After two pandemic summers, we are all eager for “normal.”
Vaccines and better treatments have brought hope and lessened risk, and it looks as though we may be through the worst of the Omicron surge. “Normal” feels so close!
Unfortunately, we face two challenges that make holding an in-person event difficult this year.
Like many organizations in our community, we face significant staffing challenges.
Our small but dedicated team is focused on frontline service – caring for kids, teaching swim lessons, supporting families, and ensuring our YMCA is safe, welcoming and ready to respond to community needs.
Our second challenge is scale. At its heart, our swim is a fundraiser that helps us meet our mission to build strong communities.
When we look at the affect of logistics and safety measures on the potential size of an in-person event this year, we would lose money.
Like so many of you, we love our in-person race. The anticipation and excitement is palpable as the sun rises over the starting line in the early morning. Congratulating swimmers as they cross the finish line is a highlight of our summer.
However, as a charitable nonprofit organization, we have a responsibility to invest our resources where they will have the most impact on our community.
As a result, we’ve made the difficult decision to go virtual again this year. Doing so will allow us to rebuild our team, grow our programs, and return to swimming in person again.
You have an important role to play. The best way you can help us get back to normal is to join us virtually this year and pledge your support for kids at the YMCA.
Your support means we can enroll more kids in camp, swim lessons and more, growing our Y and helping our community.
Virtual or in person – our community still needs our help. We hope you will join us to ensure that all children have the opportunity to thrive. Your participation remains as vital as ever.
Thank you for interest in, and support for, the YMCA’s youth development programs. Because of YOU, last year we served more than 7,000 youth and provided more than half a million dollars in financial assistance and program support, ensuring children and teens in our community had the opportunity to learn, grow, and thrive.
Your efforts to fundraise have a tremendous impact on our work. You help ensure that kids have the experiences they need to discover who they are and families have the chance to build resiliency and improve their lives. Families like Ashley, Aiden and Jordan, summer camp participants, have benefited directly from the determination and passion of people like you.
From Hardship to Hope
The COVID-19 pandemic has made life more challenging in many different ways for everyone. Ashley, mother of Aiden and Jordan, experienced her own personal hardship when she was laid off from her job early in the pandemic. Suddenly, Ashley was without an income and raising two boys on her own during a very uncertain time.
Thankfully, Summer Care at the Y launched that June, a version of traditional Y summer camp that adheres to CDC guidelines and safely provides a childcare experience to working families. Ashley enrolled Aiden and Jordan in Camp Sokokis at the Northern York County branch of the Y. They soon became inseparable from the lawn sprinkler and grew close with their counselors, who they couldn't stop talking about.
“Hey, I know that guy! He’s pretty cool!” said Aiden to his mom on his way to the car one day after camp, pointing to a counselor.
While camp brought fun in the sun to Aiden and Jordan, it has also provided Ashley with rare time to focus on herself and her job search. With her children in care, she was able to interview for several positions, and was confident she would find just the right job.
“Looking for a job during coronavirus has been tough, but Summer Care has allowed me the time to work on my job search and feel comfortable knowing that they boys are safe and in good hands”, said Ashley.
This economic impact is precisely one of the core reasons that the Y offers programs like Summer Care. Providing a safe childcare opportunity so that parents can return to work or have respite was an important way for the Y to meet its mission. For Ashley, Summer Care provided more than just childcare for her two boys - it provided hope and peace-of-mind during a difficult time.
“I’m afraid of the Coronavirus coming back strongly in the fall, but I remain hopeful because the Y has shown that safety and health is important and that they know how to keep everyone safe while following the guidelines.
"The Y gives Aiden and Jordan something to look forward to, and I am happy because they get to try new things. At the same time, I am able to focus on myself more”.
Thanks to generous donors, summer camp is available to all kids regardless of their family’s ability to pay. Stories like this are possible because the YMCA believes that every kid deserves the opportunity to discover who they are, and who they can become, regardless of financial standing. This belief stands firmly as a core value of the Y’s mission thanks to the supporters who invest each year to secure it.