Tonight I learned that our YMCA will close their pool after Labor Day. Until further notice.
Our YMCA has a wonderful pool used for an array of classes and swimming enthusiasts and swim lessons. Our YMCA pool sets us apart from planet fitness, anytime fitness, and other gyms in town. Many love and some only belong to the YMCA because of the pool.
In one month that pool closes.
I want to share a few thoughts on our pool closure
(In case you don’t want to read my whole article… I think closing the pool represents a gutsy, brave move that might save the YMCA–even though it sacrifices greatly.)
The pool consumed a lions share of our struggling budget.
I remember recently talking to Hector who manages the pool. As I remember nearly half the budget for the YMCA gets dumped into our Olympic length pool. Basically staff meetings involve him explaining all the things our old pool needs for maintenance and the rest of the programs getting what remains after him.
We don’t have a Cadillac pool with all sorts of features. We don’t have a hot tub, unfortunately. We just have a pool that costs a lot of money to run.
The pool programs represented a much smaller part of the YMCA than the pool cost.
I think those programs are extraordinarily valuable but they represent a small slice of everything the YMCA does. In order for our new CEO to run the YMCA well he needs a budget where the cost of the pool programs come closer to representing the amount of programming they represent.
From what I understand they could not just cut costs in the pool. You either ran the pool for a gargantuan cost or you made the choice to shut it down.
What closing the pool might accomplish
Shutting down the pool at least for now frees up money to grow a variety of other programs. I don’t know what plans our YMCA leadership has. But I got to thinking what we might accomplish in the short run to get the pool back.
More money for advertising
Advertising doesn’t fix problems. But advertising creates awareness and brings in more members. We don’t spend much on advertising. We might have more money now to do just that.
More money to develop out reach programs and sports.
Basketball, pickle ball, volleyball, and other sports programs at the YMCA. The YMCA becomes known as a place for sports and more members arrive.
More classes and programming.
What if we had ballet again at the YMCA? What if we had more tumbling classes for the kids? What if we had a greater variety of workout classes?
Going forward at the YMCA
The news of the pool closure in a certain sense makes me tired. I want to see the YMCA thrive and I wish we did not have to give up something.
But you know what, Terre Haute needs more people willing to believe in an organization like the YMCA. The YMCA has good people. The YMCA leaders believe in and invest heavily in our organization. The YMCA in Terre Haute creates opportunities for more and more people to get holistically healthy.
Invest in the YMCA. Try out some new things at the YMCA. Believe that our leaders might be doing something brave to save the YMCA. Because I think closing the pool might be the gutsy, brave thing that could really turn our YMCA around.
So maybe, instead of contacting a leader at the YMCA to express shock or sorrow. Contact them and encourage them. Think about what we might do to make the YMCA thrive. And plan yourself to join in
And maybe, if enough of us believe in and get behind the YMCA… We’ll get our pool back.