Dear Family, Friends, Former Camp Counselors and Camp Participants:
I currently serve on the West Side YMCA Board. The Y has had a tremendous impact on my professional career. Sharing my journey with the YMCA and the reasons I am very committed to supporting the excellent Y work. My job here is to ask you all to help by either participating in our 5K race or by making a financial contribution to support the YMCA
My Y story is all credited to my mom and dad who immigrated from Peru. My parents encouraged me to be a role model for my younger brother. They worked very hard holding down multiple jobs to provide us with our basic needs. As teens growing up in Queens, our parents wanted us to be off the streets and in a safe environment. Our parents enrolled us at the Flushing YMCA. To make a long story short - we started as counselors in training, working from the ground level to Youth & Family Directors.
The Y way is about providing long-lasting experiences with their programs. The Y culture is about building & investing in its staff. The Y's commitment to their people directly paved the path for my brother and me to pursue careers in youth and community work. I credit the Y so much for my personal and professional development. I have fond memories of running youth and teen programs, especially summer camp. I was driven to provide high-quality and impactful programs - I always believed that the staff was the key to achieve success.
As I reflect, I was very fortunate to work with great people at the Y especially the outstanding leaders who served as mentors. I am genuinely grateful that our paths crossed in those formative years. Many of these exceptional people became long life friends. Probably the best thing about my experience was meeting my wife at the Y.
I have become very active with the Y is because of the following reasons:
1) My daughter Madison is five years old & started swimming at the YMCA since she was six months. She is going to Y camp for the first time this summer & she loved it but was very scared on her 1st day. I value the Y structure and the quality of its programs, so I wanted to make sure she has long-lasting positive camp memories. I always understood to a degree the level of trust that parents are placing in the hands of the YMCA, but once I became a parent, it was crystal clear that leadership and the staff are the foundation of camp.
2) My brother Marcos works at the Westside Y as the Youth & Family Director. His career has come full circle in going back to his roots with the YMCA. It's been a surreal experience to work with him again. Last time we worked together we were teens at the Flushing Y. Technically we don’t work together since I am a board member. We talk about programs & how things have changed over time in the youth development space. It will be even more special when Madison attends the Westside YMCA Camp next summer. Seeing these programs firsthand again has generated my interest to support Y.
3) Every family should have access to quality programs regardless of financial status. Giving families financial aid has been a focal point for the Y, and I want to support the efforts to help raise money. It's all about the youth and our obligation that we should afford kids the opportunity to experience these programs and become lifelong YMCA supporters or future staff. I know the former counselors will know the feeling of parents.
I have attached a video testimonial from Madison, and I am sharing some photos. Unfortunately, I could not include everyone who contributed to my YMCA memories. Each summer we would have a staff dinner and present a slideshow for the staff as a thank you for a great summer. My last summer was 2003, so I have that slideshow that I am sharing with you all.
Hope to bring back all those who worked in camp to remember the memories of working together to a common goal. Please follow the link to see the video.
More importantly, it was all about the families that attended these programs. On occasion, I run into a parent or former participant who appreciated our commitment to providing a safe and quality program.
Please support so the Y can continue its mission. Here are the two options:
1) Join my team (YMCA Old School Crew) – Family friendly event
Westside YMCA's Fit for All 5K Race
DATE: Sunday, October 20, 2018
Start: 9:30 am
Kids Dash: 10:30 am
Riverside Park & 108th St.
2) Straight donation through the Crowdrise site.