Increasing awareness and raising money
It’s March. The longer days are promising spring, but the snow covered ground and stubbornly low temperatures are tough to look past. Cabin fever has the family climbing the walls and parents looking for a cure.
YMCA of the Northwoods board member Lara Barbour says the Y is the right prescription for the entire family.
“In addition to being a place to work out, we have the indoor pool, which is a great activity to do in the winter when it’s too cold to go outside with the kids,” Barbour said. “We offer classes, after school care, year round child care. It’s really a place for the community to gather.”
And when she says the community, Barbour means the entire community. March is also the time of year the Y gears up for its Annual Support Campaign (ASC). Barbour is the Annual Support Campaign chair. This year’s goal is to raise $82,500 during a one week pledge drive.
“Ideally, we’d like to raise money from the community, but ultimately the goal of the community portion of the fundraiser is to raise awareness of the Y and the programs that we have,” Barbour continued. “This is the time we let people know what the Annual Support Campaign does and how the Y is able to offer scholarships for everything from memberships to participation in programs.”
The goal of over $80,000 is one of the highest, if not the highest amount raised by any YMCA in the state of Wisconsin. That money is used to subsidize a large amount of people’s participation in activities. Last year the Y helped more than 1,000 community members pay for memberships or participation in an activity or league.
Getting the word out about the scholarship money available is one of the Y’s biggest struggles, according to Barbour. People are sometimes afraid to ask.
“The level of support is based upon your income level. We’re not going to turn anyone away,” she said. “And it doesn’t have to be a membership – it can be for a league that your children participate in, swim lessons, summer camps, and day camps. If you don’t have the ability to pay fully, talk to someone at the Y and we can subsidize it, most likely.”
One of the programs completely funded by the Annual Support Campaign is the Livestrong ® program, which helps cancer survivors. “You get this big diagnosis and go through treatment, but what do you do when you walk out the door? Livestrong ® picks you up and says, ‘here’s what we’ll do to get you strong and back to healthy living,’” according to Barbour.
The Y is non-profit and exists to serve the community and offer programs to promote all aspects of a healthy lifestyle. With support from the ASC, the YMCA of the Northwoods can be the gathering spot, the place for kids to play soccer, or the cure for cabin fever for even more of the community.