camp seymour

Earlier this month, I learned that our Y exceeded its fiscal goals in 2023—the first time since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. I feel profound appreciation for this accomplishment because of how hard our organization worked to reach this milestone.

In all my years at the Y, I have never been part of a more cohesive effort. Our entire team of staff and volunteers leaned in hard throughout the year to get us to this point, and we would not have been as successful without their tireless contributions. During that same time, our Y has been on the receiving end of some extraordinary gestures of generosity that allowed us to weather the devastation of the pandemic.

There are too many special moments and big wins to highlight in a single message, but I want to acknowledge two of the brightest spots from 2023: our outdoor camps and our new Y.

YMCA’s Camp Seymour and Camp Lake Helena

In her report, Chief Financial Officer Toko Thompson highlighted how YMCA’s Camp Seymour and Camp Lake Helena significantly factored into the Y’s financial health. Both camps operated at capacity in 2023, a strong indicator that outdoor recreation is extremely popular for youth and families.

Last year, the Y’s Outdoor Environmental Education program served more than 7,000 youth from 70 schools across Western Washington. Scott Gjertson, the program’s director, recently shared a video from a teacher who had brought a student group to YMCA Camp Seymour. She gave an emotional account of one student’s transformation over the course of the two-day overnight experience, and she welled up with tears as she talked about how her anxiety over this student faded as she watched him blossom and thrive,

Thanks to the generosity of two donors who were inspired and determined to expand the impact of our camps, in 2023 we purchased a 23-acre parcel of land next to YMCA Camp Seymour. The property has a salmon creek and ample trails, which allow us to expand our programming, as well as a house that provides much-needed staff lodging—an essential component for an overnight camp.    

In addition, a long-time Port Orchard family made a significant donation to YMCA Camp Lake Helena to help us build a new program lodge. The Y purchased the Camp Lake Helena property in 2019. As a result of refurbishing key areas and investing in new program elements, in just three years we have grown enrollment to serve more than 1,600 youth in Summer Day Camp. This Port Orchard family saw the need and the opportunity to serve youth across the region, and the new lodge will provide additional space for indoor programming, allowing us to meaningfully expand our recreation programs.  

Scott and Sis Names Family Y

Names Family Y Header

Four years ago, we were poised to start construction on a new Y in Tacoma as the Morgan Family Y’s aquatic center neared the end of its useful life. The pandemic and its related effects wreaked havoc on our operating model, disrupting our efforts to move forward as the world shut down and the cost of the project skyrocketed.

I am delighted to report that in November 2023, the Board voted to move forward with Phase 1 of the new Scott and Sis Names Family YMCA, which will include a new aquatics center, strength training area, and climbing wall, as well as locker rooms and a welcome center. We break ground in April 2024.

I want to express my deep appreciation for the Morgan Family Y’s maintenance team, who has worked tirelessly, and successfully, to keep the community center's aquatics area in operation. They will continue to do so until the new aquatics center opens in fall of 2025.

The generosity of our community made the Scott and Sis Names Y possible. To date, we have raised $20.5 million and will continue fundraising to ensure completion of Phase 1 as well as Phase 2: an entire new center. Given the support from the Board and the community, I am confident we will get there.

We have lived through one of the most challenging times in our history and today, we serve more than 130,000 people across Pierce and Kitsap Counties. I regularly hear from Y staff how youth across the region are still recovering from the impact of the pandemic. I also hear staff share incredible accounts of the transformative impact of the Y on the lives of young people because we provide them with safe spaces and needed supports, creating the conditions for critical developmental breakthroughs and positive growth.

Thank you all for being part of our Y; we would not be that positive place without you. 


Charlie Davis
President and CEO