YMCA First Friday Journey

First Friday Message


Before I dive into my thoughts for today, I need to acknowledge the tremendous response to last month’s “HELP Wanted” message. Almost instantly, people inquired about various levels of volunteer support and others also inquired about employment opportunities. I continue to be amazed and humbled by your response to First Friday and I thank you again for your interest in our Y.

This week, I celebrated a pretty significant milestone – 30 years of service to the YMCA. (I started when I was 12. 😊) Over the last 30+ of these First Friday messages, I’ve shared numerous stories of the moments and people that have shaped me across five significant career moves and four states.

The message today is I didn’t really anticipate that surpassing this milestone would feel this monumental, but sometimes you have to pause and celebrate the victories along the way.

We get so caught up in the rigors and unrelenting pace of adulting and far too often we glorify being busy. Even worse, sometimes we also fail to recognize that many of the fruits of our labors were once the seeds that others have sown into us.

This milestone is significant to me because I am so thankful to my “Y people” who have shaped me and influenced me – YMCA peers, volunteers, members and program participants. I’ve never taken my job or my responsibilities to my community for granted and I never imagined that I’d be doing this work thirty years later.

At the helm of our great Y, I now get to shape the vision of the Y for the next 10, 20, and 30 years. We’re a Y striving to grow our service from 150,000 people a year to 500,000 people per year. We need to strengthen our current facility footprint while also focusing on how we will take our Y work into communities where no Y is present. And we have to start building an organizational nest egg that can propel our most ambitious dreams for generations to come.

The inspiration for all of this work are my Y people along my journey. Thank YOU for being on this journey with me and always inspiring me and pushing the Y to be better.

Until next time…

Kevin Bolding, President & CEO
YMCA of Central Florida

The Y. For a better us.®

First Friday messages offer a monthly peak behind the veil of leading through change from the Y’s President & CEO.