The YMCA of Northern Michigan sees prospects for growth and success ahead in 2012, but the nonprofit provider of recreation and education programs first needs to secure some additional funds to cover some remaining 2011 expenses.
Larry Wood, the Petoskey-based organization’s executive director, said it needs to line up about $10,000 by year’s end.
During 2011, Wood noted that the YMCA has seen its costs rise in a couple of different ways.
One is the creation of the executive director’s position. In addition, Wood said the YMCA has increased the number of scholarships provided so that individuals with financial need can participate in its programs.
Founded about nine years ago, the local YMCA’s programming so far has focused mainly on youth. It offers afterschool programs for children and teens in grades four-12, with opportunities such as homework help, games, crafts, healthy snacks and, increasingly, physical activity. Offerings also have included sports and martial arts programs and summer day camp.
With a broader range of programs planned for the future and additional grant opportunities on the horizon, Wood said the YMCA has a positive funding outlook for 2012.
Looking ahead into 2012, the YMCA plans to host a Harlem Globetrotters basketball game on Jan. 23 at Petoskey High School, and to also offer a fitness “boot camp” for adults during January. The organization, which currently operates in rented space at 622 Howard St., also plans to explore possibilities for acquiring a larger space.
Wood said numerous details remain to be firmed up before the YMCA publicly discusses the site it’s considering, or the specific fundraising amount that would be required. But he did note that the YMCA’s goal is to operate in downtown Petoskey.
“We’re looking to remain in the heart of the community,” he said. “It’s important that our next location be visible and easily accessible.”
If it can secure the larger site, the YMCA would like to establish a “healthy living center.” Unlike many gymnasiums, it would focus on offerings for the entire family. Programs would focus on developing the body as well as the mind and spirit.
Having long aspired to establish a full-service facility with gymnasium and swimming pool, the YMCA’s leadership believes the healthy living center would represent a more realistic, interim step in a challenging economic climate.
Local resident Carole Griffin has embraced the YMCA’s idea for a new location, and she and her husband, Dr. Dwayne Griffin, have been encouraging friends to lend a hand to the organization.
“I know they need it,” Carole Griffin said in a YMCA news release, “and I like where they’re going.”
Currently, the local YMCA derives about 80 percent of its funding from foundations and grant sources, with the remaining 20 percent coming from membership and activity fees. Wood noted that the funding ratio is typically the opposite for YMCA organizations elsewhere, and that the local one could likely move in that self-supporting direction if it can broaden its offerings.
Don Ward and Jennifer Eis, owners of downtown Petoskey’s Ward & Eis Gallery, recently added the local YMCA to the list of community-service organizations which it supports with a share of the gallery’s sales. In a YMCA release, Ward noted the potential which his business sees in the YMCA’s operating goals.
“We believe in what Paul Newman called ‘noisy philanthropy,’” he says. “We want to be a catalyst for other people to get behind a worthy cause. This YMCA could be wonderful for our area.”
For more information on contributing to the YMCA of Northern Michigan, or to let the organization know what you’d like to see in the larger new facility it’s considering, call (231) 348-8393 or email Larry Wood at email@example.com.