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The organization seeks to raise $154,500 to fund a summer educational day camp for Clallam County children of middle school age.
The kickoff event will be held from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Clallam County YMCA, 302 S. Francis St.
It will include food, a bounce house and competitions for fundraising teams.
Kyle Cronk, chief executive officer of the Olympic Peninsula YMCA, spoke to about 50 members of the Port Angeles Regional Chamber of Commerce on Monday, outlining the history and mission of the YMCA and some of the many programs offered by the organization.
“Our mission is to put Christian principles into practice for mind, body and spirit,” Cronk said.
The YMCA needs donations so that it can fulfill its mission and offer the kind of programs that the Port Angeles area youths need, he said.
“Membership dues keep the lights on,” Cronk said, adding that more funding is needed for programs.
During the Power of Community Campaign, which will end April 4, teams of volunteers will call family, friends, co-workers and other people they know to ask for a contribution to the YMCA.
The fundraiser, which raised $152,600 in 2012, supports the six-week FUNdamentals summer program, held at Roosevelt Elementary School, 106 Monroe Road, for students in the sixth, seventh and eighth grades, he said.
FUNdamentals began in 2011 with a 30-student pilot program, several AmeriCorps volunteer instructors and lesson plans that include using balancing boards to improve student self-confidence and tie physical tasks, such as gardening, with academic learning.
The program is supported by the Port Angeles Education Foundation, Port Angeles School District, the Clallam County Literacy Council and First Step Family Support Center.
Students from any district in the area are welcome to register for FUNdamentals, but transportation can only be provided to students in the Port Angeles area.
In 2012, FUNdamentals provided summer classes for 74 at-risk middle school students, both self-selected and nominated by parents, teachers and peers, and resulted in major educational gains among students who struggled in school, Cronk said.
Those gains included a 31 percent improvement in math skills and 22 percent improvement in reading skills, he said.
Other YMCA programs include infant and toddler tumbling classes; youth sports leagues; After the Bell, an after-school homework and play program for elementary school students; CrossFit Kids fitness classes; and enrichment classes.
Scholarships for clubs and membership are offered to students who are low-income, and all seventh-grade students are offered a free year of membership.
“No child has been turned away because of an inability to pay,” Cronk said.
Money from the campaign will go toward Clallam County programs. The Jefferson County YMCA, a branch of the Clallam agency, has its own fundraising campaign, Cronk said.
Those who want to donate can do so at www.clallamcountyymca.org, by phoning 360-452-9244 or in person at the YMCA.
Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5070, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.