July 16th, 2024

YMCA launches Shape [Y]our Future campaign

By Al Beeber - Lethbridge Herald on February 25, 2022.

Herald photo by Al Beeber Stephen Mogdan, interim chair of the YMCA of Lethbridge board of directors, introduces a new fundraising campaign Thursday at the Cor Van Raay YMCA.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDabeeber@lethbridgeherald.com

A $10,000 donation from long-time supporter Bev Herring helped kick off a new annual fundraising campaign launched by the YMCA of Lethbridge on Thursday.
Shape [Y]our Future was previously known as the Strong Kids campaign. Its purpose is to support those in the community who are unable because of financial situations to access community services, developmental programs and take part in physical activities.
The new name of the campaign reflects a wider scope than the previous moniker, media were told at the Cor Van Raay YMCA in West Lethbridge.
Stephen Mogdan, interim chair of the Y’s Board of Directors, said the organization is focused on building strong communities, adding it turns nobody away.
The new campaign follows on the foundation started in 1992 when the YMCA created the “Send a Kid to Camp” campaign to assist families who couldn’t afford fees to send their kids to summer camps.
That endeavour evolved into the Strong Kids initiative.
In 2022, the YMCA of Lethbridge is hoping to raise $250,000 to support programs including subsidized memberships, encouraging seniors to engage in active lifestyles, and sending kids to day camps.
The campaign is “one that we are confident is going to have a dramatic impact on the YMCA Lethbridge and in turn on our community,” said Mogdan, one of several speakers at the launch.
“The YMCA for more than a century has been a strong, positive presence in the communities it serves. In turn, that presence strengthens those communities and everyone benefits in that process,” he added.
The Y has always focused on building strong communities, he said, which is reflected in programming and its mission and values, he added.
The Y relies on community support which comes in forms including drop-in fees from single users, family memberships, support of government partners and the support of loyal Y donors, which are all important and key to helping the YMCA benefit the community, he said.
Its commitment to not turn anyone away requires support from the community, Mogdan said.
Director of fund development for the Lethbridge Y Pam Haapa-aho, who has been with the organization for 25 years, said “our goal is to help our community members live healthier, happier lives.”
“I believe in its cause, I believe in what we do and how we impact our community,” she said.
“YMCAs recognize the need and the benefits for kids to participate in safe and welcoming YMCA programs all year round, not just at summer camp,” said.
Strong Kids raised community awareness and support for 25 years so kids of all financial situations could enjoy activities. In the past 12 years, Strong Kids raised almost $900,000 locally so kids could have a safe place to be active and thrive, she said.
“At the YMCA we care about providing equitable access in quality programs to the communities we serve,” so everyone wins when children, youth, adults and seniors are given full access to programs with no financial barriers.
“At the YMCA, people come as they are, with what they have and we believe that everyone deserves a place to belong and thrive,” she said.
The Strong Kids campaign branding gives limited reflection on the diversity and inclusion of people in the community needing support, she added.
Long-time donor Bob Simonton said the YMCA is a place where donors can be assured every dollar of their money goes to the programs to which it is directed.
“Every dollar that you give to this campaign goes to exactly that campaign. There is no administration costs. The cost of this facility, the cost of administration, staff are covered by other financing. So rest assured its really nice to be able to give to a very worthwhile part of our community and know that every dollar is going to count, Simonton said.
“This organization received a legacy from Cor Van Raay and without Cor Van Raay’s contribution to this facility, it would not be what you see today,” he said.
He said people could consider a living legacy donation to the Y or making it part of an estate.

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