Dear Friends of the YMCA:
There is a lot of news to share this week across a range of topics from the survey to Peace Week, and from childcare to the minimum wage increase.
Peace Medal Nominations
The deadline for nominations for this year’s YMCA Peace Medals is this Friday, November 26. Please nominate a volunteer in our community who you think deserves recognition for helping others either at home or abroad. There are adult and youth categories in both Brockville and Kingston. A link to information and the nomination form is here.
Membership Fee Structure Survey
No one knows your needs or the needs of your family like you do, so we’d love to hear from you on the creation of our new membership fee structure. To share your views, please complete the survey by December 3. It takes less than 10 minutes to complete. You can find it here.
Positive Covid Cases in one Childcare Room
We have shared information about positive Covid-19 cases in one of our childcare rooms. To date, there are three cases, all contained to the same class. It serves as a reminder that Covid is still active and transmissible in our communities and that we all must continue to do our part to keep transmission down. Public health units in Kingston and Brockville areas are now booking vaccination appointments for five- to 11-year-olds as well as booster shots for those who are eligible.
We have heard from some of our members that they would like to see an end to the Monday to Friday mid-day closure. We were hoping to do this soon, however, with Covid cases on the rise, removing the 1-3 p.m. deep clean would not be prudent at this time. We are continuing to monitor the situation and will make the change when the time is right – perhaps as early as January, depending on public health reports.
Minimum Wage Increase
The provincial government has announced a hike in the minimum wage to $15 per hour effective January 1, 2022. This, in addition to two years of rising inflation (even during closures), means that our operational costs have increased. We have reviewed our costs and fees in relation to these increases; the result of the review will be an increase to membership fees of approximately five per cent, effective January 1, 2022. To give you an example of what this means to you, an adult membership will increase by between $2 and $3 per month. Our decision is to put this revenue fully toward frontline staff salaries, to meet both the new minimum wage and to maintain wage parity for our employees. We will send more details next week.
Next Tuesday, November 30, is Giving Tuesday, the global generosity movement that reminds us to give as we are able to strengthen our communities. When thinking about year-end donations, please consider a donation to your YMCA to help kids and families access the healthy programs they need. Your kindness also generates in a tax receipt for 2021.
This year, your YMCA fitness and aquatics will be closed for three days over the holidays – December 24, 25, 26 – to give our staff much-needed time to spend with their loved ones. They have worked tremendously hard to manage the pandemic, and employers as well as governments are recognizing a growing need for employees to disconnect from work for positive mental health. For a list of hours, please refer to our website.
If you have questions on any of the above, or any other YMCA topic or issue, please don’t hesitate to contact me. My email address is below.
CEO, YMCA of Eastern Ontario