Published: Feb 23, 2013 07:00 PM
Modified: Feb 22, 2013 01:32 PM
An open letter to the Chapel Hill-Carrboro YMCA Board of Directors,
First, I thank you for your service. I write as a former Y board member (1985-1991) and Y board president (1989-91). I was an active Y member, racquetball player and frequent Y volunteer for 25 years. My kids went to Camp Clearwater during the summers. My husband and I have made donations to Y capital campaigns and we annually contribute to the scholarship fund.
The Y has been an important part of our family life. To this day, when anyone asks me about the Y, I highly praise your work with children, including the daycare at Carol Woods, Project Boomerang and the well-regarded after school program.
Some of my Y friends recently made me aware of your decision to convert the racquetball and handball courts to exercise rooms. It would be a terrible shame for the Y to close these courts. They are the only racquetball-handball courts in this entire community available to those of us who are not university employees or students. Perhaps a hundred different people play there on a regular basis.
Even more disturbing is that this decision was made, I am told, without consulting court users. Furthermore, I am told, when some Y members came to a board meeting to speak, they were told the meeting was closed to Y members.
These actions were very unfortunate. The Chapel Hill-Carrboro YMCA has ALWAYS been a member organization. Of course members should be allowed to attend and observe board meetings. Furthermore, it is contrary to the spirit of the Y and just plain bad public relations practice to decide to eliminate the courts – a major Y facility – without consultation with the racquetball-handball community.
Open public discourse and a willingness to hear others’ viewpoints are prized traditions in the Chapel Hill community. The Y board also has the duty of preserving its positive image as a COMMUNITY agency, so that it can continue to be a strong contender for support from agencies such as United Way as well as individual donors.
When I was an active board member and volunteer, one of our taglines was, “The Y is for everyone.” It is still a good one.
Thank you again for your volunteer service.Rosemary Waldorf is a former mayor of Chapel Hill.
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