The weeks before Christmas and a new year are a time of gratitude, anticipation and reflection for me.
Being a part of the YMCA of the Triangle for more than 50 years and starting my career with our Association at Camp Seafarer and Camp Sea Gull, I have a tremendous appreciation for being outdoors and in nature. Growing up, I spent many weekends camping and hiking with friends and family. These trips often led me down bending and winding trails with no clear paths forward. Some of these journeys were incredibly challenging and there were difficult obstacles to navigate – requiring a thoughtful, close look at the very next step ahead. But when we took a break and looked back at the path we had traveled and at the view ahead, we found the discoveries made along the way and the destinations ahead were awe inspiring.
Reflecting on the Pandemic
As I reflect on our work this past year, the most difficult in our YMCA's 163 years of service, this quote comes to mind, "Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations." That is how I think about our Y's work in 2020 which proved to be an unprecedented time for our community and our Y.
In March, the pandemic forced us to suspend much of our operation. That disruption resulted in significant financial challenges across our organization. The economic impact forced our Y to make incredibly difficult decisions. And, while that sounds like the end of a story, it was just the beginning. As an organization, we pivoted to provide critical support that remained true to our Mission and Purpose.
Despite all the obstacles over the last ten months, our Y remains strong and our community remains strong. That’s because of you. Because of each of you, I am very hopeful and optimistic about 2021.
Thank You for Keeping Our Y Strong
To the Y staff team, on behalf of a very grateful community – thank you for your extraordinary service this year. Faced with unimaginable circumstances, obstacles in our way and an ever-changing path, your commitment and resilience inspire me each day. I am proud to serve alongside each of you. Well done.
To our members, whether you stayed with us throughout the pandemic, took a break or recently joined our Cause, you know the Y is much more than a gym and pool. Now more than ever, your continued support ensures our ability to strengthen the community. Thank you for staying with us. Our community is grateful and is counting on you.
To our program participants, we are proud to deliver the critical programs you know and trust. Even though our programs may have changed a bit due to COVID, the impact we make on children in our care, those battling chronic disease and on anyone who seeks to grow healthier in spirit, mind and body through a Y program is unmatched. Thank you for being a part of our YMCA.
To our volunteers, your leadership, counsel and relentless determination to make tomorrow better than today and ensure we truly are a YMCA for all is transformative to countless lives across the region. Thank you for your service, partnership and unwavering dedication during a time when our Y and community needed you most.
To our donors and community partners, your fundamental belief that “for all – takes all” and your extraordinary generosity makes it possible for us to serve all, do good, save lives and transform the community. This year, your giving and collaboration were even more vital. It helped us work to close longstanding gaps and new ones created because of the pandemic. Our Y and our community are fortunate to have you as advocates for change and accelerators of our good work. The YMCA of the Triangle is also humbled and honored to be among the 384 organizations that author and philanthropist MacKenzie Scott recently chose to support.
As our Y journeyed through this year, the path was often unclear. The road bent and changed almost daily, and we encountered many new, unimaginable obstacles. Yes, there was sadness and disappointment along the way. But more often, there was hope and determination that has left me in awe of the power of our Y community and the work we do together.
Thank you for being a part of our Y community. Thank you for staying with us. Most of all, thank you for keeping our YMCA strong. I wish you and your family a season of health, hope, gratitude and anticipation of a brighter 2021.
President and Chief Executive Officer