The new Chilliwack YMCA opened its doors on February 18, 2019. This wouldn’t have been possible without the support of our generous donors and volunteer leaders! As a token of our appreciation, we hosted a small celebration on April 12, 2019 right here at our centre of community. Keeping the spirit of the Y in mind, the theme was centred around what really matters—community.
To kick off this celebration, the Chilliwack School of Performing Arts (CSOPA) performed three beautiful songs about community and friendship. It was a great start to the evening and kept the theme of community top-of-mind. We are so grateful to CSOPA for donating their time and helping our event come to life!
Chief Terry Horne of the Yakweakwioose First Nations band in Chilliwack was also in attendance and brought the theme of community to the forefront as well. His uplifting speech educated us about the Stó:lō First Nations’ cultures and traditions. One such example was how the Stó:lō people hold up their hands instead of clapping to show appreciation and praise.
He also noted the significance of indigenous representation at the event and at the Chilliwack Y, explaining that representation and acknowledgement are important for reconciliation. This was a firm reminder of the power of inclusion and acceptance and how imperative they are for every community to thrive. Finally, Chief Horne honoured those in attendance with a traditional welcome.
M.P. Mark Strahl, M.L.A. John Martin and the Mayor of the City of Chilliwack Ken Popove were also in attendance and each addressed the audience. While each speech was different, they all had the same underlying message—the importance of community and how the YMCA is a place that provides this for people of all ages.
Chair of the YMCA Board of Directors Jim Southcott also shared his thoughts about the Chilliwack YMCA. When talking about the deciding factor for rebuilding the Chilliwack Y, Mr. Southcott expressed this in two words: “the people.”
“It is because of you—because of how deeply you love this place—that the YMCA decided to expand our work to do even more with you. And then, when we invited you to help us accomplish this, you did,” Mr. Southcott went on to say.
This moving address was the perfect ramp up to the next part of the evening—the ribbon cutting ceremony.
Because the Chilliwack Y is for the people of Chilliwack, it was only fitting that the people themselves were the ones to cut the ribbon. Those invited to the stage included His Worship Mayor Popove, M.L.A Martin, Minister Strahl and the Chilliwack YMCA’s General Manager Karen Price. The group also included members of our community, dedicated volunteers, generous donors, former YMCA leaders and a Youth Leadership Development participant.
It was a multigenerational mix of individuals, all of whom represented Chilliwack and the inclusivity of the Y. After an enthusiastic countdown and a few snips, we saw the official commemoration of the new Chilliwack YMCA!
While this was a donor and volunteer appreciation event, the evening acted as an ode to the amazing community of Chilliwack. We are truly grateful to everyone—our community, volunteer leaders, donors and members—for their unwavering support. As Mr. Southcott put it, “it is your centre of community and we hope you will enjoy it for many generations to come.”
We also thank our wonderful emcees Jacquie Simpson, Scott Simpson and Morgan Arnold for being a part of the evening. We also owe a big thank you to our speakers Wayne McAlpine, Mary Beck, Greg D’Avignon and Gerry Humphries for their powerful and inspiring words.