At this time of year, we pause to reflect on the past and what we are thankful for.
The last 20 months have certainly been challenging. The pandemic has led to many adjustments and discoveries along the way. The YMCA staff have had to react quickly, work tirelessly and persevere through unchartered waters. I am extremely proud of the way our staff has handled every challenge thrown at them. Our members, supporters, foundations and community have stood by us through it all. The generosity shown to us during the difficult days has been awe-inspiring. The YMCA is a financially stable institution, and even through these unprecedented times, will continue to be here to provide for our community.
During 2021, we were able to expand our off-site child care, and our preschools fully reopened. We have welcomed back the pickleball players and volleyball leagues at both branches. Our summer programs, including Camp Y-Owasco, Skaneateles Summer Camp and Kinderkamps, celebrated hugely successful seasons. Ice hockey and skating are in full swing in Skaneateles.
We have continually added new in-person fitness and aquatic classes. We have also launched Y360, our virtual Y for members who prefer to stay remote. We are offering basketball clinics and camps this holiday season. Livestrong, a cancer survivor program, is running in Auburn and will soon return to Skaneateles. We are looking to extend hours and offer child watch in the new year in Auburn. Although staffing has been difficult, we strive to increase staffing to allow us to open more areas and expand our programs. We continue to focus on our YMCA mission to meet the needs of the communities we serve.
Sadly, during 2021 we lost several significant members of our YMCA community. These people will remain in our hearts. We hope their families and friends find comfort from the memories they cherish, and know that their mark has been permanently left at the YMCA. We lost two great Y leaders in January: Jim Courtney and Steve Komanecky. Both of these men dedicated their lives to the community and left a legacy of caring and responsibility. A benefit golf tournament, Holes for Hope, was held on July 5 and part of the proceeds were donated to the scholarship created by Christopher Courtney and Stephen and Casey Komanecky. The annual Courtney Komanecky Memorial Scholarship overseen by the YMCA will be awarded to two well-deserving, community-involved students from Auburn High. This is the perfect way to honor two beloved YMCA leaders.
The YMCA is here for you to provide youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Our goal every day is to welcome everyone and help our members build a strong mind, body and spirit. Check out our website for job openings and current programs: auburnymca.org. A YMCA membership is always a great Christmas gift. Gift cards are available at both the Auburn and Skaneateles locations.
Blessings to you and yours during this holiday season!
Denise R. Tabone is interim CEO of the Auburn YMCA-WEIU, 27 William St., Auburn. For more information, visit auburnymca.org or call (315) 253-5304.
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