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The Y is one of the nation's leading nonprofits, strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Across the U.S., 2,687 Ys engage 21 million men, women and children — regardless of age, income or background — to nurture the potential of children and teens, improve the nation's health and well-being, and provide opportunities to give back and support neighbors. Anchored in more than 10,000 communities, the Y seeks to deliver, lasting personal and social change.


Lakes area Recreation is a Joint Powers Agreement formed in 1989 between the Alexandria School District 206, city of Alexandria, LaGrand Township and Alexandria Township. Twelve other cities and townships also financially invest in the mission of LAR. Douglas County also is a partner by providing reduced rent in the Douglas County Service Center.

The Alexandria Area YMCA and Lakes Area Recreation (LAR) have reached an agreement to work together on youth programs.

The two groups, which have offered separate but often competing programs in the past, announced the historic agreement Wednesday.

Starting this fall, the YMCA and Lakes Area Recreation staff will jointly develop a "progressive program curriculum" and will work together to provide quality youth programs in the community, according to the recreation leaders.

YMCA will provide programming in baseball, football and basketball in grades pre-kindergarten through kindergarten, and LAR will focus on 1st through 3rd grades, and beyond in some cases.

"Lakes Area Recreation staff are very pleased to enter into a programming agreement with the Alexandria Area YMCA, knowing it will help to prevent confusion for parents and allow each organization to offer quality, unduplicated programs," said Bryon Alstead, LAR board chair.

The needs of the community have changed and the YMCA and LAR have and

will remain a central means to meeting them, said the two organizations.

"We've always known that positive change only comes about when we invest in our kids, our

health and our neighbors," said Brent Boraas, YMCA board chair. "We hope this will provide greater clarity for program participants and strengthen the YMCA and Lakes Area Recreation."

YMCA and LAR leaders say they're committed to jointly programming and executing quality program curriculum for each sports program. The YMCA and LAR will collectively market these programs through print and online materials to share program opportunities with kids and families in the community.

"The time was right to do what was in the best interest of recreation in our community," said

Jeff Bartholomew, YMCA executive director.

Lakes Area Recreation Director, Fritz Bukowski agreed, "This agreement will provide the framework for LAR and the YMCA to work closer together and support the efforts of one another."

Both organizations will start the combined fall program season with youth flag football, beginning on Saturday, September 7.

To register for YMCA programs, participants will continue to register via the YMCA website or at the YMCA. LAR program participants will register via the LAR website or in person at the LAR office. For more information on YMCA and LAR programming, visit or

For information on YMCA youth sports programs, call (320) 834-9622. For information on

LAR youth sports programs, call (320) 762-2868.

Al Edenloff
Al Edenloff is the news and opinion page editor for the Echo Press. He was born in Alexandria and lived most of his childhood in Parkers Prairie. He graduated with honors from Moorhead State University with a degree in mass communications, print journalism. He interned at the Echo Press in the summer of 1983 and was hired a year later as a sports reporter. He also worked as a news reporter/photographer. Al is a four-time winner of the Minnesota Newspaper Association's Herman Roe Award, which honors excellence in editorial writing.  
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