Have you ever been to another country that had a different language, a different style of dress, and food that was out of your norm? If so, how were you introduced to the language, dress, food? If you were lucky, you had a guide who enthusiastically taught you some keys words and phrases, presented a menu with descriptions of the contents, and perhaps gave you an article of dress to help you “fit in”.
Now imagine if you had no guide. Would the language ever make sense? Might the food seem too ‘foreign’ to even consider? And wouldn’t your jeans and t-shirt stick out among the native attire?
Isn’t this the same as a YMCA? Think about the “Y” language we use, and how we assume everyone will understand it when they enter our facilities. Think about the menu of activities….are they inclusive enough?….even for a beginner? Isn’t it great to see a new member wearing a Y t-shirt! This is a simple way to help them “fit in”.
For those of us who “drink the kool-aid”, or have been around a while, please take a moment to consider how is really feels to be a new member, child care participant, or day camper. Are we “walking the talk” when it comes to inclusiveness? Are we sharing our culture in an exciting way, just like a guide in a foreign land?
Let’s not just be Y employees….let’s be Y ambassadors, guiding newbies into this wonderful world of the YMCA!