10 October 2011
“The secret of getting ahead is getting started”–Mark Twain
At the Y, strengthening community is our cause. Every day, we work side-by-side with our neighbors to make sure that everyone, regardless of age, income or background, has the opportunity to learn, grow and thrive.
And, every day at the Y, we encounter new members who have already taken the most difficult step towards a healthier life. They came in the door.
They have come to the Y to find the support and resources needed to achieve a goal.
- It may be a family bringing their precious children in for swimming lessons because they know that teaching them to be safe around the water will protect their kids for life.
- It may be an adult looking to lose some weight or to maintain or return to a previous level of fitness.
- It may be a mother who needs the support of positive role models for her children afterschool, to drown out the negative influencers.
- It may be a father who volunteers to coach his kids’ basketball team and builds friendship with the other family-focused parents.
- It may be a family looking to connect with each other and nature at family camp.
- It may be an older adult who suffers from “senioritis” or the need to stay active and socialize with others.
But this is a two way street. We are not providing a service to our members as much as we are partnering as members of the community. We seek to listen actively to the needs of our members and respond to what we are hearing, advising not judging.
As we make changes to our members' experiences, we are aware that sometimes the best laid plans will not work out as we expected.
Supermarket CEO Dan Sanders wrote in his book, Built To Serve, that creating an environment of passionate service is fraught with obstacles but ultimately the only thing that matters.
Things will go bad—adversity is a fact of life. Make decisions based on principles, not popularity. Make decisions based on a godly perspective, not a worldly perspective. Leaders must create positive energy in an organization, not toxic energy. Create a place of privacy where the team can think clearly and freely. With adversity comes opportunities, but they must be sought actively. Healing starts where pride stops.
We talk often about the need to make unstructured play a part of the day for every child, because we understand that they learn about fairness when kids create their own rules (and learn to live within them). We know that when adults play basketball, it doesn’t matter where they went to school, how much money they make or whether the stock market is up or down that day. They are equals on the court. We know that many of us suffer from insecurities--spiritual, physical and financial--and that we raise our own hope when we lift each other up.
“The difference between a player versus a fan,” says Sanders. “Players represent the team every day of the week whether or not they are playing, but fans are fickle and only happy if the team is winning.”
We intend to play with our members—to have fun, to create our own rules together and to build a better community. We will not be boxed in by what others say about Michiana because we will define our own tomorrow, with the help of our strong players--our members, volunteers and staff.