Letter From The CEO: Sept 2015

Aug 28, 2015, 15:31 PM by

If you saw the paper last week, you probably saw that we have entered into negotiations to join forces with the Ed & Ruth Lehman YMCA in Longmont. This is a very big deal for both associations, and everyone should benefit from that alliance. It will create more efficiencies and allow us to serve more people; we can share staff, grow programs and support the entire county. We encourage all members and program participants to continue checking our websites for updates as we know more.

However, "What are the benefits of the Ys working together?" is often the second question that someone asks me, or even the third. Usually the first questions I get are, “Are you going to change my Y?" and "How do you intend to respond to the needs of our community?”

Being a long-time (33 years) YMCA employee, I was surprised by this last one. That's probably because representing the needs of each community is just what the YMCA does and has always done. It's intrinsic to our model and how we stay relevant and effective in thousands of communities around the world. But I know that residents, members and program participants in Longmont want to make sure their Y is authentic to and reflective of their town and residents. I know the Y members of Lafayette and Boulder would ask the same thing if we were joining the Denver YMCA.

And I do have an answer for this question.

People tend to think that it's the board of directors that is responsible for making change or tackling complaints. The board does not make operational decisions for the YMCA of Boulder Valley. The board makes policy decisions and creates the strategic plan that is a road map for our growth.

But it's really our committees that help us ensure we are representing the wants and needs of our unique communities, dealing with your feedback or making improvements. Those committees have real power. These are the groups that work with our staff to actually discuss issues and decide what changes need to be made to ensure that we are offering the best services to our members and program participants. They make recommendations to the board, and in the past seven years that I have been here, I have never seen the board go against a committee recommendation. It's in our committees that staff and volunteers meet to make decisions that directly affect all of you as members and participants.

There are only a couple of board members on each committee. They are mostly made up of volunteers who are solely interested in the work of that committee. If you want to help us improve our basketball programs or other sports offerings, you join the Sports Committee; if you want to bring new programs to our senior population, you could join our Active Older Adults Committee; if you were a camp counselor in college and want to give back, please join the Camp Committee.

We need committee members to help us make the Y a better place and represent your particular constituency or geographic area. In total there are 17 committees of the board, and we have more than 100 volunteers who work with our committees.

As we work to finalize our negotiations, we will ensure there are Longmont representatives on each committee. It is a model that currently helps us strengthen the very different communities we serve now — from our facilities in Lafayette and Boulder to our after-school sites, sports programs and camp sites throughout Broomfield, Superior, Louisville and even up to our resident camp in Bailey. It will now help us to best serve our neighbors to the north.

If you are interested in serving on a committee, please let me know. As always, don’t hesitate to email me with any concerns you may have about the Y, [email protected].


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