Dear Center Friends,
April is here…which means Easter celebrations, bunnies, candy, and an end to another season of welcoming our winter guests to our little piece of paradise on Anna Maria Island! We are so thankful for their support over the past few months and it is always nice to share our progress and see the center buzzing with activity! On average we saw 250 people a day come through the Center for programs and activities in January, February, and March…with over 2,000 users of the facility since July this year, almost half of those were our snowbird friends.
April had lot of exciting things going on in the way of soccer for our youth and families…we will be featuring MLS Soccer Star Kevin Hartman, former goalie for 17+ years for teams like LA Galaxy, FC Dallas, and NY Red Bulls who will be leading a clinic for our youth soccer players. Our new Center Select Soccer team will take the field for their first tournament…AND, the Center will be leading a group trip to see the Tampa Bay Rowdies play the Richmond Kickers on Saturday April 29th…tailgating and soccer …what could be better??!! Just be sure to sign up NOW as space is limited!!
Now as we head into our spring and summer season, we are kicking things off with a membership special targeting our annual residents on Anna Maria and in surrounding communities like Northwest Bradenton and Long Boat Key. New members will get 3 months free if they pay for the annual membership up front.
We will also be hosting a Crawfish Boil on May 6th, thanks to our friend Christine Hicks who wanted the event to celebrate the Anna Maria “good life” and her late husband’s Henry to benefit the Center. We will have entertainment, great authentic food, and fun for the whole family! This is a great way to gather our friends now that the traffic has slowed down and remind us of the unique gift we have to be fortunate enough to have a community center aiming to serve our community year round!
From there we will be heading into summer and this brings a whole new level of activity each day to the Center when we welcome over 100 children into our Summer My Way Camp Program. Our amazing new Youth Director, Stephanie Rycerz, and her team have an exciting list of activities planned and we also will be partnering again with some of our favorite organizations on the island to offer specialty camps like Drama, Sailing, Fishing, and much more! What will your children be doing this summer??? Be sure to sign your kiddos up now and don’t miss the opportunity for them to explore arts, craft and nature weekly in our discovery track of camp…or learn and play various sports each week in our sports track of camp also offered each week!
Plans are also underway for a new budget year set to start July 1 and we are evaluating our programming based on feedback from our members…please be sure to take a moment and complete the surveys sent out on adult education programming, fitness, and more to help us gauge interest in expanding programs like the ones found through our partnership with Ringling Colleges Life Long Learning Academy. We have brought on board some amazing new fitness classes this year and are continuing to look at times of day and classes to add to offer even more opportunities- especially to those that commute to work etc.
Finally, the Center also NEEDS your support ….many of you may not realize that the Center is a 501 C3 nonprofit organization. We do NOT receive any tax dollars for the community services we provide from the cities or the county…for programs like after school care, senior activities, and health and wellness. 90% of all money raised goes directly to our programming—with only 6% going to support fundraising efforts, and 4% going to administration. To date, the City of Bradenton Beach has contributed $5,000 to The Center and both Anna Maria and Holmes Beach have held our funding and are wanting to hear from YOU ( our community supporters) that you believe this Center to be an important part of our island, as a sole provider of many key services. Most community Centers like us are funded 25-30% by their municipalities…. In past, we are lucky to receive 3-4%. PLEASE come out in support of us…wear a blue shirt…a Center shirt to next week’s commission meetings where I will present a final case for support for this budget year that is about to come to an end.
April 25th 6p in Holmes Beach
April 27th 6p in Anna Maria
I believe in the leadership of our board and the passionate and committed team we have in place at The Center and we WILL succeed will be successful…and continue to grow to best serve our community WITH YOUR SUPPORT!!!! I will look forward to seeing you all next week!!! And THANK YOU!!!