One Sunday not long ago, as my 7-year-old son and I shuffled along a dusty, dirt road in West Texas, I asked him which part of the soon-to-conclude weekend he enjoyed most.

Was it hiking up and down two “mountains?” Floating on a barge? Firing BBs into paper tigers? Archery? Campfires? Horseback trail riding?

He looked at me as only a child can do and said: “Here’s what I liked most.”

Then he grabbed me around the legs with a tight bear-hug and just held on.

Now, I’d like to have you believe I’m the type of father who makes this an everyday occurrence, but it wouldn’t be true. I like Kodak moments, but setting them up takes time, and…

My oldest son and I were participating with several hundred other neighborhood dads and children on the year’s first YMCA Indian Guides/Princesses campout.

Fathers and sons or daughters are organized into “tribes” with other neighborhood parents and children. The individual tribes meet regularly during the school year for fun activities designed to build a family bond.

It’s hard not to like the concept or the group that makes it possible.

The YMCA does plenty of other positive things for our neighborhood, including fitness programs, activities for seniors, and children’s pre-K, after-school, summer and sports programs.

And the great thing about YMCA programs is that wealth – or relative lack thereof – has nothing to do with a family’s ability to participate. The YMCA also provides scholarships to those who need them.

Now, the YMCA is building a new and badly needed facility that will dramatically improve the way families utilize its programs.

The new building is just about ready to break ground at Greenville and Whitehurst will allow the YMCA to boost its program offerings and continue to build upon its deserved reputation for making a positive difference in the lives of families.

Of course, progress like this doesn’t come cheap. The initial phase will cost $3.1 million; money still remains to be raised from our neighborhood to fund the project.

Perhaps you’ve already been contacted to help out. More than likely, you haven’t.

If you haven’t been contacted, call me or, better yet, call the YMCA today at 214-328-4621 to help lay a new foundation for families in our neighborhood.

Pledges for the new building are being accepted over a three- to five-year period, so a $50 or $100 or $250 annual pledge will add up quickly as gift of major proportions. And, of course, there are “naming” opportunities at the new building beginning at $10,000 and up for those of you who are so inclined.

There are thousands of neighborhood families who would thank you, if they could, for remembering the YMCA and making programs like Indian Guides possible.

Consider this my hug for you.