Volunteer group of nine adults pose for a photo on the outdoor deck, where they painted picnic tables.

The Tampa Bay Chamber of Commerce and Emerging Leader volunteers at North Brandon YMCA.

Meeting the Needs of an Evolving Community

As the greater Brandon area community continues to grow, so does the need for a YMCA facility that’s equipped to support the diverse needs of the community.

When participants of the Emerging Leaders program from the Tampa Bay Chamber of Commerce approached the North Brandon Family Y and offered their volunteer services, Executive Director, Jody Thorson was thrilled. She jumped at the opportunity to bring to life several new ways to serve North Brandon members.

Recently, 44 volunteers spent the day tackling four projects designed to improve member and community experience at the Y.

Volunteer group of 26 adults stand behind large raised garden beds outdoors. Trees and chainlink fence in the background.

The team spent time renovating the center’s Butterfly Garden, cleaning up the space, creating optimal living conditions for the butterflies, and a quiet, peaceful space for the community.

Volunteers also created a community vegetable garden. This garden will provide the opportunity for Teen Leaders Club members to maintain and earn service hours throughout the year. During the summer, campers attending North Brandon’s Summer Day Camp will have the chance to learn how to plant and tend to fruits and vegetables. Additionally, the team created a community stall, providing soil and space to any members of the community who wish to grow their own produce.

The Emerging Leaders team also spent time on indoor improvements. They created a computer room which provides free access to computers for Y members, as well as a gathering space for home school families during the week. A former storage area was transformed into a reading room, with a collection of books available for reading and a quiet space to relax.

Tampa’s Emerging Leaders Take Action

Two men in parking lot with bags of mulch smile at the camera during a volunteer day at the YMCA.

The volunteer event began with a breakfast provided by the Tampa YMCA and an opening message from Candace Culver, Vice President of Community Partnerships, and Jennifer Murphy, one of the Y’s dedicated board members.

Emerging Leaders of Tampa Bay Co-Chairs Mallory Kuba and Oliver Millour shared, “To us, volunteering is such a special way to make a meaningful difference in our community! This was certainly an event where we were able to see a tangible, positive impact to where we live.”

One of the pillars of Emerging Leaders of Tampa Bay is the Mentor-Protégé Program. This exclusive mentoring program is led by the Emerge Hub for Business Group which aims to develop long-term mutually beneficial relationships between experienced business leaders and motivated young professionals.

Each year the program looks to engage and give back to the Tampa Bay community through a Mentor-Protégé Volunteer event.

“We were thrilled this year to have the opportunity to engage with the North Brandon YMCA,” shared Mallory and Oliver.

A Community of Support

Jody acknowledges that projects like this would not be possible without the support of the community.

Indoor photo of 31 volunteers at the North Brandon Family YMCA. Background is an orange wall on the left, and white wall with exercise mirrors.

“We want to say a special thank you to Grow Financial Federal Credit Union for donating computers, to David Cole and Julie Cole for the incredible book donation and to Cody Langford from Bolay Fresh Bold Kitchen for providing lunch and their continued support of the North Brandon community. With support from community partners and our outstanding maintenance team led by Nick Reid, the North Brandon Family YMCA is ready to serve even more members!” 

If your company is interested in volunteering and learning more about the YMCA please contact Candace Culver at Candace.Culver@tampaymca.org.   

Published: Thursday, Sept. 15, 2022