In February 2017, the YMCA of Pierce and Kitsap Counties embarked on a strategic planning process, led by our Board of Directors and President and CEO, Charlie Davis. Our goal was that this plan would reflect the people who matter most to us - our staff, members, volunteers, partners, and local community. Your input helped us develop a plan that will guide the Y over the next three to five years, and build on our 134-year history of service in Pierce and Kitsap Counties.

Throughout this process, we engaged 100% of our Board of Directors, 73% of our Advisory Council members, and 17% (440) of our staff members. We also heard from more than 50 donors, members, and community partners. 

Thank you to everyone who care so deeply about our YMCA and participated in this process. Our plan is better because of you! Below you will find the timeline, data, and results of the strategic planning and engagement process. 

Questions? Please contact Michelle LaRue at 253-534-7842.


Strategic planning is a systematic process whose purpose is to map out how the organization should get from where it is today to the future it envisions.

A mission statment concerns what an organiation is all about

  • To put Christian Principals into practice through programs that build a healthy spirit, mind, and body for all.

A vision statement is what the organization wants to beocme.

  • The YMCA of Pierce and Kitsap Counties aspires to be a cornerstone for building lifelong community for all.

Values represent the organization's highest priorities and deeply held driving forces.

  • Caring, Honesty, Respect, and Responsibility

Goals are an expected or desired outcome of a planning process.

  • Strategic priorities: Staff Experience, Member Experience, Fundraising, Summer Experience, Program Portfolio

Objectives are precise targets that are necessary to achieve goals.

  • Targets and Goals: Fiscal Accountability, Staff Experience, Member Experience, Fundraising



Desired outcome: Key stakeholders, including staff, volunteer leaders, and community leaders, have spoken, providing needed fuel and focus for the strategic plan.


Attended 100% of Advisory Councils, 45 individual and group interviews, 250 staff participated in input sessions. Review input from  staff and  volunteer and community leaders.


Desired outcome: A strong working set of vision themes and ideas are generated and prioritized.


More than 100 guests attended, including staff leaders, volunteer leaders, and community leaders. Identified top three priorities member experience, summer and program experience, and fundraising. Review  live voting results from the event.


Desired outcome: A task force* of Board members and leadership staff forms and prepares a draft based on listening phase and Board Summit.


Task force created with four Board members and four leadership team members. Strategic Plan first draft developed and deployed for leadership review and engagement.


Desired outcome: Board of Directors and staff Executive Cabinet reviews and refines the Strategic Plan first draft. Launch ongoing staff and volunteer communication plan.


Strategic Plan first draft discussed among Board of Directors, Executive Cabinet, and branch senior leadership staff. Articles shared in staff news and volunteer news.


Desired outcome: Board of Directors reviews and refines the Strategic Plan second draft in Board retreat environment.


Board of Directors and staff Leadership Team created  Strategic Plan Draft 2.


Desired outcome: Staff, volunteers, members, and broader community are given opportunity to engage with second draft. Task force* of Board members and leadership staff prepares final draft for Board adoption.


 View results from more than 200 people who responded to the online engagement tool.


Desired outcome: Board of Directors adopts Strategic Plan. Launch Strategic Plan and supporting communication plan with staff, volunteers, members, and community.


The Y's Board of Directors formally adopted the  Strategic Plan on December 19, 2017. 

*Strategic Plan task force members | Board: Linda Gutmann, Kari Scott, Todd Silver, Deedra Walkey | Staff: Darcy Celletti, Charlie Davis, Brian Flattum, Michelle LaRue


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Staff: check out the staff newsletter for updates at least once per month

Previous engagement opportunities

  • March-April: Volunteer and community leader interviews
  • April: Staff input sessions hosted at every branch
  • May: Board of Directors Summit
  • October-November: Board members visited each Branch Advisory Council meeting, and we shared an opportunity for staff, volunteers, members, and the community to engage online

Upcoming engagement opportunities

January: Participate in the strategic plan launch. Contact Michelle LaRue.


From October to December 2017, we invited staff, members, and the community to provide feedback on our  Strategic Plan Draft 2. View the  results from about 200 responses, and check out the tools below that guided this process. 

Hear from our leaders, Board Chair Todd Silver and President and CEO Charlie Davis.

Learn more about the details of the process and plan.

Check out the Online Engagement Tool. Please note, results are no longer being compiled.

engage now


Throughout August and September, the regional executive directors and director of strategic engagement facilitated conversations with branch leadership staff (including executive director, associate executive director, facilities director, and senior program directors). Goals of these conversations were to (1) receive feedback on each component of the strategic plan to inform the Board in building the second draft, and (2) receive guidance, direction, and ideas on how to build this plan into targets and goals and their day-to-day work.

Additionally, the leadership team facilitated conversations with the Board of Directors and Philanthropic Advisory Councils.

All conversations were phenomenal and every staff member and volunteer who attended gave input, ideas, and shared incredible insight. We believe the strategic plan will be better because of these conversations.

Download Strategic Plan Draft 1, used in these conversations. 



  • Overall very positive feedback and feelings toward the vision statement. Some commentary that it’s not inspiring or too broad. 
  • “Relentlessly” had a positive connotation with about 60% of staff, noting it reflects our way of work and that we will never give up.
  • “Relentlessly” had a negative connotation with about 40% of staff, noting it feels like a grind, we’ll never get there, dark, and reinforces the culture we’re trying to change.
  • Some commentary that “aspires” isn’t strong enough, but countered that it means we’re always trying to get better.
  • People like “great space” because it made them pause about what “space” means; felt it represents facilities (which are important), and emotional/spiritual/mental space.
  • 99% positive feelings toward “every season of life,” because it’s who we are.


  • Staff appreciate the themes and overall have positive feelings with all the words
  • Need to make them consistent - verbs or adjectives


  • Overall positive feeling toward breakthrough goals.
  • Staff requested more definition and/or clarity of intent for each goal from the Board so they stay focused on the right direction. Request for more clearly defined parameters to stay on track.
  • Breakthrough goals need to connect to annual targets and goals.
  • Staff appreciate the concept of “common vision, radically local,” and are inspired to build branch-specific goals that support the association in reaching breakthrough goals and fulfilling vision.
  • Question for Board is whether breakthrough goals are prioritized, or are all equal.

Staff Experience

  • Overall positive feeling about staff experience as a priority and the direction of the breakthrough goals.
  • Staff requested more clarity on these breakthrough goals more than any others.
  • Question for the Board to answer is whether staff experience is the top priority, or equal to all others, particularly compared to member experience.

Member Experience

  • Overall positive feeling about member experience, and staff feel it’s the easiest one to connect with all staff in all departments.
  • Missing focus on retention and taking care of all members. Current breakthrough goals focus on under-served populations, but that doesn’t reflect the bulk of what staff do day-to-day.
  • Some feedback that these breakthrough goals speak more to outside our community and member acquisition rather than our member experience at the branch.

Cause-driven Philanthropy

  • Staff were most positive about this strategic priority because they appreciate the change in language and feel it’s more aligned with their way of work. 
  • Some commentary around the lack of attention to annual campaign and fundraising, but no concern around this; affirmed these goals will help us reach annual campaign goals in a more positive way.
  • Staff noted the need to position the Y as a charity of choice through awareness and storytelling. 

Program and Summer Experience

  • Overall positive feeling toward this strategic priority. Staff felt they could connect to this work, and highlights work they are already doing, which felt good.
  • Much confusion about community-based health delivery system, this will need new language. 
  • Drive innovation in core programs received the most conversation and was the most relatable for staff.


  • Encouraged by connectedness throughout plan
  • How do we go out into the community without losing our economic engine?
  • Desire to connect strategic plan to targets and goals and branch action plans

Download full branch leadership input report

Note: Conversations were held with the following branches/groups: Board of Directors, Executive Cabinet, Philanthropic Advisory Council, Gordon Y, Mel Korum Y, Lakewood Y, University Y, Tacoma Center Y, Morgan Y, Tom Taylor Y, Camp Seymour, Bremerton Y, Haselwood Y, and Association Office. Conversations in the process of scheduling: Center for Community Impact, Child Care.


In May 2017, the Y hosted our first Board Summit. Guests included our Board of Directors, Advisory Council members, community partners, community leaders, and Executive Cabinet staff. We shared updates about the Y, heard from an inspirational speaker, and provided input on the Y’s strategic plan. Every guest reviewed the top themes that resulted from the listening sessions in February-April and rank-ordered the themes they felt should be considered in the Y’s strategic plan. Below are the voting results.


First | Expand: Youth connected to each other, overcoming disconnectedness
Second | Create: Intentionally bring people together
Third | Sustain: Community centers, accessibility


First | Sustain: Access for low-income families
Second | Partnership and collaboration with community agencies, schools, medical/healthcare organizations
Third | Create: Solutions for transportation barriers


First | Expand: Healthcare, preventative health, chronic disease
Second | Expand: Serving teens and tweens
Third | Expand: Youth summer programs

Review all initiatives included in voting



In February, March, and April 2017, Charlie Davis and several Leadership Cabinet staff members conducted 46 strategic plan interviews. This included every Branch Advisory Council, several donors, and a variety of community leaders. The goal was to listen to these key stakeholders about the needs of our community, and how the Y could engage with the community to meet those needs. Interviews were framed around three strategic questions, and below is a compilation of the ideas and themes that emerged from these sessions.

What are the most pressing issues in our community?

Top themes: Support for youth, especially disadvantaged youth | Young people disconnected, focused on social media/screen time | Homelessness | Child Care, day care services, summer care | Economic development | Serving veterans | Serving minority populations | Healthcare, preventative health, chronic disease | Mental health services | Hunger and food insecurity | Christian emphasis | Community centers, accessibility | Serving senior population | Serving special needs community

Which of these issues should the Y be engaged in, and what is the Y’s role in responding to these issues? For example, should the Y be a partner or a leader?

Top themes: Partnership and collaboration with community agencies, schools, medical/healthcare organizations | homelessness, especially youth | Serving youth, teens, tweens | Community hub for everyone | Accessibility | Serving families | Pre-kindergarten, before and afterschool, day care | Healthy living programming | Chronic disease | Serving senior population 

As part of our commitment to investing in volunteer leadership, what strategies do you recommend for us to strengthen our Board of Directors and Branch Advisory Councils?

Top themes: Connection to Board of Directors | Communication from Board and organization | Strategic plan input and execution

Read full results from volunteer and community leader interviews



In March and April 2017, our Regional Executive Directors and Executive Directors hosted Strategic Plan input sessions at every branch. The goal was to listen to ideas from our staff about what the Y should focus on over the next three to five years. Discussions were framed around three strategic questions, and below is a compilation of the ideas and themes that emerged from these sessions.

As you think about our Y, what are the greatest strengths to build on as we look to the future?

Top themes: Partnerships | Financial assistance, serving low-income families, all income levels | Late Nite | Facilities | Serving youth | Swim lessons | Youth sports leagues | Volunteerism/volunteers | Staff | Child Care | Health and fitness | Camp Seymour | Arts | Chronic disease | FitPath | History, legacy | Brand | Outreach

When you think of a marginalized or underserved people group, a social concern or issue that we are uniquely positioned to address, who or what comes to mind and what do you envision we might do to address the need or opportunity?

Top themes: Single parent families | Low-income | Transportation | Youth | Homeless | Language accessibility | Minorities | Military and veterans | Teens and tweens | Immigrants/New Arrivals | LGBT community

When you think about the needs in our community, what opportunities do you see that fit well within the Y mission?

Top themes: Build a community of staff | Staff training – diversity, welcoming, building community among members | Staff/volunteers caring for members, members caring for community | Parent/family support | Bring people together | Cultural awareness | Low-income families, access | Community partner, outside our walls

Read full results from staff input sessions

Questions, feedback, or input? Contact Michelle LaRue at 253-534-7842.

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