Feed the Staff…..


We try to recognize at least two staff per month at the Indian Valley Family YMCA.  We select one staff from the Ellington facility, and one staff from our Child Care and After School Programs.  We do a “surprise” recognition, in the presence of their peers and program participants.  Their photos are displayed in the lobbies and child care centers.  This is just one way that we try to “Feed the staff so they don’t eat the members”.  Does anyone have other ideas on staff recognition?



Teacher Recognition

class room 105

Our Child Care Teachers are truly amazing!  This is some recent feedback that was given to us from a parent of a YMCA Vernon Child Care student:  “You teachers are the first teachers in my son’s life.  You are the stepping stones for his future.  Hopefully you do the greatest things in the life of other children.  Thanks for being a very good foundation to my child’s life”.   AND even more from another parent!:   “Thank you for your wisdom, patience, understanding, and guidance.  You are an inspiration and very much appreciated.  Max will forever benefit from being in your class”.

“I have a complaint….but…”

A gentleman came into my office yesterday.  He shared some (valid!) concerns about parking, and then said “we could go back to (insert name of fitness club) but we love it here at the YMCA!  Over at (insert name of fitness club) no one was friendly as here at the Y.  My wife has already made close friends from her group exercise class…..that never happened at (insert name of fitness club)”.

This once again proves that we have magic here at the Indian Valley Family YMCA!  That magic is created by our staff and members who create a positive and welcoming community!  Thanks to all!  (and we are working on the parking situation!) John Reilly

An Inspiration….or two….or three!


Shawn comes to the Indian Valley Family YMCA every weekday for about five hours a day of rehabilitative exercise.  That is remarkable and inspirational….but that is not all!   Dave (on the right) works side by side with Shawn, and is one of the most patient, respectful persons I have ever met!…..but that is not all!  Joey (on the left), also assists Shawn.  Joey is a success story himself, having overcome serious health issues, and is now a trainer!   WHAT A TEAM!  Each one is an inspiration!

Our Social Experiment

What if we were to try this;  find a community who knows very little about the YMCA and build a YMCA facility in what was once a cornfield.  Hire staff based almost exclusively on their “relationship building” skills (train them on the other stuff).  Provide a variety of programs for a variety of ages.  Ask them to pay for it….then ask them to donate towards it.

Fast forward two and a half years later;   I host a training for seven NEW Strong Kids volunteers (only two of whom know one another…and only because they met at the Y!).  Just as the meeting is supposed to get started, I need to run to my office for a backup flash dirve.   By the time I returned to the meeting room, all seven are engaged in an animated conversation about their YMCA experiences.   Rather than start the meeting, I just sat and listened.  Each person was talking about what an important part of their lives that YMCA had become (none had prior Y expericence).  Each one spoke about how it was the staff who made it such a special place, and how they were able to make lasting friendships with other members.   It was all I could do to keep from bursting out with pride, amazement, and thankfullness that I played a small part in creating this social experiment.  This was nothing short of AMAZING…..strangers, new to the Y, now meeting so that they could be a part of giving back by way of volunteering in the Strong Kids Campaign.  Even as I write this, I am just blown away by the IMPACT we have had on our community.  Our world needs more of this.