Did you know that all YMCAs have four core values which we try to incorporate into all of our programs, special events, all activities and in our work with all of our membership?
These four values are respect, responsibility, honesty and caring. Each value is represented by a color and a phrase.
Respect is yellow and we refer to it as the golden rule — treating others as you would like to be treated. This can be something as simple as saying hello to someone else or giving them a smile.
It can be the extra step in giving them help if they have questions about where to go in our building (for new members it can be quite confusing) or what exercise might work best for them.
It can also mean taking the time to explain some of our rules and why they are set up. Respect can be found on the racquetball courts, on the basketball courts and during little league games. It is people working with other people in a positive manner. Mostly it is taking that extra time to help members and guests alike to feel welcome and wanted as they come to the YMCA.
Most everyone knows that responsibility has something to do with being accountable for their actions.
In the case of the YMCA, the color for responsibility is green and it refers to our environment. As we say to the staff, “If you see it, own it.” That means picking up a piece of trash on the floor or lawn or straightening the chairs around our lobby area.
It also means returning basketballs after they are used and not making messes in the locker room.
As staff, we are also trying to figure out how we can go green more and more, either with trash, recycling plastic water balls or getting machines which can charge their own batteries while they are being used.
Responsibility is teaching our preschoolers how to take care of themselves when they finish swimming. It is also having our members let us know when something is not working.
Of course, thanks to Abe Lincoln, we should all know about honesty. The color is blue for true blue. More than not telling a lie, it is being honest as a member.
Making sure that you scan your membership card and don’t let people sneak in with you. It is the staff being able to answer questions frankly and again explain about some of our rules and why we have them.
It is the front desk staff being able to tell members if there is not a court available for racquetball or there is no more room for somebody in Zumba.
It is also being able to give them an alternative, be it playing something else or trying cardiovascular machines or using the pool.
Honesty is being true to what you believe in, and in our case that is our mission. We are true to our mission and try to live it everyday with our members and staff as well as in the community through collaborations and special events.
Our final core value is caring, which is red for the heart. The uniqueness of all YMCAs is that we are made up of caring staff and members.
We miss people if we don’t see them for a while, cards are often sent for members that we are will or we will send a note to someone who was once a member just to see how they are doing. Our scholarship programs allows us to care for all and not to turn anyone away for their inability to pay.
Our preschoolers and SACC kids are cared for by great individuals who treat them like they would their own children, as well as our swim instructors and swim team coaches.
The caring for members is outstanding from all of our staff. More importantly, here at the YMCA, our staff care for each other. It is one of the reasons it makes it so wonderful to work here. We are a family, we support each other, we laugh together, we cry together.
The staff is what makes the Auburn YMCA such a caring community and such a great place to belong. Being out of the office this week, I can see this from a personal view point as staff constantly let me know they are thinking of me and checking on me.
I know they do this for other staff and also members in times of distress. That is what our core values are all about and we strive to live by these and also incorporate them into our programs as much as possible.
Come down to the Auburn YMCA, give us a visit and you can truly see for yourself all that we have to offer.
Mena Hansinger is the senior
program director at the Auburn