Brighter days are ahead, not just because it’s summer, but because we are beginning to see the end of one of the most challenging times in our history. With the new Covid-19 guidance on June 15, the state of California has created a much anticipated benefit for our Y, your smiling faces. It has been a joy to see so many of your smiling faces, sans mask. Our branches, once quiet, are beginning to fill up with the noise of laughing children and fitness classes. In essence, the community has come back to the Y.
ASSOCIATION BOARD UPDATE
Since my last newsletter, we have many exciting updates and changes to share. Most notably, we begin the transition to a new board chair, Marcus Kocmur, beginning July 1. A special thank you to outgoing board chair, Gail Anikouchine, her leadership and vision have helped guide our organization through challenge after challenge throughout the crisis. Her spirit and guidance are representative of the guiding principles of the Y. From all of us at the Y and the community, we thank you for your service. Furthermore, we are excited to welcome our incoming board chair Marcus Kocmur. As a current Channel Islands YMCA board member, Marcus will bring over 7 years of Y volunteer experience to our association. We are truly excited for the future of our organization.
Summer excitement is in the air. From day camp to swim programs, our branches are abuzz with children and families who have been itching to get outside and have fun. Our swim classes are filling up at our branches and we are reminded to take a moment to focus on important issues like drowning prevention.
The Y is “America’s Swim Instructor” and the most accessible community resource to prevent drowning as well as encourage a lifelong enjoyment of swimming. The Y introduced the country to the concept of group swim lessons more than 100 years ago (1909). We take drowning prevention seriously and with our expertise in swim instruction, it is important that we keep our community’s children safe. Drowning can happen nearly anywhere with standing water. However, as a parent or caregiver, you cannot keep your children sidelined. Let us partner with you to equip them with the tools they need to be confident in and around water. Do not miss the health benefits of exercise, the opportunities to bond with family and friends, and the sense of accomplishment when they learn new skills in the pool. Please take a moment and review our water safety document for important tips.
It has been the year of essential childcare for many in the community. A service so vital, it became one of our most important programs throughout the pandemic. As an organization focused on supporting its community, we work tirelessly to find and work with many community partners to support families in need.
As a non-profit organization, the Y understands the importance of community partnerships to strengthen our mission and provide important connection for donors. Our donors and community partners have been crucial in the last year to maintain vital services such as essential childcare. There have been several key partners and donors who have stepped up to financially support the Ys effort to provide essential childcare. Our deepest appreciation to each of you. Today, we would like to spotlight The John C. Mithun Foundation.
With so many families needing childcare support during the pandemic, it was essential to find ways to help our struggling essential workers. The John C. Mithun foundation, an organization with a passion for directly helping children and families, provided over $90,000 in scholarships and financial assistance for the Santa Barbara Family YMCA childcare program. The partnership with the YMCA and the John C. Mithun Foundation came at a pivotal time for our programs and youth.
With the support from the John C. Mithun Foundation, the Channel Islands YMCA was able to expand essential childcare programs for many impacted families in Santa Barbara. We are proud to help serve and provide an outlet for John C. Mithun Foundation, as well as be a vital source for community connectedness in unprecedented times. The Y truly appreciates the generosity of the John C. Mithun Foundation and we look forward to many more opportunities to work together in the future.
We are entering a changing world. One, I believe, to be for the greater good. Our new partnerships in the community, such as John C. Mithun and long-term relationships with partners like the United Way, stand as a testament to our longevity and strength as an organization. With a new board chair kicking off his term in July, our organization will be positioned to support our changing community health and wellness goals, as well as keep our youth safe and healthy for years to come.
Channel Islands YMCA, President & CEO
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