YMCA Cass Clay – PEEKING IN

Happy Friday! Summer is half way over and we are already planning for fall. Hard to believe.

My office sits right on the main drag at the Fercho YMCA. Each day I get to see a ton of people enter and exit the facility. Many hand waves happen as I am looking out the office window or my door. I love it.

One of the programs that I have had the opportunity to watch all summer is Camp Koda, which is our week-long exploration and activity day camp for 6-11 year olds. The kids get to participate in a lot of different activities like swimming, outdoor games, and rock climbing. They also get to participate in different events. This year, our campers had the opportunity to tour the NDSU locker rooms and see where their sports stars hang out. They also did a meet-and-greet with the Fargo Police Department. It has been fun to watch the kids and staff develop together. What a great program!

Last week we had a young lady who was obviously showing up for her first day of Camp Koda. It didn’t seem like she was too happy to be there and a few tears were shed. If you’re a parent, you know the drill. Cajole, bribe, stern words. All of these tactics happened for the young one and then mom headed off to work. I kept an eye on her during her first few hours at camp. She continued to appear nervous and she didn’t join in with the others as they played. From an adjoining room, she kept peaking into the camp room to see what was going on. She kept edging her chair closer to the noise and activity. A couple more hours passed and then towards the end of the day, she was gone. I got up to take a look to make sure that she hadn’t walked off and found her fully participating in a group activity. Smiling no less.

I have watched her this week as she has transformed from a scared young lady to a beaming, participating individual who looks like she is going to come back for more. I haven’t gotten to see her swim or rock climb, but I’m guessing she is having a blast doing those activities. I have seen her grow in confidence in one short week.

How many times do we peak in? You know how it goes. You see something that looks interesting but before you get there you find an excuse not to participate. It might be a fitness class or a personal training opportunity. It might be learning to sew or joining a book club.

At the Y we give people the opportunity to get over their fears. We can think of the obvious ones. Learning to swim or exercising for the first time. We forget the hidden ones. Making new friends and feeling like we belong somewhere.

I am going to follow this young lady’s lead. It’s time to quit peaking in and conquer my fears. Will you join me?

See you at the Y!

Steve Smith, President