By Patrick Lynn
The Stevens Point Area YMCA was recently gifted a handcrafted wooden bench by the Portage County Master Gardeners Volunteers in memory of Daniel Goulet, a dedicated volunteer whose hard work and commitment helped establish the YMCA Community Gardens.
Goulet helped bring the Y’s community garden to life after the organization received grant funding for the project in 2010. Goulet, along with his wife Kathy, had recently become Portage County Master Gardener Volunteers, and enlisted help from others in the program to build 16 raised garden beds in the first year alone. Eight more raised beds were constructed in 2011, and the YMCA received donations of soil, building materials, seeds, and other items from local businesses and private donors.
“The raised beds serve as a demonstration garden and inspiration on the west side of the YMCA,” a press release from the Y reads in part. “Goulet devoted countless hours to the YMCA gardens, building garden beds and other structures, installing efficient irrigation, and tending to the garden. He was meticulous about building structures and recording growing and yield details.”
Goulet, along with his wife and other volunteers, continued to help educate children in YMCA programs about healthy eating, gardening, and food stability, encouraged them to try unfamiliar fresh vegetables. When they added individual garden squares were along the fence, more than 60 children tended their own personal gardens, choosing the seeds to plant, weeding, and harvesting.
Dan and Kathy Goulet became known as Grandpa Dan and Grandma Kathy.
Each year, the YMCA gardens have produced more than 1,000 pounds of fresh produce for children and families in need, as well as for community organizations such as the Salvation Army and Operation Bootstrap, according to the YMCA. The gardens continue to provide an opportunity for volunteers to connect and be active while serving the community.
Goulet was honored in 2012 with the YMCA Volunteer of the Year award in appreciation of his service. He died in 2018.
“His legacy continues, as the gardens continue to grow and flourish, providing fresh produce and educational opportunity for generations to come,” the YMCA said.