YMCA offers progams in Pike County

Published 12:00 am Sunday, December 26, 1999

Staff Writer

Dec. 25, 1999 11 PM

Members of the Troy Rotary Club learned what YMCA has to offer local youth when the agency’s marketing director spoke at the group’s luncheon meeting Tuesday.

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Sam Adams, who also serves as youth program director at the Montgomery YMCA, said YMCA has had programs in Pike County for the past 10 years, but many people are not familiar with the organization’s work here because it targets youth.

Adams’ talk was sponsored by Troy Rotarians Don Pitts and Ronny Pinkard.

Besides his position with Montgomery YMCA, Adams works with the agency’s programs in Pike County.

A Pike County native, Adams received his bachelor of science from Troy State University this year.

He has been president of the Pike County YMCA board, on the Pike County YMCA Volunteer Staff and coordinator of youth programs. He was a delegate to the Youth Legislature Conference on National Affairs and 1997 Volunteer of the Year for Pike County YMCA.

Adams said YMCA’s main work in Pike County involves the Youth in Government program.

Its goal is to teach young people how important government is in their lives, he said. Part of this program is the YMCA-sponsored Youth Legislature that meets in Montgomery once a year. Student delegates bring bills they’ve researched about problems they think need to be solved on the state level, Adams said.

Students learn a lot from the Youth Legislature. Delegates learn how to identify problems and the steps that need to be taken to solve them, how to present an issue to people so they see it the same way they do, and how to network and socialize.

Several laws eventually passed by the Alabama Legislature, including this session’s mandatory seatbelt law, were first passed by the Youth Legislature, he said.

One local delegate to Youth Legislature, Meredith May, spoke to Rotarians about her experience with the program.

"YMCA’s Youth in Government program has helped me with my public speaking and self-confidence," May said.

She said that as part of the program she has spent three days each school year debating governmental issues.

"The experience has helped me pursue my leadership abilities and broaden my horizons," she said. "I understand more viewpoints now and have gotten to know more different people.

"You can tell someone has really gained from the experience when a 15- or 16-year-old can understand C-Span, and I can."

May added Youth Legislature is an outstanding program, and she asked Rotarians to encourage their children to participate in it.

Besides Youth Legislature, YMCA sponsors a County Government Day where students can shadow elected officials and learn about government, Adams said.

"Local government is where the rubber meets the road," he said. "Services like sanitation and utilities offered by county governments are the cornerstone of the community."

Adams said YMCA’s the Youth in Government program and County Government Day provide an opportunity to teach students, and these are two of thousands of programs the organization sponsors.

YMCA would like to expand its program offerings in Pike County, he said. He encouraged Rotarians to make YMCA part of their charitable giving and referred them to Pike County Probate Judge Bill Stone for more information on contributing to YMCA programs.

"We want YMCA programs to help build strong families and strong communities in Pike County," Adams added.