Walking for the community

Zane Moore, president/CEO of the YMCA of Bucks County, trekked 50+ miles to raise awareness of free programming for veterans, children, those suffering from addiction, etc.

By Samantha Bambino

The Times

Walking for a cause: Zane Moore, YMCA of Bucks County’s president/CEO, recently walked 50-plus miles to the five branches, all in an effort to raise awareness of its free programming, which is dependent on community support. Source: Marie Axler

When Zane Moore, YMCA of Bucks County’s president/CEO, laced up his brand new sneakers last week, it wasn’t to test out new fitness equipment.

Rather, he was gearing up for a two-day, 50-plus-mile walk between the five branches in Waminster, Quakertown, Doylestown, Newtown and Fairless Hills, all in an effort to raise awareness of the Y’s impact on the lives of children and families in the community.

This is an expansion of Moore’s 2017 endeavor, which saw him make a one-day trek from Doylestown to Fairless Hills.

“When we first merged the Central Bucks YMCA with the Lower Bucks YMCA, I was literally in the middle of the night at 3 a.m. thinking, ‘I have to do something cool.’ And I thought of walking from one to the other,” he explained.

Due to attention gained from social media, Moore raised approximately $150,000 for the Y’s programming. Naturally, when the Upper Bucks YMCA was included to form the all-encompassing YMCA of Bucks County earlier this year, Moore was consistently asked the same question — would he walk again?

Of course.

On Wednesday, May 8, Moore kicked off the festivities at the Warminster branch with a carb load rally. The official start of the walk began the following morning in Quakertown after a send-off breakfast and rally. At 5 p.m., Moore arrived at Doylestown, where the community joined him in a much-needed celebration dinner. The walk resumed again on the morning of Friday, May 10, as Moore made his way to Newtown, where he was greeted by more supporters. The journey concluded in Fairless Hills that evening with a high-energy rally and barbecue. All events were open to the public and sponsored by GymSource.

Along the way, Moore was joined by dozens of locals, all wanting to support him in his mission to promote what the Y is all about.

“A lot of people think of the Y as just a place to swim or work out. I’m trying to change that a little bit. We have five member locations across the county and we have 60,000 members. But what people don’t know is, we give away over $5 million,” he said. “That’s in financial assistance and free programs.”

These free services include membership for seventh-graders, who may be returning after school to a latchkey home for the first time; swimming lessons for second-graders; personal training for cancer survivors through the THRIVE program; confidence boosting for teenage girls struggling with self-confidence issues through Empower U; programming for veterans battling PTSD after returning from overseas; the Living Active program for shut-in seniors; and the all-new Back to You post-opioid addiction program for individuals recently out of therapy.

“The whole point of those programs is to create a supportive environment, a great community, let them regain their health,” Moore said. “But we do them for free with community support. Those people don’t need another thing on their plate.”

By walking, Moore’s hope is that his efforts once again gain traction on social media, and someone, somewhere will feel inclined to help.

“The walk’s just to create attention and tell stories along the way, and hopefully people get inspired to give to us. We need to raise a lot of money to give away all that money,” he said. “The one cool thing about the Y is that when you give us a dollar, that full dollar goes to the kid or the cancer survivor or the vet. We have memberships that pay for me and the lights and the paint and the equipment.”

Additionally, a portion of funds donated in response to the walk will be put toward the Y’s current $20 million campaign. This money will be used for several projects including a complete renovation of the Fairless Hills branch, which Moore said hasn’t been updated in 50 years; and the construction of a new locker room at the Doylestown branch, which will provide privacy for those with special needs and anyone undergoing cancer treatment.

To learn more, visit ymcabucks.org ••

Samantha Bambino can be reached at sbambino@newspapermediagroup.com