Cambrian: Opinion

YMCA advisory group seeks input

I am writing on behalf of the YMCA North Coast Advisory Committee (YNCAC) which was organized in April 2012. The YMCA initiated the creation of an advisory committee to provide direction and support for the YMCA’s programming in the North Coast area. Currently, the YNCAC seeks to serve the local community of Cambria along with Cayucos and San Simeon. The YNCAC is an ongoing committee which meets approximately once per month and reports to the YMCA board. We hope to provide some awareness to the community regarding our efforts, and to seek input from our community.

Specifically, the YNCAC is tasked with the responsibility to develop a chart of work which includes plans for assessing community need, monitoring trends, evaluating programs, raising the YMCA’s profile in the community, and helping to build partnerships and gather input from community stakeholders. The eventual goal will be to further develop community programing in accordance with the YMCA’s mission for the North Coast area.

Many may be aware that the mission of the YMCA is to help the local community develop mind, body, and spirit in a relaxed atmosphere that makes all feel comfortable and welcome. A major focus of the YMCA is youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility. The YMCA is committed to offering positive and healthy programming through its community activities and centers.

The YNCAC has determined that it should begin with helping to build on existing programs of the local community. As part of its examination of those existing programs, the YNCAC has identified that there is a need to increase activities/programs at the recreation center (formerly known as the teen center). It is the YNCAC’s belief that our local area youth need the option to attend safe and healthy programs during periods that they may not be involved in school or sports. The YNCAC is concerned with the perception of the recreation center as an unsupervised facility and would like to change that image by providing supervised homework assistance and interesting activities or programs for our local youth and adult community. The YNCAC is exploring the possibility of offering classes such as karate, art, cooking/baking, dancing/singing, writing, and yoga to grammar, middle and high school-age children, as well as the entire community. Other activities such as horticulture projects/sale, jewelry making, furniture refurbishing, babysitting, photography, and leather making may be made available which in turn could generate funds to assist in the operation of the recreation center. We are striving to add activities that will not conflict with existing community programs and educational outlets but in turn may offer a partnership.

At this time, the YNCAC is conducting a survey of the community, reaching out at local schools and community events, to determine which programs/activities are most desired by area youth and the adult community. In addition, the surveys are gauging volunteer interest within our community. Preliminary results indicate that there is enthusiastic interest in the above mentioned local activities as well as a broad array of skills from community members which could be utilized at the recreation center. Our committee would like to have as much community input and has recently created a website and link to its survey at We encourage the community, adults and youth, to complete the survey so that we may get started in offering these activities/programs at the beginning of 2013. The goal is to begin offering the most sought after activities as indicated by the results of the survey. We need the community’s help to guide us in the direction that will help make the recreation center a successful and fun atmosphere for everyone.

We will be hosting an open house on Friday, Jan. 25, at 5:30 p.m. at the recreation center. The event will include an advance order, pick up of tamales, and a wine raffle which will showcase donations of various wines by local wineries. In addition, a bike raffle will be held for those younger than 21! Please be watching for advertisements throughout the community about this exciting event in the coming month.

It is important to note that our committee is hoping that by bringing activities and programs to our community, families will not have to leave the local area in search of these resources, and will further spur local business viability and the community by purchasing these services and resources locally.

We respectfully ask the community’s help in visiting our website and completing the survey. I can be reached at 927-2461 if anyone would like more information about the YNCAC or the survey. We hope to see everyone at the open house next year!