March 27, 2020

Since your Y closed its doors on March 12, we've faced challenges never seen before and overcome multiple obstacles to meet our mission.

We've changed our reopen date 4 times (it is May 1st now); pivoted from our traditional in-person exercise classes to online fitness; reconfigured our youth development programs to offer free child care for first responders, medical professionals and other essential workers; and met for countless hours to comb through fiscal data, pending legislation and work-from-home options for Y staff whose jobs were centered around our facility.

Right now, our primary focus is on doing what our Y has succeeded in doing for 132 years: evolving to meet the community's needs.

While many people associate the work of the Eugene Family YMCA with our facility on Patterson Street, the mission of the Y goes far beyond the limits of a building. That is why our work to build a new flagship Y isn't simply about a larger fitness center, roomier studios or an expanded pool. Rather, the vision is to build more relationships, expand our disease-fighting programs, keep more children safe, and collaborate with new partners on addressing the social determinants of health.

At the Y, we are focused not on a specific program or class; instead, we are focused on three key pillars: Youth Development, Healthy Living and Social Responsibility.  

We utilize these pillars as anchors in our decision making.

Sometimes Youth Development means offering innovative new afterschool curriculum; today, it means creating programs from the ground up to serve the children of first responders, medical personnel, and other essential workers.

Sometimes Healthy Living means offering a diabetes prevention class; today it means offering online fitness workouts.

And sometimes Social Responsibility means Y staff giving back to the community by volunteering at the Eugene Marathon, Sunday Streets or the EUG Parade; but today it means closing our doors so we can prevent the spread of coronavirus and stay healthy.

Over the years, our community's Y has operated out of Deady Hall, downtown buildings, train cars and our current Patterson location. In the near future, we will serve thousands more out of our 24th and Hilyard location.

Despite our years of innovating and evolving, we never imagined an era when our primary location of service would be your computer, smartphone or tablet. Frankly, we miss your laughter, smiles, and warmth. We cannot wait for those days to return.

In the meantime, I want to reassure you of two things:

First, you are not alone and you are loved. The friendships you have developed at the Y and with one another remain strong. I'm hearing from many of you regularly about your excitement to see one another again.  

Second, we will get through this... TOGETHER.
I feel certain of this because I am certain of one thing: YOU! I have looked into the eyes of many of you and I see goodness, hope, humor and resilience. Your strength reassures me that no challenge is too tough for the YMCA family to overcome.

Our Y family is steadfast and true.

So many of you have already chosen to maintain your memberships, given generously in addition to your monthly fees, and offered to cover the dues of another member who just lost a job. I have been overwhelmed by the generosity in the face of so much uncertainty.

It is only BECAUSE OF YOU that your Y can retain staff, continue fulfilling critical needs in our community during the spread of COVID-19, and reopen with a robust, full schedule.

Thank you for STANDING WITH YOUR Y. Your support helps us overcome the ever-evolving obstacles facing us.

In humble gratitude,


P.S. During this time, your Y is here for you. In fact, I'm so committed to ensuring that the Y supports its family that I want each of the thousands of Y members to have my direct e-mail ( ) and cell number (541.729.0533). 

If you need to speak with anyone at the YMCA or to just talk to a friend, please feel free to give me a call. I will take a few minutes to chat and I will ensure that another YMCA staff member gets your information and reaches out for a broader conversation soon.

(Fair warning: it is not uncommon for my five children to have my phone at some point. If a young voice happens to greet you on the other end of the call, please tell them to clean their room, eat a carrot, and be kind to their siblings. You may also get sucked into a long conversation about puppy dogs, Barbie dolls or musical theater.)

P.S.S. We have enjoyed issuing daily updates for the past two weeks to keep you informed, connected and upbeat during this uncertain time. We plan to continue keeping you up-to-date with weekly e-newsletters on Wednesdays. As always, please stay in touch!