For A Better Us

January 25, 2016

Y Embarks on its First National Advertising Campaign

The New York Times – January 25, 2016

The Y.M.C.A. — or the Y as it is now known — has existed for more than 160 years and has never felt the need to advertise. After all, even without the help of the ubiquitous song from the Village People, most people know what the Y is.

Or they think they do. Concern that the public has misconceptions about the Y’s mission and programs has spurred the nonprofit to undertake its first national advertising campaign.

On Sunday night during “60 Minutes” on CBS, the Y unveiled two commercials as part of a rebranding effort that aims both to change the way the public perceives the organization and to raise money.

“Lots of people know and like the Y,” said Kevin Washington, the president of the Y-USA. “But they see it as a gym and swim place. We’re also a charity, and that is the missing ingredient. We want people to realize that we’re deserving of their charitable donations.”

Filmed outside Baltimore, the commercials both have 30-second and 60-second versions, and they are scheduled to run on major networks, sports stations and lifestyle channels.

While the Y has run public service announcements over the years, this is its first paid national advertising campaign.

In the first, a spot called “Places,” the camera pans over a low-income neighborhood and then pulls in. A voice-over says, “I’m here — can you see me? I feel like I’m invisible, like this whole place is invisible. If it weren’t for the nightly news, no one would even think of this place.”

The voice continues: “But down here things look different. Spirits are bright and our dreams are vivid.” Children are shown playing and riding bikes. Teenagers talk on a stoop. And then come shots of young people being engaged in a classroom at the Y, receiving counsel from an adult and diving into a pool.

The tag line: “When communities are forgotten, the Y remembers.”

In the second commercial, called “Idle Hands,” the tone is more ominous. A narrator intones, “Idle hands, they say they’re the devil’s workshop. Easy targets. Quick to kill time.” There are shots of children looking bored, wasting time and play fighting. Then students are shown working on crafts and other projects at a Y.

At the end of both commercials are reminders that the Y offers “safe spaces, after-school programs, mentorship, meal programs” and more. Then there is an appeal for contributions.

David Droga, the founder of the agency Droga5, which created the commercials, said he, like many people, had a “one-dimensional view of what the Y has to offer.” He added, “We have to rock people out of familiar territory.”

The organization’s effort to change its image began in 2010, and it included changing the logo and shortening the official name to the Y. The group also began highlighting the variety of programs it offers and its role as a community actor, an effort that it hopes the commercials will continue. The organization declined to say how much it was spending on the campaign.

Yet despite its need to compete for funding, the Y said its annual revenue had increased 31.5 percent over the last 10 years to $6.6 billion; about one-third comes from membership dues and the rest from program fees, the government, and contributions from individuals and foundations. The Y was listed as the sixth-largest in the Forbes 2015 ranking of the 50 largest charities in the United States. It is also serving more members. The organization said its nationwide membership was 22 million and that since 2000, the number of branches had increased by 11 percent to over 2,700.

Some branches have struggled financially, and some in cities, including WashingtonAmarillo, Tex.; and Jackson, Miss., have been forced to close.

Nathalie Laidler-Kylander, a lecturer in public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School who is familiar with aspects of the Y’s rebranding, said it was important for older, established nonprofits to make sure public perception was in line with the organization’s current actions and goals. “For example, the Girl Scouts did a nice job of refocusing on women’s empowerment,” she said.

The campaign also has an interactive online component that will appear on the digital version of The New York Times beginning next month. For example, next to an article about obesity, an ad for the Y may appear, saying, “Help Make This News Better,” and promoting a relevant Y program, such as one for diabetes prevention. Readers will be given a number to text to donate.

The Y’s campaign appears to be addressing “what’s happening on the ground in today’s communities,” according to Aria Finger, the chief executive of Dosomething.org, a New York nonprofit that helps young people take action for social change. She added: “It’s not sugarcoated and it’s showcasing solutions.”

Josh Baran, chief executive of Baran Strategies, an agency that has run many cause-related campaigns, said the commercials showed “why the Y is relevant in the 21st century.”

“The big challenge, though, is that they can’t abandon what seems to be a main source of their income — the gym and swim,” he said. “They have to say, ‘But we’re all these other things as well.’ ”

Ms. Laidler-Kylander said a significant point was the authenticity about the Y promoting itself for its social responsibility and community work. “For instance, they aren’t just jumping into youth programs,” she said. “They’ve always done that.”

A major question is whether the new advertising will result in more donations.

“The Y seems like one of those institutions that will always be here,” Ms. Finger said. “They need to let people know they won’t be here without your support.”

For more information about how you can give to the Y, click here.

The New York Times – January 25, 2016 The Y.M.C.A. — or the Y as it is now known — has existed for more than 160 years and has never felt the need to advertise. After all, even without the help of the ubiquitous song from the Village People, most people know what the Y is. Or they think they do. Concern that the public has misconceptions about the Y’s mission and programs has spurred the nonprofit to undertake its first national advertising campaign. On Sunday night during “60 Minutes” on CBS, the Y unveiled two commercials as part of a rebranding effort that aims both to change the way the public perceives the organization and to raise money. “Lots of people know and like the Y,” said Kevin Washington, the president of the Y-USA. “But they see it as a gym and swim place. We’re also a charity, and that is the missing ingredient. We want people…


January 4, 2016

Fitness Trends for 2016

Did you catch us on WJXT4 The Local Station last week when we discussed Fitness Trends of 2016? From family workouts to exercising outside and new Barre classes, there’s something for everyone at the Y to try in the New Year!

Did you catch us on WJXT4 The Local Station last week when we discussed Fitness Trends of 2016? From family workouts to exercising outside and new Barre classes, there’s something for everyone at the Y to try in the New Year!


December 28, 2015

Winston Y Construction Update

UPDATE: Construction is on schedule for the new Winston Family YMCA in Riverside. We are looking forward to a late summer 2016 opening. Below is a live feed showing the progress in real-time.

PARKING
We appreciate your patience during the continued construction of the new Winston Family YMCA. Parking will be impacted over the next several weeks as work is done along Jackson Street. Here’s what you can expect:

December 28 – January 6

  • The parking lot behind the Yates Y will have a temporary access drive to allow for accessibility parking and drop off/pick up only. There will be only one way in and out and arrows will be painted to indicate this.
  • Parking will be available in the lot across the street from the Yates Y and in an overflow lot at Haskell. A pedestrian walk will be available for crossing over Jackson Street.
  • To ensure the best experience possible, additional signs and painted arrows will indicate flow of traffic. Also, road flag workers will be on site daily to help direct traffic.

Revised Phase II Traffic Plan

Please follow all posted parking and pedestrian detour signs and other notices regarding construction activities and safety information. As we learn of any parking changes, we will update this information as soon as possible. As always, if you have any questions or concerns, we are happy to help in any way we can.

ABOUT THE NEW WINSTON FAMILY YMCA

The new facility will be 72,000 square feet, about 8,000 square feet bigger than the current Yates Y, which was built in the 1950s. Other amenities in the new Winston Y include:

  • 12,000 square foot fitness area with an indoor running track
  • Indoor lap pool will be 25 meters long with six lanes
  • Second, warmer pool will be for children’s swim lessons and other classes
  • Lobby cafe
  • Two spiritual wellness centers for prayer, meditation or just a quiet place
  • Luther and Blanche Healthy Living Center in partnership with Florida Blue, Baptist Health and Brooks Rehabilitation

On a fundraising goal of $21M, we only need $2.5M, but we’ll need YOU to help us cross the finish line! To help us make a difference, contact Nekita Nesmith at nnesmith@firstcoastymca.org.

[WRGF id=29688]

UPDATE: Construction is on schedule for the new Winston Family YMCA in Riverside. We are looking forward to a late summer 2016 opening. Below is a live feed showing the progress in real-time. PARKING We appreciate your patience during the continued construction of the new Winston Family YMCA. Parking will be impacted over the next several weeks as work is done along Jackson Street. Here’s what you can expect: December 28 – January 6 The parking lot behind the Yates Y will have a temporary access drive to allow for accessibility parking and drop off/pick up only. There will be only one way in and out and arrows will be painted to indicate this. Parking will be available in the lot across the street from the Yates Y and in an overflow lot at Haskell. A pedestrian walk will be available for crossing over Jackson Street. To ensure the best experience possible, additional signs and painted…


December 27, 2015

“I Hated Working Out!”

HOW PERSONAL TRAINING TURNED ONE WOMAN’S LACK OF MOTIVATION INTO A WELLNESS TRANSFORMATION

Tim Burrows | Director of Healthy Living Innovations: Impact & Achievement

We know we could all use a little encouragement, motivation and support to stay focused on our goals. At the Flagler Center YMCA, we know how important a support system can be, and we are here to help you every step of the way. A great way to get started is with 1-on-1 Personal Training (PT)! Working out with a Certified Personal Trainer at any First Coast YMCA is a great way to keep you accountable, healthy and motivated. PT is for everyone regardless of age or fitness level.

For Rebeca Aguilera, a member at the Brooks Family YMCA, teaming up with a personal trainer was transformational, especially since she admits that she hated working out. Her initial goal was to reduce body fat, lower her high blood pressure and lose 20 pounds. But Rebeca’s trainer helped her exceed expectations.

“When I saw the difference of how well I felt and looked…I kept progressing until I got to 35 pounds. I hated going to the gym so I really wasn’t going to push myself at all but he continued to push me because he knew I could do better. So now when I work out by myself I always hear him in the back of my heading saying, ‘You can do it. Go. Go. Go.’ It’s great motivation.”

According to the American Council on Exercise, these are the top five reasons to hire a personal trainer:

  1. Motivation– Personal trainers wear many hats, serving not only as coach, but as an educator, confidant, role model and a major source of motivation and encouragement as well.
  2. Consistency– Scheduling regular appointments with a personal trainer helps eliminate any excuses you might come up with for not exercising.
  3. Safety– A personal trainer will show you how to exercise safely (including which exercises to avoid) and instruct you on the proper and safe use of exercise equipment.
  4. Individualized Instruction– What works for one person, may not work for another when it comes to choosing an exercise program. A personal trainer will develop the most effective program for you based on your fitness evaluation results and personal goals. Beginners in particular benefit from instruction on how to perform specific exercises and program planning.
  5. Effective Workouts– Personal trainers help maximize your time by providing workouts designed to meet your goals quickly and efficiently.

At the Y, we want to support you in your endeavors to achieve both your short and long term goals by connecting you with the resources and tools to do so. Click here to learn more about all of our wellness programs and services. Join the Y in January and save up to $500 with our Better You bonus that includes No Joining Fee, $100 credit for programs and services, 8-Week Weight Loss Support program and more!

HOW PERSONAL TRAINING TURNED ONE WOMAN’S LACK OF MOTIVATION INTO A WELLNESS TRANSFORMATION Tim Burrows | Director of Healthy Living Innovations: Impact & Achievement We know we could all use a little encouragement, motivation and support to stay focused on our goals. At the Flagler Center YMCA, we know how important a support system can be, and we are here to help you every step of the way. A great way to get started is with 1-on-1 Personal Training (PT)! Working out with a Certified Personal Trainer at any First Coast YMCA is a great way to keep you accountable, healthy and motivated. PT is for everyone regardless of age or fitness level. For Rebeca Aguilera, a member at the Brooks Family YMCA, teaming up with a personal trainer was transformational, especially since she admits that she hated working out. Her initial goal was to reduce body fat, lower her high blood pressure and lose 20…


November 12, 2015

Healthy Holiday Eating

Healthy living can be challenging in our fast-paced world of convenience. Making healthy living decisions during the holidays while having increased (yummy) food choices and visiting with family can be even more so. On average, people gain 5-10 pounds during the holiday season. At the Y, we are committed to helping members and the community achieve and/or maintain their health goals during the holidays.

Maintain Don’t Gain Challenge

All members are invited to join our Maintain Don’t Gain Challenge November 16 – December 20. Prizes will be $10 in Y Bucks for all who maintain and $20 in Y Bucks for those that lose weight. Stop by the Welcome Center at your Y to learn more.

Here are some simple health tips to consider this holiday season:

  • Substitute ingredients for your favorite holiday meals and beverages (Use applesauce instead of butter for baking, drink egg nog with one part low-fat milk).
  • Stay hydrated and drink more water.
  • When purchasing ingredients, compare nutrition labels. Choose lower sodium options.
  • Be mindful at holiday parties by looking at all food options before filling your plate.
  • Remember to stay physically active and think outside the box (all activity counts!).

In addition, the YMCA offers services and programs year round to support you in reaching your health goals. Below are just a few services and programs we offer. 

Nutrition Consultations

YMCA dietitians will work with you to develop healthy habits through nutrition support. Our team will schedule appointments at your neighborhood YMCA and work with you to create individual nutrition plans, discuss how to manage chronic diseases or illnesses, and achieve personal health goals. Members receive a free 20-minute consultation with a Registered Dietitian.

Black Hog Farms Healthy Deliveries

Do you need a turkey for Thanksgiving or a ham for Christmas? With Black Hog Farms customizable deliveries, you are sure to find fresh food that will fit into your family. Order your holiday meal ingredients from and it will be conveniently delivered to your neighborhood YMCA. Members do not pay a delivery fee. Contact: info@blackhogfarm.com or 904.484.6931

ActivTrax

Join the YMCA and have the opportunity to meet with a personal trainer who will set you up with ActivTrax, a customized health and wellness system that provides guidance, tracks progress, and challenges you to meet your health goals.

Healthy Living Centers

The Healthy Living Centers are the first of their kind on the First Coast, bringing medically integrated programs from Baptist Health into the Y and making these programs more accessible to the community.

Visit your neighborhood YMCA to talk to a health professional about what will work for you or contact Sara Glenn for more information: sglenn@firstcoastymca.org or 904.265.1804

Healthy living can be challenging in our fast-paced world of convenience. Making healthy living decisions during the holidays while having increased (yummy) food choices and visiting with family can be even more so. On average, people gain 5-10 pounds during the holiday season. At the Y, we are committed to helping members and the community achieve and/or maintain their health goals during the holidays. Maintain Don’t Gain Challenge All members are invited to join our Maintain Don’t Gain Challenge November 16 – December 20. Prizes will be $10 in Y Bucks for all who maintain and $20 in Y Bucks for those that lose weight. Stop by the Welcome Center at your Y to learn more. Here are some simple health tips to consider this holiday season: Substitute ingredients for your favorite holiday meals and beverages (Use applesauce instead of butter for baking, drink egg nog with one part low-fat milk). Stay hydrated and drink…


November 5, 2015

Preventing Diabetes

More than 86 million people have prediabetes, a condition that puts them at risk for developing type 2 diabetes, yet only 9 million people are aware they have this condition. To sustain a healthy lifestyle, it helps to know your risk for developing type 2 diabetes.

At the Y, we support the health and well-being of people of every age and background with programs that help prevent chronic disease. One such program, the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program, helps people achieve a healthy weight, increase their physical activity and make healthier food choices to reduce the risk for chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. More than 180 Ys across the country, including the First Coast YMCA, offer the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program. Ask your Y’s staff about this and other chronic disease prevention programs so you can lead a healthier, happier life.

November is Diabetes Awareness Month and the Y recommends you and your family follow these healthy living tips from the American Diabetes Association to reduce the risk for chronic disease:

Start a Weight Loss Plan: Losing even a small amount of weight can make a difference. Start by setting realistic goals that work for you. To stay on target, keep a record of everything you eat and all of your physical activity.

Build Healthier Meals: Plan out your weekly meals to save time, money and stress. Add more fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats and whole grains to your shopping list. Keep healthy staples like brown rice and whole grain pastas on hand for healthier meal options. Need more guidance or a grocery store tour? We have nutrition services available at all Ys on the First Coast.

Stay Active: Aim to engage in moderate to vigorous physical activity for at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week. Add in strength training to build muscle and make bones stronger (with more muscle mass you burn more calories, even when you are at rest). You can join a Y fitness class or lift weights at home using weights or elastic resistance bands.

More than 86 million people have prediabetes, a condition that puts them at risk for developing type 2 diabetes, yet only 9 million people are aware they have this condition. To sustain a healthy lifestyle, it helps to know your risk for developing type 2 diabetes. At the Y, we support the health and well-being of people of every age and background with programs that help prevent chronic disease. One such program, the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program, helps people achieve a healthy weight, increase their physical activity and make healthier food choices to reduce the risk for chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. More than 180 Ys across the country, including the First Coast YMCA, offer the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program. Ask your Y’s staff about this and other chronic disease prevention programs so you can lead a healthier, happier life. November is Diabetes Awareness Month and the Y recommends you and your family follow…


October 29, 2015

We Believe in Endless Opportunity

We believe that all kids deserve the opportunity to discover who they are and what they can achieve. That’s why, through the Y, more youth today are cultivating the values, skills and relationships that lead to positive behaviors, better health and educational achievement.


BCB_WINNERS STAMP_BEST_SUMMER CAMP

Check out the REAL IMPACT we had on our youth across the First Coast during Summer Day Camp 2015. We’re also proud to have been named the 2015 winner for Bold City Best Summer Camp!

Details coming soon on our new summer day camp adventure that begins June 2016!

We believe that all kids deserve the opportunity to discover who they are and what they can achieve. That’s why, through the Y, more youth today are cultivating the values, skills and relationships that lead to positive behaviors, better health and educational achievement. Check out the REAL IMPACT we had on our youth across the First Coast during Summer Day Camp 2015. We’re also proud to have been named the 2015 winner for Bold City Best Summer Camp! Details coming soon on our new summer day camp adventure that begins June 2016!


October 26, 2015

Winston YMCA Construction Update

The construction of the new Winston Family YMCA in Riverside is moving ahead on schedule. Last week, a group of our donors, board members and Y leaders along with our construction partners took the first hard hat tour of the construction site. The first wall went up on October 6 and we are looking forward to a late Summer 2016 completion date. We are also getting closer to our fundraising goal of $21M. We only have $2.7M to finish, but we’ll need YOU to help us cross the finish line! To help us make a difference, contact Nekita Nesmith at 904.265.1812 or nnesmith@firstcoastymca.org. Naming opportunities for the new Winston Y are still available.

Checkout some of the photos from the tour!

[WRGF id=27762] ICYMI: First Coast Magazine featured the Yates Y in this month’s Unmasked edition.

The construction is going really well, so we took a video so you could see the progress so far!

WATCH: New Video of the Winston Family YMCA Construction

The construction of the new Winston Family YMCA in Riverside is moving ahead on schedule. Last week, a group of our donors, board members and Y leaders along with our construction partners took the first hard hat tour of the construction site. The first wall went up on October 6 and we are looking forward to a late Summer 2016 completion date. We are also getting closer to our fundraising goal of $21M. We only have $2.7M to finish, but we’ll need YOU to help us cross the finish line! To help us make a difference, contact Nekita Nesmith at 904.265.1812 or nnesmith@firstcoastymca.org. Naming opportunities for the new Winston Y are still available. Checkout some of the photos from the tour! [WRGF id=27762] ICYMI: First Coast Magazine featured the Yates Y in this month’s Unmasked edition. The construction is going really well, so we took a video so you could see the progress so far! WATCH: New Video…


October 6, 2015

First Wall up at the New Winston Y!

The first wall is now up at the site of the new Winston Family YMCA in Riverside!!! We are looking forward to opening the new 72,000 square foot facility in late Summer 2016. We are grateful for the generous donors who are supporting our efforts.

The new facility will be about 8,000 square feet bigger than the current one, which was built in the 1950s.

Among the changes and additions in the new building:

The fitness area will be 12,000 square feet, twice the size it is now, and will have an indoor running track above it.

The indoor lap pool will be 25 meters long with six lanes, as opposed to the four lanes and 25 yards it is now. A second, warmer pool will be for children’s swim lessons and senior citizens classes.

The women’s locker room, which is now much smaller than the men’s, will be increased to be the same size.

There will be a cafe in the lobby and two “spiritual wellness” centers for prayer, meditation or just a quiet place.

The Luther and Blanche Healthy Living Center in the Y will be open to the public and include Florida Blue, Baptist Health and Brooks Rehabilitation.

[WRGF id=29688]

The first wall is now up at the site of the new Winston Family YMCA in Riverside!!! We are looking forward to opening the new 72,000 square foot facility in late Summer 2016. We are grateful for the generous donors who are supporting our efforts. The new facility will be about 8,000 square feet bigger than the current one, which was built in the 1950s. Among the changes and additions in the new building: The fitness area will be 12,000 square feet, twice the size it is now, and will have an indoor running track above it. The indoor lap pool will be 25 meters long with six lanes, as opposed to the four lanes and 25 yards it is now. A second, warmer pool will be for children’s swim lessons and senior citizens classes. The women’s locker room, which is now much smaller than the men’s, will be increased to be the same size. There…


October 5, 2015

The Jaguars Foundation Names New Winston Family YMCA Gymnasium

The Jacksonville Jaguars Foundation pledged $500,000 to name the gymnasium in the new Winston Family YMCA and continue its support of the Willie Galimore Community Center pool in St. Augustine.

“The team’s investment in the new Winston YMCA and recommitment to the Galimore pool is part of a wider partnership the Jaguars organization has with the First Coast YMCA to support the health and wellbeing of our community, particularly for children and families,” said Peter Racine, President of the Jaguars Foundation. “From playing basketball inside the gym to learning how to swim and everything in-between; throughout Northeast Florida, the First Coast Y strengthens our community by providing safe spaces for health and fitness programs for adults and children.”

Programs and activities offered at the gym in the new Winston Family YMCA will contribute to the YMCA’s goal to provide new and innovative opportunities for youth by directly impacting 5,000 Westside, Downtown and East Jacksonville children through healthy habits curriculum. The Jacksonville Jaguars Gymnasium will be a 7,800 square foot indoor gym featuring a full basketball court, two short courts and one volleyball court. It will be open year-round and will host youth, adult sports leagues, as well as open gym games, and other programmatic offerings such as group exercise and child care activities.

This gift will also continue The Jaguars Foundation’s support of the Willie Galimore Community Center pool, which is operated by the the St. Augustine YMCA. Since 2013, support from the Jaguars Foundation has allowed the Y to waive pool entrance fees for all guests and extend the pool’s hours. The Galimore pool serves nearly 4,000 swimmers in St. Augustine every year.  In addition, the Y has provided swim lessons to more than 500 children at the Galimore pool over the last three years.

“With this gift, The Jaguars Foundation is supporting much more than a gym and a pool,” said Eric Mann, President and CEO of the YMCA of Florida’s First Coast. “The foundation is helping create environments where children in our community can learn, achieve and begin to develop a healthy lifestyle.”

The new Winston Family YMCA is on schedule to be complete in August 2016. Naming opportunities are still available. For more information, contact Eric Mann at 904.265.1780 or emann@FirstCoastYMCA.org.

The Jacksonville Jaguars Foundation pledged $500,000 to name the gymnasium in the new Winston Family YMCA and continue its support of the Willie Galimore Community Center pool in St. Augustine. “The team’s investment in the new Winston YMCA and recommitment to the Galimore pool is part of a wider partnership the Jaguars organization has with the First Coast YMCA to support the health and wellbeing of our community, particularly for children and families,” said Peter Racine, President of the Jaguars Foundation. “From playing basketball inside the gym to learning how to swim and everything in-between; throughout Northeast Florida, the First Coast Y strengthens our community by providing safe spaces for health and fitness programs for adults and children.” Programs and activities offered at the gym in the new Winston Family YMCA will contribute to the YMCA’s goal to provide new and innovative opportunities for youth by directly impacting 5,000 Westside, Downtown and East Jacksonville children…


Mission Statement: To put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all.