The Y Rebrands Itself, But Where Did the C Go?

16 December 2011

In 2010, YMCA's throughout the country went through a comprehensive re-branding which was many years in the making. Using the best in the field of brand identification research the national YMCA (Young Men's Christian Association) determined that it would shorten it's name to just the "Y". This had prompted a good number of members to think and to ask the Y if we were removing the "C" from our mission. One of our members put it this way, "My concern is in regards to what I perceive is as a diminishing of the "C" in the YMCA. When I first started going to the Y, there were thoughtful scripture quotations posted on the walls. In general, I felt that there was a Christian spiritual basis behind this fine organization. When the national YMCA organization decided to change the logo, was this the first step in removing the "C" entirely?" The answer to this question is an emphatic no.

The national YMCA mission statement remains as follows:

"to put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind, and body for all."

The YMCA of South Hampton Roads By-Laws state the following:

"In recognition of its founding in 1844, The Young Men's Christian Association we regard in its essential genius, a worldwide fellowship where Christians are united by a loyalty to Jesus Christ, and today people of all faiths and non faith are welcome to join together for the purpose of developing Judeo-Christian personality and building a Judeo-Christian society built on the character values of faith, honesty, caring, respect and responsibility.  The mission statement for the Association is 'to put Judeo-Christian principles into practice through programs the build healthy spirit, mind, and body for all.'"

What do we mean when we say Judeo-Christian principles?  We are not talking about religion, we are talking about the principles found in the Bible.  In sum, the YMCA of South Hampton Roads strives to live out these principles mainly by putting them into practice.  It's how we serve our members and provide our services to all in our community.  We desire to practice the servant model and to also create an environment where members are free to pursue these principles of faith.

An example of this is a very personal one for me. In 2006 my Mom passed away and it broke my heart, because I lost someone who had so much unconditional love for me, my Dad, my brother and sisters, our entire extended family. She exemplified a servant heart and taught all of us about the importance of faith and family. About a year prior to her passing she had pulled me aside and said she had an important favor she wanted to me to do for her. Of course, I said, certainly what is it?  That's when she asked me if I would do her eulogy. Obviously, I really didn't want to face the fact that my Mom may leave us soon. I did not know how I would cope without her, but of course I told her I would and it would be an honor for me to speak for the entire family for the love we had for her.

On that day I quoted from Proverbs 31 from the section entitled Epilogue:

The Wife of Noble Character. "A wife of noble character who can find?  She is worth far more than rubies.  Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.  She brings him good not harm, all the days of her life.  She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.  She speaks with wisdom and faithful instruction is on her tongue. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.  Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.  Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise a the city gate."  Proverbs 31: 10 - 12, 25 - 26, 28, 30 -31.

This quote describes my Mom's life and in 2009 we as a family donated and dedicated this Chapel in her name and memory. Her legacy of faith and family lives on through a Chapel in the Blocker Norfolk Family YMCA where members find some quiet time for prayer, meditation and fellowship. Yes, the "C" in the YMCA is still the foundation of what our organization is all about.