Letter From the CEO: June 2014

May 29, 2014, 13:25 PM by

With summer break here, camp has once again become the heart of what we do. Last week, a number of our staff members went up to our resident camp, YMCA Camp Santa Maria, and helped the camp staff get the place ready for the season. Santa Maria is a picturesque, rustic resident camp tucked into a valley near Bailey, and hundreds of children will be impacted tremendously by their experience there during the next 10 weeks. You should visit the Santa Maria website and check out some of the pictures of camp. This summer, when you see the day and resident camp staff, many will be wearing shirts that say, “Professional Role Model.” It’s more than a clever play on words; this message exemplifies what our staffers do everyday. Our camp counselors know they are being scrutinized by your children every second of the day, and they know they are responsible for campers’ perception of them. They need to provide verbal guidance and embody the values we espouse: caring, honesty, respect and responsibility. This is the Y difference.

After decades of working with residential and day camps, I know parents don’t simply put their kids into our programs because of the fun and safety aspects. The Y has a great track record of keeping kids happy, entertained and out of harm’s way—but parents know that for the past 140 years the YMCA of Boulder Valley has gone above and beyond that. We believe that parents shouldn’t be the only ones reminding their kids to say "Please" and "Thank you" and telling them not to swear, not to bully someone and not to hurt people’s feelings. Parents work harder than ever (I know that’s a cliché, but it’s a true cliché), and parents want/need help. “It takes a village” is a good philosophy, and Y employees are cognizant of the fact that parents want a partner in raising their kids.

[pullquote]Kids should have other adults—beyond their parents—in their lives, who care about them and sets boundaries[/pullquote]Kids should have other adults—beyond their parents—in their lives, who care about them and sets boundaries (Google “Developmental Assets” to see the research on this and other experiences that enable young people to develop into successful adults). The Y does this by design. We hire and train staffers who will make this happen for our families and kids, and it is a powerful combination. My 18-year-old just graduated from Centaurus High School and will be heading to CU in the fall. He also attended YMCA resident camp for the past 13 years, and this summer he will be a camp counselor at the YMCA of the Ozarks. I have seen the Y's work in my own family, and it is something we can all be proud of as members of the Y.

So, as you walk around the Y this summer, take a second to watch our staff working with the kids, make eye contact with those camp counselors and give them a nod of approval. Remember, they could probably earn more money somewhere else, but this is an act of service for them.

Along similar lines, you’ve probably noticed our staff wearing bright red buttons that say “Project 265.” This is an incredibly important campaign we’ve unveiled this summer. It’s about ensuring kids get the invaluable experience of summer camp no matter their financial situation. Last summer, the Y supported 265 young people with camp or enrichment programs with the help of financial assistance. This summer, we will ensure that any child who wants to attend summer camp can. It’s that simple. But we need your help to make that happen. This is a gift of healthfulness and happiness, of education and exploration, of community and compassion—allowing kids to bond with their peers, the environment and, like I mentioned before, positive role models. Learn more about Project 265.

If you are interested in supporting the Y’s financial assistance program, please also consider buying tickets to our annual Y Splash gala on June 14. We’d love to see you there!

I appreciate you being a part of the Y and helping us to fulfill our mission in the community. As always if you have a suggestion, please let me know [email protected].


Thank You, 
Chris Coker 
CEO/President of YMCA of Boulder Valley