BUCKHANNON – The Stockert Youth & Community Center Board discussed a potential partnership with the Upshur County Recreation Complex this week.
At the SYCC Board’s meeting Monday afternoon, board members and Mitchell Shaw, president of the board of directors for the Upshur County Recreation Complex, spoke about their shared goals for adding recreation and exercise in the community.
Upshur County Recreation Complex, Inc., is a private nonprofit corporation whose goal is to develop a full-scale recreation complex aimed at enhancing the quality of life for local people, according to its Facebook page.
SYCC offers youth sports program, including basketball, drill team, karate as well as some classes for adults like cardio kickboxing, Zumba and yoga. Shaw emphasized he didn’t want to step on SYCC’s toes in any way.
“I can’t stress it enough that we do not want to take anything away from Stockert,” Shaw said. “Our intent and our mission from the get-go has always been a full-fledged recreation complex that encompasses not just us, but all ages up to and including adults, so our mission and our goal has always been to facilitate recreation across the entire community.”
Shaw said he and Mayor Robbie Skinner started to discuss a partnership because the two entities are currently competing for donations and funding to build the full-scale rec complex in the Upshur County Recreation Complex’s case, and a multi-purpose gymnasium/auditorium via SYCC’s capital campaign.
“We do have similar goals and missions and we have limited resources here in Upshur County – there’s only so many people that we can reach out to donate – and when you get down to the brass tacks of it, we’re reaching out those same people to basically provide funds for very similar missions,” Shaw said. “That being said, our intent and our purpose is never to take anything away from Stockert; we would never want Stockert to go away because what you guys do for this community is paramount.”
Shaw said their biggest obstacle has been finding land to build the new facility.
“We’ve been working very hard with several different local landowners to acquire some kind of an agreement that would benefit not only the landowner but others as well because as a nonprofit, it’s hard to come up with $10,000 an acre for a facility we’re trying to build,” Shaw said.
The complex found success with several fundraisers in the past, but COVID has hampered current fundraising efforts.
“We’ve got a few successful fundraisers under our belt, but COVID-19 hindered us last year and we’ve only been established, now onto our fourth year, so we’re still fairly young and still trying to make people aware of who we are and what we’re trying to do.”
He said without a location, it has been hard to apply for grants and ask for donations.
“When it comes to grant writing and trying to get donations and stuff, many times, especially for donations, people want to know where you are going to put it before they’re going to be willing to donate,” Shaw said. “That’s been our biggest hurdle, so once we’re able to do that, I’m confident that we’ll be able to gain more traction.”
Vice President of the Board of Directors for the Upshur County Recreation Complex Keely Burnside said their mission is to build facilities for all types of recreation.
“I just want to stress, or maybe clearly define that our mission was always recreation, and not just sports, but any type of growth for the mind and body of all ages, because we don’t have a whole lot to do in our community that’s outside, unfortunately, potentially bad habits,” Burnside said.
No decisions were made regarding specifics of the partnership at Monday’s meeting, but the discussion will be ongoing, meeting attendees indicated.