June CEO Message
“Summertime, and the livin is easy.” Don’t those memorable lyrics to George Gershwin’s much loved masterpiece, “Summertime,” just lull us into the soft sweet season of summer.
Here at the West Cook YMCA, we’re ready to help our members and community residents of all ages enjoy the pleasures of the new season.
Mid-month, on Monday, June 15, we plan a special Opening Day celebration at the Fred Hampton Family Aquatic Center in Maywood when the WCY opens the facility’s large outdoor swimming pool that it operates and manages. We’re planning special treats and talent for kids of all ages to enjoy—a balloon artist, sidewalk chalk, some interactive activities, a special program by the Maywood Fine Arts group and traditional summertime faire.
Our continuing partnership with the Village of Maywood in which the West Cook YMCA staffs the pool for the summer season means that swimmers of all ages and abilities can enjoy the healthful benefits of water sports.
It’s also a wonderful example of how the YMCA’s trifecta of missions to foster healthy living, encourage youth development and demonstrate social responsibility through community service and outreach all come together on one site.
Also, the Maywood pool operation is a stellar example of the latest trend in YMCAs—Ys without walls.
Another example of that same approach of not being bound by our own real estate here on South Marion Street in Oak Park is the new Workplace Wellness program. This initiative brings the Y’s messages and methods into offices, industrial and commercial settings-- anywhere in the ten west suburban communities we serve.
The Oak Park Township is the first organization to become a Workplace Wellness partner and we’re engaged in discussions with other employers.
The new program offers worksite classes and “lunch and learn” sessions that help educate employees on health topics ranging from fitness to disease prevention and nutrition.
Then, there are also fitness classes such as Tai Chi, Yoga and Stretch and Relax that bring the gym right into the workplace.
Our two summer camps that offer different ways for kids to enjoy the summer are just about underway.
Camp Magellan, open for children who have completed kindergarten through age 17, will participate in different outdoor activities each day focused around a global outlook and an insight into different cultures.
Kids, age 9 through 17 enrolled in our Strong4Life Camp will learn how to eat well, be active, enjoy weekly field trips and explore the outdoors.
Summer camp these days is so much more than what I remember about my Camp Douglas days here at the West Cook YMCA. Then, it was only about fun in the sun. Today, it’s much more about social interaction, team and relationship building all the while learning the value of lifelong physical movement.
Health and Wellness Director Krystle Voegel reports that openings remain in the Diabetes Prevention Program, a new year-long initiative that begins next month here at the West Cook YMCA.
This is a group-based lifestyle intervention for adults who are at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program is comprised of 16 weekly sessions followed by eight months of meetings. Sessions will be held in a relaxed classroom setting led by a trained Lifestyle Coach who will help participants incorporate healthy eating, increased physical activity and other behavior changes into their everyday lives.
To be eligible, participants must be 18 years or older, have a BMI of 25 or greater and be at risk for developing type 2 diabetes or have been diagnosed with prediabetes.
As we move into summer, we welcome four new members to the West Cook YMCA’s Board of Directors.
- Teresa Powell, Village Clerk for the Village of Oak Park, is the new Secretary of the Board.
New Board members are
- Sara Cano, Marketing Director at Tribune Publishing/ Hoy
- Jacek “Jack” Lazarczyk, Senior Consultant, McGovern & Green, LLP
- Julie MacCarthy, Director, Career Planning, Daley College.
The new season of summer also marks the beginning of my second year at the West Cook YMCA.
I’m pleased to reflect that with the significant cooperation of an energetic and enthusiastic board of directors, a dedicated staff and our very patient Y members as well as receptive community leaders throughout the western suburbs, we’re well on target to accomplish all the objectives we set just a year ago.
Among the high priorities we established were to:
- Renew, refresh and rejuvenate a valuable asset--our vintage building, parking lot and adjacent property here on South Marion Street.
- Stimulate a steady increase in membership and stability in our numbers, particularly among families.
- Strengthen strategic partnerships in the community with such groups as PADS, Westlake Hospital and other health care organizations as well as rekindle interest in this Y among leadership of local churches and their congregations.
- Launch or have in development innovative programs, such as the Diabetes Prevention, Workplace Wellness and the Healthy Living Community initiatives. And, there are more to come.
I look forward to another year of continued cooperation with the West Cook YMCA family to create stronger program offerings, greater operational efficiencies and an improved fiscal position for this 112-year-old not-for-profit organization. And, most important, to continue to provide better value for all our members so that they may enjoy the fruits of healthy living.