Letter from the Chair

The CEOs will gather at Wrightsville Beach in May, and part of the conversations there will revolve around collaborations that strengthen all Ys. We will also be spending some time talking about how the Y might serve as a convener of community conversations around the issues that so often divide us.

At a meeting held on the heels of the Thriving Ys meeting on December 2nd in Charlotte, Todd Tibbits, CEO of the Greater Charlotte YMCA, shared his personal story of his journey from Minneapolis to Charlotte, each city divided in racial tension after police shootings of black men. His personal journey inspired him to ask some important questions about how the Charlotte Y might play a role in building bridges, connecting community. And how the Y Movement could play a role in our state.

During that time of reflection and conversation in December, we pondered and discussed questions like, “What is the Y’s role in fostering community, bridge building, and inclusion?”; “What are the skills, competencies and experiences needed to be bridge building organizations?”; “Do our Y teams have the expertise and capacity to advance community cohesion?”; “What are our assets & gaps?”

While these questions remain collectively unanswered as each association ponders these questions individually, we will reconvene around these issues at the CEO retreat in May, to share what we have learned since that December afternoon, and to map out a plan for the next steps.

Our nation, our state and our communities continue to exhibit symptoms of mistrust and division. And yet, as human beings, we have more that unites us than ever before. As Y Leaders, we should be asking how the Y, with its Mission and Cause of strengthening communities, can play a more prominent role in bridge building.