Applications accepted now for YMCA grant

PORT ANGELES — Applications are being accepted now for the YMCA Spirit of Team Watson Memorial grant for the 2018-19 cycle.

Applications are due by 5 p.m. Oct. 5.

The Spirit of Team Award seeks to support Olympic Peninsula youth leaders, teachers and those who are engaged in developing programs or projects for middle school students.

The grant was developed to honor the legacy of Sequim resident Dennis Watson, who died of cancer in December 2016.

‘Deeply committed’

“Watson was deeply committed to the success of young people in the community and devoted nearly 20 years to the YMCA as a board member, volunteer, and financial supporter,” the Olympic Peninsula YMCA said in a news release.

“During his time with the Y, Dennis led the charge for the YMCA Middle School Program T.E.A.M devoted to helping eighth-graders improve their communication and team-building skills, increase their leadership, and grow as more compassionate individual,” the YMCA said.

In 2017, Stevens Middle School teachers Dan Lieberman and Brenda Manson were collectively awarded $2,500 in grant funds for their project to promote team-building, encourage inclusion and foster better communication among eighth-grade students.

“The YMCA Spirit of Team Watson Memorial Grant gave us the opportunity to think creatively about increasing school spirit, kindness and integrity amongst our students,” Lieberman said.

“It was wonderful to watch the collaboration unfold with students, teachers, and community members through this process last school year.”

Teambuilding activities

The students participated in a day of teambuilding activities organized by YMCA Grant Committee members Trudy Robbins and Michell Gentry, Stevens teachers, and local AmeriCorps members. That was followed by weekly teambuilding lessons during their advisory periods.

“For those who witnessed Dennis around kids, you know it was his passion. He could break the ice with even the most apprehensive teens, and he did so with humor and a sense of inclusion. It has been a privilege to support this initiative from the idea phase to project implementation,” said Robbins, the former Challenge Course director at Peninsula College from 1996 to 2015 and current owner of Teambuilding Solutions.

A total of $3,500 was awarded in October 2017 to help fund three projects through the fund.

Who should apply

Individuals who have a program or project idea that upholds the ideals of the Y and promotes teambuilding, encourages inclusion or fosters good communication are encouraged to apply.

More information and the application is at

Additionally, community members are invited to provide a donation to sustain the fund.

Individuals can learn more about the fund and grant by visiting the Olympic Peninsula YMCA website at www.olympic or by calling 360-452-9244.


Terry Ward, publisher of the Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum, serves on the Olympic Peninsula YMCA board of directors.

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