spend at least part of the day out in the community doing a community service project of some sort. This program runs two days a week, but is hoping to expand in the future due to its popularity.

How many people access the services offered by the Y at Pabst Farms? How would an individual access these services?

The YMCA at Pabst Farms has over 15,000 members currently. Specifically in the Special Programs department, the Y serves 261 individuals with disabilities ranging from ages 3 to 72.

In order to be eligible to revive services through the Special Programs department, an individual must have a cognitive, physical, and/or emotional/behavioral disability. This is the only requirement to participate in any programs, and will not be turned away by the inability to pay membership fees! The Y at Pabst Farms provides financial assistance and scholarships to help everyone become part of the Y.
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How is the Y at Pabst Farms evaluated?

The Y is evaluated in several different forms. United Way requires extensive reporting on the programs that they fund at the Y at Pabst Farms. This includes expense reports, reports on how the money was used, and about the programs funded by United Way. The child care center, along with before and after school programs and summer day camp that are licensed child care programs are evaluated by Wisconsin Licensing through several questionnaires, site evaluations, and standardized evaluations. On a higher level, the Y at Pabst Farms as a whole, along with its programs, is evaluated by the Brand Board of Directors and Association Board of Managers, as well as their CEO.

What is the link between the Y at Pabst Farms and the IEP process?

The Y at Pabst Farms has an extensive relationship with local school districts, and several of them use the Y's facility as part of their programming for their high school 18-21 transition programs (mostly Oconomowoc, Pewaukee, and Kettle Moraine school districts). The Y is not directly involved in the IEP or transition process, but is often consulted by parents and/or teachers as opportunities that are available for individuals who are leaving high school. This is becomming more popular now that the Y offers a day program where participants transition directly from high school into the program. Employees of the Y at Pabst Farms who work directly with a child and have established a relationship with a parent may be invited to attend an IEP meeting to give input on the child the meeting is about if that child is involved in our programs; typically before and after school programs or the child care center.