Letter: YMCA, CYC are building youth programs together

Posted
To the editor:

Two years ago, the CYC came to the Berkshire Family YMCA after leaving its home on Melville Street three years prior. It was looking for a strong partner with a similar focus — an understanding of the community's needs and youth development offerings. The Y is proud of the partnership with the CYC and continues to provide the best programs and services for our community — together.

As a kid, one of my fondest memories was getting a membership card at the CYC when I signed up to play basketball. I never felt so alive as when I had that little piece of slate with my name written out and my own ID number and I had to drop it off at the desk. I knew I was part of something, part of something special.

Today, as the CEO of the Berkshire Family YMCA, we are trying to create these same types of experiences for our kids. Our partnership made official in 2016 continues to offer kids and families the opportunity to be part of something bigger than just a program.

Our long-term relationship with Greylock Federal Credit Union and its generosity has allowed 50 families to register for CYC basketball at no charge. The Y has provided 15 families with financial assistance and a special membership rate for teen CYC basketball participants to lessen the financial burden for families and deliver on our mission to offer a place where everyone is welcome.

As a member, youth and teens have access to the facilities and 75 different programs during the course of the year. Teen members have access to the pool, wellness center, basketball court and other amenities seven days a week. Compared to last year, basketball registrations are in line with where we were at this time in 2016. We are very proud of these numbers.

Does this sound like the CYC and the YMCA are strategically aligning ourselves to bully our families (Letter, Nov. 9) or does it sound more like we are strategically aligning ourselves to create more opportunities and build something positive together?

The CYC programs, as well as, the YMCA programs develop the necessary building blocks for youth development by providing a creative learning environment for young people to feel empowered, build self-esteem and make lasting friendships — and we do this while keeping them safe, and guiding them to make good choices.

<em>Randy Kinnas,

Pittsfield

The writer is CEO of Berkshire Family YMCA. The letter was co-signed by Corey Phillips, board president of the Catholic Youth Center (CYC).

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