Posts Tagged The Y
Tonight, I attended the kickoff event for the YMCA’s Strong Kids Campaign. There were hundreds of people—both young and old—in attendance at the event. I am so impressed by the work of Jim Everett, CEO of the Treasure Valley Family YMCA and Larry Koomler, chairman of the board. These are two outstanding leaders in the Boise Valley community.
The event began with a brief recap of the 120-year history of the YMCA, which included several short videos and speeches highlighting the development of a community organization that began in 1891. In case you didn’t know (this was new to me just a few months ago) the YMCA was once called the Young Mens Christian Association.
The event quickly picked up steam by showcasing several touching and inspirational testimonials including: a young refugee boy (from Iraq) who learned (in less than 10 months) how to swim, make friends and become part of a new community; a middle-aged man who wanted to be a role model to his family and ended up losing over 60 pounds; a young woman who became healthy enough to start her own family; and a very young boy who is building confidence and learning the value of education (he also charmed the audience with his ability to recite and explain the YMCA’s values).
The energetic and accomplished Superintendent of the Caldwell School District, Roger Quarles, gave an inspiring message about the real impact created by the YMCA in his community. He shared a story that delivered a powerful message: the YMCA helps build strong kids and a strong community. Mr. Quarles focused on real impact over a very brief time frame. His story discussed the difference made in the Caldwell community over a five-year span: pre-YMCA and post-YMCA. Here’s a list of some his his most notable statements from the impact of building the Caldwell YMCA:
- School expulsion hearings went from 100 down to a single case
- The average student attendance rate increased from 85% to almost 98%
- This year’s 3rd grade class became the highest performing 3rd graders in the history of the school district
- The Caldwell School District has the highest increase in student performance in Idaho
Very impressive. The YMCA truly helps build a better community by supporting youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. They are instilling values in the lives of our community’s youth. It seems as if everyone connected to the YMCA can state their 4 core values of caring, honesty, respect and responsibility.
Even with all these impressive stories, the YMCA recognized a very important issue. Most people in the country know about the YMCA and generally like the organization, but most people do not clearly understand what the organization is about. The standard answer, as they mentioned during the event, is that a YMCA is a “gym and swim.” Many people also don’t realize the YMCA is a not-for-profit organization that is cause driven.
To help change this misperception, the YMCA is launching a national effort to revitalize its brand by changing its logo to reflect what most people say when mentioning the YMCA: The Y. Check out the Treasure Valley Family YMCA page and take a look at their cool new logo, look and feel.
I have no doubt the Y will continue to improve its brand recognition and gain more dedicated volunteers and members to join its cause. The Y is one of the few organizations I can think of that can get most of their staff, as well as thousands of volunteers and children, to easily state and explain its values.
For example, over the past few years I’ve read multiple applications from students applying to our Leadership Boise Academy program (a Chamber-led community leadership program for junior-level high school students in the Boise Valley) highlighting the Y in their definitions of leadership and community involvement. Guess what? Most students write about the four values without being asked to do so!!
We live in an amazing community. The Y is dedicated to helping keep our communities strong. The Y stands for youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. This is a noble cause and I am happy to be a part of their call to give, volunteer and advocate on behalf of their Strong Kids Campaign. Will you join me? Be a part of something greater than yourself. Here’s how to start.