Letter to the Editor

YMCA membership fee assistance

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Dear Editor:

Thank you for the chance to briefly respond to a comment Sonya K. Tumm recently made in the newspaper. In promoting the proposed new community center she said, "There are several kids in our town who are not able to afford the YMCA membership and if we are to be all about our community then it is very important to have an updated and safe center where they can go." While I certainly appreciate Ms. Tumm's desire to provide a community center that is accessible to all the youth in our area, I need to correct a misunderstanding she has regarding the YMCA's fee structure. Our mission is to put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all. As part our mission, we do not turn anyone away due to their lack of financial resources. Our YMCA was built for everyone in the community!

We actively work to reduce the membership fee for any adult or child who is struggling to put together the money necessary for a membership. We are thankful to the many individuals and businesses who each year generously donate resources toward our annual support campaign. In 2009 alone, we are on pace to provide over $49,000 in assistance to families and individuals needing help with their membership fee. Our financial assistance program is assisting over 115 families and youth receive a membership, with some of them only paying as little as $1 per month.

I hope this clarifies the perception that somehow the YMCA is only for people with money. We work hard to accomplish our mission everyday by following Christian principles, teaching character values, and providing a safe and enjoyable environment for all.

Matt Schneringer,

Osage Prairie YMCA Executive Director