Editor's Note: This is the next in a series of articles about the member agencies of the United Way Alliance of the Mid-Ohio Valley.
VIENNA - For as long as there has been a United Way Alliance of the Mid-Ohio Valley, it has been helping to fund the Vienna Recreational and Improvement Association, called Vienna Recreation by many, said Rod Shuman president of the association.
Vienna Recreation received $7,500 from the United Way for financial assistance with program costs associated with football, basketball, softball, baseball, soccer, tennis, swimming, cheerleading, floor hockey and adult floor hockey.
Soccer is one of the sports supported by the Vienna Recreational and Improvement Association. Funding from the United Way Alliance of the Mid-Ohio Valley has allowed the association to offer several sports and without needing to increase the participation fees in more than 15 years.
Photo by Jeffrey Saulton
A plaque honoring Darrell Dotson, the founder of the Vienna Recreational and Improvement Association, will be put up at the ticket building in Jackson Park in Vienna.
Shuman said the group is thankful for the assistance.
"We as a group appreciate what United Way has done for us over the years, it is a hard-working organization," he said. "There is no question the people running it have the best interest of the entire community at heart and they really work hard to do what is right for the community."
Shuman said the funding has helped the organization keep down costs and keep participation fees low.
"We've only raised our fees to participate in our sports once since United Way has been involved," he said. "We've been able to maintain a fee of $35 to play our sports, for the longest time we charged $25 to participate and several years back we raised because of costs."
Shuman said the last increase was more than 15 years ago. Vienna Recreation is fortunate in that it has bought the best in equipment and since it lasts they have not been burdened with the expense of buying new equipment every few years.
United Way funds at the Vienna Recreational and Improvement Association are not directed at any particular item or sport.
"Our funding is general funding, it all goes into the same pool," he said. "We maintain our sports out of a general fund instead of a fund for each sport. If they take in $3,000 in signup fees, it isn't just spent on that sport, it goes into the account for everything."
Recently the association has had to pay for most of the officiating in the sports and the funds from the United Way Alliance have helped meet that cost.
"We used to be a strictly volunteer organization where we relied on volunteers for umpires, officiating any sport but those days are gone," he said. "There are not a lot of people willing to do that."
As a result Shuman said the organization has to pay for umpires in the baseball and softball games, and in basketball to pay for referees.
"That is a huge hunk of what United Way is paying for so we have people to officiate and the parents don't have to take care of that," he said. "We do have volunteers for coaching, that is still strictly volunteer."
Recently the association has decided to put up a plaque to honor the founder of the Vienna Recreational and Improvement Association, Darrell Dotson.
"He died nine years ago, he was here working that summer up to September and died a few days later," he said. "We've been discussing what to do."
Shuman said the plaque will be installed on the ticket building and it is expected to be put up in the near future.