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November 2, 1999

We have many, many unique features in this community, and it's fun to point out some of them for bragging purposes. Certainly one of these is the Noble County Family YMCA situated at 104 South Seventh street right here in Perry. It is not the "Perry" YMCA. It is the "Noble County Family YMCA," and that term pretty well sums up the scope of its mission. It serves the entire community of Noble county and not just this city alone. Right now the Y is in the midst of the 1999 membership incentive drive and you should be aware of a few facts regarding this organization.

The YMCA nationally is dedicated to enriching the spiritual, mental and physical well being for all people in the communities it serves. Our local Y, established in 1978, surely lives up to that noble goal, to the point that we have to wonder how we ever got along without it. The range of programs and the facilities it makes available to us is both immense and practical, designed to fill the needs of its patrons.

It came into being a little more than 20 years ago because a group of local people recognized the need for a place such as this and set about the task of doing something about it. Several ideas were considered, including a YMCA, but there was some question as to whether that particular organization would be interested in working with a community this small. Contact was made, questions were answered, and we learned that yes indeed, the Y would work with us. Wheels were set in motion quickly, with the result that this is now the smallest city in the U.S.A. with a full-facility YMCA to serve its membership base.

When the initial organizational steps had been taken and a board of directors established, programs were implemented. YMCA board members and volunteers staffed them. The Y had no building of its own, so programs and classes were held in churches, the Perry schools, and elsewhere. In time, an abandoned skating rink on South Seventh Street was purchased and that became the first Y building in Perry. It now is the site of aerobic programs, fitness assessments, and baby-sitting and youth programs. With its acquisition the Y began offering more programs such as fitness classes, adult craft programs and youth sports.

In 1983 a community survey showed the need for a larger and better facility. A capital campaign was initiated the following year with George Albright as chairman. Ground was broken in 1985 for the main YMCA facility and it was formally dedicated in 1986. The entire community now takes pride in this building. Since then, the years still have been exciting for the Y Programs have continued to grow, additional older adult activities have been introduced, and the YMCA staff continues in professional growth through education and training. The Y programs allow individuals to grow personally and develop their spirit, mind and body in the true mission of the YMCA. Once again, how did we ever get along without this marvelous asset?

The 1999 membership campaign is being conducted primarily by mail. When your invitation to renew arrives, have your checkbook ready and remain a part of this program. Or, better still, encourage a non-member to sign up and think of it as a good deed for the day. Continue to take advantage of what the YMCA can do for you. And bring in a new member. It will be one of the best decisions you'll make that day.