As we head into 2022, we look back on just a few of the things that we accomplished at our Y during difficult and uncertain times and look ahead to how we will all move forward together.
Investing in our Team
Our Association has undertaken several efforts to ensure that our staff is being served in the best way possible by our organization. One of those efforts was reviewing pay rates across our association to ensure that we are compensating our staff appropriately for the important work they do. As a result, we raised the hourly pay rates for staff in the following areas: Licensed Childcare, Aquatics, Maintenance/Properties/Housekeeping, Membership, Health and Wellness, Family, Sports, Teens, Arts, and Education.
We’ve also added several key leadership roles to deliver programs and services more effectively, create more paths for employee growth, and develop a stronger organizational culture. Before the pandemic, our Y employed over 1500 staff and we’re working to employ more people every day as we continue to rebound. The Y has long been one of the top employers of teens. We’re working to make our Y an employer of choice for all in our area.
Investing in Health and Outreach
Nationally, the Y has driven innovation in the prevention and control of chronic disease to save lives and reduce healthcare spending for many years. Locally, our Y has been a leader in offering a wide variety of these evidence-based chronic disease prevention and control programs.
The YMCA of Central New York offers programs to prevent adults at elevated risk from developing type 2 diabetes, prevent and treat risk factors for heart disease and stroke, help some of the 50 million Americans living with arthritis and other physical limitations become more active and empowered for independent living and prevent falls, support cancer survivors, and address the social determinants of health.
This focus on integrative community health is one of the ways the Y moves outside of the walls of our branches. Another is our Virtual Y.
In 2021, the Virtual Y of CNY grew into a website, a schedule of live and recorded classes featuring local instructors, a library of on-demand videos from Ys across North America, a monthly Speaker Series featuring various themes and topics, as well as the renowned Downtown Writers Center classes and Visiting Author Series programming. In 2022, we’ll be working on creating spaces in our branches to further integrate our virtual experience. We believe virtual programming is not just a response to the pandemic, but something that will be integrated into our Y, allowing access to more people in new and diverse ways.
Investing in Education
Our Power Scholars Academy, a partnership between the Y and the national nonprofit BellXcel, helps elementary and middle school-aged children tackle summer learning loss in math and reading. This program takes place in our city parks and provides outreach for kids from lower-income and underserved environments fostering physical and social-emotional growth. Our young scholars have typically achieved math and reading gains 1 month greater than the national average!
This growth mindset is something that is important at all ages and that’s why we also launched the Y Achievers college and career exploration program in collaboration with Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University, The Image Initiative, Inc., and Say Yes to Education in 2021. High-school students take part in a comprehensive curriculum of college preparation, professional development, leadership skill-building, and career exploration, and create meaningful mentor relationships.
Investing in Diversity
Our Y, like many others, is on a journey to become an anti-racist, multicultural organization that intentionally leads and boldly models a diverse and inclusive culture that impacts and strengthens the foundations of our community.
In addition to the work that we have been doing internally, led by our talented staff, over the past few years to create more opportunities for access and inclusion for all, we have also brought on an outside group to help us honestly assess and guide us in setting our diversity initiative goals.
Investing in You
These investments are part of our rebound through the effects of the pandemic, but also an investment in the sustainability of our Y and our service to our community. We’re working hard to bring more value to our members and make the programs and services of the Y more accessible to more people.
We believe these actions will help us fulfill our purpose of strengthening community for all and we look forward to doing more in 2022! Everything thing we do at the Y is an investment in our community and an investment in YOU. Thank you for your support of the YMCA of Central New York.