ANDOVER – The athletes who play basketball, volleyball, and a number of other sports in Andover now have a palace to play their sports in. The Greater Wichita YMCA dedicated the new Farha Sports Center on Thursday, noting the impact that it has already had on the community.
“Three out of four kids in our community participate in a program at the Y.” said YMCA President Ron McMann. “We know that when a kid learns a skill, they get confidence. Their self esteem rises. When they play a game and lose, they learn resilience, and how to come back.”
McMann notes that since the expansion, the Farha Sports Center has seen some 400,000 people come through the doors. Now, his organization expects that number to grow.
“We want to impact these kids because our cause, and what I’m passionate about is to ensure that each one reaches their full potential.” McMann noted. “That’s our job.”
The building of the center was spearheaded by longtime Wichita physician Dr. Jim Farha, whose family has been active in a number of area causes including the YMCA among others.
“While I am very grateful to be a part of this ceremony, the truth is the credit for these wonderful buildings that you see does not go to me.” Farha told the crowd gathered. “It goes to a great bunch of board of directors that supported the concept, and who were great in getting it to completion.”
The longtime doctor emigrated from Lebanon in 1950, finding work in Wichita as a cardio-thoracic surgeon. Along with his brother Dr. George Farha, he founded one of the largest independent surgery practices in the nation. In his address, he called the YMCA organization a great asset to the communities they serve.
“I am just amazed at the numbers that will come through these doors. It is impressive.” Farha noted. “The kids who will compete in these buildings are learning character and values that are the hallmark of the YMCA.”
The YMCA Farha Sport Centers are open for many activities, including year round competitive basketball leagues, club and competitive volleyball programs, competitive soccer leagues, and summer academies for the thriving athlete. The facilities are also open for rentals and offer speed and agility programs designed to improve athletic ability. As the newest facility, the Andover YMCA Farha Sport Center, consists of four full-sized (eight small) basketball courts, and eight volleyball courts.
“In addition to training and practices, the area’s most elite sports facility will also host league games, tournaments, basketball and volleyball academies, open gyms, and much more!” the YMCA notes on their website.