Sports program wants money from the city - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Sports program wants money from the city

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ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

Albany city commissioners want more information before they decide whether to give thousands of dollars to a summer youth program.  Organizers of the National Youth Sports Program say without support from the city, the program could fizzle out.

Jesse Massey, the Liaison officer for the National Youth Sports Program is asking Albany commissioners for $15,000 to $20,000 to help keep the five week summer program alive.

"If we lose this program, we're going to lose a void within the city for the summer. There's a lot of things that can be done to help with the program that's in the city by having a place for these children to go," said Massey.

The program which serves children between 8 and 15, exercises the mind and body.

The last time the group got money from the city of Albany was in 2011, when they received $30,000. This past year, for the first time in the program's 37 year history, parents had to pay a $100 fee for their child to take part, which had a drastic impact on turnout.

"In previous years, before we had to charge, our service target was like from 350 to 500 children. Last year when we charged, we didn't have over 230," said Massey.

Commissioner Tommie Postell questioned where the money was going, saying it should not be used for salaries.

"The original idea for that program would have a lot of volunteers. There has to be some expenditures for employment, but it should not outweigh the volunteering program," said Postell.

While commissioners support the program, they want more information on the program's financial structure and what has been spent in the past.

"Well, we want to make sure that when you give to a program or project that the money is being used with the mission and purpose of the project is for. And we're not insinuating that's not the case, but we want to verify that we're being good stewards and good use of that money," said Commissioner Christopher Pike.

"The city is definitely going to have to look very long and hard at the process that's used, the projected budget, those kind of things," said Mayor Dorothy Hubbard.  She's also encouraging businesses and individuals to donate to the program.

Massey told commissioners he believes if they help fund the program, other groups and businesses will also come forward.  He also said when he saw the commission recently give the Riverquarium $150,000 he felt he had to come forward. 

Commissioners don't plan to vote on the request until they receive the information they asked for.

Across the country, only 11 of the National Youth Sports Programs exist. That's down from 238.

 

 

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