Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021

I’m not sure where the time has gone, but Thanksgiving is next week and we are at the start of the busy holiday season. In this month’s Third Thursday, we’re focusing on giving thanks and taking time to reflect on this past year of service to the community. We’re fortunate, and I’m very thankful that we’ve been able to continue to rebound from the difficulty of the past year and a half. We are seeing families come back to our programs and members enjoying activities as we continue to serve our community. There is certainly a lot to be thankful for this year.  

Through the support of many generous donors throughout our community, we were able to serve more than 250,000 people in the Tampa Bay Area this past year. We provided nearly half a million healthy meals and snacks to children in our school age program and families in need. Tens of thousands of kids and families, regardless of their financial capacity, were able to benefit from Y memberships and programs thanks to our scholarship initiatives. Youth from all over Tampa learned life safety skills and how to be safe around water, free of charge. These are just a few examples of impact that wouldn’t be possible without the support of our community. Thank you! 

I’d also like to share some very exciting news. The American Camp Association (ACA) recognized our camps for high standards in programming, safety and overall camp management and we are officially ACA accredited. Accreditation is a rigorous process and our YMCA camps join only a handful of other certified camps in the bay area. I’m thankful not only for the recognition but for the incredible staff that ensure our camps operate at such a high level every day and for all the Y staff who helped make this possible. 

The same staff that have earned us this prestigious certification have helped to make this past year a great one in so many ways. We continue to hear from our members about how great our customer service is – we routinely surpass industry average for customer satisfaction. I’m thankful for each one of the team members at the YMCA, and for their commitment to serving the community and helping all our members reach their full potential. 

This is true with programs like our recently re-launched Veterans Whole Health Program, which is a partnership with the VA and helps our veterans focus on their health and wellness. It is one way we can say thanks to those who have given so much! With November being National Veteran and Military Families Month, I want to take a minute to honor not only our veterans, but their families. They sacrifice much of what we take for granted in order to protect our freedom.

Lastly, I hope to see you at our 7th Annual Turkey Gobble in Downtown Tampa on Thanksgiving morning. It’s a great way to start the holiday and raise money for our fantastic LIVESTRONG® at the YMCA Cancer Support Program. Wherever you chose to celebrate, I wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with good food, family and friends and an opportunity to reflect on what you’re thankful for. Thank you for your ongoing support of the Tampa Metropolitan Area YMCA and your commitment to help individuals in your communities. 

Sincerely,

Matt Mitchell
President & CEO