A Terrific First Year for Quincy Kroc

by Kent Embree

October 2012

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The Quincy, Ill., Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center marked its first year anniversary with an open-house featuring free fitness classes, rock wall climbs, refreshments and prizes, and an auction benefitting Kroc scholarships. The event celebrated many of the things the community of 40,000 has come to love about the center, including the welcoming, Christ-centered atmosphere and wholesome environment for families.

In the year the Quincy Kroc Center has been open, more than 6,200 individuals have joined. Membership remained strong despite the typical spring and summertime losses many fitness facilities see. The center's downtown location provides a place for business people to eat lunch, and several local businesses hold large luncheons for employees and clients in "The Meadows" conference room. A typical day sees hundreds of people using the facility in some way, shape or form, with youth, fitness buffs and business people co-mingling throughout the main foyer of the facility.

The Youth Asset Development Initiative (YADI) has played a major role in the way the Quincy community perceives the center. Lieutenant Rich Forney heads this area and created an "adopt-a-school" effort which has allowed hundreds of elementary school children access to the facility. Many of these kids also participated in summer day camp. One happy parent said the reason her child liked the day camp was because he got to talk about Jesus!

The past year has seen growth in many areas of the Kroc Center. The staff has grown from 35 to 177 employees, ranging from lifeguards to day camp staff. Events, such as the "Diamond Dive" and "Anniversary Auction," have been developed to support Kroc scholarships. The center also successfully took on the Joe Bonansinga Summer Music Institute, a decades-long program formerly hosted by the park district.

The Kroc Center has enabled the corps to share the gospel with more people, many of whom otherwise may never have attended church.

"It amazes me to consider what God has accomplished through the generosity of Joan Kroc, the dedication of our staff and the buy-in from our community," said Major Dan Jennings, senior Kroc center officer. "We set out to become a place where people are inspired to reach higher, invited to become more deeply involved, and instructed by God's Word. Countless blessings have been seen as a result of those efforts. And, we are only getting started. Wait until you see what we will attempt for God's Kingdom in year two!"



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