There’s an old saying in the YMCA movement that if you’ve seen one Y, you’ve seen one Y. The idea is that every branch is unique in the way it serves the needs of its particular community.
The same goes for the more than 120,000 people who walked through our doors in 2017. Every one possessed a unique story, with their own individual challenges and goals.
Our Y is a canvas rich in color and diversity. To paint the clearest picture, we must be committed to inclusion and access for all. In fact, our Mission compels it. That’s why we don’t try to define the people we serve. Rather, we define who we are – or who we aspire to be – and how we show up each day.
Because when we are Welcoming…Genuine…Nurturing…Determined…and Hopeful, we can be there to support our community members in whatever direction they need to go. The people we serve are the heroes on the journey. Our Y is the vehicle to help them reach their destination.
When we are Welcoming… we’re there for people like Molly Hale at the North Austin Y. Molly has not let disability get in the way of becoming an active community member and, now, a proud Y staff member.
When we are Genuine… we value people for who they are and encourage them to be true to themselves and to others. That’s especially true for the young men and women on our Northwest Y lifeguard team, who blend their individual personalities and talents into a cohesive lifesaving unit.
When we are Nurturing…we create opportunities for people like James Yancey at the East Communities Y. Driven by a passion to mentor youth, James has coached basketball for more than 15 years.
When we are Determined… we provide a rallying point for people like Doug Hoppock at the Springs Family Y, where he found strength and community in winning his battle with cancer.
And when we are Hopeful… we provide a life buoy for people like Elia “Momo” Flores at the TownLake Y, where her regular water exercise regimen has produced near miraculous results after undergoing spinal surgery.
Now, the Y cannot claim to make miracles happen. But we can absolutely say that the Y makes miracles possible.
We can’t know the countless factors shaping people’s lives when they walk through our doors. We can’t wrap a single definition around them. And we never know where their journey will take them.
But when we show up with the right attitude – Welcoming, Genuine, Nurturing, Determined, and Hopeful – we create the space for them to reach their potential.
To be the stars in their own life story.