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YMCA gala a cause for celebration

February 07, 2009|By MARIE GILBERT

HAGERSTOWN -- One of the most interesting aspects of the Hagerstown YMCA's annual gala Saturday night was the sheer variety that was packed into the event.

There was a reception, a gourmet dinner, several games of chance and an opportunity to win one of three automobiles or a Mediterranean cruise.

It also was an occasion to celebrate the local nonprofit's accomplishments over the past year and to recognize the support it receives from the community.

"Beneath the Tuscan Moon" was the theme of this year's event at Fountain Head Country Club, and all things were Italian.

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There was fine wine, a rustic Italian menu and decorations

But while guests enjoyed a party atmosphere, there was a more important reason behind the gala.

The event is the organization's largest single fundraiser, Executive Director Michael Flicek said.

Organizers were hoping to raise about $26,000.

Money from the gala will be used to support the YMCA's youth sponsorship program and also will provide memberships for individuals and families who otherwise could not afford to be part of the Y, Flicek said.

"In 2008, more than 1,100 individuals received sponsorships or scholarships to attend the YMCA," Flicek said.

"That's almost 200 more than the previous year. That's the economy."

Flicek expects that number to grow during 2009, and said proceeds from the gala will help the YMCA meet those requests.

"We're very thankful to the businesses and individuals who support this event," he said. "Even during difficult times, we've seen community support increase."

According to Ellie Doub, chairwoman of this year's gala, about 300 people were expected to attended the fundraiser.

"The gala is in its 23rd year and people continue to be very generous," she said. "We are very appreciative."

Diana Shepherd of Hagerstown won the grand prize Saturday night and probably was going to choose one of the three automobiles.

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