By Eric McCracken

In 1914, the YMCA in Van Wert was founded for the benefit of young Christian men in the city and began a rich tradition of service to this community. That tradition continues more than 100 years later as the YMCA looks to the future and the needs of new generations of local families.

I am pleased the YMCA of Van Wert County Board of Directors made the decision to accept the debt free gift of Hickory Sticks Golf Club. It is a move for today and for the future, long-term sustainability of the Y in our area.

We thank Mark White and MSCS Real Estate, including Carol and Steve White of Hickory Sticks Golf Club for working with the Y to create a solution that allows the club to remain locally owned and operated. This will keep it affordable and accessible and all decisions will be made with the community in mind.

Our Y volunteers and staff leaders know there are challenges that accompany every decision. We will keep them in focus so we continue to accomplish our mission and remain relevant in addressing the county’s issues regarding youth development, healthy living and supporting our neighbors.

We invite you to become part of the Y. It’s our promise to strengthen the community. We do that through nurturing the potential of youth, improving our health and well-being, and caring for and supporting our neighbors. Core Y swim and gym programs still exist. But, we also assist families and children that may need financial aid to participate in family centered activities, youth sports and summer day camps.

Our mission is to enrich lives. As board members, we see firsthand how the Y is uniquely positioned to have a positive impact on people of all ages, incomes, abilities, and backgrounds. That makes the Y worthy of our support.

This recent decision is about much more than the game of golf: it’s about our commitment to Van Wert today and for generations to come. The Y is an anchor in this community. We want our children and grandchildren to participate in and benefit from the Y’s focus on character development, holistic health and giving back to the community through giving and volunteerism.

This is our Y. I invite you to get involved by joining, volunteering and donating to this worthy, charitable cause. Stop in and see us at 241 W. Main St. or visit vwymca.org.

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Eric McCracken is the owner of Lee Kinstle GM and a Past President of the YMCA of Van Wert County Board of Directors. The opinions are the writer’s.