Thursday, March 16, 2023
March is a busy time for the Tampa YMCA. It is Spring Break and we are serving over 1,700 children in our Kids Day Out program this week. The sound of children having fun reminds me that Summer Camp is just around the corner. As a camp counselor in college, I was able to see and experience the magic of summer camp. The extent to which a child can evolve and grow from a few weeks of camp is tremendous. The confidence gained, the friendships made and the character nurtured – are all experiences that last a lifetime.
We are proud that we will be entering our second summer where all 12 Tampa YMCA camp locations will be ACA-Accredited Camps. The ACA's nationally recognized standards program focuses primarily on the program quality, health and safety aspects of a camp's operation. This accreditation means the Tampa YMCA camps are part of a small, distinguished group of ACA-Accredited day camps in Florida.
I am happy to report that camp is filling up faster than ever this year and we are already over 50% full! Thanks to many of your generous contributions, the Tampa Y does not have to turn any children away due to their family’s inability to pay. As we continue in the community phase of our annual campaign this month, I want to take a moment to thank all of you who continue to support the Y.
Every year, the YMCA is able to give back, whether it is sending a child to camp or providing life-saving swim lessons. We would not be able to do this without your support. If you have not had the opportunity to give and would like to, please just visit tampaymca.org/give.
In addition to Spring Break, we also celebrate Women’s History Month in March. Women make up over 60% of our workforce at the Tampa YMCA, and we certainly enjoy highlighting their great work. Just within the last few weeks, we have celebrated Heidi Blair and her move from our Campo Family YMCA to become the Senior Director of Aquatics, Camp and Family Programming at our New Tampa Family Y location. After serving in various positions in the YMCA Before and After School Enrichment Program for four years, Zuley Castro recently joined the leadership team at the Spurlino Family YMCA as the Associate Executive Director. In this new role, Zuley will work closely with each department director to ensure effective delivery and exceptional program quality while exploring new ways to serve the southern Hillsborough County communities. Finally, we congratulate Hilary Bolt on her recent promotion to Associate Executive Director of our Before and After School Enrichment Department. Hilary will implement high-quality youth programming throughout the Hillsborough County school system while working to drive strategic association-wide initiatives, including Stay and Play. We are proud of the many women in our organization and the life-changing work they do every day at the Y.
As we look forward to the next few weeks, many of us will be celebrating Easter… one of the most important Holy Days in Christianity. Easter gives us an opportunity to recognize sacrifice and celebrate redemption. It is a time of forgiveness and hope… and it reminds us of what is possible and what is expected of us as stewards of our community. As we see spring on the horizon, I hope you all take time to reflect and appreciate the life we have been given… and perhaps how we can positively impact the lives of others.
President & CEO