The Fayette County YMCA will not be hosting a summer day camp this year due to a pattern of operational losses. According to Dawn Oparah, a YMCA board member, a task force has been formed to examine what types of programs should be offered at the facility.
“There will not be a day camp this summer,” Oparah said Tuesday. She said campers had already been informed of the decision last week. The summer camp program had been operating at a deficit for years, Oparah said, so the decision was made to suspend it for at least one summer and reevaluate.
“It’s been losing money for the last 10 years. This was a decision made that we will take this year off and we’ll look at, if we are going to do camp there, how we’re going to make it more viable so we’re not losing money,” Oparah said.
She noted that many campers are on scholarship and that the summer camp operations had been subsidized “in one way or another,” but that donations had not been sufficient to allow the summer program to break even.
“Every year we have a campaign where we ask the community for money. We knock on doors of local people to ask if they will make donations and that’s how we [get] scholarships for kids. Some of the money comes from Fayette County donors, but the donations aren’t as high as they could be.”
Oparah said campers were informed that the Summit YMCA in Newnan would try to accommodate them, and she said around a third of the prospective Fayette campers had shown interest in that.
The suspension of the summer program does not mean the facility will be completely shuttered, Oparah said.
“There will be some programs, it’s not just ‘close the doors.’ I think there will be a transition,” Oparah said. “Sometimes you have to stop and regroup. Operationally it made sense.”
She said the task force of Fayette County residents will examine how to proceed with programs at the facility on Huiet Road. The summer program has been unable to attract enough campers to make it financially viable.
“It’s a big operation. There’s a sweet spot in terms of how many campers you have to have to break even or be profitable and it has been nowhere near that for a very long time. You don’t want it bleeding red over and over again. That’s just not good fiscal responsibility,” Oparah said.