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Y kicks off Priceless Gifts campaign
01.30 Y priceless gifts
Effingham YMCA board members and staff are ready for “Mission: Possible.” - photo by Photo by Pat Donahue

The Effingham YMCA considers their Priceless Gifts campaign to be a mission possible.

The Y kicked off its annual campaign Thursday morning to raise money for its scholarship program, which last year allowed more than 500 people to take part in Y programs and activities.

“No one has ever been turned away,” said campaign chairman Tim Coleman, chief executive officer of Coastal Concrete.

The Y offers full and partial scholarships for prospective members and last year provided more than $100,000 in assistance. The YMCA of Coastal Georgia, which covers four counties, provided nearly $2.25 million in scholarships, according to Coleman.

This year’s campaign goal is $50,000.

“It’s a tough environment to raise funds in,” Coleman said.

But the Y hopes to hit its goal between now and March 24 when the drive ends. As part of the effort, the Y is holding its Priceless Gifts gala dinner Feb. 28 at JCB in Pooler, complete with comedian James Gregory. Ticket sales will be limited to 300.

“JCB has an amazing facility with a theater,” Coleman said.

The Feb. 28 gala also will have a silent and a live auction.

“It’s going to be a fun, big event,” Effingham Y Executive Director Kim Dennis said.

The Y’s programs not only include what it offers at its 32,000 square foot facility in Rincon but also its Y on Wheels and a twice-a-week fitness class for senior citizens in Springfield.

“The Y is so unique in that it has a list of programs,” Coleman said. “If families come in, there’s childcare for the kids. There’s things for the teens to do.”

The Y’s pool and sprayground has become one of its most popular features, especially as the weather warms up. Its swimming lessons too have become increasingly popular.

“Prior to that, the only swimming instruction was done in backyard pools,” Dennis said.

Y board members and staff donned sunglasses and took on the guises of secret agents to start the campaign, with the theme of “Mission: Possible.”

“The mission of the YMCA is to put Christian principles in practice through programs that build a healthy spirit, mind and body for all,” Coleman said to the Y board of directors and staff. “We want to see our mission continue to enrich the lives of the community and make sure everyone has an opportunity to participate.”