Bill Braley has always felt the YMCA was much more than a place to work out -- and his work on the YMCA's "Strong Kids Campaign" is one of the reasons why he was singled out by the YMCA of Central Mass. for this year's Chairman's Award.
Braley, a Holden resident, was recognized for his leadership and service to the YMCA of Central Mass. at their 147th Recognition Event honoring 2011 Youth and Adult Volunteers of the Year. Braley, a member of the Greendale YMCA for over 20 years, jumped at the opportunity to join the board several years ago.
“I wanted to be a part of the opportunities they provide for families, children and teens, especially the support they provide in those areas,” Braley said. “Once I said yes, I’ve been doing it ever since.”
Braley was awarded the highest honor given out each year, the Chairman’s Award, presented to a member of the YMCA community who has had a positive, significant impact on the YMCA and the community-at-large. Braley received the award in recognition of his leadership and support of the “Strong Kids Campaign” and his passionate commitment to strengthen families and improve the health and well being of the community.
The “Strong Kids Campaign” allows community members to help provide membership and program assistance to kids and families who might not otherwise be able to afford to pay for YMCA services through donations.
“It’s an annual campaign of the YMCA of Central Mass. that provides the opportunity for financial assistance so family can participate in things like the youth programs and the summer camps,” Braley said. “The YMCA provides support for programs. The gaps still exist but we try to make progress, especially in times like these.”
Braley enjoys his involvement with the “Strong Kids Campaign” so much that he has agreed to participate in it again next year. He believes that the volunteers and staff are what make the program great.
YMCA of Central Massachusetts Developmental Director Eileen Pinchuck said that Braley has been involved with the YMCA since 1988 and has fond memories of taking his children to the YMCA, getting his son’s Boy Scout troop involved at the YMCA and even visiting the wellness center five days a week.
“Bill’s role on the board really stems from his perspective of being a member and people really respect his perspective,” Pinchuck said. “He really makes his decisions on the board based on how they will affect the members of the YMCA. He’s a member who truly understands the important impact the Y has on the community.”
Braley has served as Chair of the Annual Campaign at the YMCA for two years and Pinchuck said last year he helped raise $578,000. She said all of the money goes directly towards supporting financial assistance and youth development programs at the YMCA.
“Bill gives countless hours to the Y because he believes in giving back and we are privileged he shares his gifts with us,” Pinchuck said. “He’s a strategic thinker, inspirational and also hilarious. He puts a lot of time into this because the Y is something he really believes in.”