Not many of us can recall that singular event in our lives when everything changed, but Steven Murry is one of those few.
Steven is the Whitaker Family YMCA operations director, focused on programming. Though the Y’s programs, such as youth sports, are on hold due to COVID-19, he still is making a difference, as he has been instrumental in transitioning the facility from health and wellness to an emergency childcare center, supporting the children of doctors, nurses and technicians from the Ridge Behavioral Health System and University of Kentucky Healthcare.
He took time out of his busy day to tell us how the Y has impacted his life…
…and why he might be the YMCA of Central Kentucky’s employee who is most full of hot air!
“I joined the YMCA of Central Kentucky three-and-a-half years ago,” Murry said. “But my Y story goes back to when I was a little boy in Owensboro, Kentucky.
“I was the child of a single parent; the Owensboro YMCA was incredibly important because we had to rely on community organizations to watch me after school or during other ‘gaps in coverage’.”
School aged child care is just as important of a community service of the Y today, as it was when Steven was a kid. Today, the YMCA of Central Kentucky provides on-site before and after school care at nine different Lexington schools; and at many of the Frankfort and Lexington YMCAs where this service is provided, Monday through Friday.
Steven told us of a singular moment in the middle of a kickball game when he was eight-years-old, how his Y experience impacted his life.
“During a game one afternoon, I managed to kick a home run and as I ran in to touch home plate, a Y counselor pulled me aside and let me know that no one had ever managed to do that, launch the ball over the wooden fence on the backside of the Y property,” Murry shared.
“This moment gave me the confidence that I could achieve the things I wanted and loved, such as success in soccer, which led to playing at Centre College in Danville. Then to a career as a sports administrator, first with the U.S. Soccer Federation, and now with the YMCA of Central Kentucky… it was my ‘Y moment’.”
With a sardonic smile Murry then added, “Who knows whether the counselor’s story of being the first to kick the ball over the fence was true or not; what is true is the profound impact it made on me at that time in my life, which is what the YMCA is all about.”
When we asked Steven, what comes to mind when he thinks about of the Y, he quickly ticks off a few traits, and an example, “to boot” (sorry if you don’t like bad blog puns).
“Compassion, understanding and inclusivity. Inclusiveness because we are truly a place for everybody from any background. This particular foundation of the YMCA, its access and availability to everybody, makes me proud to come work each day and drives and excites me to develop programming that I believe can help develop the minds, bodies and spirits of everyone in our community.”
Steven states he’s most passionate about his family, and the role sports can play in the development of children.
“Family is the foundation of anyone’s life. Whether that’s a traditional, or non-traditional, family it is the first step in anyone’s life journey.
“Sports, in general, are fantastic and are important for learning about yourself and others. It seems today that too often that working together for a common goal is a concept we sometimes lose sight of, but this will never go away in team sports. In my case it was soccer, in particular, my first love and the sport has influenced a great portion of my life.”
Steven calls out playing Fortnite with his kids as a newer hobby, but as highlighted above, he has one that involves his lungs and hot air.
“I like to make blown glass art pieces,” he adds. “It’s unusual and fun to do. Ultimately, you get to create something with your every breath. Everyone should try doing something different and unique at least once or twice in a life.”
Great advice, Steven.