Lower Cape Cross Winds
News & Updates on the Lower Cape YMCA
In this Issue
Local Impact Story
Harwich Students Give the Gift of Smiles
July is a busy time on Cape Cod, and YMCA Cape Cod programs are no exception! Early Education, Head Start, and Summer Camp are in full swing, and this month they combined with the Hope Art Foundation to pass on the gift of smiles.
Our latest community service undertaking, the Hope Art Toothbrush Project, has started! This project provides a free toothbrush to a child in need through art, oral education, and community service.
Sponsored by Covanta, students at our Head Start, Early Education, and Camp locations have been participating by giving a child in need a free toothbrush. Each child colors and signs a card and puts it in a bag with a free toothbrush. The completed Hope Toothbrush Bags are then mailed out and distributed to children in the process of finding foster placements within the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families. Additionally, each child who participates also receives a free toothbrush to take home!
This project has been a huge success as students as Head Start and Early Education students at Harwich Elementary have already completed 160 Toothbrush kits of our 1400 goal!
This Project was rolled out at our Early Education centers as part of a theme of oral education and community service in July. Campers across the Cape, at each of our five camp locations, will complete this program throughout the summer as additional rainy day programming. In all, we plan to donate over 1400 Toothbrush Kits, and send 700 YMCA Cape Cod Youth home with new toothbrushes.
Interested in learning about how you can help contribute to this project? Click here to email YMCA Cape Cod’s Head Start/Early Head Start Health Service Director, Lisa Myette
You can learn more about the Hope Art Project at their website, messageofhopefoundation.org
Lower Cape YMCA Project Update
The YMCA Cape Cod serves all of Cape Cod, but our mission on the Lower Cape has historically been limited by resources and geography. In recent years, the childcare program has expanded dramatically, with new centers in Brewster and Harwich, but other traditional YMCA programs like wellness and aquatics have been accessible only to (residents vs those) willing to drive to West Barnstable.
A few months before the COVID-19 pandemic, the Y completed a year-long study of the Lower Cape, looking to discern how we could expand our services in ways that local residents needed and wanted. Aided by the YMCA national office, we conducted an online survey and a series of demographically-balanced focus groups. Finally, we reviewed and validated our findings with a large group of community leaders.
Here’s what we learned:
- There’s lots of enthusiasm.
- YMCA’s survey expert predicted 360 responses to our voluntary online survey. We received 813!
- Programs for families and younger adults are particularly valued, as they are hard to find in this region.
- There are opportunities to serve the community
- In wellness and, especially, aquatics.
- People want a venue that can bring together members of the community from all walks of life.
- Child care remains an important need.
- Affordability is key.
These results send an unmistakable signal that the Lower Cape wants a YMCA programs in its community, and we are listening. As part of our next step in market research, YMCA Cape Cod has engaged PB&A Marketplace Intelligence, a well-respected market research firm that specializes in helping YMCAs, to help refine the potential for a facility.
Task Force Spotlight-
Meet Justin Blair
The Y is here to serve the community, and that’s exactly who’s leading the charge to build a new YMCA branch on the Lower Cape. They live here, work here, and are helping to shape the future here. Let’s meet the members of the task force that’s working to build a new Lower Cape Y!
Chatham resident Justin Blair began volunteering with the Y on the Golf Committee. A few tournaments later, volunteering with the Y has turned into a family affair. Justin and his wife Mandee have two young daughters who take swim lessons in West Barnstable, and even with the 35 minute commute, they know that the reputation of the Y is worth it; and they’re excited to bring that reputation to the Lower Cape.
Justin Blair is the Managing Partner of Monomoy Real Estate & Construction, and continues to build upon the legacy of the Y by helping tell its story to his friends, family, and business connections.
Here’s what he had to say about his experience with the Y.
What’s your experience with the Y? What’s your “Y Story”?
MY experience with the Y began in service, helping with the Golf Tournament on the Golf Committee. I soon moved into serving on the Board of Directors, and then the Executive Committee. It’s work I’m happy to help with doing. My whole family is involved with the Y. Each year, before the Golf Tournament, my Wife Mandee, and our two daughters Sadie and Tessa complete a ‘Family Day of Service” to help prepare the course for the tournament the next day. The Y does so much, Mandee and I like to help sponsor things when we can. Our daughters both take swim lessons in West Barnstable. And it’s not like that’s the only option for swim lessons on Cape, it’s not, But we know that the accreditation and legacy of the Y make the 35 min drive worth it.
Why do you volunteer with the Y?
I think sometimes the YMCA is pigeonholed as a gym and swim; that it only has these two things to offer. Yet the majority of the resources and efforts that are provided to the community on a daily basis are outside of traditional Gym and Swim programs. They have food programs to help with food insecurity across the Cape. Childcare and Early Education. Teen programs to help with college readiness. Chronic disease and elderly services. These services reach ALL segments of our community. I think that to help strengthen such a central cog of the community is time well spent, and that these are resources well spent.
Why do you want a Y on the Lower Cape?
I want to help bring a Y to the Lower Cape primarily as another in a long line of much needed community anchors. We want to help serve the younger families we have on the lower cape, by making it easier for them to operate, and keep cape cod as their primary residence. They’re looking for increased and affordable childcare and early education options. Opportunities for family programs, etc. I know the YMCA can help to fill that need.
What’s your Favorite Quote? Why?
I really like the quote “Believing you can achieve big things helps you get started; Knowing you need other people to make it happen, helps you finish”. It’s a great quote that reminds us that we are capable of doing great things, but that we need to rely on our community to finish them. I think it embodies this project really well. We’ve had the idea, we’ve put pen to paper, and now, we’re ready for the community to join in!
Ready to join Justin and help make this idea a reality? Email Brad Crowell to join our team!