Who, What, When, Where, Y!
The Hampshire Regional YMCA was very busy again this summer, and we have an exciting fall ahead!
As I walk through our halls, it is evident that our YMCA is vital to our community’s well being. Where else can you find such a microcosm of society, but at the Y? We have diversity of age, gender, socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity, spirituality, political views, physical and mental abilities, thought processes and more, yet we are able to work together towards a common goal: strengthening our health. We are so fortunate to be able to contribute to our community as a whole through our YMCA services.
I would like to also share information about our YMCA’s strategic goals and plans. Please find a brief summary below. Please feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions, suggestions or would like to volunteer to help!
Facility and Staff
In 2018, we have focused on addressing facility needs outlined in our capital facility assessments. This year, we will be completing over $500,000 of capital improvements. We have also received $122,000 to date in grant funding to help with these costs. Our leadership team is working hard to build relationships with key funders to support our goals.
Many of these improvements are to the infrastructure: air handling units, roofing, bricks and mortar. While these may not be visually exciting, they will address mechanical and structural concerns, ensuring our facility continues to be efficiently maintained. Every day, we also address numerous housekeeping and maintenance issues that develop in a busy facility. We utilize a work order system to help us stay on track. Our annual August maintenance period was very productive, including new paint for our gym, deep cleaning of all child watch rooms, and floor refinishing in our cycle studio, gym and hallways.
By completing the facility assessment and primary market analysis to assess growth potential for our YMCA facility at 286 Prospect Street and Camp Norwich, we have laid the foundation to move forward in a strategic way. Our board is now working with Y-USA to conduct a capital campaign readiness assessment. In order to move forward with any major renovations we will have to initiate a capital campaign to raise 3 – 6 million dollars, and we need to have the infrastructure and volunteer base to do so. Our facility and philanthropy committees meet regularly to review plans and set our goals for the future. If you are interested in participating in a committee to help, please contact me.
The foundation of our YMCA is our staff. Our strategic goal is to attract, develop, and retain staff and volunteers who enhance and encourage connections with and between members and to the HRYMCA. Since 2016, our staff satisfaction survey results show a marked improvement in staff satisfaction. We continue to work on our staff culture and team.
Serving the community in today’s world can be challenging, yet immensely rewarding. We have provided numerous training opportunities for our staff to assist us in providing improved customer service and quality programs. We are fortunate to be a part of a large organization with resources to support our staff development goals and with Y-USA best practices for leadership, growth and development.
Health and Wellness
We are proud to continue to be a provider of LIVESTRONG at the YMCA, a program benefiting local cancer survivors. So far in 2018, 16 participants have graduated from this program and 17 more are due to begin our fall session. Supporters of LIVESTRONG at the YMCA include Health New England, Cooley Dickinson Hospital, Florence Bank and Columbia Gas. Our signature event sponsors, Sandri Energy, bankESB, PeoplesBank and M.J. Moran Inc. have also contributed towards this and other wellness programs. This fall we will wrap up our 2018 signature events with our 5th annual golf tournament on September 28 at the Crumpin-Fox Club, and our 7th annual Building a Healthy Community 5k on November 3 at Look Park. Donations, participants and volunteers are needed for both.
We are proud to announce additional grant funding from the American Parkinson Disease Association MA Chapter to continue our Parkinson’s cycle program. Research has shown that cycling, especially pedaling at a rate higher than one’s own voluntary cadence, has benefits for those with Parkinson’s Disease. This type of exercise may make regions of the brain that deal with movement connect to each other more effectively and provide symptomatic relief for people with the disease.
In August, we also received a $20,000 grant to begin a Healthy Weight and Your Child program. This program will address childhood obesity and weight related diseases. Our Safety around Water initiative began this spring with visits to our school age child care sites and the Meadowbrook apartment complex. Our goal is to help reduce youth drowning rates. The Safety Around Water program is funded through our YMCA Mass Alliance Youth at Risk grant.
We are building relationships with other organizations in the community to help address community needs. We plan to be working with the Northampton Senior Center this fall to provide Y wellness programming at their site.
Youth and Families
Our three camps had strong summers, with nearly 800 children attending. Children participated in many activities designed to foster relationships, build confidence and learn lifelong skills.
Our before and after school child care programs began in late August in three Northampton elementary schools. These programs support working families and give them peace of mind knowing that their children are in a safe and supportive environment.
Other important youth programs also begin in fall, including our Leader’s Club and Youth & Government. These programs help youth learn valuable skills including communication, volunteerism, community engagement and conflict resolution. Our youth participate in a variety of activities, including leader’s rallies, mock government days and State House visits. These programs are in need of funding to allow all youth to participate. If you wish to donate or volunteer, please contact us.
As we continue to grow and serve our community, we are in need of volunteer leadership. If you’re interested in participating on a board or committee, please contact me. Only together can we grow and thrive as a YMCA.
This is only a brief overview of the important work we do each day at the YMCA. We are honored to serve this community. If you would like more details on any of the above, please contact us.
Julie Bianco, CEO