Photo by lytle
When told the YMCA is undertaking an extensive rebranding campaign, one question immediately pops into mind: Why?
Why change the Y, when so many people know the name, and the organization’s many community programs are so well-received?
The answer, said Greater Marco Family YMCA board member Keith Dameron, is to highlight the impact the Y is making in the community, and get that message out to more people who could benefit. For an organization that began in 1844 and hasn’t done a facelift for 43 years, the change was past due, he said.
“In 1967, gas was 33 cents a gallon, and the minimum wage was $1.40,” he said. “We’ve seen major changes, and the Y is changing, too.”
One thing that hasn’t changed except for the better, said Dameron, is the tremendous array of family-friendly programs available at the YMCA. “To help your kids, link up with the local Y,” he said.
Many Marco Island residents have heeded that injunction. The Greater Marco Family YMCA has more than 2,000 year-round members, swelling to approximately 4,000 during the season, said Steve Reynolds, membership supervisor. The most visible symbol of the Y’s rebranding is the new logo, he said.
“The new, more forward-looking logo reflects the vibrancy and diversity of the organization,” he said. It is, said Reynolds, “a framework that focuses resource on three major core areas — youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility.”
The new logo, which uses a stylized delta or arrowhead shape plus a triangle to form the letter Y, is unusual in one respect. Most organizations pick colors and stick with them, to the point where IBM is known as “Big Blue” and UPS calls themselves simply “Brown.” But the new Y logo comes in a rainbow of color combinations, from teal green and blue to red and gold, purple and red to gold and green.
For the official permanent sign that will grace the Y’s facility at 101 Sandhill Street, a combination of blue plus purple won out when the board voted, said Dameron. Whichever color scheme is used, a lower-case “the” before the “Y” makes it clear the organization wants to be known as “the Y,” much like Federal Express, which changed their official name and logo when it was clear that everyone called the company simply FedEx.
The new look and focus is national, with more than 2,600 local Y organizations participating in rolling out the campaign, said Robin Murchison, director of organizational advancement at YMCA of the Palms, which covers the Naples and Bonita Springs areas. All seven Ys throughout Southwest Florida are hosting events on Monday to introduce the “brand new day at the Y.”
On Marco Island, the celebration will kick off at 3:45 in the afternoon with a ribbon-cutting by the Chamber of Commerce to unveil the new banner, serenaded by the Marco Island Charter Middle School jazz band. A pool party, with live music by JRobert, and free food and beverages, games and a bounce house will follow.
All the Y’s facilities and programs are open and free of charge for the day, said Reynolds, so it’s a great time to come check out the facility. The fitness center will offer free blood pressure checks and body mass index (BMI) analysis, and the Marco Island Police Dept. will have free fingerprinting and DNA test kits for children.
Older kids have a chance to score big as part of the Knights of Columbus basketball competition. Any youth aged 10 to 14 who sinks a half-court shot wins a $100 savings bond, courtesy of Iberia Bank, said Dameron, who is the bank’s local branch manager and VP.
The event will also include tennis, a potluck supper, free childcare services, giveaways including free T-shirts for the first 300 visitors, and adult volleyball competition.
While there are new programs and a new look, some things at the Y won’t change, said Dameron — the core Judeo-Christian values and the strong commitment to building healthy families and a healthy community.
If you go
What: Join the Greater Marco Family YMCA as they celebrate a brand new day at the Y!
When: 4-7 p.m., Monday
Details: Fee T-t shirts for first 300 people; free balloons for the kids; free food and beverages; tours of the facility; free fingerprinting by the Marco Police Department; entertainment and more.