Donations made toward fees at Griggs Center

Published 8:30 am Friday, May 5, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

There’s a good chance the Griggs Recreation Center will be packed this summer, thanks to the work of several local leaders and their fundraising attempts to offset fees.

More than $4,000 has been donated via Councilman Leon Childs, Troup County Commissioner Jimmy McCamey, Montest Cameron and Zsa Zsa Heard. McCamey had said if the group could find 50 individuals from the LaGrange Housing Authority that needed support to offset the fees, then he would fund 50 of the applicants.

However, they’ve been able to raise much more than that.

McCamey said within a week the group raised nearly $2,000 and people have continued to donate. He personally gave $2,400. Childs, Cameron and Heard raised $1,730.

“I am from the area, born and raised in district two. I’m a county commissioner for district five, but district two falls within my catchment area, and I wanted to be able to give back. If you get into politics, particularly on the local level, you’re not going to make any money. You have to get in it to be a servant, and that’s why I’m in it to serve the people,” McCamey said.

“I took a portion of my salary and gave it back to my district to a very needed service. If we don’t do something to unite and come together for the benefit of our youth in our community, we’re going to continue to see the violence that we’re seeing, particularly with juveniles and our adult population. If those kids are not in programs where they’re learning good values and character, they’re going to be in the streets, they’re going to be learning things that they shouldn’t be, which will continue to contribute to some of the issues that we’ve seen in our communities and particularly in our district.”

Lance Dennis, director of parks and recreation, said for a year the fee to use the Griggs Center for an individual is $30 ($2.50 for each month). It’s $50 a year for families to use the center.

“There’s a fee in all our facilities throughout the county. I worked to establish the least expensive fee I could come up with for the Griggs Center. In turn, we can use those funds to go back into programs, events and help keep this as one of the nicest facilities in Troup County,” Dennis said.

Childs said he felt it was important to donate because they have been in the place of not having the financial stability to do everything they wanted to do when they were children.

“We wanted to give back to the community and make sure that these kids were able to have their fees paid so that they could have a facility where they could go have fun, learn and not be excluded just because they were unable to pay the fee,” Childs said.

Dennis said he’s ecstatic about the donation and hoped there are enough kids who will utilize the memberships. 

“We live in a society today where the kids just want to hang out, play video games, or get involved in the streets. I hope there are enough kids to use all those up. My fear is that there won’t be,” Dennis said. “I’ll be tickled to death if they all get used because that means I’ve got even more kids coming over every day.”

McCamey said after donating to the Griggs Center, he felt overwhelmed and emotional at being able to give back to the place that helped shape him into the person he is today.

“The rec center was the foundation of my life. I went to the recreation center every day of my life when I was a child. Whether it was during the summer, during the winter, or during the spring, that was a safe haven for me and impacted my life tremendously,” McCamey said. “In doing this, I feel like I can reach back and give that same help and support I received throughout my young life to another.”

Childs said he was happy to give back to underserved children in the community.

“I just want for the community and all of the stakeholders in our community to understand that there is nothing that we can’t do if we work together,” Childs said.

Dennis said the funds have been placed into a special account. Any fees that can’t be paid will be drawn from the donated funds. He said the funds that are left over will either go back to people that donated or toward renewals next year.

“We want to be a part of their lives and try to affect their lives the way it did for Jimmy. I’m happy to be a part of this special place because we preserve the history of it by creating a new future for it as well,” Dennis said.