Guest Column: Albert Lea Family Y proudly serves Freeborn County
Published 9:36 pm Friday, November 9, 2018
Live United by Dennis Dieser
The Albert Lea Family Y is part of a worldwide fellowship united for the purpose of building a Christian society and developing in people those qualities of Christian personality exemplified in the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. The YMCA mission is to put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all.
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The Albert Lea Family Y corporate goals are to promote total human health, spirit, mind and body. To focus on physical well-being, youth development and interpersonal relations. To significantly influence the quality of life for all persons, all religions, races, ages and needs. To serve as a common meeting ground of the community. To maintain an organization of employees and volunteers who are at all times respected, accessible, involved and committed.
The Albert Lea Family Y celebrated its 104th anniversary in July. A look at the Albert Lea Family Y history wall indicates many of the people who have made the Y such a special place in this community. Nationally, the YMCA celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2001. The Albert Lea YMCA and YWCA operated as separate entities until 1972 when the two moved into the current Y building at 2021 W. Main St. The Family Y has a rich tradition, and programs have evolved to meet the ever-changing needs of people in Freeborn County. The next 95 years should be exciting at the Y, positively influencing the entire community.
The Family Y serves youth and families. The United Way is a major collaborator in our efforts to serve youth and families in out-of-school times. These programs are youth sports, school-age child care, summer camp, swim lessons and much more. Y programs are the tools used to meet community needs and to build values like caring, respect, responsibility and honesty. The Y serves over 3,000 members.
However, more Y nonmembers participate in a wide variety of building and community programs. For many people, the Y is a great place to work out, be with friends, relieve stress and focus on health and wellness. For others, the Y is a safe place where working parents know their kids are enjoying themselves.
For many senior citizens, the Y keeps them feeling young and provides them with a nice social event. For single parents, the Y is a place where their kids can have positive role models in their lives. For teenagers, the Y is a place to hang out and have fun with their friends.
The Y also opens its doors to numerous groups for meetings, special events and overnights. Chances are, even if you are not a Y member, you have been in the building for something in the last year.
The Family Y also works with many service clubs and area merchants on a variety of other projects and events. The Y believes it is important, whenever possible, to keep local dollars local by purchasing needed supplies and services in Freeborn County. We believe there is strength in working with others to develop unique, efficient and quality programs, while avoiding duplication of services. We are proud to be a partner in Freeborn County. The Y — for youth development, for healthy living, for social responsibility.
Dennis Dieser is the executive director of the Albert Lea Family Y.