SAINT JOHN, NB – The YMCA of Greater Saint John is kicking off its annual Strong Communities Campaign to improve and enrich the lives of thousands of children, adults, seniors and families in southern New Brunswick.
The Y’s 2022 Strong Communities Campaign officially launched on April 14 to raise funds for people in our community who face financial barriers. Through the Strong Communities Campaign, thousands of people will have access to Y programs and services such as summer camping, licensed child care, youth mental health support, recreational programs, digital literacy for seniors, and health and fitness memberships for all ages.
The Honouary Chairs for this year’s Strong Communities Campaign are well-known local philanthropists Brice and Cathy Belyea. The Belyea’s have supported the Strong Communities Campaign for many years because they know the positive impact the fund has made for so many people.
“Within the last 10 or 15 years, the Y has really increased its presence in the community,” said Brice, who is a past YMCA of Greater Saint John Red Triangle Award recipient. “It plays a really important role in things like early childhood education, physical and mental wellness and settlement services. We want to ensure we are doing whatever we can so the Y’s work continues in the years ahead.”
The YMCA has been a part of Brice and Cathy Belyea’s life since childhood. What started as a place where he learned to swim, and she attended camp, has turned into their second home.
Brice recalls his first experience with the Y attending swim lessons at the age of six. Having lost his mom at the age of 13, the Y became a safe place for Brice and his friends.
“The relationships with the Y really grew strong through those years. All through high school, we went to the Y just about every day,” he said.
Cathy’s Y journey started at the YWCA and Camp Glenburn, spending eight summers there – which included completing her Bronze swim certifications, and tenting on the beach for 17 days.
“In the spring, a letter would come, and it was about the camp reunion,” said Cathy. “You’d go and then everyone would be signing up for their tent. There were about five or six girls in a tent and it was always a lot of fun.”
With 2022 Summer Day Camp registration having recently opened, giving to the Strong Communities Campaign now is a perfect example of how donors can help youth have the best summer of their lives.
“When a donation is made to the Strong Communities Campaign, it has a direct and immediate impact on those who need it most,” said Shilo Boucher, President and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Saint John. “For example, if a family is unable to afford sending their children to one of the Y’s many Summer Day Camps, the family can receive financial assistance through Strong Communities.”
The aim of the 2021 Strong Communities Campaign is to raise $525,000, which will result in a direct impact to more than 3,000 individuals from our community.
The Belyea’s are excited for the community to get behind the campaign and they can’t wait to hear the inspiring impact stories from those who were assisted the most by the fund.
“I think the major thing that prompts us to want to be involved and stay involved is the fact that the Y is so much more than a building,” Brice concluded.
To learn more about the Strong Communities Campaign and to donate, visit: saintjohny.ca/donate/