I wanted to reflect back to something that happened a week ago when I was working at a dinner for another organization, and a woman asked me, "Is the Y doing anything for kids this weekend?"

Sometimes the Y staff and I are so busy teaching, supporting and connecting the community, that we forget to share the incredible, life-changing stories that are happening each and every day at the Y. Here is a glimpse of a Saturday in December:

  • Youth Basketball: We started with a bang with Youth Basketball early Saturday morning,  hundreds of children and their families enjoyed a rollicking morning of roundball, the joint YMCA- Red Wing Association collaboration is rounding into a real success.
  • Swim Lessons: Then we swung into a full morning of swim lessons - did you know we have 253 kids in Swim Lessons this session? That pretty much means those pools were full on Saturday. I like that!  I've gotten some very strong positives from mothers on improved lesson quality these last few sessions - that really feels good.
  • Youth In Government: Then at 10 o'clock we commenced bagging groceries at both Econo Foods as a Youth In Government fundraiser - We've had 40 some kids work on that fundraiser to drive the cost down a bit. And it's fun too!
  • YPals: At the same time 'Shop with a Cop' led by our own Katie Bystrom , Y Pals leader got rolling out at Walmart. 20 kids were able to Christmas shop for their Families courtesy of The Police Benevolent Association, Bob Behrens, The Kiwanis clubs, Walmart, and Purina. The cops do the shopping support with the kids and it's great to see them looking at the Christmas season through the kid's eyes - the Kiwanis club wraps the gifts - it's quite a production. Bob Behrens has really driven this project for the last few years and we appreciate his leadership and investment.
  • Breakfast with Santa at Camp Pepin: And at the same time Breakfast w Santa unrolled at Camp Pepin in a quite display of concentrated cuteness and wonder for the little ones. This was Steve Heiny, our new Camp Pepin's Executive Director's first full scale public event and he did great.

So we sure did have a lot going on for kids Saturday, and this is just a snapshot of what happens every day at the Y. Lives are changing, people are connecting and the community is working together to create a better us.

This holiday season, as we take stock of the many gifts we have to be thankful for, we count your friendship among our greatest blessings. We are truly grateful to have such caring and dedicated volunteers, staff, members and donors in our shared journey to create a more welcoming and inclusive community for all. Take time to enjoy the company of your loved ones. May the coming year bring all of us closer together in peace and harmony.

Happy Holidays,

Mike Melstad