Dear Center Friends,
February already??!!! I am feeling very appreciative of all the amazing things happening at The Center right now…as I sit on the playground typing listening to the happy sounds of over 35 children in our after school program…with another 25 or more in our gym learning how to build confidence (on and off the mat) during our new youth wrestling program, I am reminded that even though there may still exist challenges ahead as we continue to move forward, it is important to “stop and smell the roses” and recognize just how far we come and celebrate those that were part of those successes!
Having just presented our first 6 month financial results it is no secret we are still playing “catch up” with our finances due to delays in funding from our cities, local businesses, and the seasonal flux of memberships. We are however doing extremely well in areas of programming and we are final able to see clearly that regardless of whether we are serving seniors, providing youth programs, sports, or opportunities to be creative in art—we have an inherent uphill battle as a result of “indirect expenses”, many of which could be considered “legacy” expenses. I am encouraged that our gross profit YTD is $235,000 and that reflects the direct operating results of programs, but these programs require use of a lot of assets and support functions. The assets, in particular, are “legacy” assets that have existed for years and are needed to run these programs. So, if government or outside sources maintained these assets (or supplemented the funding), as is often the case, the Center would not have to generate large “Gross Profits” to cover these necessary and unavoidable costs. We have been working tirelessly to provide this level of details to the community and I see this in itself as a positive and something our team can be extremely proud of and hope that others also see this as an important first step in achieving our vision to strengthen and maintain community confidence and trust in The Center.
I would also add that in 6 short months, we have served 1774 youth, adult, and seniors through our 7 program centers, providing 1,666 program sessions equaling over 16,641 participant experiences!!!
Additionally from a programming perspective we have had the great fortune over the past several years to have on staff some very amazing and talented individuals…as board members, as staff, as volunteers, and as partners. Many of those that are no longer with us in the same capacity certainly left a lasting impact on The Center and were instrumental in key areas that helped us set a course for turn around. Our Beyond the Classroom and youth sports programs have not only grown in numbers over the past few years but have seen significant improvements in the way of “best in class” programming for the youth we serve in the community.
Emily Moss and Drew Mitchell have both transitioned out of their roles in youth sports and beyond the classroom this month both for personal reasons pertaining to their own families and as I sit here now I am thankful that all their efforts, whether over a few short months or over a year.
Drew leaves a legacy of core values for our youth sports program. Every Saturday when the children read the signs along the fence at the start of their games…these children are forever impacted by Drew’s passion and commitment to building character through youth sports. Further, Drew will continue to be involved in the Center Select Soccer Team…a long term goal of The Center to bring back a travel program for those children looking for more competitive playing opportunities.
Emily’s creativity and leadership were key to finally bringing to life a shared vision for our Beyond the Classroom after school program where enrichment opportunities for our youth became a focus. Whether it be archery, band, or exploring the island shores…Emily created a structure that will continue to provide exposure to so many wonderful opportunities we are fortunate to be able offer through valuable community partnerships that tap into all of our treasured island resources. I can’t thank them each enough and am keeping them and their families in our thoughts, they will both continue to be part of our extended Center family—as will Rainia Lardas, who is moving on to focus energies on her career goals of working in environmental programming for Mote Marine Aquarium.
Though we are sad to lose such key members of our team, we know that they are doing what they need to do for themselves and families. Our remaining team members are a committed and passionate group who continue to demonstrate they will work together and do whatever it takes to maintain a family fun atmosphere that is fun safe and social…and will work even more closely as we transition and recruit the quality staff needed to fill the shoes of Emily, Rainia, and Drew.
I am grateful to all the positive responses from our returning snowbirds…it is amazing how appreciative they are to have access to such a quality community center for a select few months of the year…just a few days ago we had 112 people in ONE yoga class…their smiles and excitement each year certainly keep us all going!!
Hope to see you all at our upcoming events… our Murder Mystery (an island favorite) will be two nights this year as to accommodate better all those interested in joining Feb 17th or 18th at 6pm!!