The YMCA of Central Texas officials look to continue and expand positive growth within the Waco community with the help of its new president and CEO, Rodney Martin.
“I just have a passion for what the Y does,” Martin said with excitement in his voice. “It’s been in existence since 1884. It has a rich history with basketball, volleyball, the pool, and even Father’s Day started at the Y in Spokane, Washington. When I look at that rich history it makes me feel good to be a part of it. When I look at that impact ... (the Y) is always changing lives."
When it comes to the YMCA of Central Texas, Martin believes the branch has done well in expanding the childcare and the school-age programs.
“I think the Y has done great with that,” he said. “A lot of Y’s across the country are focusing on that and it’s key -- trying to focus on the younger group, on youth development. It’s important to focus on out-of-school time and to prepare (kids) for the future and to prepare them for life.”
So how can the YMCA of Central Texas improve?
“(By) increasing the number of programs for teenagers,” Martin said, without hesitation. “YMCAs across the country are looking at how to expand their services (for teenagers). As I look at some things we’re going to be highlighting, it’s going to be centered around teens.”
“I think a lot of people look at the Y as just a gymnasium, and it’s not,” Martin said. “It’s really changing lives and servicing people every day from youth to the older population.”
Although many people think of the Y as a place to work out, shoot hoops, and burn a few calories, Martin said it is so much more than that.
“It’s more than a place where people exercise,” he said. “We help kids achieve their goals. It’s a place where we help families come together. We build communities. When we impact a life, we‘re impacting the community.”
Martin also believes in social responsibility and teamwork, whether he’s talking to his staff, his volunteers or when interacting with Y members.
“Social responsibility, giving back and providing support to our neighbors — that will be important to provide volunteer opportunities to give back in a positive way,” Martin said.
Being a part of the community is one of the things Martin loves most about his job.“It almost doesn’t seem like a job,” he said. “Each day I look forward to interacting with our members and program participants. It’s one of those jobs where I don’t like being in the office — although I know I have to be in there on a regular basis — but I try to interact with the members and the youth program members.”
“I try to interact and hear the stories and the impact we’re making.”
Click here to read the entire article on Rodney Martin’s vision for the YMCA of Central Texas.