Cathy L. Stark with Tri-County YMCA. The heart of your community

by Sam Sentelle

Rotary President Cyndee Adkins (right) chats with Tri-County Y Director Cathy Stark.

Tri-County YMCA — ‘the heart of your community’

Cathy L. Stark

April 10, 2018

The development of the YMCA, with the leadership of Cathy Stark as Executive Director, has kept pace with the growth of Putnam County. And many will tell you that as “the heart of your community,” the Tri-County Yhas attracted new families and businesses into the area.

The YMCA hosts swimming teams from three of the county high schools, Stark told Putnam Rotarians today. “But we’re ‘deeper than a pool,'” she said. “There’s so much that people don’t think about ‘the Tri-County Y,’ that people don’t think about until they’ve experienced it.”

From its center on Carl’s Lane in Teays, where a blue-ribbon aquatic center has been built with corporate grants and private donations, the YMCA has expanded to a child-care center and the 52 acre Camp High-Tor.with hiking trails, cabins, outdoor pool and multipurpose building.

Several years ago, Rotarians helped to prepare the old church campsite off North Poplar Fork for operation by the Tri-County Y, and Putnam Rotary sponsored the construction of bathhouse facilities for an outdoor pool.

“We are the largest child-care provider in the county,” Stark said. “”We have about 340 kids in our after-school program. “With a few exceptions, they stay at their schools.”

The YMCA also operates an accredited pre-kindergarten program in the former Diehl’s Restaurant house, also on Carl’s Lane.”We are licensed for 58 children,” Stark said. “We are maxed out with four-year-olds.

“It’s free to parents. We do it in collaboration with the Board of Education. The county pays us.

“We have three classrooms — two of twenty each and one with eighteen.

“During the summer, the day school is out, we start camp the next day.”

At Camp High-Tor, she said, “we average about 220 kids a day, from seven in the morning till six in the evening.

“We go from kids in kindergarten to sixteen-year-olds. Five-year-olds to fifth grade are in ‘Adventure Camp.’ Then they transition to ‘Counselors in Training.’ Then they transition into ‘Leaders-in-Training.'”

A hot lunch and two snacks are served to campers. “And we rotate them throughout the day,” she added, “with group games, arts & crafts, sing-alongs, and pool time. They stay busy all day long.”

“We don’t turn anybody away for inability to pay,” she said. The camp is fully licensed by the state, and parents unable to afford the cost may qualify for assistance.

If that fails, the YMCA keeps a financial assistance fund. “We have a very confidential process for application, and we have a sliding scale where we can reduce our fees,” she said.

“The YMCA does not turn anybody away for inability to pay — whether you want childcare, whether you want to use the pools, whether you want your child to take swim lessons or play soccer.”

Rotary President Cyndee Adkins (right) chats with Tri-County Y Director Cathy Stark.
Rotary President Cyndee Adkins (right) chats with Tri-County Y Director Cathy Stark.
Judith R. Hurd (Appalachian Power) was the guest today of Rotarian Brandon Porter.
Judith R. Hurd (Appalachian Power) was the guest today of Rotarian Brandon Porter.

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Sam Sentelle


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