Buck: YMCA is about more than health and fitness
At the Sherwood Regional Family YMCA, we are for sharing life in a deep and authentic way. We believe that true friendships and community only happen when we open our lives to one another. We know that everyone has a story, a struggle, dreams and fears.
Every day, the YMCA opens its doors, in invitation, to each individual in our communities to come in to be loved and served. When we ask "how are you doing," we are inviting you to go beyond the normal pleasantries of our culture and instead step into authentic relationship.
As a community of mission-led individuals, we aspire to humility and kindness that goes against the grain. We take time to listen, to care, to celebrate and to cry together.
The YMCA has become a family to many and a healing place to others.
Why is the YMCA different?
The mission of the YMCA is "to put the Christian principles of love, respect, honesty, responsibility and service into practice through programs that build a healthy spirit, mind and body for all." The subject and recipient of the mission is "all." When we reflect on the mission and sharing life together we unanimously stand for "all."
No matter who you are, how you identify, what your faith is, your choices, your disposition, your past or your future, you are welcome. Our invitation is for anyone to join into our family with open arms of love. It is our mission, it is our cause, and it is the aim of who we are.
Over the past century and a half, the YMCA has taken on many different forms in the communities it serves, but the mission and purpose has remained the same. Our current form is one of the oldest national charities disguised as a fitness facility. Health and wellness is a portion of what we do, but it is not everything we are about. We are a place where no one is judged and everyone is welcomed with love.
Love may take the form of sharing a conversation and coffee with someone struggling with homelessness, it may mean encouraging someone who is trying to live a healthier lifestyle, it may mean responding to tragedy in our community, and it may mean reminding those suffering that they are not alone.
This is an invitation to take a chance and join our family, to face life together, with all the conflicts and all the joys. We ask the members of our community to join in the work of love and service to our neighbors.
The work of sharing life, under the banner of the mission of the YMCA, is a purpose-filled calling we invite everyone to join.
Ryan Buck is executive director of the Sherwood Regional Family YMCA.
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