As a child I spent a lot of time at our local YMCA. It was always a special place, a place where I felt "safe".
It was at the "Y" where I learned how to swim, play volleyball and do gymnastics – I was never a superstar by any means but it definitely helped instill confidence in me at a time in my life when I needed it most.
When you're an introvert and a shy child, or even an adult for that matter, just being around people who provide consistent encouragement can actually make all the difference in the world. So when I found out that there was an organization affiliated with the YMCA that was specifically dedicated to preserving the "C", I knew it was something I needed to learn more about.
I recently found out about the U.S. Mission Network as part of my ongoing quest to identify and reach out to organizations—churches, gyms, dance studios, community groups and wellness organizations—with similar interests to ours: sharing the joy of fitness through faith, family and fellowship.
The U.S. Mission Network is one such organization, an initiative specifically created to nurture and advance Christian principles and ministry at the YMCA.
Let's pause here for a second.
I guess I'm showing my age a bit, but I've recently discovered that many people don't know the origin of the YMCA or what the letters stand for. YMCA stands for Young Men's Christian Association.
The name comes from the organization's original roots, but today most of us know the YMCA as an international community and family-oriented organization – the largest nonprofit in the country, serving men, women and children of all ages and backgrounds.
As part of my job here at Shazzy Fitness, I am always seeking to connect with other like-minded souls whose mission aligns with ours. As such, I recently had the pleasure of chatting with Larry Whittlesey, the National Director of the US Mission Network.
Like most of the people I "meet" these days, I've only spoken to Larry on the phone and through video chat - but I knew from our first conversation that we are from the same tribe, so to speak, believing wholeheartedly in the God we serve and what we've been called to do.