Letter to the Editor: Concerned about the Barker Child Development Center Closing

I would like to express my concern over the recent announcement of the closure of the YMCA Barker Center. It was announced on April 22 that the center would be closing to regular childcare and reevaluating childcare programming in the fall. They moved to offer an older children’s day-camp offering for ages four to seven. 

As a parent, finding childcare is difficult in Door County. When we initially signed up for day care in September of 2018, there was a six-month waiting list at both the YMCA and the Northern Door Children’s Center. Neither my fiancée nor I can stay home with our child during the day due to our work. When the YMCA closed the Barker Center after being open for only three weeks for essential workers’ children, it left us in a scramble to find care. 

I was told the demand for opening operations during the period of time for essential workers’ children was not there. They cut staffing to match the needs of the children who attended day care during that three-week period that they remained open after the Safer at Home order was in place. 

After speaking with staff members and teachers who are currently laid off, the Barker Center was operating at capacity and had a waiting list for new children prior to COVID-19 and when the Safer at Home order was put in place. The need and demand for childcare is still present in our county. 

After the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, I encourage the YMCA’s board of directors to revisit this important issue and continue to keep the Barker Center operating. The Door County YMCA has always provided wonderful services to the community. I strongly urge the YMCA not to close the center. Thank you. 

Andrew Lohman

Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin