This summer the Y asked members, seasonal visitors, donors, and people of all ages who came through our doors to list their reasons they love the Y. The inside wall was dotted with over 70 responses ranging from “something for everyone” to “my home away from home,” to “yoga, friends, everything,” to “helps develop our youth,” “swimming,” and as Jeannie Sullivan wrote, “the Y loves me!” We do indeed. Bruce Harris loves “Y-Arts” and Joan Teele loves that the Y “helps develop our youth.” Fittingly, Holly Stover loves the “sense of community” that the Y fosters.
Several comments were similar to this quote from Phil Smith: “It’s a place where all of the people in the area can gather for their health and friendship.” The Y is happy to be a welcoming place and that includes offering free coffee in the morning and access to WiFi all day. There’s a wonderful morning “coffee clatch” of folks who hang out in the lounge in the morning and get caught up on all of the local happenings. The Y hosts a variety of youth sports events and practices and in addition to providing childcare at the Harbor Montessori School, the Y has a robust after school program located at Camp K. 7-year-old Keira Whitt, a member of the FitKids program, wrote that she loves “the counselors.”
In addition, the 2021 Annual Fund materials for the theme of “Back Together” included a line in the gift envelope that asked why people love the Y. Over 30 donors returned their thoughts with their donation and responses ranged from “the sense of community” to “strength training,” to “it developed our initial circle of friends when we first moved here.” We added those comments to the “wall of love” and members commented on the colorful display, stopped to read the notes, and several took photos of the display. Carol Ostermann echoed one of the Y’s goals of serving the whole community with her quote, “It’s here for everyone.”
As an incentive for people to write their reasons for loving the Y, we offered a raffle that included several items of cool summer swag, including a Y beach towel, a football, a water bottle, a T-shirt, some lip balm and suntan lotion. Last week we gathered all of the comments from the wall and pulled a name at random. We are pleased that Elisabeth Wright, our goodwill ambassador, was the lucky winner. She was very excited as she counted the days in advance until we pulled the name from the raffle. She was stunned and thrilled when she learned she was the winner! Elisabeth helps Abby Jones with the community food program. They prepare healthy snacks and meals in the Grab ’n Go cooler in the foyer of the Y, bring snacks to Fit Kids, the after school program out at Camp Knickerbocker, and the library in town. Anyone is welcome to these healthy snacks which are funded through grants to address food security in our region. Elisabeth’s stated reason for loving the Y? “Working with Abby.”
Reaching out, connecting, friendships, partnering, and giving back to the community are all aspects of the Y that it offers in service to its members and the region at large. It is nicely put by Lori Bailey who, when asked, “Tell us Why you love the Y,” wrote, “Why wouldn’t you?”