At LaPorteCountyLife.com we are in the business of good news. This article starts with some not so good news. Vandals hit the La Porte County Family YMCA's Haunted Trail set up late Wednesday afternoon, doing enough damage to force the cancellation of the event. By 8 AM the next morning, Executive Director Cindy Berchem and La Porte Mayor Blair Milo were on the phone strategizing. Using the mayor and the Y's extensive Facebook audience, the plea was made for volunteers to gather on Friday morning to reassemble the trail for the enjoyment of the community.
Mayor Milo shared the following on her Facebook page:
"WE NEED YOUR HELP! Yesterday the LaPorte County Family YMCA's Haunted Trail was thoughtlessly vandalized by some absolutely ridiculous individuals to the point where the YMCA did not think they were going to be able to still have it. After talking with their team, if we can get at least 25 volunteers out tomorrow starting at 8 AM to their Andrew Ave facility to help put it back together so that it can still take place tomorrow night. They'll also need some assistance in the evening since they've lost some of their previously scheduled volunteers who thought it was cancelled. Let's roll up our sleeves and show that La Porte is better than this and that the selfish and thoughtless acts of a few will not overcome the goodwill and hard work of the many who support good family events like the Haunted Trail. This event is their largest family participation event of the year, with good, clean fun for all. Let's show that we're better than this. The more folks who can help the quicker and better the job gets done."
In the true spirit of goodness, 50 plus volunteers showed up and are rebuilding the trail as this article is being written!
La Porte Y Executive Director Cindy Berchem expressed her gratitude to the community and praised all for letting the power of GOOD prevail. She shared the following from an e-mail to her staff about what it means to be a part of the Y:
"From every negative situation, I always try to find a positive and I think we truly did get a positive message from what happened yesterday. All day was a series of one phone call after another needing attention and often times, a redirection of our planning. I know yesterday was stressful and I can say the worst phone call I got was from Ben telling me of the vandalism after our group worked so hard setting things up and everyone else that was not part of the setting up were working hard filling in the gaps that opened yesterday. So what can we take from this that is a positive? First, we have an incredible team. Many of you are new to the Y but you have stepped up and pushed beyond what is normally expected to make sure that we continue to serve our members and our community. Secondly, if you have not done so, take a moment to read through the Facebook comments that were posted under the post about cancelling the Haunted Trail. People really do you know what we (what YOU) do to make our community a better place. I was touched by the people that apologized to our staff for what happened to us. Even more uplifting is the support we are going to get tomorrow to make this event happen. Working at the Y is something so much bigger and so much more special than your typical 9 to 5 job. It's about the Y family you are a part of, it's about the kids and families and seniors you are going to impact, it's about the hugs from kids, the parents thanking you for teaching their child to swim or take a minute to read them a book when you are at the Center, or build their confidence the first time they score a goal or shoot a basket and it's about our community appreciating what we do and stepping up to help make a wrong a right."
The Y will be hosting a Family Fun Night at their 901 Michigan Avenue building from 6 PM – 8 PM on Friday October 25 with games, trick or treating, crafts, open swim and lots of cool costumes. Bring a treat bag for gathering treats and a towel and swim suit if you want to swim. This event is FREE and open to the community. Also this evening the Y will have its Haunted Trail at their Andrew Avenue Outdoor Education and Recreation Center from 7 PM – 9 PM with a suggested donation of $1 per person with proceeds benefiting the Y Scholarship Fund.
Cindy Berchem summed it up best, "We made lemonade out of lemons!"