CEO Steve's Christmas Message

December 1, 2020

Always at this time of year, I am reminded of a story related in 1948 by then-General Secretary of the World Alliance of YMCAs Tracy Strong.  Strong tells of a young orphan, Peter, who struggled to save a baby amidst the destruction of World War II. The baby was an impediment to Peter’s own safety and rescue, yet he would not abandon the tiny child.

 During this season in many faith traditions, we celebrate the child in our midst. For many he is the Christ child, redeemer of sins and hope for the world. Regardless of religion, though, children offer a test for us all. Their innocence and helplessness—and grand potential—demand our collective responsibility and accountability to the future. Strong asks, “Can we, as members of the YMCA . . . do better than place the child in our midst?”

Children are the heart and soul of the YMCA. I am mindful of those children we have served in 2020, enriching lives, building confidence during uncertainty and creating lasting bonds and friendships.  All of them will need our love and guidance. They embody the potential of the YMCA. Programs come and go, organizations change, but we must never lose the “child-look” of the YMCA, as Strong says.

The best I can wish for each of us this year and the next, in our personal, professional and volunteer lives in the YMCA, is to keep the child front and center in all we do. It is simple, and it is radical. In membership, in programming, in advocacy, in developing our staff and in recruiting for our volunteers and clubs, we must ask ourselves these questions: “What benefits the child? What builds the child’s potential? What demonstrates love?”

Strong declares that “what we do with the child is the test of us, of society, of organizations”—and of the YMCA, he might have added. We can never lose sight of the fact that each child is the hope of the world.

While Christmas will be different this year for many families, mine included, I am more grateful than ever that – after a long and very difficult year – the holiday season is upon us. The joy and hopefulness of the season feel particularly important this year. I personally have much to be thankful for, including the opportunity to serve this great organization with all of you, even during these trying times.

On behalf of everyone here at the Findlay Family YMCA, I’d like to take this opportunity to wish you and your family a joyous and safe holiday season. We look forward to serving and partnering with you in the coming year.

Best regards,