LETTERS TO THE EDITOR - Setting the record straight on local YMCA

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Regarding Sheila Hagar's article "Walla Walla YMCA takes new tack to stay relevant."

It's apparent the Walla Walla YMCA has been "more than an institution" since long before Mr. Grant arrived. The YMCA has maintained a rich and "cause-driven" history and has always been "intentional about doing good things," and thus, "become great."

The organization has been a thriving part of the Walla Walla community for more than 100 years ... and has not "died out in a few generations." Looking back, many YMCA programs include those that Mr. Grant has hoped will "someday be here."

Twenty years ago, Executive Director Ned Shafer saw the "relevant" need to introduce kids to computer technology. He secured donations and the program became a reality.

YMCA has been in "collaboration" with Walla Walla School District. Early in Home Link's existence, enrichment programs were housed at the YMCA.

The Y has offered programs for children with disabilities for years. The Peer Mentor swim program provides the opportunity to have fun, develop skills and build a support network. Years ago, a partnership with the school district's special education program provided a weekly aquatic experience for some of the district's most physically and mentally challenged children.

The collaboration with Providence St. Mary Medical Center facilitated the construction of the YMCA therapy pool complex. This rehabilitative center has helped many regain their quality of life.

The Y has "been there for other groups." Memberships have been provided to kids involved in the Friends of Children organization. There have also been numerous opportunities for "troubled teens" and their mentors to use the YMCA facility.

The Y has continually strived to keep fitness classes "fresh and relevant." Within months of a cutting edge program hitting the fitness radar, staff was trained to help encourage health seekers to stay motivated while having fun.

Change must occur ... however, the past and future success of the Walla Walla YMCA will always be the result of hard work and dedication.

Mr. Grant should be careful to research the history of this beloved YMCA of which he has been fortunate enough to have had placed in your care. The Walla Walla YMCA may be a small-town Y, but it has always provided "cause-driven and intentional" opportunities for our community.

These concepts were embraced long before there was a mandate from a parent organization labeled "#6." They were done with huge hearts, true compassion, and deep concern for this community and all those who enter the doors of the YMCA.

Debbie Daly

Walla Wall

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