YMCA of the Okobojis builds strategies for 2018

Tuesday, January 2, 2018
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Specifically-identified goals and planning for the future are keys for success in almost any organization. Behind the scenes, YMCA of the Okobojis’ leadership has taken steps to position the Bedell Family YMCA and Camp Foster with a mission-orientated plan for creating an even bigger community impact in 2018.

Andrew Fisher, who has been the acting CEO for just over one year, has worked with the YMCA Board of Directors and YMCA staff to develop a strategic plan to enact for 2018 which emphasizes collaboration and partnerships, intentional outreach and the optimization of YMCA resources.

The board, led through 2017 by outgoing Chief Volunteer Officer (CVO) Alex Oponski, has been making strides to serve everyone in Dickinson County and the surrounding area, as well as creating a board that is in line with the diversity of our region.

"We, as a group, have identified ways we think will better serve the underserved populations in the Lakes Area, and have engaged an outside firm to conduct an analysis of our area to confirm that these needs are indeed present within the community," Oponski said. "We have also taken steps to ensure we have board members representing the different communities comprising the Iowa Great Lakes, including Milford, Okoboji and Lake Park; as well as having both male and female members. Additionally, many of the leading local businesses are represented."

Oponski will hand over leadership duties to incoming CVO Nate Gruys beginning January 2018, and current board members Jamin Trautman and Ginny Gunderson will serve as CVO-elect and secretary, respectfully. The make-up of the board will continue to progress in 2018 with four new members coming on as other member’s terms come to an end. New members include Kristy Miller, Tracy Evans, Dianne Elton and Jeremy Morrison.

"Looking back on 2017, we were able to accomplish many things of note, including infrastructure improvements like the new aquatics center lighting, which was funded through an Okoboji Foundation leadership grant, and the replacement of water heating units, through the Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure Fund (RIIF) Grant," YMCA CEO Andrew Fisher said. "We had a record number of children who were able to experience Camp Foster and we made a number of improvements at camp through funding for infrastructure that enhanced the experience for those kids and the summer camp staff. Our board of directors has positioned us for success and has given us direction for the charges we want to lead within the community."

Looking ahead to 2018, the Y has plans to reintroduce a golf outing event to amplify the Y’s fundraising efforts.

"We’re planning on hosting an 8-inch cup golf outing at Emerald Hills on June 28 this year in conjunction with our Annual Strong Kids Campaign event, which will be on March 16 at Rolling Oaks Barn," Fisher said. "Community support helps us make the YMCA mission of accessibility to all a reality. We have a new Development Director, Cindy Rosa, who will be leading our community fund-raising efforts and we’re excited to get her out into the community to make some connections and network."

While the Annual Strong Kids Campaign event and the golf outing are still months away, the Y’s next big event will come at the end of January during Winter Games weekend.

"We collaborated with the Seasons Center to bring the Kids Carnival to the YMCA this year," Fisher said. "The carnival will be from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 27, and is free to all. The Seasons Center will be accepting free will donations benefitting the Autumn’s Center and Camp Autumn."

For more information about the YMCA of the Okobojis, please call 712-336-9622.

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