By Deron Johnston
The Municipality of North Grenville has entered into what may turn out to be a historic Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the YMCA of Eastern Ontario (YMCA). The MOU was approved unanimously at the council meeting of May 21 and will last from May 2019 to October 2019. YMCA CEO Rob Adams was at the meeting to make a presentation to council and stayed for the vote and a group photo with council to commemorate this important moment.
The MOU states that the YMCA of Eastern Ontario would assume delivery and operation of the North Grenville summer camps program. The camps will now be moved from their traditional location at the North Grenville Municipal Centre (NGMC) to Riverside Park and the Pvt. Blake Williamson Memorial Hall (the old fire hall) on Reuben Street. According to the MOU, “The YMCA will cover such costs including staff salaries, general maintenance relating to program operations, promotions and sales, necessary tenant & liability insurance and administrative expenses”.
In exchange for its services, the YMCA will receive a management fee of $7500 and North Grenville will be responsible for covering any operating losses. The YMCA has drafted a preliminary budget and anticipates an initial shortfall of approximately $1800. Municipal staff will be directed to work with the YMCA to identify opportunities to find operational savings and to increase camp revenues. The YMCA will also need to provide an operating budget and management plan before the official start of the agreement.
There are a number of advantages to this agreement for North Grenville. One of them is that it frees up the different rental spaces (that the camps used to occupy) at the NGMC for other rental opportunities. This means more potential rental revenue for the municipality.
Another is that it will no longer require municipal staff (particularly the Recreation Coordinator) to manage and oversee the summer camps and they can go on to do other work that would be beneficial to the municipality. There is even a possibility of YMCA subsidies to increase access to the summer camps for families who might otherwise not be able to afford them.
All of the summer staff that have been hired to date by the municipality will retain their positions and continue to be paid by the municipality until they eventually become employees of the YMCA when the MOU is fully implemented. The YMCA will also provide additional training for these new employees that will help them provide improved care for kids of all ages and abilities who are attending the camps.
The YMCA will report back to council on the successes and challenges of the program and recommend any necessary changes for the future. Both parties hope that this partnership will be a successful one that could lead to further collaboration in other areas. The YMCA is known as a leading provider of a wide range of services including licenced child-care services, recreation, fitness, wellness, children’s programs and youth leadership.