YMCA may offer new program Irwin in parks
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Officers of the Wilmerding YMCA are seeking contributions from businesses and clubs in the Norwin School District area to pay for a summer recreation program in Irwin parks.
They want Irwin council to endorse the six-week recreation program and allow it to be held in the parks.
The Norwin area hasn't had its own YMCA for nearly six years, and about 5 percent of the Wilmerding YMCA's total adult membership is from Irwin, North Huntingdon and nearby areas of Westmoreland County.
Michelle Gess, Wilmerding YMCA associate director, said she and executive director Scott Heasley have been contacting businesses and foundations to raise money for the sessions, which could cost $6,000.
At Irwin council's February voting meeting, Mr. Heasley said parents might be charged a nominal fee for their children's participation in the program.
"If we raise enough funding, we may not charge parents anything," Mrs. Gess said Tuesday.
If Irwin council approves the program, the YMCA could offer a five-day-a-week, six-week program in Irwin, she said.
Mr. Heasley said activities in the Irwin summer session could include organized basketball, dek hockey, kickball, relay races and art.
Last year, students from the University of Pittsburgh provided a science program during the Wilmerding YMCA summer camp, and they are interested in providing it in Irwin this year, Mrs. Gess said.
Pitt's science van also might be able to visit. In addition, students from Chatham University are interested in presenting a sports program in Irwin parks, Mrs. Gess said.
The Wilmerding YMCA plans to provide a summer program for Swissvale children. The Swissvale Rotary has pledged $1,000 to the YMCA for such a program. This will be the first year it is offered.
The Norwin area hasn't had its own YMCA since the national organization revoked the charter of Oak Hollow YMCA in North Huntingdon in spring 2006 after members there removed the board of directors and installed interim leaders.
Norwin School District provided a summer recreation program in Irwin Park and the North Huntingdon parks until a couple of years ago, an Irwin spokeswoman said.
The Wilmerding YMCA has 6,000 members, mostly from North Versailles, East McKeesport and Turtle Creek. About 125 to 130 of its adult members are from North Huntingdon, Irwin, Ardara and Westmoreland City, Mrs. Gess said.
Irwin manager Mary Benko said council will not vote on the YMCA proposal this month and no timetable has been set for a vote.
First Published March 7, 2013 5:17 am