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PRYMCA personnel look to the future at annual meeting

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DOVER-FOXCROFT — After a year of some staff and operations changes Piscataquis Regional YMCA officials have gotten settled and are looking to the future, as attendees of the annual meeting learned on the evening of Oct. 25.

PRYMCA Director of Operations and Development Janna Wasel, who came aboard earlier in the year, said there has been a lot of staff transition in 2018 with new employees joining the facility and new positions created.

“This past year our Y has done excellent, we try every day to keep this Y as a center of our community and we try every day to make an impact,” Wasel said. She said membership numbers are up 15 percent from the previous year, and this growth is quite an accomplishment.

PRYMCA piscataquis regional YMCA

Observer photo/Stuart Hedstrom
PRYMCA VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR — Jean Hitchcock, second from left who leads water aerobics classes five days a week at the Piscataquis Regional YMCA in Dover-Foxcroft, was honored as the organization’s Volunteer of the Year during the annual meeting Oct. 25. Pictured with Hitchcock are, from left, Director of Operations and Development Janna Wasel, Youth/Adult Activities & Aquatics Manager Chris Wesley, and Board of Directors President Bill Rayfield.

Wasel said the number of children in camp programs has doubled from 2017. She said childcare enrollments have increased, and as part of the curriculum the youngsters are taking part in swim lessons.

“This year we had a lot of growth in youth and families, every program grew across the board,” Wasel said.

In 2018 the PRYMCA added age 3 to the youth sports program. “Parents really appreciate getting their young children into the Y,” Wasel said, as the 3-year-olds start to learn some lessons in team sports.

The director of operations and development said a tumbling program is an addition to the list of programming, and basketball hoops are now available in the racquetball courts. “The last thing we added this year was winter soccer,” she said.

Area homeschool students now can take part in a youth swim program at the PRYMCA, and Wasel said there are other new aquatics programs.

In June the PRYMCA held its 10th annual “Dinner, Dance, Auction,” and Wasel said this is the biggest single fundraiser for the organization. She said there are other events across the calendar, including the annual Earn Your Whoopie Pie 3K and children’s Fun Run as part of the Maine Whoopie Pie Festival in late June.

At the annual meeting in 2018, the new-look pool at the PRYMCA — the sole indoor swimming facility in the region — was unveiled. “That project was done very much thanks to Gordon Contracting,” Wasel said in expressing gratitude to the Sangerville-based business.

She said Gordon Contracting initially donated the equivalent of tens of thousands of dollars toward the project with the PRYMCA owing about $75,000 for the renovations. She said grants brought the total down to approximately $25,000.

The week before Gordon Contracting was presented with the Piscataquis Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year honor during a ceremony at The Commons at Central Hall. During his remarks President/Owner Brian Howard said Gordon Contracting would be covering the remaining pool project debt, much to the surprise of the PRYMCA officials in attendance.

“It’s really our shining star and we owe them an incredible amount of gratitude,” Wasel said.

“The boilers in this facility are the originals in this facility built in 1988,” she said. She said PRYMCA officials are working with the A.E. Robinson Oil Company to replace the boilers with a more efficient system.
“We expect this project will pay for itself in under three years,” Wasel said. “We expect to see a savings of up to 30 percent in fuel savings,” she added, as these monies can go elsewhere.

In the last year some building renovations have been completed, including new paint for the meeting and fitness rooms. “All that was done by staff taking time to paint the walls and also volunteer time,” Wasel said.

She said outside a blacktop area has been repaved to be the site of three basketball courts and four pickleball courts. Wasel said this playing surfaces will open in the spring, and project will come to fruition thanks again to the generosity of Gordon Contracting.

“That is a project that will add so much to our Y and our community,” Wasel said. “It was 100 percent donated.”

She concluded by saying in the new year there will be a focus on staff and program development.

PRYMCA Board of Directors President Bill Rayfield said at the previous annual meeting the organization had started working with the Bangor YMCA following some leadership changes in Dover-Foxcroft. Rayfield said there were a pair of 6-month management agreements between the two YMCAs.

“It was not a model they would have approved long-term,” Rayfield said about the national organization. He said during the second of the two agreements Wasel came onboard.

“We are very grateful to them,” Rayfield said about the Bangor YMCA.

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