Vasquez said he felt the exclusion was a form of discrimination against the young athletes, who were predominantly minorities.
Holt refuted that assessment, emphasizing that the YMCA doesn’t turn anybody away, regardless of their ability to pay.
Before his tenure, teens were allowed to walk in without parental authorization. Not anymore.
Holt said they must now fill out papers and, if they’re underage, have parental consent.
“We would never turn a family away,” Holt said.
Board President Roger Koll also called rumors spread by detractors that gymnastics programming was being cut “flat-out false.”
“We’re not cutting down gymnastics; it’s a core program and it’s growing,” he said.
Holt’s detractors also say they’ve been blocked from bringing their concerns and complaints before the board of directors — a practice the chief executive says is standard policy since board members aren’t involved in the day-to-day operation of the facility.
“I can tell you of one time where a group wanted to come and address concerns at a board meeting,” Holt said. “That’s not how the board works. That’s not the purpose of the board. However, my office is always open to individuals who have concerns.”
Concerns about programming appeared to be nonexistent among the nearly two dozen members outside the YMCA Thursday afternoon. All but one of the 22 people who were asked to assess the nonprofit gave glowing reviews.
“I’ve been a member of gyms like Gold’s and 24 Hour Fitness,” Craig Rose said. “In no other gym do I feel a more sense of community than I do at this YMCA....The people are very nice and the programs they offer are outstanding.”
Member Grant Housley, whose sons are involved in programs at the YMCA, echoed those sentiments.
“We have been coming here for about seven years, and they have a lot of great programs for the kids, as well as great programs for the seniors and for women,” he said. “The staff treats us well, and it’s just a nice place to come to.”