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YMCA forms partnership with local Fellowship of Christian Athletes

The Alexandria Area YMCA and Fellowship of Christian Athletes have signed a "letter of intent" that will forge a long-term relationship between the two local non-profit organizations.

The YMCA is in the midst of an $8,885,000 capital campaign to construct a 56,000 square foot facility that will include a child care center, gymnasium, aquatic center, health and wellness center, walking/jogging track, aerobic studio, men's and women's locker rooms, special needs locker rooms, nursery, social lounge, outdoor field space and much more. To date, the YMCA has raised more than $6.5 million toward their goal.

The partnership between the YMCA and FCA was an attractive relationship for YMCA leaders over the course of the past few months.

YMCA leaders realized from information gathered in the developmental and feasibility studies that the Christian emphasis of the YMCA was critical to community and business leaders and the community as a whole.

With similarities in mission and philosophy, the decision to become more progressive with discussions between the two organizations to form a significant partnership was placed on the fast track recently.

The agreement will provide Fellowship of Christian Athletes with a 120-square-foot office space that will house executive director, Rick Lenarz. A monthly rental fee has been agreed upon in exchange for FCA staff assisting the YMCA with Christian values implementation in its facilities and programs.

"We are very pleased to have established a formal partnership with Fellowship of Christian Athletes," said Eric Rice, YMCA board chair.

"Although YMCA facilities and programs are available to everyone regardless of religious affiliation, it is important for this YMCA to acknowledge its Christian heritage and ensure the presence of Christian values in our facilities and programs where applicable"

"The faith-based community of Alexandria and the surrounding area will ensure that our YMCA will make a concerted effort to acknowledge the strong Christian heritage of the Young Men's Christian Association" said YMCA executive director Jeff Bartholomew. "We look forward to a strong working relationship with FCA and strengthening both organizations based on our partnership."

"We are excited about this partnership and feel that it's not only a 'win-win' for both organizations, but for Alexandria and the surrounding communities," said FCA executive director Rick Lenarz. "It is clear that the YMCA is focused on meeting the needs of this area and understands the importance of strengthening Christian values here in our communities.

"The Bible teaches us that 'two are stronger than one' [Ecclesiastes 4:9], and we feel this partnership will be an example of that strength," Lenarz added.

"The kids are the winners in this partnership." said Larry Novotny, Central Minnesota FCA board chair. "More programs/events with Christian-based values will only serve to strengthen their foundation as they grow. Having younger children ourselves, my wife and I are always looking for quality programs in which our kids can participate. This meets the goal, and more."

The Alexandria Area YMCA began as a vision of community leaders in 2003. Their dream was to provide quality recreational programs for kids, families and seniors in the area. The YMCA was chartered as part of the YMCA of the USA in 2006.

The YMCA of the USA is the national resource office for the nation's 2,663 YMCAs, which serve nearly 20.2 million people each year, including 9.4 million children younger than the age of 18.

Through a variety of programs and services focused on the holistic development of children and youth, health and well-being for all, and family strengthening. YMCAs unite men, women and children of all ages, faiths, backgrounds, abilities and income levels.