PLATTSBURGH — Smiling swimmers, young archers and wide-eyed teens at dance look out from images among faded black-and-white photos that show how the Plattsburgh YMCA has evolved over the years.
The mission now was the mission then, and even back when it first began serving the community 125 years ago — a place where people can build healthy bodies and minds.
Tuesday, Executive Director Kevin Killeen kicked off the $125,000 Capital Campaign at a press conference, a fundraiser aimed to help ensure the nonprofit Y can continue to respond to the community’s needs for the future.
The campaign will raise funds for improvement to the facility on Oak Street, the Bright Beginnings child-care program and Camp Jericho in the Altona hamlet of Jericho.
“We are really trying to be able to kick forward, meet the needs and be relevant for the next 125 years,” he said.
The organization hopes to add more than 800 square feet of space to increase the number of programs offered and develop a larger athletic space.
Killeen said the organization is optimistic about achieving its goal but will need the public’s help in order to succeed.
“Our board and our staff has already committed the first $25,000, and now we are hoping the community will get behind it and help make up the difference,” he said.
The local Y serves more than 2,500 families of all ages, faiths and income levels, a press release said.
OUTGROWN CAMP SPACE
Campaign Committee Chairman Charles Paepke has enjoyed participating in Y programs for 32 years.
“What bigger bang for your buck can you get than donating to the YMCA?” he asked. “I really think the $125,000 goal is attainable, and we are anxious to get things going.”
Besides the building expansion, the Y hopes to install an upgraded heating system in an effort to help the environment and minimize the organization’s ecological footprint.
“We are also going to be doing some upgrades in the free-weight area, which were modestly started but will be vastly improved,” Killeen said.
He said he hopes to see the work completed within the next year.
The waterfront at Camp Jericho, a summer camp for children 5 to 13 years old, will also be expanded in order to increase water activities and the improve the overall experience for campers.
“We’ve kind of outgrown our space up there, and part of this expansion is to really increase the waterfront so we can accommodate more campers,” Killeen said.
Y Board of Directors President Matt Spiegel, who has been involved with the organization for eight years, praised it for continually working to make Plattsburgh a better place.
“The staff here is really above and beyond what you would expect from many organizations,” he said. “They really go out and try to bring this community together and make it healthier and more cohesive.”
Killeen also said brighter days are in store for the children who attend the Bright Beginnings day-care center.
The facility, located on the former Plattsburgh Air Force Base, will also receive improvements aimed at enhancing children’s first social experience away from home, a press release said.
With $25,000 already donated to the campaign, the organization will not stop soliciting money until it reaches or exceeds its goal.
“The Board of Directors and the staff has already put together about $25,000 for this campaign, and I think that’s a testament to where their hearts are,” Spiegel said.
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