Happy group of Latin American people at the gym looking at the camera smiling - healthy lifestyle concepts

First Friday Message

“…For ALL.”

I pray that each of you have welcomed the new year blessed and refreshed after spending quality time with friends and family. In our household, I was happy to have my in-laws visiting and taking on some much-appreciated grandparent-granddaughter chit-chat time. Don’t get me wrong, I love my little girl, but her loquacious nature can be a bit much for a closet introvert thirsting for some quiet time.

Having spent nearly the last three decades with the Y, January always brings an increased buzz of activity as we work to respond to the new waves of people determined to achieve new goals for the year. Personally, I’ve never been one to focus too much on creating new resolutions. My focus has always been on trying to maintain the course. And despite my affinity for cheap chocolate and rich ice cream, I know what I should do to be fit and stay off of my doc’s naughty list.

I am fortunate to have a wonderful trainer at the Downtown Y and she helps to keep me accountable. In one of my recent training sessions, she shared how she thinks of this time of year as a time to “reset”. Thinking about it, that’s exactly how I approach the start of a new year. It’s a time to refocus and reset the important goals and aspirations – personally and professionally – that I’ve made for myself.

Our Y is no different.

For the better part of the last 15 or so First Friday messages, I’ve alluded to how our Y is changing and responding to the varied feedback that we get from our members and the community. We know that we have an amazing history to build from and we know we have much work to do to position ourselves to better serve our community.

Our membership structure is at the core of how we engage with you – a structure, for most YMCAs, that hasn’t changed a great deal over the past 30 years. During that time, YMCAs have grown tremendously in communities across the country and we’ve seen that same impressive growth in our Y.

We will be sharing more in the coming days about how we believe our membership should evolve and how this evolution affects you. We believe it should be a more accessible and flexible product to meet the varied and changing budgets and needs of today’s families. We believe you should be able to experience the Y Your Way.

“To put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind, and body for ALL.”

When I started with the Y in 1994, I quickly familiarized myself with the YMCA’s mission statement. I always knew what the Y was about and learning the mission statement gave me a great foundation to deepen my commitment to the organization. Years later, I began to truly appreciate the totality of the mission statement and worked to uplift it.

Growing up with a lot of love and not much else, I’ve always connected with how the Y can and should be an organization for all. I love how we’re able to bring people of all backgrounds together in the Y through membership, sports, educational programs, and with our faith partners located in many of our Ys.

I’m so excited to see how this next evolution of membership will be able to increase our reach and deepen our commitment to our mission.

Until next time…

Kevin Bolding, President & CEO
YMCA of Central Florida

The Y. For a better us.®