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What does your Y mean to YOU?

Joy  Foster The following is a guest blog written by Jeanette Haywood, Vice President, Philanthropy & Association Advancement at the YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka.

What is MyY?

There is a special privilege that those who work for the YMCA get to enjoy when we come to work.  Each day, we get to hear inspiring, funny, and incredibly motivating stories from our members, donors and staff. To honour our members, staff and communities, we’ve launched the MyY campaign to celebrate personal success stories and let the public see how many ways the YMCA  is already touching lives and providing opportunities for people to improve their lives.

Whether through child care, financial assistance, employment services, day camp, health and fitness or community outreach, each person shares a completely unique expression of what MyY is. The campaign is giving a voice to the feelings that many have expressed anecdotally and sharing the excitement through a dedicated MyY website.  As a charitable organization, we want everyone to know what an impact the Y is able to have in changing lives.

The making of the MyY Campaign

The YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka has developed a fully integrated marketing campaign which launched on September 10th,  2012. Since then, we have been busy meeting with members of the community to capture their stories on video, then making the videos available to everyone to share through social networks on the website.


With the website launched we invited everyone to celebrate the success of the campaign and captured even more stories. Members and staff were able to come together enjoy an informal evening to see the videos for the first time, connect and have a few laughs.

MyY Ambassadors were recognized for their courage and dedication, taking time out of their busy lives with family to travel long distances to meet the crew for filming (even taking to the roads on bikes to make it to filming in Wasaga Beach) They have participated on social media platforms,  provided video interviews, been featured on posters, and attended events to keep the excitement going.  About 20 new stories were captured at the Barrie YMCA that evening, bringing the number of stories on video up to over 70!

How to get involved

If you’d like to help make a difference in the lives of others, the YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka wants to hear from you! Log onto, upload your story, share it with your friends and family on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest and comment on existing stories. You can win great prizes and you can inspire community members to participate, and most importantly, help others to learn more about what the Y has to offer.

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Strengthsquest - self assessment

• Identify your top 5 talents
• Learn the power behind your talents and how to intentionally apply them daily
• The benefits and power of a strengths based approach
• The tools to begin your StrengthsQuest journey and establish a strengths based culture

Leadership Communication

• Identify your communication style
• Gain awareness about the impact you have on others based on how you communicate
• Learn techniques and the awareness needed to be a truly great communicator

Transformational Leadership

• Defining leadership throughout the ages
• Learn to differentiate between trending concepts on leadership to those that are proven, relevant and applicable today
• Learn to identify what leadership styles have influenced you and what leadership style and the characteristics you would most like to exemplify. What form of leadership is your team or organization led by? Which style would have the most impact?

Strategic Planning

• Why is it important?
• How does one get started?
• What makes a good strategic plan? – learn the essentials

Team Effectiveness - Stages of Development

• Be provided with the tools needed to assess at what level of performance your team is working at
• Learn to kick start and transition your team to one that is highly performing

Mindfulness - Group Approach

• Strategies, techniques & its importance towards attaining a work/life balance

Strengthsquest - Motivation and Engagement

• Learn to manage your talents and those of your team as an interactive process
• You will be able to assess if you are in the right role and determine if managing people is the right fit for you? Are you developing or damaging your teams?

Managing Performance

• Tried and true tools perfect for staff evaluations
• You will be able to differentiate between critical behaviour needing intervention versus behaviour that can be coached
• You will be provided with the tools on how to address staff behaviour & coach your teams


• Learn the science, physiological & psychological responses that impact decision making and personal interaction
• You will be able to look at the work environment through a different lens noting its impact on potential employee performance and learning the means to intervene and influence for better results

Emotional Intelligence and Leadership Resiliency

• Provides additional insights on how you are perceived and how that awareness can lead to greater impact as a leader

Change Management

• Examines the impact change has throughout an organization and provides you with the tools and understanding of how to navigate through change with the least collateral & cultural damage

Conflict Resolution

• Learn the tools needed to be able to find the common ground needed to move beyond an impasse

The Art of Persuasion

• Realize the weight of your words and actions and how to put that knowledge to the best use
• Where do you fit within the political milieu?

Strengthsquest - followership and leadership

• Move beyond what your individual talents contribute to a team and start to learn to intentionally aim & maximize the talents of others
• With this understanding you will be able to address and provide what your team members need from you as their leader

Principled-Centre Leadership

• You will learn to appreciate and consider the weight of responsibility that comes as you evolve as a leader
• You will examine ethical dilemmas and the means to address them, as well as the consequences those decisions may have

Philanthropic Leadership

• Learn a strategic approach to philanthropic visioning for your organization. As the funding landscape changes so too must our approach to philanthropy
• You will examine your readiness to adapt to these changes and how to instill a framework and culture of philanthropy that can be sustained for the long term

Board Governance

• Learn the importance of Governance and the essential role it plays as part of any organization
• Learn to assess at what stage of Governance your board operates at and how to move their level of engagement should your organization be ready for the shift
• You will be given the tools to fully understand & implement best practices of governance into your organization

Collaboration and Strategic Partnerships

• You will be provided with the tools in order to assess the readiness of your organization and your board to collaborate or partner with another organization
• We will discuss and examine what governing practices need to be in place in order for collaboration to not only occur but also succeed

Unconscious Bias

• Everyone is biased. With that understanding and acceptance you will learn how to make decisions that acknowledges the role bias can often play within that process
• You will discuss best practices and be provided with the tools needed to implement them

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