Future of Anderson Youth Center is unknown

Anderson Youth Center camp. (WTHR Staff)
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ANDERSON, Ind. (WTHR) — The Youth Center is Anderson serves children from low to moderate income households. Currently, they are hosting a free summer camp but Youth Center leaders worry it may be their last.

Those with the Youth Center said the current township trustee, Mike Shively, is keeping funding from them and making it impossible to get grants. They need the money to keep their educational programming happening.

Anderson Youth Center camp. (WTHR Staff)

"If we can make an effort to make kids competitive in school, want to go to school, change [their] attitudes and compete," said John Bostic, the former Anderson Township Trustee and founder of the Youth Center. "We know we're helping the school system."

But he said since losing the election to Shively, funding has stopped.

Bostic said when he was trustee he set aside $50,000 in the annual budget under the Poor Relief section to host these camps. The majority of the kids who attend are from low to moderate income families, making between $10,000 - $33,000 a year. Camp is free to attend and the kids receive two meals a day, along with educational programming put on by two full time teachers.

Bostic says he was audited by the state and did not have an issue with him claiming the $50,000 under Poor Relief.

"That money is there but he decided he [doesn't] want to use the money for that, he wants to use the money for something else," Bostic said.

Shively tells WTHR that the state audit was only through 2017 and he isn't entirely sure the money can be used that way.

Bostic said after being denied the $50,000 the center applied, and qualified, for an $80,000 grant that was contingent upon the Youth Center installing a landline.

"We had the people out here to put the phone in, [Shively] stopped it," Bostic said. So they lost the grant.

But Shively defended his actions saying, "I saw an AT&T truck behind the building drilling a hole in the block building... they said we're going to run a landline back to the fieldhouse."

He said he was never told or asked about the installation of a landline, saying the trustees office owns the building and the Youth Center has no rights or authority to make that decision.

Shively said his intention is not to take away opportunities from Anderson youth but that he wants to do it on his own terms.

Anderson Youth Center camp. (WTHR Staff)

"I do care about kids and no matter what I'm going to do my best to make sure these kids have programming and something to eat," Shively said.

He brought up concerns about safety issues within the fieldhouse that he claims were not addressed while Bostic was in charge, including safety checks of fire extinguishers and the kitchen where meals are being prepared.

There is an Advisory Board Meeting Thursday evening to address the future of the Youth Center, as it runs currently. The meeting is at 6 p.m. at the Trustees Office and is open to the public.

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