I write in response to Mr. Spinner’s letters of Feb. 26 and 29, 2016 criticizing our Champaign Family YMCA’s policies, Board, and Administration. I and many of my friends, (including seniors who’ve used the Y since it was built), students, and young parents, who use the water aerobics classes, yoga, group cycling, cardio/dance fitness classes, weight rooms, gymnasium, meeting rooms, and walking tracks, as well as the excellent childcare facilities available in our well-run YMCA—agree that our Y is exceptionally well-managed and efficiently-run for the diverse community of residents it serves.
Although some of us do carry a Silver Sneakers card (which we can use in local fitness centers such as Curves, etc), others do not, and the Y is the best resource available to many of us for fitness regimens such as the water aerobics classes that help keep aging joints and spines flexible and strong. Most of us have supported the Champaign Family Y in fund-raising events for scholarships for kids, persons with disabilities and lower-income adults in need of financial assistance for Y memberships, summer camps, and kindergarten-readiness programs. We do this gladly when we can, if we can, as much as we can, because we not only believe in the Y’s mission statement, but also because we trust and respect the fiscal decisions made by our dedicated volunteer Board and our experienced CEO. We believe they do their due diligence before making decisions for the common good of the entire Y membership body and the fiscal health of the Champaign Family YMCA. Many of us were on hand several years ago for the mortgage-burning ceremony, and have witnessed the ongoing responsible management practices that have kept our Y a thriving, dynamic community resource for everyone.
Managing a non-profit facility to give the community every possible benefit while still paying the bills is a little more complicated than managing one’s home finances, and those responsible for that management must constantly educate themselves on best practices and adjust to fit their unique situation. Our Y is not a big-city downtown Y; we are far more rural, with a smaller population and different demographics. Although the YMCA is a national organization, there can be no “one-size-fits-all” template for efficient management or policy-making.
Instead of whining about the unfairness of it all when they can only get free benefits at all sorts of other facilities and not get in free at our Y, I would hope the folks who are entitled to the “Silver Sneakers” program might see fit to pay for a Y membership they can well afford, and whole-heartedly support an excellent, well-run non-profit facility that offers so many benefits to our entire community.