The Bonita Springs YMCA closed this time last year with a thud.
It reopens this month, just in time for schools' summer break, with a party.
The Bonita Y will return with a free community celebration from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on May 26, a Saturday which kicks off the long Memorial Day weekend, at 27200 Kent Rd.
The event will mark a civic victory, with leaders of good will finding a way to get out of debt, reorganize and try again.
"Thanks to the hard work over the past year of the community and businesses leaders of Bonita Springs, we have the privilege of reopening this fantastic YMCA," says Ken Modzelewski, president and CEO of South County Family YMCA, which is based in Venice and extending its expertise to Lee County. "We're especially thankful for the support of the Wal-Mart Foundation, whose donation of $100,000 was a significant and generous investment to help create a sustainable Y for the Bonita Springs community."
Plans for the reopening include food, face painting, bounce houses and free swimming in the Y's restored pool.
Even better things are ahead, Y leaders promise, with new equipment and job opportunities in aquatics, fitness, membership, child daycare and janitorial services posted at www.southcountyfamilyymca.org/careers.
Here is where the public comes in for vital financial support. The Y is selling summer memberships for $99 for families — a real deal compared to standard monthly rates of $30 for adults and $45 for families; youth memberships are $19 a month. Summer camp will begin May 29 at $55 a week for YMCA members.
The public has already stepped up to guide the Y into the future. Volunteering for its board are Shelley Anderson, Tom Barber, Jack Brown, Dennis Church, Fred Forbes, Richard Garner, Hank Hochstetler, Janet Martin, Paul McGrath, Karin Moe, Joe Murgalo, Peter O'Flinn, Bill Oberman, Gary Price, Marjorie Rubacky,Tom Schreck, Maribel Slabaugh, John Spear, Patt Suwyn, Don Thomson and Nelson Robbins.
The community thanks them in advance for serving.
Now the work begins to have the Y succeed where it failed before — to generate public awareness and win support for supervised activities in an out-of-the-way location — as well as expand the Y's role and relevance in the community.
The fact that the Y is even reopening shows there is hope and promise. Hurrah.