Late last month, the YMCA of Greater Toronto hosted its largest-ever New Staff Orientation session, in which more than 60 recent hires from different program areas came together to spend two interactive days making new connections and learning about the YMCA.
Titled Getting Started!, the session took place at the YMCA Cedar Glen Outdoor Centre, surrounded by 263 acres of the beautiful Oak Ridges Moraine. This unique location gave our staff some of the same experiences as our day campers and outdoor education groups, as they learned a few camp songs, tried some archery or high ropes, or simply spent time by the outdoor fire in the evening.
Along with other YMCA leaders, President and CEO Medhat Mahdy spent time speaking with our employees about the Y’s Vision and provided context to working at the YMCA. There were other sessions which covered the YMCA’s Strategic Plan, commitment to Diversity and Social Inclusion, and history, as well as important strategies and details to equip staff to be successful in their new roles.
Another key highlight of every New Staff Orientation is our sharing circle, where attendees had the opportunity to talk more specifically about their personal YMCA story: an opportunity to share how the YMCA has impacted them in their own lives. This exchange of experiences and stories through the sharing circle and other activities brought diversity and social inclusion to the forefront and created meaningful connections.
“I truly enjoyed New Staff Orientation,” said one participant. “What resonated most with me is that we all share a common purpose of helping. No matter the capacity, we have a passion for uplifting and supporting individuals to be the best they can. I made a lot of friends at this event, and having this opportunity has truly made me feel all the more welcomed and appreciated.”
Getting Started! sessions provide new full-time staff with opportunities to learn and share collectively, and integrate these experiences and their learnings into their roles at the YMCA. The YMCA of Greater Toronto believes that a strong start leads to a great future — and that by investing in our staff and creating positive first impressions and experiences, we can help them achieve their potential.