Published: Aug 01, 2011 10:39 PM EDT
Updated: Aug 01, 2011 8:52 PM EDT

LEE COUNTY, Fla.- Lee County Y.M.C.A.'s are working on a very aggressive expansion plan.

The organization expects to open eight new branches with one opening in Cape Coral in the next few weeks.

Jim Sanger is the area president of the Fort Myers Y.M.C.A. He says his agency's plan to open 8 new facilities over the next several months is both exciting and significant.

"The plans are awesome and they are very aggressive," Sanger said. "It looks at areas of the county that are under-served and gives us a chance to expand our mission and touch more lives in the community."

The Fort Myers Y..C.A., which currently serves some 3,000 members, expects to grow to more than 30,000 with the help of a new partner, South County Y..C.A. out of Sarasota County.

"We started looking for a partner to merge with two years ago. Based on what was going on with the economy and some recommendations from the national Y." Sanger said this is the right time for expansion. "Despite the dip in the economy and the fate of other Y's in our area, like Bonita Springs, which closed in May."

"The Y, like any other business, when the economy hits it hurts us too. I'm not going to sit here and say we didn't struggle," Sanger admitted.

The struggle is over and the Y will soon be moving into this facility on Santa Barbara Boulevard in the Cape. With a second facility opening at the corner of Del Prado and Pine Island Road.

"From age 3 basically to teens. We'll do a lot of teen programming. We'll do a lot of youth sports a lot of leadership programs," Sanger said.

The Y.M.C.A. is making their mark by filling a need in the community.