Charlie Davis

This past Tuesday, the Board of Directors approved the decision to re-open our facility branches on September 7. It has been two weeks since the governor revised the guidelines regulating fitness facilities, and with these revisions, it was now feasible for us to operate. Even though the guidelines permit us to operate at only 25% of capacity, or at 300 sq. ft. per individual, whichever is smaller, our relatively large facility spaces would enable us to serve enough people at any one time to make it worthwhile to, once again, open our doors. Here is a breakdown of the branch capacities:  

Morgan: 215
Lakewood: 191
Bremerton: 82
Gordon: 169
Tom Taylor: 126
University Y: 99
Korum: 193
Haselwood: 129
Tacoma Center: 89

At the meeting, the board also reviewed our latest financial model. With a September 7 opening date, Toko is projecting our Y to finish the year at $34.7 million. This is approximately $40 million less than our original budget plan. In order for us to reach the $34 million target, we are assuming that 31,000 of the 38,000 member units will activate their membership. We will need to work hard to make that happen, but with our virtual programming, and some outdoor activities at each of our branches and at Camp Seymour and Helena, we feel we can provide enough value to our members to feel good about activating their membership. We also want our members to understand that they are part of a Y that is committed to supporting the schools’ effort to educate the youth of their community. Through Child Care, the Center for Community Impact, and our facility branches, our Y is stepping up big to play an important role in supporting youth and families.

As part of my discussion with the board, we reviewed our plan to meet the $34.7 million projected budget, and effectively operate the branches. Over the past five months, we have gathered information and learned from the Y’s throughout the country. On average, Y’s are experiencing from 10-12% of their previous year’s utilization. We have used their experiences to build our plan. The hours of operation will be from 7 am- 7 pm, Monday-Friday, 7 am- 1 pm on Saturday, and we will be closed on Sunday. We will adjust as needed. Initially, we will be using a staff team of approximately 7-8 staff per branch, with a small number of adult exercise classes, and lap swim only in the pool. We will introduce programs slowly, monitoring the demand from our members. We are essentially going to build our Y slowly, from the ground up. Currently, we will be inviting 64 full-time staff back to help open our branches. There will be a small number of part-time staff added as well, so all part-time will remain in furlough status still for the time being. Phone calls to full-time staff will begin this Monday, with a target start date of Monday, August 31. 

The 64 staff who are being contacted is only a small part of our total staff team. As part of the discussion with the board, I informed them of the fact that we would not be inviting many staff back, and that we would be eliminating positions in order for us to meet the budget. This process has already begun. I have spent the past two days meeting with high-level leaders throughout our organization, informing them of the decision. By end of day Tuesday, there will be 73 staff who will have received a call that they will not be returning to our Y. At this time, 89 staff will remain on furlough. The full-time staff remaining on furlough will receive calls by the end of next week. As we prepare to re-introduce programming and services as part of our rebuild, we hope to reengage additional staff. Next week I will be sharing the new organizational chart; you will see many levels and positions removed. 

There is a myth about leadership; that the tough decisions get easier to make. This is not true. Informing staff that they are no longer a part of the organization never gets easier. These are people who have worked hard, in many cases, for many years, and have been a big part of our Y. Meeting with them, and delivering the message to each one of them, changes you forever, and not for the better. None of us ever saw this pandemic coming, and certainly not lasting for as long as it has. The road to recovery is going to be long and challenging. The decisions I had to make today were made so that there will be a YMCA in 2021 and beyond. As a leader, I remain hopeful that we will, once again, thrive and make a difference in the lives of the families of our communities. We will rise up again. I am convinced of that. I am grateful for each one of you. I know we need each other, more now than ever. Be strong and be safe. God bless you all.