Drive is to stock new youth center

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A carousel of local celebrities, organization heads and business people helped raise funds and awareness for a Y “wish list” during a four-hour radio-a-thon held Monday.

The radio-a-thon was broadcast on local radio station 98.1 from the lobby of the Y, and was hosted by the station’s Bob Ladd, along with former radio man Steve Reynolds.

The wish list, said Y CEO Cindy Love in between greeting waves of people arriving – either in support or to make use of the Y facilities – is to stock the inside of a rapidly materializing Youth Development Center.

“We need between $75,000 and $100,000 (for items such as fridges, ranges, telephone systems and furniture),” Love said, adding that the $1.2-million center itself will almost certainly be completed on time in October with no debt.

The building will accommodate growing after school programs and summer camps, as well as ongoing youth activities.

At the same time, Love said the logical progression will be improvements to the main Y building itself, while it’s hoped that land to the north of the building bordering San Marco Road will eventually house a healthcare partner and a healthy living facility.

Love found a little time to reminisce as well.

“It’s been like a family reunion going on for me … being able to talk with people I worked with 20 years ago,” she said.

Two of them were former CEO Ernie Bretzmann and former board president Pat Neale, who Love said hired her close to 20 years ago, and who were pretty much responsible for putting up the existing building at the time.

Talking on air, Bretzmann said there was no question the Y needed the extra facilities.

“I think this is the way to go; to continually grow,” Bretzmann said. “They have the flexibility do so as the needs within the community and the demographics may change.”

Neale said he regards Love as one of the top Y executives in the country.

Those wishing to donate to the wish list should call 394-3144, or visit marcoislandymca.org.

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