Advancing Mission Thrivability Experience Ignites Renewed Passion

Advancing Mission Thrivability Experience Ignites Renewed Passion

Posted on October 07, 2020 by Libby Soderberg,Board Member, Our Y, Inc.
The implausible events that have become the reality that is the year 2020 have all the makings of imaginative fiction. Had someone warned me in January of what the rest of the year would bring, I would not only have thought him mad, but I’m not sure I would have been able to muster the energy to deal with what was coming. Like childbirth, it’s sometimes better to remain blissfully ignorant until the very last second.

While the YMCA in Sarasota had been in existence for nearly 75 years, Our Y is fundamentally a new, year-old venture. In September 2019, a small group of dedicated and energetic community members accomplished something that no one thought was possible—they saved the Y. Buoyed by that success, the community once again pulled together to raise the $1.1M necessary to secure financing for a mortgage to purchase the two properties that are now Our Y. We had a plethora of members and a development plan for the future…and then the world came to a screeching halt. Schools were closed, businesses were mandated to close, airplanes stopped flying, people hid in their homes and had groceries delivered to their door.

It is said that “necessity is the mother of invention,” and 2020 is a case in point. Like many non-profit organizations, having our doors closed for three months encouraged creative efforts to solve the many new challenges that we faced. When The Patterson Foundation invited Our Y to participate in the Advancing Mission Thrivability Labinars and Webversations during the summer, we jumped at the opportunity. The timing was ideal for our fledgling organization as we grappled with the COVID-related challenges we needed to navigate to remain viable as well as set ourselves on a path forward that would allow us to reach our goals and build capacity to serve the community in the way that we intended. Our experience with the AMT initiative was so thought-provoking that we pursued the opportunity to receive one-on-one consulting with No Margin, No Mission.

Our consulting experience with Larry Clark and Abby Rolland resulted in positive changes from the very first session. The weekly meetings allowed board members and staff members to discuss issues openly and really take the time to think about what decisions we were making, how we were making them, why we were making them, and to what end. We realized that while everything we were doing as an organization was mission-driven, we hadn’t taken the time, as a team, to set some realistic goals regarding our programs and our future direction. This consulting experience gave us a forum to discuss issues of concern, helped us identify areas that need improvement, and provided us with tools to use for self-evaluation going forward. Overall, the process was empowering to all of us who participated.

Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, Our Y has regenerated and is looking forward to showing the Sarasota community that its faith and support was well-placed.

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