Parkland YMCA to go after new members

The Parkland YMCA Family Center, which has seen a significant increase in memberships since December 2010, will embark on an aggressive outreach program in May to push the number further up.

The center had 440 family memberships in December 2010. The number rose to 525 in March 2011 and currently stands at 605. The organization, however, continues to be in the red.

“Our membership revenue increased from $394,300 in December 2010 to $420,000 in February 2010,” Felicia Shields, YMCA vice president of operations, said at a City Commission meeting. “Our goal is to further increase revenue. We will aggressively pursue memberships. We want to be financially solvent.”

The organization gave $51,000 in 2011 as financial assistance to Parkland children and families in need, Shields said. “In 2010, we gave $38,000. Over 3,000 people participate in our programs and services. We have over 200 seniors using the facility. Our teen club has over 75 teens. We have our Y-Fit Kids program at Riverglades Elementary once a month. Our Veggie Tots program has become really popular.”

In August last year, city officials approved giving the organization $60,000 to offset the cost of operations. The city also waived the annual lease payment for 2011-2012, as it has done ever since YMCA took over the community center in 2008. In 2010, the city gave the organization $75,000.

City officials expressed satisfaction at the measures taken by the organization to increase membership. The organization is doing a much better job than what the city would have been able to if it ran the community center by itself, Mayor Michael Udine said.

“We need to take a look at the benefits the city gets out of this,” Udine said. “The financial assistance that we give the Y is a small price to pay for what our residents out of it. If the city was to operate the community center by itself, the numbers would be far, far in excess of what we are contributing now.”

“It would cost the city $900,000 annually to run the city center,” Commissioner Jared Moskowitz said. “The Y has made tremendous progress in the last year. The community garden has turned out to be a wonderful thing. They have earned the right to get additional dollars from the city.”

“I hear a lot of good things about the Y,” Commissioner John Willis said. “I see progress. I don’t know the time frame but I will be shocked if the organization doesn’t reach its goal.”

The organization is targeting 1,000 memberships as part of its efforts to break even. Until it reaches the goal, the city would have to continue providing financial assistance on an annual basis.

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