Tug of war is a popular event at the YMCA Corporate Challenge. 


When the Monroe County YMCA hosted its first Corporate Challenge in 1985, it attracted 10 companies and a total of 200 employees. Last year, 27 companies brought 900 people to compete in 35 individual and team events. Among those participating were Cook Group, Baxter, IU Credit Union, Catalent Biologics, and Richland-Bean Blossom Community School Corporation.

Proceeds from entry and event fees go to the Y for All Annual Campaign, which purchases YMCA memberships and summer camp fees for low-income families and individuals. Last year’s Corporate Challenge raised $54,778.

“The Challenge promotes employee wellness, gives people a chance to network and to see what the Y has to offer, and allows local companies to contribute to a good cause,” says Matt Osgood, 37, director of sports and youth at the Southeast YMCA, 2125 S. Highland Ave.

In addition to supporting the Y for All Campaign, competitors get free use of both YMCA branches (Southeast and Northwest, 1375 N. Wellness Way) for the duration of the Corporate Challenge, which takes place August 29 through October 1.

Among the most popular events are 3-on-3 basketball, track and field, a 5k run, punt-pass-kick, and Quiz Bowl. “Years ago, we added Quiz Bowl, euchre, and T-shirt design for less-active people,” Osgood says. “We wanted to have something for everyone, and we wanted to introduce less-active people to the Y.”

Other events include free-throw shooting, 18-hole golf, bench press, tug of war, and volleyball. Competitors are categorized by gender and age for some events. 

There are awards for individual winners as well as corporate teams, and the overall corporate champion is awarded a banner. Last year, the overall winner was IU Credit Union.

Jim Spore, IU Credit Union assistant vice president, says there are multiple reasons for encouraging businesses to participate. “The Challenge is a great way to meet professionals from Monroe County,” Spore says. “It’s for a great cause, employees have kicked off or ramped up training programs because of it, and it’s just fun!”

For more information and to sign up, visit monroecountyymca.org/corporate-challenge. Deadline to register is August 21.