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Y turns to programming

With its Founders Campaign behind it, the YMCA of Harrison County is beginning to focus more on other things, including programming.
At its meeting Aug. 7, the Y’s board of directors heard a presentation on racquetball and Tae Kwon Do.
Barry Stewart of Brandenburg, president of the Kentucky State Racquetball Association, said he learned about the efforts to build a wellness-recreational facility in Harrison County through a story in The Meade Co. Messenger.
After seeing that the proposed facility lacked racquetball courts, he contacted Catherine Turcotte, president of the local YMCA board.
Stewart, a member of the Louisville YMCA for about 10 years and a volunteer program coordinator there for three years, said that Y makes enough money from its courts to help pay for replacement of light bulbs and other maintenance.
He said racquetball is an “inexpensive” sport. “It doesn’t take much, a racquet and a rubber ball,” Stewart said. “It’s an easy sport to get into, easy to learn how to play.”
Nationally, there are six million racquetball players.
“They have all age groups, from little kids to seniors,” Stewart said. “It’s a lot of fun.”
A one-hour game of racquetball, which was invented in 1949 at a YMCA, provides a workout equivalent to running two miles.
Many Y’s now build courts that are wheel-chair accessible, Stewart said, and the courts, located in a 20- by 40-foot room, can be used for other things, such as yoga, Tae Kwon Do and other martial arts, and muscle stretching.
“I think you’ll find if you put this in your facility, you’ll attract people to the room,” he said.
Stewart, an engineer by trade, offered to help with the facility, “even if it doesn’t have racquetball. I believe in the Y.”
Tom Crecelius of Milltown, who runs the Ohio Valley Tae Kwon Do School there, said his students range in age from five years old to 96, he said.
No special equipment is needed for Tae Kwon Do.
Also attending last week’s Y meeting was Sam Christie, a board member for the Gerdon Youth Center in Corydon. The two organizations will continue to work together to help ensure services and programs aren’t duplicated.
“You were an inspiration to us,” Turcotte told Christie about Furthering Youth Inc., which started the youth center. “It’s been a nice relationship since the beginning,” which included YMCA volunteers, then Sink or Swim members, sprucing up the youth center as part of Wal-Mart’s “Make-A-Difference Day.”
Cheryl Oliver gave this month’s “YMCA testimonial,” telling how a young woman turned her life around, thanks to her employment with a YWCA.
“We’ve talked about what it’s like to belong to a Y,” Turcotte said. “It’s nice to hear what it’s like to work for a Y.”
In other matters, several reports were made:
* Turcotte said anyone interested in programs should contact Tuula Van Gaasbeek, the program committee chair. `