YMCA staff says they owe it all to community for bouncing back

Published 3:41 pm Wednesday, September 25, 2013

By Emory Smith

YMCA activities coordinator

A little over two years ago, the Bainbridge-Decatur County YMCA was having problems. Like many individuals and small businesses at the time, the economic downturn had taken its toll. Some in the community even thought that the YMCA might not make it. Like everyone else, when I heard this news (I wasn’t working for the YMCA at the time), I was concerned. But, then, I remembered …
When I first came to Bainbridge, I was employed at the college as a fund-raiser. In my first few weeks in the position, I had lunch with Bruce and Cass Kirbo and later visited for a few hours with Raymond Miles in his office. I remember the pride with which they all talked about the college and the YMCA. They talked about how there were those who thought that Bainbridge wasn’t big enough for either one  and how those naysayers were proved wrong. From them, I got a sense of how remarkable a town Bainbridge is and how resourceful the people of Bainbridge and Decatur County can be. So, when I heard the news that the YMCA was struggling, I knew the struggles would be overcome. I knew because, for me, Bainbridge had become “the little town that could.”
The YMCA and the community got to work. The national YMCA sent Mike Haynes as Interim CEO. Community leaders donated to the “Five for Five” campaign. The YMCA staff pulled together. Things started turning around. In May of 2012, Adam Schrott came as permanent CEO. Membership continued to rise. Local businesses and industry partnered with the Y as corporate members to encourage their employees to become members of the YMCA. Businesses and individuals donated to the new annual campaign (which is still in progress) to help support scholarships for individuals and families.
Now, two years after the alarm went out, the YMCA turnaround is continuing. The parking lots are full. There is constant activity in all our facilities. The children’s programs and youth sports are overflowing with new participants. Participation in adult programs is reaching new levels.
The YMCA wants to thank all who have stood by us and supported us the past two years. We thank all the local businesses, individuals and corporate sponsors who have supported this year’s annual campaign. We especially want to thank the Board of Directors for all their long hours and hard work. If you have not joined this effort, we invite your participation. The YMCA is a community endeavor which depends on local support. Come and join the YMCA and be a part of the many programs that encourage the growth of spirit, mind and body. And, if you have done so already, please join our annual campaign so that all children and families can be a part of the YMCA regardless of their economic situation.

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