The YMCA of Dane County has informed the members of the YDC United swim team their program is being relocated from the Lussier Family West YMCA facility to other facilities across town.
The announcement is being met with concern by parents of the approximately 300 children participating in the swim team program. Some parents say they enrolled their children in the program earlier this year because the Westside YMCA was located near their homes and made it possible for them to get their kids to practices on time.
“We set up our life so that our kids can have these opportunities,” says Kristen Velyvis, a parent of a child in the program.
Velyvis says she was surprised by the announcement by the YMCA of Dane County.
“My first reaction was very individual. I thought how am I going to make this work and then my husband was like, it is not going to work,” says Velyvis.
Joe Plautz has two children participating in the program, but says the logistics will likely force them to quit the program. He says the new schedule calls for his kids to practice at the eastside YMCA at 4 p.m. His kids don’t get out of school until 3:20 in the afternoon and having them in the pool across town 40 minutes later presents a problem.
“It means that we can’t go to the eastside because it is just not possible for us,” says Plautz.
The YMCA of Dane County issued a statement in response to concerns voiced by the parents. It said:
“In preparing for the 2014 budget year the Y had difficult decisions to make and its priorities need to be on all 25,000 kids and adults they serve.”
President and CEO of the YMCA of Dane County says, “We heard from some swim team parents that we have plans to stop offering swim team after April 1 and I guarantee that is simply not true. We will continue to meet the needs of kids and families in this community that fits our core programming.”
It went on to state: “Swim is a core program but the priority at the Y is the youth development programs. The competitive programs like swim team and Tri County Basketball will continue, but as in all healthy Y’s pool and gym time are business challenges as they tend to be the highest demand.”
Parents of swim team members say they are disappointed the move to another facility is coming during the middle of their season and doesn’t afford them the opportunity to seek an alternative program.
“It is not fair to children that they should commit and the organization they commit to isn’t going to commit back to them,” says Velyvis.