Youth group gives new life to old Montabella gym

By Robin Miller • Last Updated 11:43 am on Friday, April 06, 2012

More than a decade has passed since this facility was occupied as the Montabella Middle School gymnasium. Several Endeavor youths spent their spring break at the gym, tidying up and organizing. - Daily News/Robin Miller

EDMORE— The Montabella Community Schools Board of Education unanimously approved a one-year lease to Endeavor to use the gymnasium located in the Montabella Central Office facility at a special meeting last week.

The decision came at the recommendation of facilities committee members Dennis Stratton, Mike Rasmussen and Sheri Miel.

Credit references and a security deposit were secured prior to accepting the lease agreement.
The gym — which has been vacant since September 2001 when Montabella’s new middle school opened at the central site — will reopen as a community center. The Endeavor Youth and Community Development Center grand opening is May 20.

Superintendent Ron Farrell looks forward to the facility being utilized as a community center. He said vandalism and illegal entry are potential risks anytime a building is unoccupied.

“Rather than having the facility stand idle, having something that is beneficial to community at no expenditure to the district is welcomed,” Farrell said. “The one-year lease will give us an opportunity to test it out.  If it does offer some positive to the community, that’s always a good thing.”

Endeavor, located in downtown Edmore, is part of an international Christian organization to promote youth leadership.

Endeavor youths are exercising these leadership roles as they clean the premises of dust and dirt from a decade of dormancy. Plumbing work is needed before the center opens, as well as repairs to the boiler to heat the facility next winter.

“Our youth have so much to offer this community if they are given a chance,” center coordinator Julia Raglin said. “The Endeavor youth have continually stepped up and demonstrated phenomenal leadership skills. We will have many programs that are targeted toward the youth of the community and their leadership development.”

Raglin has degrees in health fitness in preventive and rehabilitative programs and nutrition. She worked at Morey Courts Recreation Center in Mount Pleasant, a community recreation facility.

“I am very excited to utilize those skills in combination with my passion for helping youth,” Raglin said.

Potential activities at the new center include Christian concerts, mentoring programs, fitness classes, camps, theater productions, family movie nights and sports clinics, leagues and tournaments.

Endeavor is seeking individuals, businesses and organizations in the surrounding communities to make a one-time donation or monthly commitment to help support the center.

“We will need to utilize many different fundraising programs,” Raglin said. “The Endeavor Youth and Community Development Center will not succeed unless we have a lasting relationship between the youth and our community. The future of the community rides on our youth. I believe wholeheartedly that by working together as a whole, we will all succeed.”

The center will announce its new website to access programs and activities at the May 20 grand opening.

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