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There are big shoes to fill at YMCA

Published 9:27pm Friday, June 21, 2013

The YMCA of Selma has sat in the spotlight quite a bit over the course of the last year. The organization started a campaign called “Why the Y” in hopes of bringing in donations to save the place after they were close to $2 million short in funding to keep their new location on YMCA Drive.

Also, in an effort to help stabilize the YMCA of Selma, the organization was discussed at almost every Selma City Council meeting as they tried to strike a deal to receive funding from lodging taxes to go towards their debt.

The idea was that tourists would pay a small lodging fee of $2.50 and this would not be a burden to those in the community who already support the YMCA and the city. Finally, and thankfully, the motion passed to give lodging fee revenue to the YMCA of Selma.

And we credit many people for the YMCA staying in Selma and providing a better quality of life that is tangible and recognizable for families in the community. However, we especially credit one person for putting up a fight to keep the YMCA in Selma and navigate it through tumultuous waters when he could have jumped off of the ship.

Bill Porter, CEO for the Selma YMCA, has recently stepped down from his position. We cannot fathom the YMCA without him as the point person in charge, but our thoughts turn to who might come next.

The YMCA is without a doubt one of the most valuable resources in the community and if it is lost, industries looking to locate to Selma would easily be discouraged. Families looking to relocate to Selma might be discouraged as well. The difference the fitness facility makes in the area is noticeable with its educational programs like baby-sitting courses and swim lessons and also its sporting and recreational programs like the soccer league. Who can forget the water aerobics classes for the elderly that look forward to it each week as their main form of exercise?

Only the best person possible is deserving of the CEO title for the YMCA and that would be someone like Porter.

The YMCA needs someone like Porter who lives and breaths the YMCA. They grew up in the YMCA programs and never want to see it leave Selma because for them Selma isn’t Selma without the YMCA. The organization needs someone like Porter who will stop and tell any person about the glow of the camp fire at Paul Grist or the memories he had being coached by Grist in basketball.

The YMCA of Selma needs someone who represents its aims and mottos — to be community centered, bring people together, nurture potential and have a local presence with global reach.

Let’s hope they do not stop short of finding this individual. We have faith that they will.

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