The New Y

The YMCA will now be known as the Y.

Is nothing sacred?  Must I be forced to think in acronyms?  Kentucky Fried Chicken is KFC.  National Public Radio is now only known as NPR (if you missed that one, listen to your next local broadcast).  The truth is, we’ve all called it the Y for decades.  Perhaps nothing has been lost. 

As a YMCA CEO, I have been privy to the internal roll-out of this new brand over the last 8 months.  It was, at times, painful.  Of the beautiful things that grew out of this process, our renewed organizational focus sits at the top of the list.  As the Y, we are for:

  1. Youth Development
  2. Healthy Living
  3. Social Responsibility

It’s tough to argue that.  Having worked in both facility YMCAs (with pools, gyms, childcare, etc.) and Camps, I feel that the Y does these three things pretty well.  What we have struggled with has been how to articulate the good we do in the community – and this process should allow us to better communicate our local impact.  This is, of course, the entire point of a brand.  In that effort, the YMCA of the USA has been successful in their rebranding process.

As a “Y Guy” for 15 years now, a change in branding is more than ordering a new name tag and changing some signage – it has become a part of my identity.  But as a Gen-Xer, CHANGE has become my primary operating system.  I was born into a world without cell phones and now live on my Blackberry.  I went to college as the commercial internet was born and now write this blog.  I’ll make it through a new look for the Y.

Please take the time to visit the website of the YMCA of the USA at www.ymca.net.  It will provide far more information on the this process, and you’ll see the new look first hand.  For other reactions to the Y’s rebranding work, visit the Consumerist at http://consumerist.com/2010/07/ymca-is-now-just-the-y.html, the New York Times at http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/12/us/12Y.html, or the National Post at http://news.nationalpost.com/2010/07/12/ymca-to-drop-the-mca-in-rebranding-campaign/.

Goodbye to the Y I grew up in.  Welcome to the new Y.  May it live up to its promise.

We’ll see you at Camp!

Nathan 

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