Why the “Y?” I’ll tell you why. Because that’s where my children learn to share, and how to say, “Please” and “Thank you” to other people’s children.
The Y is where I learn how not to scream at my kids to get them to cooperate (they’re not Marines, you know).
The Y is where I share myself, my skills, my friendship, and my love. Where else could I meet so many other women in similar situations, when I’m new to an area and unable to get off base?
The Y is where my children and I go together to be together, to learn friendship, dancing, the calendar, shapes and colors, and about responsibility and safety, accountability, about fairness…
The Y is a meeting place, a starting point, a home away from home. It is a place filled with love and friendship and support and other things we need now and then to be good at what we do, Marines included. We are all part of the “military family” and how we feel affects those around us. Family problems at home turn into Marine Corps’ problems at work. The YMCA offers us a way to find an extended family where there isn’t one.
For those of you who question why, come in and see for yourselves what happens when several people see your child, or one of your troop’s children’s first step, or hear their first sentence, or watch them master a new skill. There’s a lot of self pride being learned in those moments. Someone is there to cheer them on, to help them learn, and to provide direction and support when needed. When you can’t be there yourself for your family, it’s nice to know the Y is there. That’s why.
[Excerpted from an article about the new ASYMCA program at Marine Corps Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, CA, and published by the Center’s Public Affairs Office, in the Observation Post (04/23/93) and in the Armed Services YMCA national quarterly newsletter (Summer 1993).]