The YMCA means so many different things to people depending on their perspective. To some who have just a passing experience they may recognize it as a building around the
corner with a big Y sign. Or they might think of the organization in terms of a program if they have known someone who took classes at a Y or perhaps they learned to swim at a Y or they went to a Y camp. But you know the Y to be so much more than just a gym/swim that schedules classes and runs leagues.
The Y is great at "bait and switch". You sign up to exercise and we help you make friends. You play a season of soccer or basketball and you learn about fair play, healthy competition, and respect of others. You learn to swim but you grow in self-confidence and self-esteem for what you have accomplished. You agree to raise money for the Annual Campaign or volunteer for the Y and you develop leadership skills, make new friends, and develop a deeper sense of the impact the Y can make in the lives of kids and families. The Dallas Y and all of our branches and camps have become an integral part of the social fabric of our community.
To truly understand the impact we make, it is more important to know why the Y exists rather than what we do or how we do. Our missions is the answer to that "why". The 17 words that form that mission statement become the True North that guide our staff and volunteers: to put Christian values into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind, and body for all. We work every day to ensure that everything we do passes the test of those words. And we are challenged to find ways so that everyone has the opportunity to experience the life changing moments that occur when you put the magic of the mission into action in a life experience.
It has been a joy and an honor to have been selected in 2002 as the Chief Executive and then to serve in that role for more than fifteen years. I can name a long list of programs, facility improvements and expansions that have occurred over that time. I am proud to have had a small role in those accomplishments. But none of it would have happened without the commitment of thousands of women and men who serve as colleagues and volunteers who commit themselves to making our Y the best it can be for you. Rather than sharing a list, I would rather point you to our website and share YMCA stories
. The programs and facilities are the "how and what". Read the stories to learn why the YMCA is such a powerful force for good at so many levels.
So, as I end my 41 year YMCA career later this spring I am thrilled that this 132-year-old Movement in Dallas will continue to grow and evolve under the leadership of Curt Hazelbaker. He is an outstanding Y professional with tremendous experience, humility, and passion for the mission. As good as we are today, Curt will move the Y to greater accomplishments.
So thanks to all of the staff who I treasure as colleagues and friends, thanks to the thousands of volunteers who believe in the Y and are willing to invest with their time, passion and financial support in what we do, and special thanks to the committed women and men who have served on our Board of Directors as my collective Boss - these people who are legally and financially responsible for the Y and have willing put their trust in me and the staff to share the responsibility to make this a great YMCA....it has been a privilege.
Next month: Curt Hazelbaker, President and CEO of the YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas will be launching his First Friday Newsletter.