The Bright Spots – December 16, 2016

Hello Countryside Tribemates!

How did it get to be December 16 so quickly?
It has been a year of highs and lows for most of us for a variety of reasons, but one simple fact remains: our administrative team is boundlessly proud of you and the work that you do within our building and out in the community.  Each of you is a Cause Driven Leader, the face of the Y, contributing to something bigger than yourself via the YMCA movement in the United States.
I want to say a HUGE thank you to LARA SURFUS and her staff for providing us with the MOST DELICIOUS staff luncheon I could have imagined!  I am slightly embarrassed at the amount of turkey and fruit cobbler that I was able to consume.  You will see me with all the other “New Years Resolutioners” in the CSC next month. Hope you had a Dickens of a Good Time!
It was wonderful to be able to share time in the new community space, and I will look forward to many more activities there in 2017!

Another huge thank you to everyone who participated in the door decorating contest! Congrats to Arts & Ed for winning the grand prize of a $50 gift card to Royce Cafe! The judges LOVED the “Christmas at Hogwarts” theme!  And yes, in the second photo below, those are floating candles that actually light up. 

I’ll be adding an album of photos to the Facebook Countryside Staff Page so that you can check out all the talent from this competition!
I’d also like to offer congratulations to everyone who won a prize for participating in our raffle and “Who Said It” activities!
The “Who Said It” winner was NATE BRESTELLI, who received a $20 Target Gift Card!
The winner of the “Guess How Many Chocolates in the Container” challenge was KATHY WINKLER from the North Entry membership desk!
We have another interesting year ahead, one where we are going to have to continue to show the community why the Countryside YMCA is a special place, grow our membership and make an impact in the community.  
Everyone here has a role in making that happen. 
In the words of Hugh McLeod of Gaping Void Art (who I realize I quote constantly), is this truth:

“We know that selling is about more than a great product, it’s about filling a greater need.

We know that marketing is about more than flashy ads, it’s about meaningful content.

We know that our clients and customers and patients and users are, first and foremost, people.

So, we have to know that our greatest strength lies in our community.

Building relationships with your people takes time, sure, but it’s worth every second — because those are the people who make sure your brand stays alive and relevant.”

2017 will certainly be a year for relationship building as we share our renovated areas with our existing and new members!  
One last Dickens quote before we close the week, one that is fitting as we head into 2017:
Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend.!

The Bright Spots – January 15, 2016

“We spend January 1 walking through our lives, 
room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, 
cracks to be patched.
Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to
walk through the rooms of our lives… 
not looking for flaws, but for potential.”
— Ellen Goodman
Two weeks late, but Happy New Year everyone!  I wanted to share this quote, because when I think of Countryside and our impact on hearts/minds/bodies/spirits there is indeed so much POTENTIAL here.  
The splash and ripple that we talk about in Changing Lives training is a very real illustration of potential… Splashes (outputs) become Ripples (outcomes) which move outward over time. Splashes cover a smaller area than ripples do. One activity or one action may involve a small number of people, but that just as a splash yields ever widening ripples, the benefits of the activity and its output spread beyond the initial group of participants to include other people. It is in the zone of the ripples that a project generates important social changes.
Countryside Y is a natural venue in which we can create important social change in Warren County.  Without thinking very hard, I was able to come up with a quick list of things we will accomplish together in 2016 via our Caring for Families Campaign and other departmental programs, and that’s just stuff that is on the radar…  who knows what other opportunities may crop up as we journey along…   We’ll do things like:
  • Provide PRESCHOOL AND SUMMER CAMP EXPERIENCES for children in need via outreach programming
  • Provide FINANCIAL SUPPORT to families needing assistance with program and membership fees
  • Teach children in our child care and local elementary schools HOW TO SWIM
  • SMILE at someone on a day when they really need it
  • Create HEALTHY BODIES through our exercise, sports and fitness programming and classes
  • Improve reading scores of under served youth in the King’s District through SWIM TO READ
  • Develop skills like dance, cooking, pottery and more in our new ARTS & EDUCATION programming area, which will be up and running soon
  • Offer a safe space for FAMILIES and CHILDREN to spend time together in a meaningful way
  • Select TWELVE STAFF CHAMPIONS from our awesome staff to receive recognition from their peers for outstanding work and demonstration of our mission
  • Grit our teeth and know that despite the inconvenience, the facility will be improved for the better via the renovation
  • Hold awesome events like the Countryside Gala in March, the Applefest Run and Mud-O-Ween in the fall
  • Support parents through parenting workshops, Blessed Respite and preteen overnights
  • Provide parents some much needed exercise and/or alone time, knowing their children are safe in our CHILD WATCH area
  • Work with Lebanon City Schools’s student athletes on SPEED AND AGILITY, as well as LIFEGUARD TRAINING for high school students
  • Coach and/or train a person who never thought they’d take the initiative to get back in shape
I could go on… but you get the idea.  With POTENTIAL (splash) comes IMPACT (ripple), and every person who works in this facility is a vital part of that impact.   
I’m pretty proud of that, and I hope you are too. 
SO…  if your attitude adjustment plan for 2016 consists the following:
improve your attitude
… I hope you’ll reconsider and think about the things you, as an awesome human being, can do to help us reach our potential this year.
We got this.
Have a great weekend!

Weekly Photo Challenge – Change – Yellowstone National Park

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Change.”

“In wilderness I sense the miracle of life, and behind it our scientific accomplishments fade to trivia.”

– Charles A. Lindbergh

In 2008 our family took one of our best trips ever to a natural wonderland, Yellowstone National Park.  I can’t think of a place that better describes the word “change,” as the landscape and conditions in this national treasure are in a state of constant change.  As described here “Yellowstone National Park is the largest natural geothermal area in the world with many colorful hot springs, acid pools, and microscopic life that are able to survive the extreme conditions. Due to the extreme heat and acidity in the Norris Geyser Basin and Mud Volcano area, few thermoacidophilic microorganisms have emerged with a specialized metabolism of using reduced inorganic molecules to adapt to their environment. Due to these specialized metabolism and natural causes, Yellowstone National Park is known for being the most changeable thermal area in the world.” 

yellowstoneyellowston2  yellowstone1

The Bright Spots – Weekly Roundup, September 18, 2015

Hello Countryside Family!
It’s Friday, it has been a beautiful week out, and I fully expect to see some of this later on today:
A BIG congrats to DEBRA PHILLIPS and ANITA PELLETIER for an EXCELLENT job with our Golf Outing this past Wednesday!  Many staff stepped up to help in this huge event at the Mason Golf Center. Mother Nature couldn’t have been more cooperative.  Thanks to all who helped with this fun day.
07-106 01-090 03-094 10-116 12-124 13-136 14-138
So you wanna be a lifeguard?  Well guess what!  Nate Brestelli has you covered.  He is offering a class that will get you certified: Dates and times of the class:
10/29 5-9p
10/30 5-10p
10/31 9-3p
11/5 5-9p
11/6 5-10p
11/7 9-3p
If you are between 16-99 years old, I urge you to pick up a black lifeguard folder from the front desk, and complete all online learning prior to coming to class.  You will look amazing in a red bathing suit.
Last but not least, I want to give some love to our staff over in LANDEN.  Since I started here in June, I’ve heard wonderful things about the Landen staff and had the occasion to attend one of their staff meetings to verify this for myself.   I was excited to hear from Erin Smith this week.  Erin is a fitness instructor at Landen who has the most amazing positive energy, and we are thrilled to have her on our staff! She had this to say about her co-workers:
“I LOVE my Y!  We are one big happy family here and I can’t imagine my life or my children’s lives without the Landen Y in it! Amy Hosier is the director in child watch and is absolutely AMAZING and truly loves what she does! When we first introduced her to my oldest and told her of his conditions, she assured me that they would take the best of care and would be willing to do anything they could to make him (and I) comfortable!  She has such a wonderful heart and truly loves every child that comes into our facility.
Next up, Hillary, Hillary is one of our trainers and also works at the front desk!  She greets EVERY member with a smile and truly believes in the Y and what we are all about!
Last, Bill…..what can I say about Bill Allen!  Other than he is AMAZING!  Bill has become like my big brother and the uncle that I always wanted for my boys!  He also LOVES this Y and the members and it truly shows! “
Lebanon, Landon, Little Miami, Clinton-Massie, Otterbein, Donovan Elementary, Louisa Wright… you are all important pieces of the puzzle that is our mission.
The truth is:
Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

Weekly Photo Challenge – Grid – 9/11 Memorial Museum

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Grid.”

The Ascent.  9/11 Memorial Museum

“If we learn nothing else from this tragedy, we learn that life is short and there is no time for hate.”
Sandy Dahl, wife of Flight 93 pilot Jason Dahl, in Shanksville, Pa., in 2002


Click on photo for a larger view.

Weekly Photo Challenge – Connected – Children of Eden

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Connected.”

Switching it up a little from my initial reaction to post a cool photo of a staircase or a bridge.  When I thought back about the word connected, an event came to mind.  A few years ago, my daughter, who is heavily involved in youth theater, was part of a production called “Children of Eden.”  We aren’t particularly religious, so we weren’t sure what our reaction to the show would be.  She loved the cast and the producer, and went in without expectation.

Good drama casts have to connect, and this one most certainly did.  I don’t know if you can tell from the expressions on the faces of the children in this show, but they were connected to the music, the audience and each other in a way I have never seen a youth cast achieve.  It was beautiful.  Music and performance connects us in so many ways.

9954101933_eb60730ff3_o9954000664_1d272c9c0c_o   9954052986_02f826659a_o 9954139553_d482135794_o 9979963714_c2da4f8b21_o 9980078633_4a44150fb7_o (1) 21149149481_a09b9e0336_o9954001455_dfd2c1d47d_o

From Every Angle – Weekly Photo Challenge

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “From Every Angle.”

“Lighthouses are not just stone, brick, metal, and glass. There’s a human story at every lighthouse; that’s the story I want to tell.” ― Elinor Dewire

IMG_1913 IMG_1912  IMG_1929 IMG_1911IMG_1921

Not too hard to get angles from the top of the lighthouse at the southern tip of Cozumel, Mexico.  What a view!