Instructor in swimming pool with two young students for swim lessons

First Friday Message

“You Did It!”

Moving here in late summer of 2021, my wife and I were consumed with trying to find the right community for our family. We were leaving a home and neighborhood in Pittsburgh that we loved and wanted to find a community that gave us the same warm “Mayberry” feel.

That was the peak of the housing market and we combed through nearly every community with an available home within a 30 to 35-minute radius of downtown. Countless homes and lots of offers were made, and each one of them was lost until we found a community in west Orange County where we were fortunate enough to find a home. Our new community reminded us of the community we left behind – lots of younger families, community activities, and an extended village of adults all committed to ensuring the collective safety and well-being of the children living here.

A week or so ago, I cheered on one of the kiddos on my block as he was learning how to ride a bike with the encouragement (and balance support!) of his mom and dad on each side of him. I remember so clearly when my daughter mastered that skill after months of lessons and more than a little bit of frustration on my part. As she pedaled away from me on her own power, wobbling still from side to side, the happiness I felt for her was immeasurable. I screamed out, “You did it!, You did it!” and she pedaled away giggling and proud. I gave her the biggest hug when she got back and I’m so happy I have that moment recorded on my phone forever.

Working for the Y, I have the good fortune of experiencing first-hand many of these moments of accomplishment for our members and program participants. Several months ago, I listened in while one of our Downtown Y swim instructors, Casey, cheered on one of our youngest swimmers in a Safe Start class. Earlier this week, I joined in on a dance class with a few preschoolers at our Early Learning Center in Lake Buena Vista. I wish you all could have seen my little four-year-old dance partner as she looked up at me with her adorable smile and cheered me on.

Anything worth doing is worth the effort. In our Y, our team members and dedicated volunteers have been committed to reshaping the organization to ensure its success for generations to come. We continue to rebuild from the low points of the pandemic and many of you have aided our recovery by sharing your Y story with friends and introducing new people to our Y family.

“I never did anything worth doing entirely by accident. . . Almost none of my inventions came about totally by accident. They were achieved by having trained myself to endure and tolerate hard work.”

Thomas A. Edison

The road back to a healthy and thriving organization is replete with potholes and the occasional setback along the way. That said, we are making progress and we continue to enlist more support each month. We are adding more classes, extending hours, and building partnerships that allow us to sustainably extend our mission beyond the four walls of our facilities. And we know, with ABSOLUTE CLARITY, that we have much more to do.

Thank you all for being with us on this recovery journey and for standing with and encouraging our frontline team members in our family centers, early learning centers, and our before and after programs. Please continue to cheer them on while they do the same for you.

Until next time…

Kevin Bolding, President & CEO
YMCA of Central Florida

The Y. For a better us.®