Thursday, June 17, 2021

Hello All,

Summer has arrived which means our YMCAs across Tampa Bay are now filled with thousands of summer campers every day. As always, safety is of the upmost importance to us as we protect our children and keep them safe in our communities. And this summer, your Tampa YMCA has embarked on a special journey to ensure that our campers have the very best experience possible. 

The Tampa Y is in the process of an accreditation we voluntarily pursued through the American Camp Association (ACA). ACA is a community of camp professionals who, for over 100 years, have worked to ensure the quality of camp programs by issuing the highest accreditation for camps across the country. There are only 55 ACA accredited day camps in Florida. When we are finished, the Tampa Y will make up 18 percent of all the accredited day camps in our state.

We “choose” to pursue this accreditation because:

  • It was the right thing to do for kids
  • We hold ourselves to the highest of standards
  • It will ensure a consistent and high-quality framework 
  • It expands our training opportunities

Please visit the ACA website for more information on ACA accreditation.

In addition to camp, June also provides us with opportunities to commemorate our deep and intricate American history. One of those opportunities includes Juneteenth Day, which celebrates the emancipation of those who were enslaved in the United States. Juneteenth Day is celebrated on June 19th of every year and it is the day when all enslaved individuals finally became aware of their freedom. The YMCA has a rich history in the African American community. In 1853, 13 years prior to the original Juneteenth Day, a freed slave by the name of Anthony Bowen established the very first YMCA for African Americans. This Y was located in Washington, D.C. and was just one of many courageous steps taken by the Y throughout history to encourage greater access and inclusion for all.

On another historical note, did you know that the very first Father’s Day celebration occurred at a YMCA in Spokane, Washington in 1910? Sonora Smart Dodd initiated this celebration to honor her father who was a Civil War veteran and who raised her and her five siblings as a single parent. On Sunday, June 20th, the Y joins others across the country in celebrating Father’s Day and recognizing the influence fathers and adult male role models have in children’s lives. If you're looking for a good way to spend some quality time bonding with your dad this Father’s Day…how about spending the day at one of our amazing YMCA Centers? No matter how you celebrate, the Y thanks and salutes dads for all they do. 

Lastly, as the health of our community continues to improve and we all begin to come together once again to enjoy each other’s company, I want to wish you a safe and healthy summer. This past year has not been easy, and I hope we can come out of all of this with a greater appreciation for one another and realize the important role that we all play in building a stronger community.

With appreciation, 

Matt Mitchell
President & CEO