First Coast YMCA becomes first armed services YMCA affiliate in Florida


The First Coast YMCA is partnering with the Armed Services YMCA to strengthen and support local servicemen and women and their families by creating more accessible opportunities within Jacksonville’s military community. This partnership makes the First Coast YMCA the very first Armed Services affiliate in the state and one of only 20 affiliates nationwide.

With 12 branch locations across the five-county region, the First Coast Y is in a unique position to serve as a central support system for Jacksonville’s military community. Through this partnership, the First Coast YMCA will provide servicemen and women, and their families, with affordable access to wellness solutions, special membership, free programs in Healthy Living Centers for the entire family and more. The First Coast YMCA also provides special rates for all honorably discharged service veterans. 

“The First Coast Y recognizes the unique needs of Jacksonville’s large military population, and we want to demonstrate our support for the military community by partnering with the Armed Services YMCA,” said Eric K. Mann, YMCA of Florida’s First Coast president and CEO. “We are working hard to provide an environment for military personnel and their families where kids can make friends and have a sense of belonging, and families can come together and thrive within our First Coast Y community.”

Throughout the year, the First Coast YMCA will also support dependents of active duty personnel through programs that provide a community-based “safe harbor.” Operation Hero is a no-cost, specialized after-school program tailored to the unique struggles of military children. The program targets military dependents having a hard time adjusting to military life. Additionally, the Y will coordinate special community events and initiatives benefitting military families.

On July 28, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., the First Coast YMCA is inviting all active duty, guard and reserve military members to the Military Back-To-School Bash at three YMCA locations: Barco-Newton Family YMCA, St. Augustine YMCA and Winston Family YMCA. Activities include a backpack giveaway, health screenings, swimming, group exercise demonstrations and more.

“We are very excited about the support the First Coast Y will be providing to the military community in Jacksonville,” said William French, vice admiral, USN, (retired), president and CEO, Armed Services YMCA. “We can’t think of a better partner to strengthen our military family through wellness programs, summer camps and events like the Back to School Bash.”

For more information about the First Coast YMCA, visit For information about the Armed Services YMCA, please visit