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Record numbers raised for YMCA

The 17th annual YMCA Christmas Party and Auction was sold out, attended by 200 people.

Photo by Emily Mentzer
The 17th annual YMCA Christmas Party and Auction was sold out, attended by 200 people.

INDEPENDENCE — “I’m gonna sell it to you,” said Mike Ainsworth, Polk County commissioner and master of ceremonies at the 17th annual YMCA Christmas Party and Auction on Friday at Green Villa Barn.

Those were words Ainsworth said as he sold each of the live auction items to the highest bidder.

In one case, it was more than one.


County Commissioner Mike Ainsworth was the master of ceremonies and live auctioneer for the event.

“Our biggest seller of the night was a live auction item — dinner at Sam Carroll’s farm,” said Natascha Cronin, vice president of youth development for the Family YMCA of Marion and Polk Counties. “The dinners are amazing, and the Carroll family are fantastic hosts. The bids kept going up and up.”

When they got to $1,100, things slowed down, Cronin said.

“Then, Sam announced he would offer two dinners, so the two folks bidding each bought a dinner at $1,100,” she said. “Fantastic.”

Altogether, the silent and live auctions raised $23,593. After expenses are paid, Cronin suspects the profits will be about $21,000 — a new record for the Monmouth-Independence YMCA Christmas Party and Auction.

“$20,000 helps a lot of people,” Cronin said.


Attendees could play Superhero Ka-Pow, where, for $20, they could punch through the box and pick a prize worth at least $20.

Silent auction items included a variety of things, from toys to children’s books, shampoo to tools, artwork to gift baskets. In the live auction, jewelry, wine and eclipse packages, dinners and a family game night were featured.

About halfway through the live auction, people were asked to donate scholarships.

“We raised almost $4,000 just on the pure generosity and kindness,” Cronin said.

Throughout the evening, programs from the Y were highlighted, including the YMCA cheerleaders, the Inspiration Dance Company, and stories from people who had benefited from programs at the Y.

Cronin said she learned a few things during the event.

“Having the Central High School Jazz Band is extra special, because we discovered this year that multiple kids in the band had participated in YMCA activities when they were younger, and that Mr. Ed Propst (the band teacher) attended years of summer camp as a child,” Cronin said. “The Y is more than a gym — it is a place for kids, grownups and families to learn, thrive, play and be active.”

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