Reacting to the YWCA's recently announced "Change of Focus," other writers clearly expressed collective shock that members had no voice in the decision and that 13 employees lost jobs.
Apparently the "change" edict was final and irreversible when it was divulged. The question remains why? YWCA members appreciate the need for social services in the community. If financial problems forced the board to reorganize priorities, membership may have been helpful in identifying a less extreme solution than dismissing members and draining the pool.
In losing fitness members, the YWCA is losing over $400 per member per year in revenue. Pool maintenance is expensive, but how will the YWCA finance social missions without membership income? One might conclude the YWCA board will focus on programs for which government subsidies are available. If so, financing future existence is risky, particularly in the current economic climate.
If finances were not the issue, the directional change is even more confusing. Why are no logical explanations offered? As a recipient of United Way funds, should there be an explanation to the community? Is this the way to demonstrate empowerment? Dismayed YWCA members are seeking new workout facilities and many will discontinue donating hours of volunteer service to RSVP. On the bright side, YWCA swimmers are a dedicated, resilient group that wants to remain together. Who else would shovel the driveway and travel icy streets for a morning swim? We might even find a facility that provides warm showers.
Diane Schwelle, Bloomington