Dear Members, Volunteers, Donors, Supporters, and Staff:
As a social service organization that interacts with and impacts directly the lives of over 10,000
unduplicated individuals each year, the Concord Family YMCA is in the “business” of helping to
create positive impacts in people’s lives. With this as a goal, one of our biggest challenges is to find a balance between operating as efficiently apossible while concurrently working to have caring, meaningful relationships with our members and others in the community.
Internally, we describe this dynamic as the difference between being transactional and transformational. Being transactional refers to an exchange of goods, services, or funds. For example, completing the paperwork and enrolling for a class or signing up for childcare and making sure that we have trained and skilled staff providing instruction and guidance as needed are examples of transactional interactions. They are necessary, but we need to do more.
Being transformational refers to an act or process of transforming. Transformation does not happen overnight, rather it develops over time. It involves getting to know our people, taking an interest in their needs and goals, fostering an environment that is safe and secure, and striving to go above and beyond expectations by helping them achieve the best possible outcomes.
Creating and cultivating an environment and culture that is transformational is not something that you simply achieve. Being truly transformational is a perpetual process that requires daily thought and effort on our part to help our members and others in the community to feel that we have their best interests at heart, that we care and are supportive of them, and that we are helping them achieve their goals and realize their potential. Sometimes we are going to “miss the mark” but that means we have to redouble our efforts.
As we look around our organization, Paul and I see examples of transformational interactions on a daily basis. Some of these interactions are more subtle and can be as simple as welcoming people by name and inquiring as to how their day is going. Other transformational interactions are more profound, and sometimes, life changing.
One example is our commitment to children. There is a trend both nationally and locally to suspend or turn away preschool children with extreme behavior problems from childcare programs. Our Y is bucking that trend, working hard to provide the much-needed support and care for challenged children. Take the case of one of our preschoolers; this child
entered our program having previously suffered a traumatic brain injury resulting in limited cognitive skills and impulsive
behavior. Consequently, this child was expelled from two prior childcare providers. Instead of looking for reasons to expel this child, the Concord Y found solutions that kept the child in our program and allowed for full integration into the classroom. Ultimately, our actions will help this child be better prepared when entering public school.
This past summer we implemented two initiatives designed to help with the acclimation of the New American
population in Concord. Working in partnership with Broken Ground Elementary School and Ascentria enabled 40 New American kids to attend Camp Mowkawogan and arranged for New American referrals for the Safety Around Water Program (SAW). In addition to making new friends and having a terrific time these kids learned new skills be safe and better acclimate to our society and culture.
Another positive example is that of member Thomas Proulx. This past September, Thomas not only competed as a
Parathlete in the Finger Lakes Triathlon in Canandaigua, New York, he won his group in his first-ever triathlon. What is particularly noteworthy is that Thomas is totally blind; he lost his sight as an adult. This triggered a complete change in his life both personally and professionally. His personal transformation has been a hard and gradual process; he will tell you he has a ways to go.
But, the Y’s transformational culture has been a major source of support for Thomas. In fact, our Y has helped Thomas to develop new relationships, renew his self-confidence, and regain a sense of purpose in his life. It should come as no surprise that a Y staffer, and a Y member teamed up going above and beyond the call to help Thomas train and participate in the Triathlon.
As we celebrate our 164th year we will continue in the new year to strive to exceed our member’s expectations and help them to achieve the best possible outcome.
Paul Kinson, President, Board of Directors
James Doremus, Chief Executive Officer