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What you need to know for 07/20/2017

Financially troubled Amsterdam YMCA starts fundraising drive

Financially troubled Amsterdam YMCA starts fundraising drive

he Amsterdam YMCA, which predates the Civil War, runs the risk of closing down unless it can raise $

The Amsterdam YMCA, which predates the Civil War, runs the risk of closing down unless it can raise $55,000 by the end of the month, its CEO said Thursday.

Nancy Carr, executive director/CEO of the Amsterdam Family YMCA in Hagaman, said the money is needed immediately to close a budget gap.

“We need to do this campaign or else we’re not going to have the cash flow to maintain the level of services we offer to the community,” she said.

The YMCA, which is a nonprofit, hasn’t done a structured donation campaign since 2011. Carr explained that YMCA officials felt the community was hurting from the poor economy and therefore it wouldn’t have been prudent to ask for money. In hindsight, she said, it was the wrong decision.

The Y so far has cut staff, reduced hours and renegotiated contracts with vendors to get lower rates.

Over the summer, seven of the 15 board members resigned because of a difference of opinion on how to handle the YMCA’s financial situation.

The Y offers a slew of programs with activities such as an adult basketball league and aerobics. It also offers year-round full- and part-time day care for children ages 6 weeks through 5 years at its Early Childhood Center, and before- and after-school programs for kids as well.

Terri Bull’s 5-year-old daughter, Katelyn, had been in the day care program since she was 8 months old. In June, she graduated from the pre-K class and will now be attending programs at the Y during her winter and summer breaks at elementary school.

Bull, who works as a secretary at R.J. McNulty Academy For International Studies And Literacy Magnet School, is grateful for the YMCA because it allowed her to work while her daughter was someplace safe and reliable. “Basically, I need to work and I have to work to provide for my child and if I didn’t provide child care I wouldn’t be able to work,” she explained.

Bull is a single parent and isn’t employed during the summer by the school. So instead, she works at the Y’s summer day camp for kids ages 5 to 12 years old.

The benefits aren’t limited to children.

“I can’t imagine what my life would be like if I hadn’t been going to those classes and been going out,” said Kathi Schery, who has been attending the SilverSneakers program at the Y for a year now.

The exercise program for older adults covers everything from aerobics to even yoga.

Schery, who nearly lost her right leg in a motorcycle accident four years ago, credits the program for helping her make new friends and helping her become more independent again.

Prior to the program, she needed two crutches to walk around and could not stand unassisted. Now, she needs only one crutch and can even walk without it for a short distance.

“I think I would’ve been depressed, and pretty much housebound,” Schery explained, if she hadn’t found the program at the Y.

According to Carr, if not enough money is raised this month, the board will have to make a decision on what to do next, which could mean looking at sharing services with a neighboring YMCA, merging with one, or closing down altogether.

Asked if his agency would share services or merge with the Amsterdam Y, Fulton County YMCA Steve Serge said “It would be premature to discuss that as an option right now.

“I would want them to thrive and do well and wish them the best on their fundraising initiative,” he later added.

The Amsterdam Family YMCA is accepting donations of cash and checks at its front desk at 58 Pawling St.; by mail at PO Box 280 Hagaman, NY 12086; and online at amsterdamymca.com.

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