If you've raced at the pool in the Ocean City Community Center, or if you've stopped to admire the statue that stands outside, or if you've taken a piano lesson in the arts center—whether you know it or not, you've benefited from the work of the Ocean City Community Center Association.
That's because the organization, which originated in 1978 when the center was originally being built, and which reformed in 2008 during renovations, works to raise money to be used for projects throughout the Community Center. Much of that money is raised during the association's annual gala event.
OCCCA is going casual this year for its third annual gala, this one with an "Endless Summer" theme. Tickets are $40 per person and include hors d'oeuvres (not just snacks, but enough to make a meal) and wine and beer. The event will be held on Friday, Sept. 21, from 6 to 9 p.m. at Caffe Luciano in Longport.
Since OCCCA is run by volunteers, they do not have as many overhead costs as some other non-profits—that means more money goes straight to programs and amenities at the Community Center.
Recently, OCCCA's work has gone toward a new piano in the Arts Center, an in the Aquatic Center's pool (from antiquated to state-of-the-art) and a of the building.
OCCCA also donated money toward photo archiving technology at the Historical Museum (which, in turn, allows Ocean City Patch to every week).
Soon the association will assist with a new program that will bring the Ocean City Police Department together with students for a youth leadership program in which students will learn about physical fitness, online safety, history and more.
The board members of OCCCA are passionate about their work. Many of them have seen the benefits of having a cultural and community center in Ocean City.
"It's a living thing," said Cricket Frank, who sits on the association's board. "It's the centerpiece of the town."
Frank said she learned to swim there when the center first opened. OCCCA Chairperson Drew Fasy's son, Aidan, also learned to swim there.
Another board member, Laurie Howey, saw her son Dean learn how to play music at the Arts Center. Now he is a multi-instrumentalist who attends college for music at Lebanon Valley College in Pennsylvania.
OCCCA plans to be on hand well into the future, continuing to help the Community Center expand, update, and renovate as needed.
"Who knows what the needs will be in the next year, or in 10 years?" said Fasy.
To buy tickets to this year's OCCCA gala, call 609-827-8083. Donations can be made by mailing a check, made payable to OCCCA, to P.O. Box 929, Ocean City, NJ, 08226.
For information on how to get involved with OCCCA, visit the association's website.