Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Sun Valley must keep its word to the Y


In this small area, everyone in the Wood River Valley area is eventually dependent on others. Cities and Blaine County have intergovernmental agreements to provide emergency services. Business and civic groups work together to improve economic stability. Intercity buses provide service to commuters. Citizens banded together to help finance a new hospital.

No other organization, however, has done more in recent years to bring people together in a single facility than the YMCA. To continue expanding its programs for valley families, the Y needs ongoing robust community support.

How disappointing, then, that Sun Valley Mayor Wayne Willich wants to remove his community as an original Y supporter by abandoning the proposed $75,000 annual contribution to Y programs.

One could infer from the way this change of heart is being handled that Mayor Willich wanted to draw the least public attention. His proposed withdrawal of the $75,000 donation was mentioned in one sentence in the third paragraph of an agenda report from the city treasurer.

Sun Valley's participation at the Y must be restored.

Residents of Mayor Willich's community have no recreation facility they can call their own. The Y's variety of recreational, fitness, sports and cultural programs are welcome nearby diversions for their interests.

The Y's credo is true: "We build strong kids, strong families, strong communities."

But the Y can't do it without proper, widespread community support.

The city of Sun Valley is not facing a financial crisis that would be averted by denying the Y the $75,000 in its $4.35 million budget. But without fulfilling its $75,000 pledge, Sun Valley would imply it doesn't regard the Y as sufficiently important in the community as other cities do that have been supportive.

Furthermore, to the Y, which generously underwrites memberships for deserving families and children, $75,000 is a significant source for year-round programs.

Of special note are the upcoming summer camp programs for children, one of the features that have made Y's everywhere famous. Generations of Americans have profited from attending Y summer camps, where wholesome recreation and character-building activities excel and lifelong friendships and attitudes are formed.

To fully appreciate the value of the Y, one must read the rich roster of programs carried on month after month for the entire family.

The public understandably appreciates public officials such as Mayor Willich and their prudent financial management of resources. Just as understandably, however, citizens also regard support of credible, accomplished institutions such as the Y as investments in the quality of life for a community and its families.




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