Like many, I’ve carved out some time this month to unplug, rest, and enjoy time with my family. There are few places more therapeutic than the beach for us, and we’ve made this getaway a family tradition over the past 4-5 years.
On one of our many breaks from the relentless sun, we opted for lunch at a local burger joint and found great seats on the boardwalk (in the shade!) that allowed us to take in the beauty of the ocean while being in a prime location for “people watchin’.”
The beach this time was packed – overly so, I should add – but the additional density of people visiting from what appeared to be locations worldwide is interesting to me. I love hearing all the accents and languages, and my daughter and I have begun to perfect this game of fabricating the life stories of all the people we see in busy public places. Suffice it to say that the imagination of a 10-year-old can be pretty limitless.
As we reach the year’s midway point, our Y is at a natural place of analysis and self-reflection. We, too, are watchin’ as we see thousands of people enter our Ys or participate in a bevy of programs spread throughout our six-county service area. Much of what we’ve seen falls in line with expectations, but there are a few outliers and updates that I want to share with you.
1. Our teens are pretty cool! Contrary to popular belief, not all young adolescents and adults spend every waking hour in front of a screen. We’ve recently sent teens to a regional teen leadership program and a full bus-load of young leaders to the Y’s Christian Values Conference. We also have teens engaged as Leaders-in-Training for future paid positions as camp counselors and lifeguards.
2. Access to Learn-to-Swim programs must continue to be prioritized. As more children enter our pools this summer, it is clear that our kiddos have more confidence than ability in and around water.
3. Our new membership model, “Y Your Way,” continues to evolve and introduce the Y to more people. We have also seen an uptick in interest from small to mid-size employers providing the entry-level membership offering as an employee benefit.
4. Our kiddos need us…maybe more than ever before. The stories we’ve all heard about the impact of the pandemic and isolation on our children continue to prove true. Our summer day camp programs have been a joy to see, but we are also cognizant of the rise in emotional support that our children demand.
I am grateful for the support of the Y that you all show daily. I hear many stories of how the Y impacts your lives and what we can do to make your experiences with us more memorable.
I wish you all continued safety, joy, and good health as we navigate the summer’s warmth and the year’s back half.
Until next time…