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YMCA is Family Friendly Workplace

The YMCA of Hudson was recently designated a Family Friendly Workplace at the highest level.From left are Kelly Fox, Christine Reynebeau, Nikki Meyer, Chris Kost, Tom Holland, Breanna Burmester, DeAnn Nicklay and Heidi Freitag. Kost is the YMCA executive director. Holland was the Hudson Y's first director and is now working to establish Family Friendly Workplaces throughout the area. (submitted photo)

The phrase “family friendly” seems a perfect way to describe an organization like the YMCA in Hudson. But recently it took on even more meaning.

The YMCA in Hudson recently received a gold certification as a Family Friendly Workplace from the United Way St. Croix Valley’s Success by 6 initiative.

The Family Friendly Workplace certification recognizes organizations that actively invest in programs and practices that support employees and their families.

There are 247 Y employees in Hudson, according to executive director Chris Kost. Kost said the Family Friendly Workplace is a good fit for them. Through its programs, the Y looks to support members and their families; they want to do the same for their employees, and their families and the Family Friendly gold certification confirms that commitment to current and future employees.

Said Kost, “The YMCA of Hudson is dedicated to providing opportunities for our team members to achieve work/life balance and enriching personal and family experiences. Our team members are happier and more productive when their needs are supported in a thoughtful and meaningful way.”

Tom Holland, who came to Hudson more than 20 years ago to be the first Y director in Hudson, now serves as the Community Impact Director for United Way St. Croix Valley working to get more Family Friendly Workplaces all over the community. He and Kost are both aware the commitment Y employees make to the members and the mission of the organization. They also know the efforts the organization has gone to be sure employees and their families feel that same commitment.

Holland recalled when he was Y director and how that job impacted his family life. “We tend to work when others don’t. There were weekends when I would put in 40 hours in a couple of days.” Kost said the Y has taken steps to see to it that their employees don’t exceed 40 hours per week. “That’s what we want for our employees and their families — that balance that values their families as much as our members,” he said.

The YMCA achieved more than 30 points above the number required for gold certification, the highest certification level. Among the benefits to employees are paid time off for part-time employees, staff development, multiple health insurance options, flexible work schedules, free child care and more.

The Family Friendly Workplace program is part of the Success by 6 initiative that has been developed by the United Way St. Croix Valley for employers in Pierce, Polk and St. Croix counties. Organizations can achieve certification by earning points for family friendly practices like those mentioned above. Certification fees paid by the employers support education programs and services delivered for early childhood development in this area.

In addition, it is believed that Family Friendly Workplaces will attract and retain the best the workforce has to offer.

For more information on Family Friendly Workplace certification go to Family Friendly

Meg Heaton

Meg Heaton has been a reporter with the Hudson Star Observer since 1990. She has a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and Native American Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

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