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3 groups contemplate merger

February 14, 2013

Three community groups are considering a merger to allow better service to the community. Talks on a potential merger were announced Tuesday by STEP In....

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Feb-14-13 6:37 AM

Here's my question. What's the purpose of this merger?

Did anyone see any white kids in that picture? I'm not trying to sound racist at all. My point by asking that is that the Center that they keep finding a way to put into the news, caters to one group of kids basically and that's it. So it makes me wonder if STEP who offers a wide variety of assistance programs to the citizens here, are going to start "catering" to that group and not others as well. I apologize if this comes across offensively, I don't mean it that way. I don't necessarily have a problem with the merger, as long as its being done for the right reasons. I don't think the Center is a bad thing, I just think it's got a very narrow view.

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Feb-14-13 9:30 AM

back @ wwhickok The answer to your question is in the article. Did you really read it before making your comment? Also do you know what the mission of STEP is? The Mission of STEP is to engage diverse individuals, families and communities in the pursuit of social and economic success. I can possibly understand why it appears to you that The Center caters to one group of kids because for the most part, many are the at risk kids, the underprivileged and those from the nearby neighborhoods of the community it serves. Many of the kids don’t participate at the YMCA or elsewhere, due to convenience of location or other reasons, such as affordability. Contrary to popular belief, the kids that participate at The Center are from all ethnic backgrounds. The Center is very diverse.... All I can say about this comment you made is….. “Ignorance is bliss!”

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Feb-14-13 9:38 AM

I can't speak for the Center of today, as I've been out of the neighborhood for the last few years. However, I can say that as a young white kid growing up a block from BD, I spent countless hours there and never once felt like an outcast or unwanted based on my skin color.

Whether it was time spent on the basketball courts, dances in the gym, playing in the indoor soccer league, my brothers, friends and I were always welcomed by the staff and volunteers. We all played Pop Warner football there and learned baseball from at Maynard Little League

It is true that after Maynard Little League disbanded fewer white families were down at the center on a regular basis, but I think that was more of an issue with finding a new league than anything else.

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Feb-14-13 9:55 AM

Yes I read it. Which is EXACTLY why I posed the question.

As for the rest of your statement, you're right, ignorance is bliss and I see a lot of it within your statement.

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Feb-14-13 9:59 AM

djz, I do agree with you about what it was like when we were kids. I actually spent a lot of time there. I spent a lot of time with Mr. Washington (his program) and it was a ton of fun. My point is not suggest that the Center doesn't serve a purpose, but what I do think is that the majority of its publicity in the recent years has suggested it helps certain kids. I haven't been there in years honestly. You may very well be correct about the Little League connection there. Again nothing about my initial statement was intended to be racist. I have never really liked where Bethune Douglas was located in recent years because of the growing # of violent incidents in the area. It has nothing to do with the kids, it has to do with the neighborhood. When it comes to this merger, I don't have a problem with it as long as it's being done for the right reasons. I'd like to know even more about the plan and the merger beyond what this article provides. That's all I'm saying.

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Feb-14-13 10:01 AM

BTW, While yes I understand what STEP represents and I think their programs are fantastic, the article DOESN'T really dive too far into the changes that the merger will create. Each individual explanation and quote of it is, imo, vague.

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Feb-14-13 10:04 AM

As a White Male, I'd also be more than willing to volunteer my time at a place like the Center as well. I don't care what kids go there, I just think it needs a more public view of diversity. That's not the view it gets. I admit my initial comment isn't stated very well, I'm not as savvy with words as apparently other people are, I apologize for that. The Center has an 'image' and I'd like that image to change for the better, but it has that image because of where it was recently located and the escalating issues in that neighborhood, imo. I discussed these opinions back when the relocation of the Center was being discussed. I was all for the Center, but also all for its relocation.

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Feb-14-13 10:21 AM

ww, I think the problem might have stemmed from your question about the pic. I have friends still in the neighborhood whose children attended the after-school program too, but the Sun Gazette just pulled a stock photo for the article.

As for the neighborhood, I feel that's exactly where the Center needs to be to do the most good. There is certainly a bad element that shows up there after hours or during b-ball events, but I'd argue they would show up regardless of the venue if their supposed beef was strong enough. Having the good influences of the Center around is one of the few proven ways we can try to stem the tide of violence that seems to be growing.

According to the article, the merger will hopefully remove some of the administrative costs/duties and allow CAPPA and the Center to focus more on the programs themselves. Sounds good to me!

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Feb-14-13 10:27 AM

Dj, I do agree. Which is what i was talking about as far as the 'public image'. I keep using the word 'group' because I really don't want to offend anyone but I think we all know what I'm saying. The photo shows 3 black kids and a black adult. I don't have a problem with this BUT I'm not sure in recent years I've ever seen a photo in regards to the Center with a white person in it. Sorta sends mixed messages as far as public image is concerned. I ABSOLUTELY agree that the neighberhood it was located in is where it's help is most needed. As a parent(this is really the stemming point of my relocation feeligns) I'm worried about safety of the neighborhood.

As far as the administration costs being reduced that's great. I also read that they want to make improvements to the programs. I guess this is the 'question area' I had as well. What improvements do they have in mind? I'm all for this merger and I understand my initial comment made it sound like I'm not, but again..

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Feb-14-13 10:28 AM

I think they've got to do a better job at the whole public image thing (SG is part of that). I don't sit around and watch little league and think about 'what groups' people belong to or anything like that. I like to see kids having fun, being involved in the community, being taught, etc. I don't care who they are, what ethnic group they're from, but the public image that keeps getting portrayed isn't very diverse.

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Feb-14-13 12:56 PM

wwhickok, regarding your latest comment..... So when I see articles in the newspaper with a photos about an event or activities at organizations such as the YMCA, YWCA or some other Community group and they only show only white kids and adults, am I supposed to think those organizations are not showing diversity? Does that send mixed messages as far as their image is concerned? You also must realize that naturally the majority of kids at the Center will be of the African-American ethnic group and possibly the only ones around for the photo at that time it was taken.

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Feb-14-13 4:59 PM

seems to be a lot of spewing coming from ww, however, i feel kind of the same way. the location the center was in the majority of that neighborhood and the kids that go there are of color. there are also black children that go to the y programs, so, the racial thing needs to end right there. williamsport has a LOT of black families in it, a lot of good black families that want their kids to do something after school fun and good.. personally i dont know what they do with the kids at any of these programs because i dont have them, but, they SHOULD be enforcing how wrong drugs, guns, shootings, sexual abuse and violence is on a daily basis because that whole area is nothing but that...

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Feb-15-13 8:55 AM

Jam, regarding your question, I'd be completely understanding if you were to develop that conclusion. As far as the other part of it..I'm not buying that. I don't think 'non-diversity' is a good thing and I WANT to see diversity in such things as the YMCA, The Center, etc, publicized. That's how I feel and that's why I made my initial comments. I apologize again if it offended anyone or came across even the slightest bit racist. I sincerely mean it when I say that's not how I intended any of my comments. But yes, I do have a problem with the continuous 'all african american photos'. I really want to know that if I'm supporting the Center, I'm supporting a diverse program. That's really what it comes down to for me.

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Feb-15-13 8:58 AM

bio, I agree and disagree with you. The 2nd half of your statement, I completely agree with. As far as the diversity issue, I'm sorry but it's an issue for me, simply because I want to see the diversity within the programs. I want to be able to SEE the diversity.

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