The Wave – From Here To There: Putting The ‘Y’ In The Rockaways

December 30, 2011

New Kid on the Boardwalk
Commentary By Jack Lund
Jack Lund president and CEO is the YMCA of Greater New York

It is appropriate that this first column should appear at the end of the year.

Apart from providing me with the opportunity to wish everyone in the Rockaways a healthy and prosperous 2012, the beginning of every New Year helps focus our attention on the passage of time and the importance of meeting certain goals.

Most of you are familiar with some of the history of our future facility, which promises to open in the spring of 2013.

As I begin this ongoing series of articles — and our organization nears its 160th anniversary — it’s important to acknowledge that construction of our Rockaways YMCA at Arverne by the Sea branch has not always been a straight path. The temporary hiatus in our building process provided the YMCA with additional time and resources to raise more money and plan for an advanced, family-friendly facility.

The new Y promises to be a hub of activity in the community.

Once completed, the branch is expected to serve thousands of local children and families each year. It will also feature the largest YMCA aquatic center, with lap and family pools, outdoor multipurpose sports field, Wellness Center, and a 6,500- square-foot gymnasium.

We believe that we can help bring positive change to the community by working hand-in-hand with those who know it the best.
We thank all of our steadfast supporters for making this facility an imminent reality and acknowledge that we couldn’t do this alone.
In the months ahead, this column promises to focus on topics including how the Y spurs youth employment and economic development citywide, and how we’ll go about finding the right Executive Director and Board for this facility.

I’ll be inviting guest writers from the greater Y family to contribute columns on topical subjects such as swim safety for summer, back-toschool tips for the fall, and diabetes awareness and prevention.

Future articles will also spotlight the YMCA’s Strong Kids Campaign — our annual fundraising initiative that ensures that no one will ever be turned away from this facility due to an inability to pay. And I’ll describe how community businesses, neighborhood leaders, and Rockaway Wave readers can each get involved.

We are looking for you, readers, to tell us what you and your families need, how the Y can best serve you, and how this facility will make sense in your lives.

I’d like to think of this inaugural column as the start of a dialogue with the Rockaways community and I’m sincerely looking forward to hearing from you.