By Elizabeth Keys
STILLWATER, Okla. —
Oklahoma Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb is speaking about what the “Y” has meant to him at an organization end-of-the-year fundraiser/banquet Thursday night.
“The YMCA is an essential community staple,” said Lamb. “I look forward to attending a great event that will raise awareness and encourage community contribution for a great organization.”
Lamb is an Oklahoma State University alumnus who has used the YMCA throughout his life.
The evening will also feature a video highlighting YMCA activities, a raffle and a catered meal by Meditations. There is no charge for the meal but those attending are encouraged to make donations or pledges. Sponsors have underwritten the cost of the meal so all proceeds benefit the YMCA services in the community. To save a place for yourself and guests, contact Audrey Bryant, 405-742-8168 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Money raised is used to meet the YMCA annual budget.
“More than 25 percent of our program membership receives financial assistance,” said Dan Carman, YMCA executive director. “Our annual fall dinner has become a way to meet year-end finances.”
Rather than rely on a few major donors, the YMCA is reaching out to the community which benefits from the programs.
Scholarships and sponsorships are given to many families who cannot afford services. No family or child is ever denied the ability to participate in YMCA programs because they can’t pay.
Almost 300 children are involved in the YMCA after and before school care programs with a shortfall in fees reaching $90,000 in order to fund all families needing services.
Day camp and youth sports provide nearly $30,000 in scholarships. The pool and aquatic services costs reach $100,000 for use by individuals without the ability to purchase memberships or pay fees, he said.
The swimming pool was resurfaced earlier this fall at a cost of more than $75,000, Carman said. While maintenance and operating costs must be met, a good portion of the YMCA general budget is providing scholarships to those who cannot afford to pay for activities.
Cheryl Carpenter Martin, a Stillwater Realtor, will present the invitation to make contributions emphasizing the opportunities at the YMCA.
She said her dad, the late Jerry Carpenter, loved to play basketball at the “Y” every day at noon. All the kids in her family experienced their first sports activities at the YMCA and that’s “how I get my winter swimming in,” Carpenter said.
“Our main objective is the family unit,” Carman said.
Many children would not have a place to go if the YMCA didn’t keep up with its programs.
“We give children scholarships and make a difference in the lives of kids,” he said.