Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. This year, I get to play football with my boys, eat Turkey with my family and friends, and probably watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The family, friends, and food are symbolic of the reminder to be thankful and appreciative. If I take a moment to look back 16 summers at CYJ, we have grown the organization from 323 campers to 565 camper and the retreat business has grown to host groups 85% of all weekends and 60% of all weekdays. This growth is accommodated by an enlarged full-time staff from 3 to 14 full-time staff members. The mission has not changed and we are still trying to maximize the number of people that get the CYJ experience.
I am thankful for Team CYJ, which, for the most part, is made up of long tenured employees. Their jobs are not thankless. Even though the counselors get the lion’s share of praise, we also recognize the nurses who bandage us up, the lifeguards who keep us safe, and the full-time staff who work all year to ensure the greatest eight weeks of so many lives. At camp we practice thankfulness each and every day. We do not pass the food without a ‘please’ and expect a ‘thank you’ in return. Manners are more than a nice gesture; they are part of the culture. We are fortunate to live and build a close-knit CYJ community each and every summer.
I also share appreciation for our Board of Directors and Advisory Board. They give their time, their money, and their support. Each Board member offers wisdom, skills, and, of course, advice and expertise. If CYJ was a ship, I steer it with the support of the CYJ Team and the Board of Directors set the direction. Below you will find their names in hopes that you might thank them when you see them and give them a hug as well. I hope some of you will consider stepping forward and making a difference in a new way this year by joining the CYJ Board or a Board Committee.
Happy Turkey Day,
Frank H. Silberlicht