April 15, 2020 – The Day That Should Have Been
On March 11, 2020 I was working on plans for our Annual Campaign Kick-Off event that was scheduled for April 15, 2020. We were going to do a 20’s theme, so I had ordered some Roarin’ 20’s party decorations, funny Prohibition signs, and other 20’s themed items. We were getting ready to send out invitations to all of our volunteer campaigners the next day. I was working on a new interactive Jeopardy game that I had tested earlier that month with our Board of Directors during a special kick-off event just for them. It was a huge hit even though our CEO and Lansdale Branch Executive were feeding team members the answers which led to huge laughs!
I was on a roll and kind of proud of myself that I was getting prepared earlier than usual. And then on March 12, we received word that the world as we knew it was going to change as schools and businesses started to shut down.
So now it’s April 15, 2020. Tonight, I was supposed to be in a room full of eager volunteers and campaign leadership presenting my carefully crafted PowerPoint about the impact of the Y. We would have feasted on a large tray of Chick-fil-A nuggets (always a hit at these events), and party appetizers from Wegmans (we love their sushi trays).
I would have introduced Board members Susan Fisher and Peter Prescott for the seventh year in a row as Co-Chairs for our Annual Campaign. Susan would have told everyone about the impact the Y has made in her life. She would have shared a story about one of the recipients of our financial assistance program, which is made possible by the funds raised during our Annual Campaign. Peter would have nodded his head in agreement. He’s a man of few words and they make a great team!
I would have called up Deb Webb and Dan Wallace, our Co-Chairs for the Community Phase of our campaign. They would have shared more about the impact of the Y in our community. How last year, more than 13 percent of our members received some sort of financial assistance.
I then would have given a quick overview of the Annual Campaign and shared the impact our volunteer campaigners can have. I would have told them, the first tip to being a successful campaigner is to make a personal donation of an amount that’s appropriate to their own circumstances. It’s always easier to ask someone to donate when you yourself have contributed. My colleague Colleen would hand out Campaigner kits she had put together that included their Volunteer Handbook, pledge envelopes and other materials. We would then launch into our fun new Jeopardy game, and the evening would end with a raffle drawing.
We’d all be exhausted the next day, but that event always energized me. It was always one of my favorite campaign events because I loved meeting our volunteers. I loved chatting with our staff and catching up with our campaign leadership team. I loved making new connections. So our new normal is different. But that’s ok.
I’m looking forward to connecting with everyone virtually for now. Until we meet again at our Annual Campaign Celebration event in December. And you know we’ll be feasting on Chick-fil-A nuggets and Wegmans sushi!
April 1, 2020 – Prouder Than Ever To Work for the Y
I’ve worked for the North Penn YMCA in our Development Office since September of 2013. I’ve always been proud of the work we do…raising money so we can help provide access to our Y so everyone has the opportunity to take advantage of our programs and services, regardless of their financial situation. But I’ve never been more proud to work for the Y until now. Here’s why.
When I first interviewed for my job, I had no idea that the YMCA was a non-profit. I, like so many others, thought of it as a place to work out, or learn how to swim, or just the lyrics to a fun song to dance to at weddings. But we’re so much more than a gym and swim, and now everyone is seeing that more than ever.
I feel like we just let everyone in on our little secret…that we are a service to our community.
As soon as we learned that our buildings would be closed, the first thing our CEO asked was, “what can we do to help?” Within hours, we had thrown together ideas to provide support to our community at large. We started to make plans to provide child care services for children of healthcare workers, first responders and those providing vital services to the community. We started calling our senior members to help with errands such as picking up groceries, medications, and meals. We shared virtual home exercise programs via social media to help our members stay on track with their fitness routines. All the while, doing our best to provide temporary employment to members of our staff.
And while all of that was going on, something amazing happened. Many of our members reached out to offer their support in one way or another. More than 150 Y members asked that we turn their monthly membership fee into a donation. Members of our community started donating to the Y, which allows us to offer even more support to those who will face increasing financial difficulties due to the current situation.
The Y is the leading nonprofit committed to strengthening community by connecting all people to their potential, purpose, and each other. And now more than ever, even though our facilities are closed, we’re seeing those connections and that strength on full display. And it’s amazing.
March 19, 2020 – Well, that escalated quickly
That’s the phrase that I keep thinking about during this shutdown. A week ago, we were all going about our daily business. I was minutes away from sending out an invitation to our Annual Campaign Kick-Off celebration scheduled for April. Then, our marketing coordinator Shana said, “the governor just announced that all gyms, etc. have to close.”
Wait, what? I thought she was joking until I quickly found the press conference online and started watching it. We were all gathered around my computer, and then we immediately went into crisis mode. We had so many questions. When does the closure start? What does this mean for our members? Our staff? Our partners?
While still figuring out the new temporary normal for my work life, I like so many parents went into crisis mode for my home life. Our school district closed that Friday, March 13 so teachers could work on Distance Learning plans. Then word came that the schools would be closed for two weeks. Our district did an amazing job of quickly putting a plan in place. By Tuesday morning, my two daughters (first grade and ninth grade) were in “school” and I was their principal.
Thanks to technology, we’ve been able to stay connected with family, friends, and colleagues. Who knows how long our new normal will go on for, but for now, we’re all in this together…just from a distance.