Thanks, Decatur County, for helping others help themselves!

Published 8:28 am Tuesday, April 24, 2012

As I enter my final week as the Interim CEO at the Bainbridge YMCA, I wish to express my sincere appreciation to the residents and new friends I’ve connected with over the past eight months while serving the YMCA. I will always have so many fond memories of wonderful acts of kindness performed by the citizens of this wonderful community. I could never list the names of each person that stepped up during some difficult months for our YMCA as it would completely fill the space allotted. Yet, I’m convinced that our successful efforts to make needed changes would not have taken place if it weren’t for the key leadership and major financial support of community leaders like: Ms. Sam Miles, Mike and Leslie Harrell, Charles Tyson, Ms. Nancy Gray, Dick and Diane Ivey, Dollar Farm Products, SE Minerals, Inc., First Port City Bank, Elberta Crate & Box, Georgia Power Co., Home Dept Foundation, Stones, Family Bank, and much more!

In addition, the 25th year recognition of the YMCA in the Bainbridge-Decatur County community would not have been possible without the continued support provided by the Kirbo Charitable Trust and, Cass and Bruce Kirbo. These two special supporters of the Y and this community could never be told “Thanks” enough, in my opinion.

We all realize that everything in life has a cost, but the true measure of something’s worth is its value. At the Bainbridge YMCA, a family membership costs less than $2 per day and provides your family with virtually unlimited access to the exercise equipment that is best for you. In addition, full access to trainers, group exercise classes, child watch and after school child care, swimming, basketball, indoor and outdoor walking tracks, educational programs and a host of youth activities, all of which strengthen mind and body.

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Most people spend more than $2 each day on their cable bill, which typically does not strengthen mind, body and spirit! In addition, the Y is also a social center where friends can enjoy a cup of coffee in our adult corner lounge that I love calling “Cass’s Corner,” thanks to her help in finding funds for our pool. Members can simply chat over the newspaper or talk about family or a class they are taking. But wait … there’s even more — nearly 40 percent of the YMCA’s members are provided with some form of financial support or “work ship,” so that they can pay the fees for participation. Not a single member is given a “free ride,” so that each of those taking part in the YMCA have an appreciation for what we have to share with this community.

The Y believes so strongly in healthy living and fostering a strong community, that they will help any family to afford membership as long as they are willing to help as well. The Bainbridge-Decatur YMCA truly promotes the four-square life Jesus modeled in Luke 2:52 (growing in wisdom and stature, and favor with God and man). But you don’t need to take my word for it — go in and check out the YMCA for yourself and your health!

A dedicated YMCA staff team has helped make my stay in Bainbridge the best that it could be. They may be small in number (five full-time) but they will give each member 110 percent in service and that will be the glue that holds this YMCA together for years to come. Healthy Kids Day is set for Saturday, April 28, between 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and you should come join us with your children or grandchildren. Meet those key staff that make a difference every day at your YMCA, and join with others in our community as well to make a difference.

For additional information about this weekend’s Healthy Kids Day or joining the YMCA, please call us at (229) 243-0508.

Mike Haynes is the interim CEO of the Bainbridge-Decatur County YMCA. He can be reached at (229) 243-0508.