GARRETT — There was more than just breakfast served up at the recent Jam and Toast event at the Judy A. Morrill Recreation Center.

The annual meeting offered a review of the JAM Center that amended its fiscal year of June 1 through May 31 to coincide with the school year, United Way and other partnering organizations. Due to the change, the report expanded to include Jan. 2018 through May 2019.

Dreamcatchers were theme of the day. Legends say the spider web design allows good dreams to pass through and float down to the hanging beads and feathers to sleeping children, while bad dreams would be caught in the web. The visual of the dreamcatcher for the program symbolizes the web of resources and people working together to allow dreams to become a reality through the JAM Center, organizers said.

Director Cheryl Nicole reported membership at the center climbed from 585 units representing 909 members to 677 units, representing 1,131 people, with 33,302 member visits to the center, averaging 1,959 visits per month during the past 17-month period.

The center recorded 605 guest passes, 1,489 non-member check-ins, 1,123 aquatics class registrations, 1,718 fitness/wellness/league registrations, 181 teen program participants totaling 2,555 program visits.

The JAM Center Early Education program had 184, and 114 student enrolled. Also noted were 106 rentals of the facility for various activities since Jan. 1, 2018.

Nicole said guests coming through the facility often sign up for memberships once they see what is offered at the JAM Center.

People representing 279 Indiana cities visited the center, with 55% female, 45 % male, 32% minors and 68% adults.

Volunteers play a vital role in the operation of the JAM Center. From Jan. 2018 through May 2019, a total of 5,267 volunteer hours were logged in from 247 volunteers. Using the State of Indiana Value of Volunteer Labor work at $24.13 per hour, a total of $127,092 in labor was volunteered.

These hours were donated by elementary school students through seniors in the areas of maintenance, landscaping, teen programming, clerical work, special events, laundry, cleaning, mowing, work days and more.

“It is important to support your community and best way is to volunteer,” according to volunteer Jenny Teders.

“The JAM Center not only is a place to come and get well, but volunteering gives a great chance for people to socialize and have fun and revitalize their spirits while helping others,” she said.

The Infinity Campaign launched last year raised more than $2 million through pledges and donations, of which 85% goes into an asset replacement maintenance fund, according to the center’s financial report. This fund is to ensure the longevity of the building and equipment. Plans are to continue work to raise the final $360,000 needed to meet the initial fund goal.

The JAM Center Endowment has been established through the Community Foundation of DeKalb County in order to provide long term support to operate programs. Donations can be designated to this fund.

The JAM Center and Garrett-Keyser-Butler Schools have collaborated on creating a part-time preschool classroom that emulates the same beauty, philosophy and experienced-based learning at the JAM Early Education program.

Following input by those using the facility, hours of operation were increased to accommodate more members and to increase member retention. The change includes Sunday hours from noon to 4 p.m. and opening at 5 a.m. instead of 6 p.m. from Labor Day through Memorial Day.

Also added is a Teen STEM program — The Rover Ruckus begun last fall with a goal to inspire teens to work together, explore STEM and have fun. After months of hard work, the teen students and leaders went on to the regional competition to put their rover into action. They arrived with a non-working rover and after interacting with others at the competition, came home with a functional rover, placing in some rounds of the competition. The group even received the Rookie Sensation award at the awards program.

In the financial area, the center showed $1.383 million in income and $1.545 million in expenses.

The JAM Center operates on a cash basis, Nicole explained.

“We experienced a loss in this fiscal period, however funds were raised in the previous fiscal year to apply toward the 2018-2019 operating budget,” she said.

DWD conducts the auditor’s review annual for the JAM Center.

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