Together We Can / Great Beginnings!

Thanks to the 150 or so folks who joined us Tuesday April 9th at the YMCA’s AGM at the Holiday Inn in Point Edward as our YMCA held its first annual general meeting as a merged YMCA.  Along the way we had the opportunity to convene our new Board of Directors, welcoming Shawn Zettel and Gary Girardi and thank our retiring Directors Chris Thomas and Gail Bishop for their many years of service as volunteers on our Board.

We celebrated the work of our volunteers in many ways; recognizing 6 volunteers from communities across our region as our volunteers of the year, as well as recognizing over 40 staff who had been nominated by their peers for their work on behalf of the YMCA.

We also took a moment for the official kick-off of our strategic plan – Together We Can.  We even pulled off a ribbon cutting ceremony – and a great photo op (see it on this page) with a fantastic background of all our attendees in sharp white YMCA ball caps!

The evening closed with a presentation from our very successful Pilot Project – YMCA Project Kenya.  Staff and several adventurers presented the impact that the program had on them and the community in Africa.  Our own Project Leader Jaci Bork wrapped up the presentation – but not until after we’d all seen a great video on the part of the project that occurred in Kenya as well as 2 great testimonials from two of the young leaders who participated in the program.

I was really proud of the entire Project.  As much as we guided this event in partnership with our staff and volunteers from both the YMCA and Big Brothers/Big Sisters – I found it to be a very fitting and dramatic illustration of how young leaders can design and impact on issues that are important to themselves and their peer group.  Project Kenya isn’t the whole answer around Youth Engagement in our plan - but it is one early step (and a very positive one) in a process that begins to center our community programs more directly on the needs of youth and young leaders.

Big Bothers/Big Sisters and the leadership provided by Mike Hurry (their Executive Director) also represented a fantastic partnership opportunity for our YMCA.  It’s an example of 2 agencies finding that their goals around the promotion of youth are very similar, and when their resources are shared the outcomes far outweigh the sum of the parts put into the process.

I’d also like to thank Mike Walters and his team at the YMCA’s Learning & Career Centre Branch for their great work throughout the Project.  The profile the program brought to the Centre was excellent.

Finally – if you are interested in catching a more in depth presentation from the group – join us on Monday, April 22nd at 7pm at the Imperial Theatre in Sarnia, when the Project Kenya Team and Adventurers present the program’s premier to the Sarnia community.

Great example – of a great beginning!

 

Thoughts on Things

As we wait patiently for spring (okay I’m not so patient) here’s a couple things to consider;

  1.  The renovation to JMFC’s change rooms is overdue but its moving along – we should have the Family Change room done by the middle of April – we plan on starting the General change rooms right after that and completing them by summer.  Next year we’ll do the Plus change rooms.  Those room have  had very little upgrades since they opened in 1997.  That’s too long.
  2. Am I ever glad I finally hired a Marketing Manager to reposition our connection to people.  Derek Dochstader is doing a great job creating strong positions for our services across our region.  We’ve also committed to some collaborative work with the YMCA of Western Ontario in marketing our brand and its connection to our cores services of health & wellness and child care.  Stay tuned.
  3. It was sad to have Vanessa Cullen leave us earlier this month.  Many of you know that Vanessa and I have worked together on and off for over 20-years.  Over that kind of time you gain a certain level of respect for the passion and professionalism of a person.  I don’t expect to replace that – that would not be fair – but its great to have those memories and an excellent new staff member in Ingrid Hook
  4. March Break was great – excellent camp attendance in our Branches throughout the region.  Last March Break (in 2012) the golf courses were open in part of the world, this March Break – not so much.
  5. Derek Dochstader and Ian Foss presented an excellent analysis of the ever competitive membership / health & wellness markets in our 2 major centres – Chatham & Sarnia.  The presentation was to our Board of Directors on the 19th and took stock of the YMCA’s; price point, market position, unique selling proposition and growth targets relative to the markets we operate within and the programs and services offered by other providers in the health and wellness industry.
  6. Hooked on the Y is offered again this spring at Geneva Park.  The program is ideal for entry level leaders, as well as long-serving line level staff.  The curriculum deals with an orientation to the work of the YMCA, the values and collaborative work of our Y’s in Ontario, while providing an opportunity for fellowship with Y professionals and networking opportunities within our movement.  I’ve had an opportunity to speak and visit at the event over the years.  If you’ve got a new f/t staff person or a long serving staff member who could use a recharge consider this upcoming event in the spring.  You can register through the RDC.
  7. Finally, our YMCA Annual General Meeting occurs this April 9th at the Holiday Inn in Point Edward. (It is scheduled for the Retro-Suites in Chatham next April).  It’s our first merged AGM and the program includes the traditional business meeting and service awards – but also this year include the public launch of our Strategic Plan and the premier of our YMCA Project Kenya presentation.  Hope you can join us – the event begins with a reception at 5:30pm

Think Spring,

Jim

 

 

Together We Can

Recently our Board and senior staff completed an 18-month strategic planning process that will culminate in the launch of our new Plan this April that will guide our YMCA forward through to 2016. Together We Can speaks to the work that we will embark upon and features three main social outcomes that we’ll speak to in our work;

Strengthening the connections to family in community

Improving the health of individuals

Exploring the health & well-being of youth

Working more effectively and closely with families, individuals, and in particular - young people in all of our communities across our region will allow our staff and volunteers in all our YMCAs to deliver on purposeful program structures that speak to our ability to improve and build upon the strong social commitment we wish to feature in community building.

Together We Can will challenge us to make bold advances in partnership in rural communities that are at the heart of southwestern Ontario.  We will be pushed to address the needs of an aging population, often overwhelmed with the challenges faced by chronic illness, overstretched primary care providers, and few lifestyle-change opportunities

Finally, as a strong YMCA we will strive to improve our efforts in support of young people, and the challenges they face in contributing and strengthening their connections in society.  Like all our efforts this work will be supported by our national Federation but we will feel its impact locally in the communities we call home.

Together We Can, signals a step forward for our YMCA and calls on us to bring our resources together for the greater good.  It’s an exciting and collaborative vision for our future.  Coming to a community and a YMCA near you this April

 

 

 

On Volunteers

The early months of 2013 will really impact on our YMCA and how we involve those who volunteer for us at our YMCAs.  Volunteers are the essence of our YMCA.  It is through the staff / volunteer partnership that we gain the most out of our YMCA.  It’s a partnership in the true sense of the word.  Volunteers serve on our Board and hire the CEO.    I work directly with volunteers in my job almost every day - as do lifeguards on the pool deck and personal trainers on the wellness floor.   Later this week 4 volunteers and 2 staff will lead 19 young adults overseas to Africa as part of our YMCA Project Kenya partnership with Big Brothers / Big Sisters Sarnia-Lambton, another volunteer based agency.  I find it very rewarding – here’s an unscientific list of my Top-5 volunteers /volunteer moments from 2012:

Honourable Mention – Barry Hogan Jr.  Barry was a fantastic advocate for the YMCA Strengthening Community Campaign in Sarnia this past year.  His support and the bridges he’s built into our community continue to pay off for our charity.  With Barry’s help as Chair of our Capital Campaign we made significant inroads into revitalizing our Learning & Career Centre and building our Leadership Challenge Course as a new and vital component to the centre

#5 Bill Palmer & Al Cole – these 2 long-time Y volunteers have been behind a number of key YMCA events in Sarnia.  Bill and Al throw their support behind our Y Strong Kids Campaign annually, and have been strong advocates for including more youth within our volunteer demographic.  Bill and Al also support our Celebration of Youth team of great volunteers lead by Bob Dell and Bob Sutton (among others).  That program has become a template for Celebrations in Goderich and Chatham.  In addition Bill helped facilitate a critical planned gift thru the Sarnia Community Foundation that strengthened our YMCA Legacy Fund

#4 Bruce Thomasson – often referred to as the “little Bruce” in Goderich (the “big Bruce” is reserved for Bruce Potter) Bruce continued to support the work of the YMCA in Goderich in 2012 as he has seince before the Y opened in Goderich in 2004.   He’s an annual donor and this year placed his support behind our Sports Park consortium at a meeting in town in early December.  His volunteer commitment speaks volumes for the community spirit for the Y that is alive and well in Goderich

#3 Carolyn Blysniuk – Carolyn is a highly motivated woman and incredibly dedicated to the work of the Y.  She sits on several committees chairing the local Y Strong Kids committee, and assuming the chair for the newly formed regional Financial Development committee in 2012. Not only that, its her voice that calls on the phone each year and reminds staff like me how important our donations are to the work of our Y.  We need to hear that – its great.

#2 Jim Loyer  – Jim assumed the Chair of our newly merged Board this year – with the general enthusiasm and gusto that he approached everything during his tenure with the Y (going on 7-years as a volunteer).  He also Chairs the Chatham Y’s annual triathlon and sits on a number of Board committees in an ex-officio role.  Jim also overcame a real health challenge – without really missing a beat.  He’s continues to be a great Chair for our Board and was honoured in 2012 by the Chamber in Chatham-Kent as Citizen of the Year!

#1 Chris Thomas – As past Chair of the Sarnia YMCA Board Chris is scheduled to complete his volunteer tenure as a Director on the merged Board this coming April.  He’s accomplished much during his volunteer tenure, but its really what he continues to accomplish that makes him so special.  Chris gets behind the annual campaign – YMCA Strong Kids, each and every year as a donor, as a canvasser, and as a mentor.  Through Chris’ work he demonstrates “what it takes” to bring support to the work of the YMCA.  I know I can put a number (a dollar $ figure) on the value of the support Chris solicits – but it’s the annual every-day commitment and energy that underscores his volunteerism that sets him apart.

I’ve chosen to hi-light and profile 7 examples of great YMCA volunteers.  I’m well aware that our organization has many more serving on committees, on our Board, as program volunteers at our YMCAs, and in a myriad of ways – taking on tasks that promote the work of the YMCA.  I’m eternally grateful for your support!

Jim

 

 

This Holiday…

This Holiday… Taking some time to reflect on a couple of things;

1. Pace – I get that it is important for all of us to feel productive and gain a sense of accomplishment for the work we do in our lives.  Just as long as we remain connected to the cost of that work.  Don’t loose track of the things that matter to you, your family, your friends and the role they have in your life. If your work (job) casts to long a shadow on who you are – time to recalibrate

2. Health – Franco Savioa (CEO YMCA of Edmonton (recently retired)) made time for himself and his own wellness goals through his career.  late in his career he become a rather outspoken advocate for balancing a healthy lifestyle with our leadership commitments at the YMCA.  Here’s a thought – how about an 8-hour workday for YMCA employees that includes (in addition to an hour for lunch) and hour for workout/wellness that is about your personal health?  Coming to a YMCA near you.

3. BS – Always present, seem to encounter an unlimited supply with extra in reserve for those times when you’ve just felt that you’ve navigated the tricky parts in work or in life.  Here’s a shout-out for the end of BS.  (I know this is unlikely – but just imagine what a life & career free of this element would be like).  Back to reality moment – leadership is about sorting through the bull, finding what’s genuine, and counselling the elimination of the unnecessary (and seemingly endless) distractions caused by those who shovel this stuff

4. People with all the right answers – You know the type, the unfailing would -be experts who have encountered the answer to all your challenges through their work and experience.  They have “been there – and done that “, and are ready and willing (and increasingly able) to provide you with the solution.  Well here’s some advice – in many cases (not all) they’ve really “not been there – and have very little valuable perspective to add to the equation”.  It’s not that you can’t gain some valuable insight from these types – and in many cases they are genuinely interested in helping – so here’s the caution – don’t be spoon-fed solutions to your problems – work them out, and own the outcome

5. Sean Dillon – Great YMCA guy – leaving work at the YASWO after 25-years and numerous portfolio’s – most recently the tough job & title of VP Business Development.  All Sean did in the past 4-years in that job was to open 4 YMCAs (including the $17.8M new Chatham Branch), generate 3 additional municipal partnership satellite Y’s and set the table for the Y’s 1st community Youth Centre partnership in our region opening in Grand Bend in March of 2013. He’s headed to a regional Director position (SW Ontario) with the MS Society – starts right away in January – congratulations Sean!

6. American Gun laws – Enough already, the 2nd amendment right our neighbours to the south so gallantly are referring to is over 200 years old.  It was written and influenced during a reign of colonialism and during a time of revolution.  Cue the NRA and their newly minted slogan; “the only thing standing between you and a bad-guy with a gun, is a good-guy with a gun“.   Who buys this stuff?  The better part of 300 million American’s that s who.  And this is the Nation we refer to as the last super-power?

Just reflecting is all,  Best to you and yours this Holiday Season

Jim

Why we need local heros

This last month was a great time to celebrate some of the staff and volunteers that make our YMCA what it is in each of our communities.  The 3rd week of November was YMCA Peace Week at YMCAs across our Country and we were able to award the Medal in two of our communities – while delaying the presentation a couple of weeks in Sarnia.

In Chatham we were pleased to honour the work of local Council person Marjorie Crew, who’s work within her community has earned her respect as an advocate for neighbourhoods and their role in building community.  She’s developed East Side Pride a testament to her to work to clean up troubled neighbourhoods, riding them of crime and drug trafficking.

We also honoured Jessica B0khout for her work on behalf of her community of Goderich and her work in refugee camps in Africa, working with displaced people and the challenges they face as refugees displaced from their families, communities and countries.  Jessica was away with her husband in northern Ontario and unable to attend, but was represented by her father Dr. Martin Bokhout.

This week we will recognize our own Chandrika Patel for her work with immigrants and newcomers to Canada.  Chandrika has done settlement work on behalf of our YMCA in the Sarnia community for over a decade.    Her work has affected the lives of countless newcomers to Canada, setting them on a path to employment or providing them with language training in English. Chandrika’s mom passed 2-weeks ago – so out of respect for her and her family we will make that presentation on December 10th

It was great to be able to participate in each ceremony and to recognize this year’s recipients.  They will join a special group of Peace Medal recipients from YMCAs across Canada.

Last Thursday I also had the honour of presenting Bruce Potter a long serving YMCA volunteer and former Board Member from Goderich with the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medal – commemorating 60-years of her reign as our Monarch.  This medal was awarded on behalf of Bruce’s work for the YMCA movement as he was selected along with 33 other volunteers by YMCA Canada from across our Country

It was an honour and my distinct pleasure to preside over the ceremony on behalf of Y Canada and the Governor General of Canada.  Bruce was his normal humble self sharing the medal with his family, friends and fellow volunteers across the region and specifically in Goderich.  It was very much Bruce being Bruce.  A characteristic I see in my heroes on occasion.  Something that each of the Peace Medal winners reminded me of – and something Bruce personifies.

It is that something that keeps us all going in our work on behalf of others.  But to me in particular, it’s knowing that others care and when they see something that needs changing or needs their help they come forward and they bring their larger than life commitment to a task.  That’s what makes people like Bruce, Chandrika, Jessica, and Marjorie special – they strengthen community by their very commitment to it – and along the way they inspire others to do as they do – not only by word but through deed.  That’s what our world needs more of local heroes inspiring others.

They sure did it for me these past few weeks.

Edmonton

Just spent the last week in Edmonton with National YMCA Staff and 50 (well 47) fellow YMCA CEOs from across Canada.  It was our 3rd CEO Council – a forum for the review of our collective work (Plan Y) that will guide our Federation into the future – a stronger YMCA for a stronger Canada.

What I noticed again was the desire for our YMCAs to work together, to collaborate and strengthen, and to build a collective capacity to influence the health and well-being of Canadian’s that exceeds the work of any one or two YMCAs.   What is so powerful in this is the notion of small, mid, and large size YMCAs working together in a context that features participation as co-owners.  This new “Networked” behavior was, and is central to the system that will link and coordinate our work in the future – the YMCA Development Network.  This Network will replace the current Delivery of Service System which will wind down by July of 2013.  It’s impressive that we’ve been able to move past the transactional nature of “services” and one YMCA purchasing or brokering support from another - to a networking relationship that will ask YMCAs to collaborate and work together through a variety of constructs available in the Network from other YMCAs and / or Y Canada.  I found our 3-day meeting in Edmonton to be inspirational and a bit of a watershed moment.  You see as a member of the Network Development Task Team I have had plenty of exposure to the conceptual frame over the past 4-months.  Many of you know that I’ve been involved in very intensive sets of 3 day meetings to flesh out the concept.  To see it endorsed by my colleagues so readily was very satisfying.  My hat is off to John Haddock, CEO of the YMCA of Kitchener/Waterloo & Cambridge for his leadership that helped to get the job done so well.

I’ve got 1 more 3-day meeting in Winnipeg this week with our YMCA Mid-Market Group to continue to delve into the critical challenges faced by mid-sized Y’s across our Country, as well as a salute to Dave Young, CEO of Winnipeg who’s retirement event I will attend Tuesday evening in Winnipeg.  Speaking of retirements, while in Edmonton we honoured Franco Savoia, CEO of the YMCA of Northern Alberta on his retirement after 41-years of YMCA leadership.  These two leaders are a couple of guys who have “changed the game” for our YMCAs.  Through their efforts they’ve given voice and demonstrated the passion by which the YMCA meets the needs of community head on.  It makes me very proud to work for an organization that has such dynamic leaders as our Federation has had.

Next week I will touch base back in Southwestern Ontario and honour our Peace Medal Recipients.  I’ll report on those events as well as the Goderich-Huron YMCA Celebration of Youth Awards that took place yesterday (Saturday) afternoon in Bayfield, ON.  Thanks for reading and have a great YMCA week.

Lloyd Welton – Celebrating his life

Last Thursday I had the opportunity to share in a celebration / memorial honouring the life of Lloyd Welton who passed away after a long-illness on Sunday October 21st.  It was a privilege to bring comments on behalf of the YMCA to honour Lloyd’s 40-years of service to the Y.

I had only met Lloyd once – for an all-to-brief tour of our YMCA last Christmas.  I’ll share the comments that I share with Lloyd’s family and friends who were in attendance at the 1st Presbyterian Church in Chatham last Thursday.  I should tell you that Lloyd’s three sons all shared wonderful recollections of their father very light-hearted, at times funny, and always very tender.  My contribution was in response to Dave Welton’s desire for me to share a very personal tour that I and the family shared with Lloyd that December morning.  Here it is;

Thank you Dave – I’m honoured to represent the YMCA hear today, an organization Lloyd dedicated 41-years of his life to.   

A year and a ½ ago Dave stopped me at the Y and asked me if I would mind touring him and his
dad when his dad was feeling up for it in the coming month or two.  Dave explained that Lloyd’s health was
failing and he had good days and not so good days, co might I come down on
short notice – I said sure, and that Christmas Dave asked if I could come down
one morning.

I had the pleasure to tour Lloyd and Jean thru the new Chatham YMCA that Holiday season.  Dave will tell you that that tour meant a lot to Lloyd and his family at that stage of his life, Lloyd graciously thanked me as
did Dave and his family that were there that morning.  They had plenty of great comments about the
Y.  They made me feel great.  All in all it was a wonderful way to spend a holiday morning.   

But it meant so much more to me.  Let me share that memory with you:

I learned of Lloyd’s work with the YMCA thru the years that morning – as a young leader, a
camp director, phys ed. Head and Executive Director.  I learned of his work in funds development
and philanthropy with the YMCA of the USA’s Chicago office.  The YMCA was Lloyd’s life work, his passion,
and mission.  That resonated for me.  Here was a man, his health failing, who took
the time to spend with me, share a story or two and ask questions about equipment and design.  I had a wonderful
time – it was a tour like no other I had been on then or since.

I often tell my staff that at the YMCA that we are in the people business.  I contrast that with; “we don’t build
airplanes or make widgets, ours is a lifelong construct, a commitment to the
construction of character – that of the individual and his/her role in a civil
society”.  

During that day last December with Lloyd, I had the honour to witness and understand the
culmination of a life’s career at the Y. I saw it on all that Lloyd had impacted on.  I saw it in Dave, Dave’s daughter Katie, his
son Jeff, and Jeff’s wife Betty and the grand kids who also accompanied him.   

I imagined the hundreds of Y leaders who had gained as I had from their connection with Lloyd, the campers, the kids, the swimmers, the families – the moms and dads, the boys & girls, the communities, the less fortunate who
funding helped to connect to the Y and the projects that became real thanks to
Lloyd’s leadership and passion.

The YMCA movement is stronger for Lloyd’s life contribution.  YMCA Canada and the YMCA of the USA have
benefited from his life’s work, so specifically has our YMCA in Chatham-Kent.  I’m certain of it.  I know it from the precious little time I had to witness this man in his 89th year last December

Then I realized, that impact he must have had for others through the decades of his life, the impact of character, the non-airplane wing – he had imparted his form onto me as well – on a 75-minute tour of our new YMCA my life had been honoured
by a man who had the “Right-stuff” – you see it I was not me who was doing the touring (oh I was doing my share of the talking) but it was Lloyd and to a great degree Jean who had extended his leadership to benefit me.

I wrote about it in my blog 2-weeks later.  I entitled it, Lloyd Welton “A builder and Gentlemen”    

And one thing I know first-hand from my time that morning with Lloyd is that even when
you’ve been at it for 27-years, I’ve chosen a profession that has some terribly tough acts to follow, and I believe Lloyd Welton will be one of those fellows at the front of the line for me, forever.

There is an old YMCA camp song that is used to end every summer session at the camps I’velead thru the ages – I bet you Lloyd would have known it (I’d like to think he had crossed paths with it thru the years), it is a response (or call back song)
traditionally lead by the camp director signalling the end of a session of resident camp.  It pays tribute to the
friendships new, and old, lengthy and fleeting.  It’s called – I must be on my Way.  I’ll recite it today on behalf of the YMCA in
celebration of the life of Lloyd Welton;  

I must be on my way,
I must be moving along.
And as I go,
I’ll sing this song.

No roof for me,
No roof have I.
But I own the stars
and the open sky.

One thing that I know,
And I know it’s true,
We’re better now
For the knowing of you.

When day is done
And the coyotes wail,
We’ll be moving down,
Down the lonesome trail.

One thing that I know,
And I know it’s true,
We’re better now
For the knowing of you.

We’ll meet again,
As the years go by.
And we’ll sing this song,
‘Neath the open sky.

One thing that I know,
And I know it’s true,
We’re better now
For the knowing of you.

 

 

The Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal

Created to celebrate Queen Elizabeth’s accession to the Throne 60-years ago, the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medal recognizes the special contribution of select Canadians whose achievements have benefited their fellow citizens, their community, their organizations and the country.  The medal provides recognition on behalf of Her Majesty for the hard work of those who have contributed to making Canada what it is today, as well as looking forward and recognizing youth who are actively involved in our country’s future.

Last Friday I was pleased to be able to contact Bruce Potter, a long time Southwestern Ontario YMCA volunteer from Goderich and notify him on behalf of YMCA Canada of his nomination and subsequent recognition as a recipient.  Bruce has distinguished himself on behalf of his community and on behalf of his volunteer work for the YMCA for over 18-years and is a most deserving recipient of the medal.  His generosity, commitment and service as a community volunteer, YMCA organizer, and YMCA Board member have helped to both build and develop the Goderich – Huron Branch of the YMCA into a model for municipal / YMCA management partnerships across Canada.

Bruce’s talent as a leader, and his passion for his family, his community, and organizations like our YMCA that help to strengthen the fabric of our community in Goderich and our work across Southwestern Ontario has been immeasurable.  I’m was so pleased to be able to let Bruce know about the award – and admire him for the truly characteristic way Bruce was humbled by the news.

Over the next month we will make plans for a reception for Bruce in Goderich. He will be presented with the Medal and recognized by a congratulatory letter from the Governor General of Canada.  If you happen to be available that day in Goderich – or you have the time to make your way north for the ceremony – please do. I think it is important that we all get to honour Bruce and celebrate with a YMCA community volunteer who has made a difference, a man who’s impact will be felt by generations of Canadians in the town he calls home.

I’m sure it will remind all of us the YMCA of how fortunate we are to do this work with some of the greatest volunteers in the world.  Congratulations Bruce!

It’s almost hockey season (I mean Junior hockey season)

Just a short note here (from a pretty big hockey fan), on how thankful I am that I live in a city that has a junior hockey team – you know the type that will actually be playing hockey – during the NHL lockout.    In fact – this is a reminder to all the other fans of Junior hockey and the (OHL/CHL) that your YMCA has 4 season tickets for every home Sting game this season!

Like last year – YMCA across Southwestern Ontario staff and volunteers who are interested in attending a game - and/or wishing to bring family or friends with them, are welcome to use the tickets.  All you need to do is let us know.   Send an e-mail to Ian Foss (GM, JMFC in Sarnia at ifoss@ymcaswo.ca) with a request for the game you would like to see not more than 2-weeks in advance of the game.  Ian will respond back to you via e-mail and arrange for the tickets to get to you – or he’ll leave them on pick-up for you at the JMFC membership desk.  It’s great to take friends and family to the game – but we ask you limit your request(s) to one game before Christmas, and one game after the Holiday season.  We try to do these on a 1st come / 1st serve basis as much as is possible and Ian will track requests and ticket use.

I hope this helps some of us to suffer thru what looks like will be a fall and winter without the NHL.    I will be announcing a special YMCA evening with the Sting later this season as well – stay tuned for that. In the meantime I encourage you to enjoy a great junior hockey game, and get to a Sarnia Sting game this season – on your YMCA!

Jim