For the Local Good: Combining Forces for Family Fun and Community Service


Rubber Ducky Derby and YMCA Healthy Kids Day Twelve years ago, two of the most community-focused organizations in the River Towns combined forces to create an event that brings kids, families and neighbors from around the region together for a day of outdoor fun, food, music, giveaways and, of course, a Rubber Ducky Derby. Fast-forward to 2019 and the Rubber Ducky Derby and YMCA Healthy Kids Day has become the areas can’t miss event of the spring. 

Before joining forces, the Family YMCA at Tarrytown held an annual Healthy Kids Day in the Y. But when the Rotary Club of the Tarrytowns came up with the Rubber Ducky Derby Day, a community marriage made in heaven was born.  

“We want to get people out, doing things and having fun,” said Lesa Dalton, YMCA’s Vice President, Member and Employee Engagement. “Bringing people together is really important to us. It’s a great community effort between the YMCA and the Rotary Club. They bring in vendors. We bring in vendors. A lot of vendors who help children and families. And everybody has a great time.” 

With nearly 1500 attendees expected, this year’s event will be held on Saturday, May 4 from 11:00am-3:00pm at Patriots Park in Tarrytown. Bracelets can be purchased at the Y Booth for $10 each and provide unlimited access to all the rides, games, face painting and performances. Derby races start at 11:15 and duckies can be “adopted” individually or by the dozen. 

“The collaboration with the YMCA has made this the first spring event that really brings out everyone,” noted JoAnne Murray, President of Allan Block Insurance and Treasurer of the Rotary Club of the Tarrytowns. “You’ve been cooped-up all winter and now we all go outside to watch the rubber ducks, the YMCA has their vendors, the kids are on the bouncy-castles. The YMCA compliments what we do because they provide activities to keep people busy as they are waiting for the next duck race.” 

On the day of the event, the YMCA will be offering $100 off memberships. Through memberships and fund-raising efforts like their Annual Y Halloween Masquerade Ball, the Tarrytown YMCA provided over $500,000 in aid to the 7400 families they served this past year.  

The Rotary Club of the Tarrytowns has raised over $200,000 from the Rubber Ducky Races over the years with the proceeds going to the local community in the form of grants and scholarships. 

In addition to the YMCA and the Rotary Club, the event is made possible by volunteers from the Tarrytown Fire Department and the Tarrytown Volunteer Ambulance Corps as well as a variety of local sponsors. 

For more information or to “adopt” your duckies, go to www.tarrytownrotary.orgFor information about Healthy Kids Day, visit 

Photo credit Tim Grajek

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About the Author: Alain Begun