Who, What, When, Where, Y!
Our YMCA has been filled with activity throughout the winter of 2018! From our veteran members to new faces, our Y is the place to be! As I walk through the halls, I overhear many conversations about how busy we are, what a great staff we have, where will I park, and more …
I want to recap a few of our successes and challenges from 2017 and update you on current plans according to our three areas of focus: Youth Development, Healthy Living and Social Responsibility. You may also find ongoing communication on our Facebook page, website and throughout the Y.
Youth and Families
In 2017, we served over 10,000 individuals through programs at our YMCA. Our gymnastics and swim teams each have over 65 participants and the youth basketball league has more than 100 players. Both our Teen Leaders and Youth and Government Program have grown significantly. As our world changes, it is even more important that we help prepare our youth to become the leaders of tomorrow.
We are very pleased to have hired a new Youth and Camp Director, Lee Vaughan. Lee comes to us from New Zealand, and brings many years of camp experience. We are excited to have him join our team!
Our healthy living initiatives impacted many lives in 2017. Our first YMCA Diabetes Prevention Program was completed, funded by a grant from the Mass Department of Health. Our LIVESTRONG® at the YMCA program for cancer survivors had 50 graduates in 2017 (our Fall graduates are pictured above), and our 2018 winter session is full.
We also began a Parkinson’s cycling class this winter and are confident this program will help to fill a need for those affected by the disease. We continue to explore a variety of programming to meet the health needs of our community. Our goal to be a partner in integrative health programming in our community will be a focus for 2018.
Strategic Plan 2017 – 2020
Our board has worked diligently to complete a new, three- year strategic plan. Our main areas of focus are:
- To strengthen connections with and between members;
- To increase our mission-based efforts in the community;
- To strengthen our Board to better meet our mission and strategies.
These three goals will help us to focus our work strategically to have a greater impact on strengthening the health of our community.
In 2017, our fund development strategies resulted in an increase in annual giving. We appreciate the commitment shown through donations of time and service to our YMCA. A total of $162,000 in donations and grant support was received, a 24% increase over 2016. While that number is large, our Y awarded $249,000 in scholarships to those in need. These scholarships include financial assistance for membership and programs, no-cost programming like LIVESTRONG® at the YMCA for cancer survivors, Teen Leaders and group home membership discounts for those with different abilities. Our YMCA also distributed membership and program gift certificates to a wide variety of schools and other nonprofits to aid in their fundraising efforts.
We kicked off 2018 with a great all-staff celebration at the Northampton Country Club!
With our facility usage increased, the need for space also grows. In 2017 we completed a building assessment to gain insight about our current and future maintenance needs. We also metwith a design company to analyze our space.
Most of you would agree, we are in need of more space. Through careful data and analysis, it was determined our current facility should be able to serve the volume of use we have. We are working with the company to determine a design that will meet our program and membership services, both internally and externally. This is a very exciting process!
Our goal is to be prepared to launch a capital campaign to fund renovations in the next two to three years. Throughout 2018, we will hold member and community focus groups to further share and gather information. I hope you will share your thoughts at one of those sessions or contact me to participate in a committee.
This is just a quick update. We continue to work every day to provide services to help our cause. If you have any questions or wish to become more involved in our YMCA, please reach out to me – together we can do so much more!
Julie Bianco, CEO
(New Year, new name…. On a personal note, I started the year off with a wedding and will be changing my last name to Bianco. No matter what our name, we’re all looking forward to a great 2018 at the HRYMCA!)