If you’ve got kids in school, you’ve probably received a flyer in the past for FYCC activities. But, like a lot of people, you might not know what FYCC is or what it does.
“Isn’t (FYCC) like Community Education or the Parks and Recreation or something?” St. Michael resident Jen Johnson asked while walking out of the library Tuesday.
The short answer is no.
FYCC stands for Family Youth Community Connections and according to its website, its mission is to provide safe social outlets for children and families in the St. Michael-Albertville community. It operates under the assumption that keeping families healthy means children will be healthier and the quickly growing STMA community will thus become healthier.
St. Michael Patch sat down with FYCC director, Sandy Greninger, to find out a little bit more about the organization and its inception.
“Years ago, the federal government had excess medical assistance money that they sent to the state governments who then passed it along to counties to establish a family-youth collaborative.”
Thus began the Wright County Family Service Collaborative (WCFSC) which included 16 partners, including the STMA school district. The WCFSC needed each community it served to have its own chapter and St. Michael-Albertville’s chapter became the Family Youth Community Connections (FYCC).
The STMA school district, along with the city of St. Michael, hired Greninger in 1999 to oversee the management and allocation of this money. In 2000, Albertville officially became part of the FYCC as well.
Greninger, who currently operates out of St. Michael City Hall, has always aligned her personal goals with that of the FYCC organization.
“Healthy families require healthy kids, which means healthy communities. St. Michael City Administrator Bob Derus could see my vision and supported me with it.”
Most people in the STMA community think of FYCC as the group that hosts events including the Father-Daughter Dance and Lunch With the Easter Bunny. And while that is true, those events are what Greninger calls the “fluff.”
When FYCC began it piloted programs including planning rooms in Albertville Primary School, St. Michael Elementary and the lone STMA Middle School at the time. FYCC also started the Youth Matters program which allowed struggling middle school students to stay after school to receive help with their schoolwork from certified staff.
The allocation from the federal government was considered “soft” money, meaning it could disappear and be redistributed at any time. As predicted, it did go away. But because of FYCC’s popularity in the community and the positive results it achieved, the STMA community sought to keep the program.
“There were programs and events that previously we hadn’t charged for or had charged as little as $1.00, but we had to raise that fee to keep the (FYCC) going.”
FYCC is now its own non-profit entity. It operates autonomously from both the STMA school district and the municipalities of St. Michael and Albertville. While it is an independent entity, FYCC is still very much a part of the community it serves.
The FYCC continues to organize athletic and academic outings and community functions for local schools including Albertville Primary, Fieldstone, Big Woods, St. Michael and St. Michael Catholic. It also serves both area middle schools.
At present FYCC is finalizing bowling, off-site field trips, parent-child events, theatre, day school and after school programs for the 2010-11 school year. These events stand out in the minds and memories of the children and parents that participate in them.
Sixth-grader Tyler Postuma has been involved with the FYCC’s Father-Son Fishing Trip for the last several years. His favorite part of the annual fishing trips is neither the fish he catches nor the volumes of knowledge he learns about lures, rods and reels.
Tyler’s favorite part of the FYCC-sponsored fishing trips is simple: “Being with my dad," he says.
It would seem that in practice, Greninger's goal comes full circle: Healthy kids means healthy families. Together, those two things create healthy communities.