My YMCA experience started in December of 1990. I started working at the Ellis YMCA while attending college as an accounting student. I was looking for a job that would allow me to concentrate on my education. The first thing I learned and maintained at the YMCA was the YMCA motto, “To help individuals reach their God-given potential in body, spirt and mind.” If our CEO, at that time, asked and you knew this, you would get $5.00 on the spot. It was a lot at the time because we were being paid $3.80 an hour.
Ellis YMCA was a very special place. It had a small 4 lane pool and the members loved their pool. They never complained about having to share lanes and would thank us for our service. It was a friendly and inviting place where all people were equals. In November 1991, the YMCA closed the Ellis YMCA to build the Helen Nassif YMCA. As a result, I moved to the Marion YMCA in 1992.
I have been very fortunate in life and have chosen to try to be there for the pool staff. I have written letters of recommendations, helped with resumes, and provided references. I have been able to see our staff grow up and become accountants, office administrators, police officers, fire fighters, teachers, business owners, military personnel and a professor.
My message to anyone who reads this is to remember that the YMCA is more than a facility. It is a place that helps individuals reach their God-given potential in body, mind and spirit regardless of their position and location. The people make the YMCA what it is.