“Tuesdays with Morrie”, a well known book taught many people to cherish the simple things in life and how important a relationship can be. A new book could be written by the Indian Valley Family YMCA staff about their experiences with a special family. “Fridays with the Woottens” would chronicle the amazing relationships built almost every Friday night for almost 2 years.
Back in 2010 when the Wootten Family joined the Y, they immediatley became connected to branch staff, especially the Amazing Kids and Child Watch staff. Mary and Nathaniel utilized care when in the Y, but seized the opportunity to attend the Friday Kids Night Out program. More than 25 Friday nights, the staff and the Wootten kids played, laughed, learned, crafted and bonded. Even welcome center and wellness staff knew the family!
During the past year, they had treated our the Amazing Kids and Child Watch staff team with a catered lunch– really just their way of saying thank you . The Woottens attended and spoke at our Annual Dinner to tell their story… to say how much the Y meant to their family.
It’s Friday night and there are 9 kids in the Kids Night Out program…none of the Woottens because the family has moved to another state. When word was out that they were moving, branch staff expressed sadness and immediately expressed the desire to throw the kids a little party on their last night. On that last night, a cake was presented, photos were taken, photos of the kids here at the Y were given as momentos and many hugs were shared.
While the Woottens may have moved onto another Y family, their impact was far reaching and lasting. The YMCA staff family learned from the simple pleasure of caring for the Wootten children each and every Friday night. Our staff saw the kids grow, ran with them in the fields and shared lots of laughter. What we have learned from this family is how families like the Woottens are to the health of our Y family.