A ‘bright outlook’ for Mattapoisett YMCA, Shining Tides

Mar 23, 2021

MATTAPOISETT — After a year with few weddings and a stripped down summer camp, the Mattapoisett YMCA is ready to take on 2021.

When lockdowns began last year, many of the brides- and grooms-to-be who were planning to have their weddings at Shining Tides, a venue owned by the YMCA, either postponed or cancelled their slots with the venue.

Of the weddings that were scheduled for 2020, 25 were rescheduled for 2021.

Now, there are 45 weddings booked for this year, and Elizabeth Lynch, the Sales and Event Manager at Shining Tides, is doing much of the work to get the venue ready.

“A lot of people have been waiting for a long time, so I don’t think they care if they have to wear a mask,” Lynch said.

The venue is mostly outdoors, which Lynch said makes it desirable for couples — especially when social distancing and mask-wearing are enforced.

Under current state restrictions, weddings can have up to 150 guests, and dancing is allowed, so long as dancers are masked.

But last year, Lynch said she had to stop people from dancing at the few weddings Shining Tides hosted.

“There was a group that started to dance, and I had to tell them they couldn’t dance,” she said. “That was hard.”

Lynch said despite any restrictions that may linger through the summer, she’s hopeful weddings will continue as covid subsides.

“If you want to have that special day, don’t let covid take it away from you,” she said.

A return to form for the venue helps out the Y in other places, too.

Most of the profits from events at Shining Tides goes to its summer camp, Camp Massasoit.

“That’s the whole reason why we started hosting weddings 11 years ago,” Lynch said.

Last year, revenues going to the stripped down version of Camp Massasoit were hit hard by the lack of weddings.

So this year, Lynch said Shining Tides is trying to “book, book, book” enough events to make up for 2020’s losses.

South Coast YMCA President and CEO Jim Scherer said that in 2020, Massasoit was more about a “return on mission” than a return on investment.

But in 2021, Scherer said the camp will be back in whatever capacity state and local restrictions allow, and that enrollment for the summer is already looking promising.

“We’re gonna go full speed ahead with the day camp,” he said.

As the YMCA recovers from 2020, Lynch said Shining Tides has had to be slightly less forgiving to people who need to rebook their weddings.

When the pandemic hit, the venue offered reebookings for free. Now, Lynch said Shining Tides has to be “a little more thoughtful because we’re hurting.”

“At some point, here we are just trying to raise money for kids in need,” Lynch said. “And they’re probably in more need now than ever.”

And with weddings on the horizon, alongside a few inquiries from local high schools — including ORRHS — about proms at Shining Tides, the YMCA is ready to move forward.

“It’s a very bright outlook,” Scherer said. “Bright forecast.”