Exciting news! Stork Family YMCA opens in Waterloo

I am excited that the Stork Family YMCA is open! As Director of Communications for the YMCA of Kitchener-Waterloo, I saw this project move from an idea to the beginning of construction. Check out this CTV Southwestern Ontario News report on the opening.

Here are some photos that I took when I got a sneak peak tour before the Stork Family YMCA officially opened.

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If you live on the west side of Waterloo, I encourage you to enjoy the benefits of becoming a member.

My role behind the scenes

When I arrived at the YMCA, one of my first major tasks was to take its dry strategic plan and turn it into a dramatic vision document that was used in visits to a variety of community leaders. The feedback helped confirm that there was support for the YMCA’s plans.

At about the same time, the proposal for a joint library and recreational facility went before Waterloo city council. I helped manage this issue including communicating it to the public and through the media both initially and as it moved through the process.

The next step in fundraising was to take the vision document and turn it into a case for support for the fundraising feasibility study. Designed by a graphic designer and digitally printed, I thought of this piece as an elaborate dress rehearsal for a major campaign that we hoped would follow. This document won the North American YMCA Development Organization’s (NAYDO) award for major campaign material for YMCAs of a similar size in 2008. A copy is available as an e-magazine on Issuu.com if you would like to read it–and maybe even support the campaign!

Sure enough, we found people would support the YMCA’s plans by making financial gifts so we refined our story, our key messages and what projects would be included and pulled it together into a newly designed document to support the efforts of volunteers and staff making calls to potential donors. We made it 12 x 12 to make the presentation dramatic and to make it hard to ignore. This version won second place at NAYDO in 2009 and more importantly helped to raise funds to support the building of the Stork Family YMCA and several other projects such as a virtual YMCA.

A team effort

I would like to recognize the hard work done by staff and volunteers to bring the Stork Family YMCA to life–both while I worked beside them and after I moved on to start my business. Building a healthy community takes a team effort. Thank you to the rest of the team for taking this dream and making it a reality. You have made an impact upon the lives of men, women and children who lacked easy access to a facility where they could get healthier in spirit, mind and body–especially together as a family or at a facility that included and indoor pool.

YMCA Specialists

I am proud of how I used my expertise as a professional communicator to help the team behind the Stork Family YMCA and is a key reason why I consider Communicate and Howe! specialists at communicating for YMCAs.