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YMCA thanks staff and volunteers
Organization shows appreciation at lucheon
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The Georgia Mountains YMCA thanked staff and volunteers Thursday at an annual appreciation luncheon attended by First Lady Sandra Deal and state Rep. Doug Collins.

Chris Hollifield, chief volunteer officer, gave the group gathered at the J.A. Walters Family YMCA on Howard Road an overview of both the challenges and opportunities facing the organization.

After school programs have seen a 39 percent decline, with a loss of about $12,000 in revenue each week. Membership peaked in 2008 at 3,200 households and has fallen to 2,400, a loss of about $25,000 per month in revenue.

He said despite these losses, the YMCA has continued its commitment to never turn down a family based on ability to pay.

YMCA CEO Mike Brown told members about the direction of the YMCA and how the organization's new national logo, a large Y with the stem and left point creating a forward arrow, mirrors local goals. He said many across the country have been critical of the new logo, worrying that it has removed the C, and the Christian principals, from the organization.

"I'm one of the few that really likes it because it speaks to a symbol of change and saying that we are no longer an organization that has a service or a program," he said.

"We will no longer just be told that ‘You're the place where people play soccer.' We will be told that we are a cause driven organization that changes people's lives."

The annual volunteer of the year award was given to Board of Directors member Cleo Jenkins.