The needs of the many

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Dave Mathieson
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YMCA to begin community needs assessment

The weight room at the YMCA is a good place for Jim Campbell (left) and Trina Clarke to begin their two-month journey. Campbell, the Fundy representative for the Nova Scotia Department of Health Promotion and Protection, will be contacting local residents and businesses over the next month to develop a needs assessment for the YMCA. Come September, Clarke and the rest of the 18-member board of directors will use the needs assessment to develop a business plan for the facility. Dave Mathieson - Amherst Daily News
AMHERST - Communities not having an exorbitant amount of resources need to capitalize on the connections and commonalities within that community.
That's the message from the Nova Scotia Department of Health Promotion and Protection as it develops a needs assessment for the YMCA.
Over the next month, it will contact local homes and businesses to conduct surveys and interviews.
The phone calls and interviews will help it learn how the YMCA can best serve Cumberland County.
"The YMCA board of directors is going to be making some very important decisions in the next little while about the future of the YMCA," Jim Campbell, the Fundy representative for the Nova Scotia Department of Health Promotion and Protection, said. "Their focus needs to be clear and in order to do that, they need to know how they are presently positioned within the community and where they should be positioned within the community."

The weight room at the YMCA is a good place for Jim Campbell (left) and Trina Clarke to begin their two-month journey. Campbell, the Fundy representative for the Nova Scotia Department of Health Promotion and Protection, will be contacting local residents and businesses over the next month to develop a needs assessment for the YMCA. Come September, Clarke and the rest of the 18-member board of directors will use the needs assessment to develop a business plan for the facility. Dave Mathieson - Amherst Daily News
AMHERST - Communities not having an exorbitant amount of resources need to capitalize on the connections and commonalities within that community.
That's the message from the Nova Scotia Department of Health Promotion and Protection as it develops a needs assessment for the YMCA.
Over the next month, it will contact local homes and businesses to conduct surveys and interviews.
The phone calls and interviews will help it learn how the YMCA can best serve Cumberland County.
"The YMCA board of directors is going to be making some very important decisions in the next little while about the future of the YMCA," Jim Campbell, the Fundy representative for the Nova Scotia Department of Health Promotion and Protection, said. "Their focus needs to be clear and in order to do that, they need to know how they are presently positioned within the community and where they should be positioned within the community."
YMCA managing director Trina Clarke agrees.
"The needs assessment will help us see what direction we need to be moving in. We'll see what the needs are, what we're doing well and what we could be offering that we're not," Clarke said.
The needs assessment comes in three parts.
"We'll have a public survey, a past and present member survey and we'll be interviewing organizations in the community," Clarke added.
The survey, which lasts five to 10 minutes, is not like a Gallup pole that produces correct results 19 times out of 20.
"This is not scientific research," Campbell said. "We are simply connecting with as many people and organizations as we can and asking questions and doing some brainstorming."
The survey began last week and will continue through August.
"We realize this is a difficult time of year to do a survey," Clarke said. "But time is of the essence and we can't wait until October."
During September, the YMCA will use the information to help develop a business plan.
"The information will be vital in determining a business plan," Clarke said.
Will the information cause a revolution at the YMCA or an evolution? Campbell answers the question with a question of his own.
"Will we learn a lot that that we didn't already know? Probably not," Campbell said. "But the important thing is that we are asking the questions and they will contribute to our decisions.
"We will be talking to people most affected by the programs at they YMCA and we will probably find the answers we gather will be based purely on common sense," he added.
The YMCA sits with a full complement of 18 board members and Clarke said they are waiting for the results with "baited breath."
"I think it's going to identify a lot of the areas where we let opportunities slip through the cracks and it will give us a good base to build on," Clarke said. "I think it will be a real eye opener."

dmathieson@amherstdaily.com

Organizations: YMCA, Nova Scotia Department of Health Promotion, Daily News

Geographic location: Cumberland County

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