There are several actions, past and present, for which the Fergus Falls Area YMCA extends thanks to their members and community.
First, a few years ago, due to the generous financial support of members and the community, the debt carried by the YMCA was paid off. This has allowed the Y to be more resilient during some of the unexpected financial challenges.
Now, the pandemic has presented just such a challenge. And now, instead of having to focus on paying off debt, the Y has been able to focus on its mission; that is strengthening the community through programs that build health, spirit, mind and body for all.
With the pandemic came financial and personal hardship to many in the community. With that understanding, the Y offered members the option of putting their membership on hold up to Oct. 31 and forgiving the usual fee for reinstatement.
“We are very grateful for those members who have been able to continue to maintain their memberships through the pandemic,” said Eric Price, executive director.
A good number of members continued to pay their membership fees during the time the Y had to close and also now when the services that can be offered are limited because of state and federal rules related to COVID-19.
Over half of the Y members have membership through the health insurance programs Silver Sneakers and Silver and Fit. Because the insurance companies only reimburse the Y for actual use of the facility by the insured, all the income from those programs was lost during closure and much of it now during limited operation.
Because of those who did continue to pay their membership fees, the Y has been able to offer selected services. One of those is childcare. Partnering with Governor Walz, the MN State Alliance of YMCA’s provided child care for essential workers upon the closing of the schools last spring. That service was followed up this summer with the Fergus Falls Y offering the summer day camp program for children.
Thank you to grantors
Grants have provided another source of income for the past few months. The Y received a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan from the Small Business Administration, which was forgiven as the program requirements were met. The funds were used for salaries and utilities.
The heat, ventilation and air conditioning system (HVAC) was being regularly maintained and working fine. Then it quit. In order for the Y to remain open, it had to be replaced.
The Y staff wrote and submitted many grant applications. The grants awarded supplied the funds needed to replace the HVAC system.
Employees of the month
Every one of the 14 people that staffed the summer day camp were named as employees of the month this summer. According to the Y, “In this time of change … they made graceful adjustments, remained positive with the kids, and helped in every way possible ... !”
The newly named employee of the month, Daryl Muchow of the custodial and maintenance staff, has worked for the Y for just over a year. Muchow is hardworking and helpful, friendly and caring, and always helpful. He is a lifelong Fergus Falls resident.
Beginning Sept. 8 opening time will be moved up to 5 a.m. Also persons with day passes, guest passes and members from other YMCA’s will have access to the building.
Each Y member can help out by responding to the survey sent out to solicit ideas and feedback. The survey also can be accessed at conta.cc/sEDy2b or on the Y website.
Y’s Folks Club
The board members of Y’s Folks are helping out with the survey. They are phoning each of their members to ensure everyone responds.
Note from Y staff
The Y has worked to support the community since 1967 and, with its support, will continue to serve Fergus Falls into the future.”
Mary Worner is a former president of Y’s Folks.