April 23, 2020 by Keith Z. Brewster
When you hear the word, or letters, YMCA - what do you think of? Do you think of a gym? Maybe a pool? Maybe you think about the second best song to dance to at every single wedding in history, behind the macarena of course. If those things come to mind, you're certainly not wrong. But it might surprise you learn that the YMCA has blossomed over the years and become so much more to the communities in which they serve.
Like many of you, my YMCA experience over the years has been primarily fitness focussed. I love the community feel of a full gym and a quality pool to help keep me (moderately) conditioned. It wasn't until just recently when I ventured into philanthropy that I began to learn about the wide reaching impacts the YMCA has in various communities, specifically that of the Okanagan.
In October of 2019, I reached out to the YMCA Okanagan to find out more about what exactly it is they did. I had wanted to donate to their cause and to help make sports/recreation more accessible to those who may have financial barriers to it. My understanding at that point was it operated as a gym with paid members, but helped facilitate access for those with financial limitations by subsidizing a portion of their membership depending on their income. However, shortly after taking a meeting with their Fundraising Coordinator, I was amazed to hear about all of the exciting things that they provide for our community including but not limited to;
* Recreational Programming
* Athletic Training Programs
* Fitness/Aquatic Facilities
* Day/Summer Camps for children and adolescents
* Subsidized Child Care
* Career Development Services
* Parenting Workshops
* Health Snack Programs
* Community Development Initiatives
Our foundation was blown away at the wide reaching impact of this incredible organization and charity. To that end, we knew we needed to step up and support them as they support countless members of our Okanagan communities. It's with a great sense of pride that I get to announce that our foundation has committed to fund/sponsor the YMCA Okanagan $150,000.00 over the next three years.
The timing of press releases and funding announcements is never easy, especially when there is so much uncertainty in our world. But now more than ever we felt like it was important to tell people about the YMCA Okanagan and important role they play in our community. Like many others, they are struggling. They are missing what makes them thrive; their community. But, like so many others they are learning to adapt. They have begun taking programs online, providing recreation training online through their social media, and reaching out to those who need help wherever they can. And, when things get back to some sense of normalcy, they'll be there as a pillar in our community, helping make it a better place to live and continuing to make recreation accessible for all.
If you’d like to learn how you can become more directly involved, please visit the YMCA Okanagan website at; https://www.ymcaokanagan.ca/Programs