It dawned on me that it might be helpful to explain how the YMCA works to fulfill its mission of Putting Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all.
First thing that’s important to know is that the YMCA is no longer a religious organization. Depending on where you live, some Y’s embrace the Christian connection more than others but all YMCAs are open to everyone and serve all people. The Christian principles translate into the four core values that all YMCA programs aim to build: Caring, Honesty, Respect and Responsibility.
Other things to know is that the YMCA is a member organization. It’s also a non-profit and volunteer-led organization. Each YMCA has a board of directors – volunteers from the community that help guide the YMCA and help it fulfill its mission of helping all people. People who join the YMCA often do so to be able to use the Y’s fitness programs and facility. But a membership often funds much more than just that treadmill you sweat profusely upon or the group exercise class that makes you dance your tooshie off. Memberships help subsidize other social service programs such as childcare, parenting classes, and other important community-building programs.
Another great thing about the YMCA is that our vision is to never turn anyone away due to an inability to pay. To make this happen, YMCA’s across the country raise funds by doing a four to five week fund raising campaign that involves volunteers and staff asking members and people from the community to support the YMCA. The money raised for this often goes directly to scholarships and financial assistance given to families in need.
On those lines, supporting the YMCA is really an investment in your community. The tax deductible donation to a local YMCA can provide opportunities for children and families struggling to make ends meet, not to mention providing a place where low-income seniors can feel less isolated. Furthermore, becoming a member at your YMCA helps provide all that and more. While you get the benefits of a fitness facility, reduced costs on swim lessons, camps and sports for your kids, you are also providing opportunities for others to experience all that the YMCA has to offer.