IRON MOUNTAIN, Mich. (WLUC) - The Northern Lights YMCA Dickinson Center began in 2010 by community members. A Founders Campaign raised $500,000 to start the YMCA program, and has rapidly grown. Since its inception, the Dickinson Center has grown from 100 members to 2,700 members with more than 50 programs available at the site.
To keep up with this growth, the YMCA is kicking off its Capital Campaign to raise money for improvements to the facilities. "It is significant, it has driven our need for today's Art of the Ask training and for our Capital Campaign. Our community is sorely in need of having a facility that is prepared for the next generation," says Jonathan Ringel, the Northern Lights YMCA Dickinson Center's Director.
The Dickinson Center is currently functioning in a building that is almost 50 years old, so it needs a number of updates to keep it an energizing space. "We are in need of pool repairs, HVAC updates, energy efficiency updates for this facility, as well as making it more inviting and engaging for our members and visitors to the community," Ringel says.
These necessary improvements are why the YMCA decided to start this Capital Campaign and hold training for more than 100 volunteer campaigners. They call the training The Art of the Ask and gives volunteers the tools to become more comfortable asking donors for money. "We will be going out into the community to do some significant fundraising and we want to ensure that all of our volunteers are comfortable with meeting with the public and prospective volunteers, and they have confidence as they head out," explains Ringel.
The Dickinson Center currently has 75 percent of its total goal through individual donations, but is hoping the final 25 percent can be raised through this Capital Campaign. The total goal will be unveiled at their campaign kickoff event on January 25.
One of the volunteer campaigners, Kimberly Webb, has been a member of the YMCA for seven years and wants the YMCA to continue to grow, which is one of the reasons why she decided to participate in the Capital Campaign.
"With this technology era, with the young, the youth and obesity it's very important to train our children and understand the importance of the lifestyle of exercise, community and also teaching them how to volunteer, to be a good volunteer, to reach out to the community and make this place a better place, but especially the YMCA."
Webb has participated in a few campaign efforts, but found this one to be very helpful. "I think the training was very informative. I think it was very important, I did learn a lot. I'm more comfortable now going to members in the community and ask for help with this campaign. It's very important," she continues.
The Dickinson Center will holding more training sessions for those who would still like to get involved. If you would like to become a volunteer campaigner, you can contact Jonathan Ringel at 906-774-4076.