A case for support

YMCA Alumni, in partnership with the YMCA of the Seven Council Fires, is creating a village of four Tiny Homes on the YMCA Equity Center site in Dupree, South Dakota to help alleviate the severe housing insecurity on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation. The project also includes building and placing two “twigs” (small YMCA branches) in remote communities on the nearly 5,000 square-mile reservation. Your support of this important project has been overwhelming as we move into the second year.  We ask for your continued support. Feel the spirit of our YMCA Alumni National Service Project as it began in the late spring of 2022 in this special video below produced by VATIV Media.

A springtime groundbreaking

Groundbreaking ceremonies were held in Dupree, South Dakota May 19, 2022. More than 500 members participated onsite and via YouTube Live!

A Wrap: Year One

“I Never Promised You a Rose Garden” was a hit song for country music legend Lynn Anderson half a century ago. “I beg your pardon, I never promised you a rose garden… along with the sunshine, there’s gotta be a little rain sometime.” She most certainly didn’t know she was foretelling the first year of the YMCA Alumni National Service project in partnership with the YMCA of the Seven Council Fires.  

The Standing Committee of the National Service Project went into this exciting adventure with their eyes wide open. They knew and accepted the challenge of building a Tiny Home Village to help the YMCA address housing insecurity on the remote Cheyenne Sioux Reservation.

Read our report

Our vision:

The YMCA Alumni National Service Project unifies the efforts of all chapters and all members in service to our mission.

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Our mission:

The mission of YMCA Alumni is to enable members to promote a nurturing worldwide Christian Fellowship that provides educational, social and charitable opportunities. 

Our partner:

YMCA Alumni is partnering with  the YMCA of the Seven Council Fires in every sense of the word. We are not creating a project for the YMCA, but with the YMCA, based on their needs and hopes.

Frequently Asked Questions/YMCA Alumni

What is YMCA Alumni?

An association of retired YMCA professionals.

Why a National Service Project?

To meet the “Serve” component of “Connect, Travel and Serve,”  the organization’s guideposts. 

What project was chosen?

A proposal from the YMCA of the Seven Council Fires to build a Tiny Home Village and "Twigs" (small branches or program centers).

What are the project goals?

To benefit a deserving association while involving our chapters and its members in a meaningful multi-year volunteer service project. 

Who made the selection?

All 17 chapters were represented on a Task Force that reviewed  the 37 projects submitted for more than a year before making the unanimous selection in 2021. The YMCA Alumni Board gave final approval and work began on the project in May 2022.

Who is planning the project?

The Board established a National Service Project Standing Committee with full chapter representation. Sub-committees on Marketing, Fundraising and Volunteers, and Project Management are working under a comprehensive implementation plan in collaboration with the YMCA of the Seven Council Fires.

What criteria were used?

The projects were evaluated based on these attributes: challenging; achievable; sustainable; impactful; donor appeal and involvement. 

Who developed the project?

The YMCA of the Seven Council Fires based on their community needs assessment and strategic plan. The Allen-Stone Chapter submitted the project.

How does the project impact chapters?

Chapters grow when members participate in a meaningful service project. The project is attracting new members (recent retirees), and is providing additional opportunities to connect. 

How can members participate?

Click  the Volunteer Tab in this website for a list of volunteer and fundraising opportunities. Complete an interest form, submit a question and/or contact your chapter representative.

What are "twigs?"

The second part of the project, building “Twigs" -- small YMCA branches, in outlying communities  removes barriers so historically marginalized and under-served youth have access to Y programming year around. All youth benefit from access to programs that help them to learn new skills, develop healthy behaviors, and build positive relationships. These programs are particularly important for youth experiencing poverty, unstable housing, and other traum.a They help buffer the impacts of stress.

What does the Chapter Rep do?

The rep helps engage members in an impactful service project by recruiting leaders to work on fundraising, volunteer recruitment and marketing.

Who is my chapter rep and how can I make contact?

Each of our 17 YMCA Alumni Chapters has  a representative on the Standing Committee. The list of chapter reps is available on the Leadership page of this website.

How will we be kept informed?

Regular updates will be included in The CONNECTION, chapter newsletters, and on the YMCA Alumni Facebook page.  Donors receive regular updates from the National Service Project Committee Chair

The Y and transitional housing

The YMCA of the Seven Council Fires is a member of the Y-USA Housing Network, thus benefiting from the best practices and experience of other Ys involved in housing. However, the Reservation community is vastly different from all other Y programs so this housing program is fluid and more responsive to the immediate needs.

The housing program

The Y currently has a pilot housing program operating out of the staff apartments with two residents. The Tiny Home Village will allow the Sioux to serve more residents with housing needs. The program will target individuals, ages 11-26, and will focus on providing a safe space for individuals to rest and recoup prior to their participation in job training and other support services.