Inclusive YMCAs Initiative


The focus of this initiative is to implement policy, system, and environmental (PSE) changes that support accessibility and inclusion of all community members.

How It Works

Each year, the project team partners with Missouri Alliance of YMCAs (MO YMCA) to select three local YMCAs to receive mini grants and work with the team to identify and implement policy and environmental changes. In collaboration with MO YMCA, the project team:

  • Supports participating sites to complete the Community Health Inclusion Index (CHII) Organizational Assessment to identify areas for improvement at their facility and in their services for people with disabilities.
  • Provides technical assistance and training opportunities to bolster the capacity of Ys to better meet the needs of those with disabilities who access their facilities.
  • Supports the development of a diversity, equity, and inclusion peer community for Ys throughout the state.
  • Works to integrate principles of accessibility and inclusion into legislative priorities, as well as education and advocacy-related activities statewide.



Accessibility and Inclusion Toolkit for YMCAs and Fitness Facilities

  • Practical guidance for YMCAs, gyms, and fitness centers on how to include people with disabilities in facilities and programs. This Toolkit was created through a partnership between Able South Carolina and the National Center on Health, Physical Activity, and Disability.

Writing an Inclusion Policy

  • Detailed recommendations on writing an inclusive policy for recreational facilities. Includes an example of a policy establishing a Direct Support Person accommodation for members with disabilities.

Community Health Inclusion Index (CHII) Organizational Assessment

  • Assessment tool for organizations that examines how policies, spaces, and programs are inclusive of people with disabilities. This survey is part of a larger index developed by the National Center for Health, Physical Activity, and Disability to help communities and organizations assess and improve their level of inclusion.

Recommended Training for YMCA Staff

  • Compiled list of online, asynchronous trainings for recreational facility staff (facilitators, floor, administrative, executives) to employ best practices when working with people with disabilities. Topics include an introduction to intellectual disability, communication, and inclusive fitness programming.