Lynn area clubs holding memberships, keeping ahead of recession

LYNN ? The sagging economy is leaving its mark on many quarters of society as people adjust to decreased incomes and hard times, but membership at the Greater Lynn YMCA and at local yacht and golf clubs remains stable.”We have actually seen a modest increase in membership over the past year,” said Bruce Macdonald, executive director of the Greater Lynn YMCA. “We hired a membership director this year and we’re a little more aggressive about going out and getting new members.”According to Macdonald, a few memberships were canceled but more were renewed. “We have a policy here that if anybody loses their job and can’t afford their membership, we will carry them for up to three months and then reevaluate them. It’s actually a national initiative. We want people to continue coming to the Y,” he said.To help keep members satisfied, the Lynn YMCA recently purchased new exercise equipment and plasma screen televisions. “We also put an insert into the Lynn Daily Item and got a great response from it. That worked out well because it was half the cost of mailing one out,” he said.At the Volunteer Yacht Club, the ranks among those with full membership privileges is slightly down, due in part to the economy, said Commodore Lisa Camerlengo.”This happens every year. Six or eight people drop out and we gain three or four full members,” she said. “We also have social memberships, but with less club privileges.”Camerlengo said she proposed eliminating the initiation fee for new full members but it was not adopted. “I wanted to do that as part of a membership drive, but the others wouldn’t go for it,” she said. “A lot of people just can’t afford the fee this year so they’re not going to join as full members.”At the Lawrence Gannon Municipal Golf Course, the annual membership sign-up has been running ahead of last year. Mike Foster, the golf professional at Gannon, said no decrease in membership is expected.”We’re holding our own. We have about 450 members and we’re expecting the same this year. We’re actually running ahead of last year, but that’s probably because we opened earlier,” he said. “The pulse and feel right now is that we will have the same amount. We’re in the right price market.”Foster said he anticipates some private golf club members may try Gannon this year because an annual membership for residents is $1,200 and there’s no initiation fee. “You might see some of these people take a leave of absence from their private golf clubs and come here to see what Gannon has to offer,” he said.

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