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YMCA launches outreach program

Sandy Kane and Bill Lawing (above) dance with the Lincoln Square Western Style Dance Club at the kickoff of the Lincoln Family YMCA Outreach Campaign. Volunteers celebrated the start of the campaign at an outside party.

Lincoln County Family YMCA volunteers kicked off their outreach campaign with a hoe-down on Tuesday night.
More than 60 volunteers have already signed up and received training to help raise funds for youth programs at the YMCA.
“It helps the community at large,” said Diane Boyd, co-chair of the campaign.
“It helps us keep children, youth and families active in good activities and in the long run it’s going to profit the entire community.”
Volunteers celebrated the start of the campaign by listening to music, watching square dancers and eating food donated from local restaurants.
Those in charge of the campaign hope to raise $44,000, an increase of $13,500 from last year’s goal.
“Even if we raise $44,000, we’re still not raising as much as we need,” said Ron Johnston, director of the YMCA.
Money from the campaign will go towards providing children with swim lessons, day camp, teen leadership training, Youth-In-Action programs and pre-school sports for children.

Jose Manjarres (right) watches as his son Emilio Manjarres enjoys free popcorn and a balloon. Jenny Walling / LTN Photo

The YMCA never turns away children due to a family’s inability to pay.
The YMCA’s day camp has many children attending at a discounted price.
“If these kids weren’t here, and their parents were working, what trouble would they get into?” asked Johnston.
Johnston believes the YMCA children’s programs prevent problems from beginning in the first place.
“We’re planting seeds in the little kid’s heads to do the right things” he said.
The bulk of the money raised will go towards the day camp, said Johnston. After that a large sum will go towards helping children learn to swim.
“We do swimming all year round,” said Johnston. “With an indoor pool there is no off season.”
Volunteers for the campaign have been told to focus on friends and have lots of one on one time with potential donors.
Most YMCAs raise funds at the start of the year, but the Lincoln County’s branch didn’t want to interfere with the Rotary Auction, which took place at the same time.
“We don’t want to raise money while another organization is raising money,” said Johnston. “The last thing the YMCA wants to do is compete with anyone else.”
The campaign will end on Aug. 13 before United Way begins their fundraising for the year.
Johnston says he’s excited about the YMCA’s fundraising campaign.
“I’m optimistic, but I realize that it’s not going to be easy,” said Johnston.by Sarah Grano

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