It has been a lighting fast and exciting first 5 months of my time at YMCA Canberra.

My goals of meeting as many people as I can have yielded around 300 new friends and colleagues – only several hundred to go!

Although it sometimes may not feel like it, there have been many things happen in these first 5 months.

The Staff Uniform Policy has been successfully rolled out; the wheels of the new Enterprise Agreement have started to turn again; Leumeah Lodge won Bronze at the Qantas National Tourism Awards (a first for a YMCA Australia product or program); and we opened the amazing new YMCA Canberra Youth Space @ Civic.

There are also many other important business activities underway at the moment like strategic planning, reviewing of policies and procurement but I won’t bore you with the details despite how much they might excite me!

Essentially what’s happening is that we are looking how we run our business to identify how we may improve efficiency while retaining the quality standards that we are well known for. As some of you may have heard me say before, getting the right balance between our business needs and retention of our mission is absolutely key to ongoing success.

The official opening event of YMCA Youth Space @ Civic was a great example of YMCA Canberra meeting its mission. The engagement from staff, young people and a range of government, political and community representatives was outstanding – an activity YMCA Canberra can be truly proud of.

Another significant event that happened recently was the running of the 50th YMCA Canberra Half Marathon. Organised by YMCA Canberra Runners Club member volunteers and assisted by our Health, Fitness and Active Recreation team, 461 people participated (a 40% increase on the previous year) and the atmosphere and sense of community was something that had to be experienced to be understood. One of the highlights in my first few months was to see children as young as 6 years old completing their 1.6km Minijog the day prior to the Half Marathon with a sense of pride and achievement.

Helping people to grow in body, mind and spirit (Our Mission) was on show at both of these events.

Two very important projects that we have started working on which might be of interest; how do we measure whether we are delivering our purpose through a social impact framework; and looking at authentically being a youth organisation. Pete Burns, YMCA Canberra Manager – Program Innovation and Development, is being supported in the social impact space and we are currently working on establishing a type of Youth Council that will collect and action ideas from our staff. This will be a “doing and getting things done” group, so it will be interesting to see what the final makeup will look like.

There is a great deal of reviewing and planning going on at YMCA Canberra at the moment and I look forward to keeping everyone informed as to our progress.