‘Y’ Partners Campaign kicks off

MARSHALL – There’s a lot more that goes on at the Marshall Area YMCA than just pumping iron.

“We are so much more than that,” said Tom Bolin, the executive director.

It’s a place for people to take a break and socialize as well put in some time for physical activity, he said.

To insure that community members who would like to use the facility, can, the YMCA has a yearly campaign to raise funds – all of which go toward scholarships.

“One hundred percent of the dollars raised go directly into strengthening our community by providing access to health, social and educational opportunities to our disadvantaged friends and neighbors,” said Tom Bolin, the executive director.

Most of the dollars help with ‘Y’ memberships and a smaller amount goes to making it possible for children to participate in activities such as swimming lessons, camp and youth sports.

On Tuesday, the ‘Y’ started its three-week ‘Y’ Partners Campaign in which the goal is to raise at least $110,000 for scholarships.

“The campaign starts out with the board of directors,” Bolin said. “They recruit volunteers. We have 70 volunteers this year.”

Bolin said the need for scholarships is pretty steady.

“There is some fluctuation with the economy,” he said.

The scholarship recipients include low-income families, seniors on a fixed income, and individuals with physical and mental disabilities.

“It’s amazing who we’re serving,” Bolin said. “There are kids who need a safe place to go to after school. There are seniors who come for health and to play cards, hang out. There are people with physical or mental disabilities who come to swim and have fun, to have social interaction.”

Bolin said people think the recipients get a “free ride” as far as paying monthly fees.

“That’s a misperception,” he said. “(Applicants) turn in paperwork which tells their situation and they pay a monthly fee based on a sliding scale.”

In 2012, 1,738 individuals received a scholarship.

“That’s a big deal,” Bolin said. “(The scholarships) really do have an impact.”

Bolin said the YMCA, which is a nonprofit charitable organization, uses membership fees for facility operations – for staff and maintenance.