Community Champion Recipients to be honored at the 134th YMCA Annual Meeting
2020 was an unprecedented year; one that provided us with challenges, opportunities, and
commitment to our mission. The Y had to quickly determine how the organization could respond to the most critical needs of our community. While the pandemic would shut down our facility-based aquatics and wellness programs, we immediately offered virtual fitness. We moved group fitness classes outdoors to the Ingersoll Outdoor Center to keep our members connected and active. Our Y staff made phone calls to our senior members to check on their well-being, and we used social media to connect, educate, and provide wellness and mental health services.
The Y also responded to the critical need for childcare for essential workers serving as a Project 26 location for healthcare staff and opening a program for the children of first responders. When schools went to distance learning, we opened a full-day distance learning site at the Y and Camp Ingersoll. The Y re-opened our preschool program and all eleven of our afterschool programs to provide services to working families relying on the Y for care during this pandemic. The Y staff came to work at a time when many people were afraid to leave their homes. We provided services regardless of the economic impact of doing so; committed to our mission with faith that our stakeholders would support our efforts.
Our stakeholders responded with generosity, moral support, and critical partnerships. Many of our members remained active even when they could not return to the Y, our donors gave stretch gifts, and local foundations increased giving. These funds provided food and rent subsidies for our residents, free emergency childcare, and scholarships for families who needed distance learning and childcare. It was the generosity of people, businesses, and funders who kept the Y doors open in 2020.
The pandemic will have a lasting impact on the Y, and full recovery will take time. Y staff and volunteer leaders are engaged in strategic planning for our organization post-pandemic. Our focus includes long-term planning for housing, significant capital investments, and core services and programs. We must determine the best path forward to continue to have a thriving Y for the next generation. A strong future requires a commitment by all of our Y stakeholders, supporters, and ambassadors.
For the past one hundred thirty-four years, we have focused on strengthening the community and improving lives. In 2020 the Y helped people survive COVID-19. We are incredibly proud of this work and grateful for the opportunity to make a difference at a time when needed most. As our organization continues to adapt and reengage in a post-COVID-19 world, we will continue to live our values by welcoming all into the Y community and nurturing each person's potential. We will embrace diversity and remain nimble as we change and adapt to shifting community needs.