Supporters of the YMCA of Garner were casting some pretty big smiles a couple weeks ago when Ronald McDonald walked through the door at Vandora Springs Elementary School.
And, well they should have been. The Ronald McDonald House Charities donated more than $10,000 toward the establishment of a permanent YMCA in Garner. Though that may be a relatively small drop in the bucket compared to the seven-figure cost of building a Y facility, it’s a gift larger than many and those who have worked to bring a YMCA to Garner – along with those who stand to benefit from it – should be grateful for the contribution.
Aside from the town of Garner and a few grassroots organizations that support specific team sports, there are not a lot of active recreational facilities in Garner. A YMCA could change that picture in a big way, not only for Garner’s young people but, perhaps most importantly, for adults and older residents as well.
The Y has had a presence in Garner for some time with its Y Learning program, but we would be remiss if we didn’t point out that the Y Learning program is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the services the YMCA offers. Like much of the recreational programming in Garner, the Y Learning program targets students and leaves adults on the outside looking in. When the Y has a permanent home in Garner, everyone will be better off.
And once that project is underway, local recreation and academic boosters can turn their attention to another effort to provide services for young people.
Wake County is home to a top flight Boys & Girls Club program. It has facilities in Raleigh, Wake Forest and Zebulon. Incredibly, no one has ever even asked the Boys & Girls Club to consider locating in Garner.
Much like the Y, the Boys & Girls Club offers school-age children an opportunity for physical acivity and a safe place to go after school when mom and dad are a work. The Boys & Girls Club also focuses on academics, carving out time from each students’ afternoon to focus on homework and get help in academic areas where they struggle.
Actively seeking a YMCA and a Boys & Girls Club at the same time may be too big a bite for Garner to take all at one time. But we would encourage townsfolk not to rest on their laurels once the YMCA supported by Ronald McDonald becomes a reality. There are always more opportunities to provide high-quality services for our young folks.