An Important Message about our Community Standards

chaplain's corner

Dear YMCA members and friends,

I am pleased to share with you two newly updated documents: our YMCA community standards and staff pledge.

Before you read those documents, I want to share with you the mission and meaning behind them.

Your Y team is deeply committed, as we say in our t-shirts and hashtags, to being a “Y for all.” Our members and staff possess beautifully diverse abilities and disabilities. We bring many cultures, religions, languages, and perspectives. The YMCA is one of the few institutions that serves people from infancy to end of life, and our lobby social scene includes members experiencing wealth and homelessness, mental and emotional challenges as well as the physical, and so much more.

I love that. This is why I’ve chosen to serve here.

I think of our community as a powerful learning lab for how to be together, across and in celebration ofdifferences. Our wider world greatly needs that learning. (I like to say, the world needs the Y, and the Y needs YOU.)

I also know that being human together – about 15,000 humans together, in fact, when you count TownLake members and staff – can be truly challenging at times. It is not always comfortable. Discomfort can be a great teacher.

As Y staff, we ask ourselves: What does it mean to truly be “Y for all”? How do we live together harmoniously – and navigate the inevitable conflicts that come with sharing space?

Given the most common challenges we face in sharing space, the TownLake team has created community standards. We hope they foster shared responsibility and commitment to being our best selves, individually and for the greater good.

YMCA community standards include:

  • Share tables and welcome others warmly.
  • No phone use in locker rooms, for the sake of privacy. Be mindful of who is in the background when taking photos anywhere in the branch.
  • Phone calls outside or in lobby only. Please be alert and mindful of others on fitness floors, in hallways, and shared space.
  • No profanity or inappropriate language or topics. Keep it family-friendly.*
  • No alcohol, illegal substances, or using the facility while under the influence.*
  • Clean up after yourself.
  • Wear headphones when listening to any technology.

On some occasions, a person’s behavior is incompatible with our community standards. In those cases, we will ask that person to change their behavior so they can stay in community. We want to give people the chance to adjust and be part of our “for all.” However, if the behavior doesn’t change, then that member or visitor must leave. The Y is for all people – not all behaviors.

The standards are intended to support the community and YOU, whether you have been a member for 30 years or just joined today, whether you are a big donor or on financial aid, an everyday exerciser or occasional visitor. Whoever you are, you matter at the Y.

The staff pledge goes alongside the community standards because our staff are committed to showing up as our best selves, for the good of all, too. The staff pledge includes:

  • Treat people with dignity, respect and compassion.
  • Communicate directly, honestly, and from the heart.
  • Honor commitments.
  • Strive continuously to grow, develop, and learn.

An important note: We are all human. It’s so simple yet hard to remember sometimes. Since we are all human, our standards and pledges are aspirational. We know at times we will fall short. Nobody is perfect. When we fall short, may we breathe, make amends, forgive, and try again with hope and determination. When you notice someone not living up to the standards, please speak to them with compassion and the benefit of the doubt. Many times a kind conversation is enough. If it isn’t, please let our staff know so we can address the issue directly.

If you have questions about any of this, please do not hesitate to reach out. Feedback is a key component of our commitment to continuously grow, develop, and learn.

If you are reading this, it means you are an engaged and beloved member of our YMCA community.Thank you for helping us make this “Y for all” possible.

In hope and commitment,

Rev. Erin Walter, Community Engagement Director


Erin Walter
All opinions expressed here are those of their authors and/or contributors and not of their employer. Any questions or concerns regarding the content found here may be sent to

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