History of the Winthrop Area YMCA
Through use of minutes of the early meetings of the Winthrop Area YMCA and Recreation Department this sketch history has been developed.
In late 1980 a group of Winthrop residents began the discussion of developing a full time recreation based program. The group looked to the State YMCA of Maine, whose Executive Director Douglass K. Reed and Camp Director Larry Gardella met with the group for the first time in 1980. This group explored the possibility of the Kennebec Valley YMCA conducting programs in Winthrop, and found the YMCA reluctant to operate satellite programs in Winthrop. The group worked with the Winthrop Recreation Committee and found that neither could develop and sustain a year round program. They decided that they must work in cooperation to create a position that could operate year round. The group heard of the support the State YMCA could give the Winthrop group in getting a new YMCA started in Winthrop. A survey of Winthrop residents was taken to get an idea of the direction the YMCA should take in it’s programming. The results of this survey were that the group should focus programs of the youth of the Winthrop area.
The State YMCA in an effort to begin the program offered the services of a Camp Staff person in a part-time role to lead and direct programs. In early 1981 a letter was sent to the school department asking for their support of the idea of a full-time program. The schools gave their support in allowing the use of the facilities as long as the YMCA were to abide by all school policies. The schools also made available a space in the Grade School gym as an office for the organization.
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