Alright, alright, first, a little back story. I began serving on the board for the YMCA of Boulder Valley beginning this year. I have quite an affinity for this place for several reasons, not the least of which is this was the place that served as the springboard for all our family has done with the sport of hockey. Some 14 years ago, I got a membership here, and my daughter and I would spend many an evening skating at the rink. Eventually, that skating turned into hockey, and well, the rest is history. We’ve played, coached and reffed at this place, and continue to do so today. More than a decade later, the place is still part of our family. I run into kids I’ve coached over the years and our daughter is still friends with many of the kids she learned to play hockey with all those years ago. It has always been something of a second home to us.
But the YMCA is not a new thing to our family. Before I was even born, my Grandpa spent many, many hours at his local YMCA. Grandpa was a handball fanatic and had the trophies and medals to prove it. He played several times a week, so was a common face in the halls of his YMCA. When he passed away, my Grandma made sure a memorial was set up for him there, and an endowment was made on his behalf so others could enjoy the sport he loved so much.
This was not the only way the YMCA has touched my life. By the time I had reached my late teens, I had already become involved with volunteerism, and the YMCA served as the foundation for what would later be my lifelong love of giving. I like to say I have the largest heart, if not the most ample schedule, but I do my best. While I might not be the world’s greatest fundraiser, I hope to at least make a small dent in what seems an endless need that the YMCA faces every day.
A Membership Barely Covers Things
People will say “Oh, I have a membership, so that should cover what the Y needs.” The fact is membership dues don’t go far. Beyond running the place, paying the employees and keeping the lights on, membership dues just don’t stretch far enough to also cover the needs of the community. To cover those things that go beyond, the Y relies on fundraising and donations. Scholarships, free classes for those in need, and community emergencies often deplete what remains. The need is always great, and it is never-ending. And the YMCA never turns *anyone* away.
We suffered historic floods back in the fall of 2013, and the YMCA of Boulder Valley sprung immediately into action to help countless families, serving as a shelter or for families to just get a meal and dry clothing. This year, our YMCA began a partnership with Boulder County Head Start to offer free water safety lessons to their 3- and 4-year-old participants. It’s a remarkable program where, for 20 minutes a day, three days a week over three weeks, these kids will be taught vital swimming skills by a group of senior volunteers. Yeah, you could say I’m kind of weepy over the great stuff my Y does.
So, if you’ve made it this far, you might know what’s coming. (Queue the lame donation request 🙂 ) Seriously, though, if you can give at all, I’d appreciate it. I’m sure next year, I’ll have a new story to share about how my Y helped in my community, but the difference will be that your donation will have an impact on that happening. Pretty cool, right?
If you give online, make sure to put my name somewhere, so they know I twisted your arm 🙂 And hey, THANK YOU!