How can it be almost 25 years since the Energy Outlet was built? How time flies! Did you know the first grant that the Otsego Community Foundation, through the Youth Fund, awarded was to Energy Outlet? How many giggles and laughs have been heard while sliding on a slide or swinging on a swing…we couldn’t begin to count. Philanthropy is important to help with projects in the community, like the Energy Outlet, that will last for generations. Because of the vision in grant-making, the grant awarded in 1998 not only touched the lives of those living in Otsego County at that time, it has touched lives every day since. “In 1998, I had the opportunity to work with Gary Waldo and assist as an Advisor of the first Youth Advisory Committee in Otsego County. The Kellogg Foundation was providing a lot of support to help communities engage youth in philanthropy projects. It was an exciting time, but lots to learn. The youth were excited to be  involved, yet the leaders were having to learn along with them just how this process and their roles would work. The Youth Advisory Council (which is now the Youth Advisory Committee) surveyed our area youth to determine their needs and priorities. One of the highest prioritized needs was having more recreational opportunities for youth in the community. The Energy Outlet was overwhelmingly approved for our first YAC grant. How exciting that these youths were able to assist with funding such an incredible collaborative project that brought together all sectors of the community. I believe the Energy Outlet is a testimony and legacy to the power of youth in philanthropy. Almost twenty five years later it still is a vital community asset, bringing another generation of youth a healthy and safe outlet for recreation. It is hard to imagine that those original YAC members are now likely adults and leaders in their own communities—I hope they realize what an important role they played in building the community of Otsego County.” – Roxanne McLintock, Gaylord, Michigan “Whether it was walking on the balance beam or swinging on the tire swing, it was the best place to be. I remember wanting to go every day to play with my friends and step on my own dino footprint. The Energy Outlet holds some of my favorite memories of Gaylord.” – Lauren Anders, Rome, Italy “We take our grandson Oliver to Energy Outlet and it is a blessing. With autism, it has been a place we can work on his social skills (an opportunity to be around other children) and he has learned to use the equipment by watching and imitating other children. It is also a great place to work on his motor skills and deal with excess energy! The Energy Outlet offers a place for grandparents to take their grandchildren, share a fun memorable experience, provide a social environment and engage in physical activity.” – Diana Deerfield, Gaylord, Michigan “I have so many fun memories of playing at the Energy Outlet. It was my favorite place to swing, climb and meet new friends. It really was the best and biggest park to a kid, and all of us who benefited from the OCF’s grant to make the Energy Outlet happen are so lucky to have grown up in a community that cares so much about its youth.” – Darcie Lochinski, Grand Rapids, Michigan “The Outlet was one of my favorite places growing up! It is a place that I know that I can always go to with my family and friends and make unforgettable memories” – Holly Greif, Gaylord, Michigan “For almost 25 years the Energy Outlet has provided the community with a multi-purpose activity center. Features such as large, beautiful gardens, tennis courts, exercise stations, and fantastic play features for the kids are just a few of the highlights.  Thanks to continued community support thru the Community Foundation we look forward to the Outlet continuing for many years as an outstanding family destination.” – Bill Michaels, Otsego County Sportsplex Director, Gaylord, Michigan. Click here to read the article from the Thursday, June 25th, 1998 Issue of the Gaylord Herald Times about the new Energy Outlet. If you would like to support the Youth Advisory Committee, please consider a donation to the Youth Fund.