By State Rep. Bruce White
As a member of the Alfond Youth and Community Center on North Street, I often stop in to walk on the track, which is above the George J. Mitchell gymnasium. Below me, I can see the three basketball courts that are utilized by both children and adults on a regular basis. I also use the Wellness Center, which has treadmills and nautilus equipment. On occasion (when I want to feel younger and tougher), I use the Gronk Zone equipment, where there are free-standing weights. But no matter when or for what purpose I am at the AYCC, I am always amazed at the amount of cars in the parking lot. It certainly demonstrates how much use this wonderful facility is getting from the community.
The Waterville Boys Club was founded in 1924 — almost 100 years ago. And it was more than 50 years ago that I was a teenager attending the Boys Club. To this day I cherish many fond memories of the club: playing basketball, swimming in the pool, battling it out with a friend at the ping-pong table, or even doing woodworking projects in the shop with Mr. Smith, our instructor, whom I still see around town once in a while.
I remember well when the Boys Club merged with the Girls Club in 1972. An addition was built oto the old club, and there was a lot of excitement because of the additional space it created. I can still see with my mind’s eye the windows overlooking the game rooms, and what a nice welcoming atmosphere it created.
After I graduated from Waterville High School in 1976, and started working at Scott Paper Co., I became involved with the United Way, which supported financially both the local YMCA and the Boys & Girls Club. In 1999, the building on North Street was opened as a combined Boys & Girls Club and YMCA — the first such in the nation. Since then it has expanded physically, as is plain to see. More importantly, however, it has grown in what it offers to families, such as offering scholarships to attend its various programs.
Since becoming a state representative, I have worked closely with the AYCC to support many activities and fundraisers. I have learned a great deal about the numerous programs the AYCC has to offer, and how the programs help provide critical services to families in our area. In fact, I regularly encourage families to stop by the AYCC to learn about what kind of assistance might be available to them. One example that comes to mind is that anyone who is on Medicare can join at no cost by using the “silver sneakers program.”
Additionally, I recently joined a committee to raise awareness of the endowments that will help to keep the AYCC and the programs in place for years to come. One way to do this is for individuals to consider including the AYCC in their estates. This is not something that relates only to the wealthy or those with large estates. In fact, for a commitment of one thousand dollars in your estate you will become a member of the AYCC Founders Club. Please contact the AYCC to find out more about joining the AYCC or to ask about being a part of the Founders Club. Together we can ensure that our community will enjoy the benefit of the Alfond Youth and Community Center for many years to come.
— Bruce White, D-Waterville, represents Maine House District 109.