As the year comes to and end, we are highlighting our best posts and the nonprofit practices that we should all carry into the new year.
Get inspired as you recharge for 2023. Here's a quick list of our most popular client stories. Do you have a similar barrier? Could you learn from their experience or connect around similarities? Use these stories as a learning opportunity or a motivational moment.
On the first night of the 2022 American Camp Association National Convention, a group gathered to hear the story of Camp Soles.
In 2020, the board of this 67-year-old camp in Western Pennsylvania were informed that the land owner would be selling the property. A few weeks later, a group of committed alumni forged a plan to save their camp for future generations.
While the details of how they did it is particular to their situation, there are lessons that are applicable to any camp or nonprofit.
In December 2021, tornadoes swept through communities across multiple states in the Midwest and the South. Kentucky was hit especially hard. The Hopkins County Family YMCA in Madisonville, KY was not affected, but their community was devastated. So the Y did what it does best: answer the call for help.
They quickly mobilized staff, volunteers and community partners to transport food, water and essential items to workers helping with the cleanup. The Y opened its facility for free WiFi, a warm shower, and a safe space to be together. They distributed hygiene kits to people who lost everything and basic supplies to the elderly. Just a few short weeks before Christmas, Y staff and volunteers led “Make Christmas Happen” to ensure local children would receive gifts.
“Our team is full of thoroughbreds. They’re balancing regular Y operations and completely opening their heart to every opportunity to give selflessly,” said Chad Hart, Hopkins County Family YMCA CEO.
3. Not Yet
These two words summarized the findings of a five-month study testing the feasibility of a new YMCA on the Upper Cape in Massachusetts: Not yet.
It was late 2017 and not the conclusion the YMCA Cape Cod Board of Directors hoped for at the onset of the study.
But the good news is “not yet” was not, “the end.” In fact, not yet marked the launch of the Y’s multi-year, multi-faceted plan to address concerns, deepen programmatic engagement, secure critical-mission partners, and solidify a future facility location.
YMCA Cape Cod President & CEO, Stacie Peugh turned initial disappointment into clear and focused direction. Working with staff, volunteers and local community leaders, Stacie found an opportunity in the challenges and positioned the Y for a successful future on the Upper Cape.
This advice from Greater Valley YMCA CEO David Fagerstrom is an important reminder to all of us who are busy, stretched, behind, and keeping too many plates spinning, “Take the meeting.”
About a year ago, David received a call from “Jim,” a man who grew up in Nazareth, PA, and spent time as a kid hanging out at the Nazareth Y (a branch of the Greater Valley YMCA). Jim was going to be in town and wanted to come see the old gym. Never wanting to miss the opportunity to reconnect with a Y kid, David set up a time to meet.
Standing in the old gymnasium, Jim shared the story with David about how 50+ years ago his dad and some friends used his company trucks to drive to Bethlehem, PA, to pick up the very wood they were now standing on. Seeing how well-worn the “new floor” was today, Jim asked what it might cost to replace the wood. He saw this as a wonderful opportunity to honor his recently deceased dad.