Y Story: Rob Adams


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Rob Adams is a name that many of your might be familiar with. He has worked at the YMCA-YWCA of the National Capital Region for the past ten years. Working his way through the ranks with hard work; Rob landed the role of Vice President, Health, Fitness, and Aquatics; Childcare; and Camps. What you might not realize though, is that Rob’s Y story started over 35 years ago. Rob Adams was one of the very children who we strive to help each day.

Rob grew up in Woodstock, Ontario but is the first to admit that he didn’t come from a “picture-perfect” home. His father was not around much – when he was, Rob was often the focus of his negative attention. As Rob describes it “I was one of those kids: a kid whose life could have gone either way.” But luckily for him, his mom saw what was going on and decided he needed something to focus his energy and attention on – a healthy outlet.

Through a financial assistance sponsorship, Rob joined the Y and took his first step into the Y, signing up for swim class.

As Rob says, “It wasn’t love at first sight – in fact I hated that swim class! I felt like my instructor was constantly picking on me. It seemed he was always expecting more from me then he did from the other kids. However, come badge day I realized that it wasn’t that he didn’t like me – it was that he saw something in me – something I had never seen in myself. I passed three swim classes that day, while all the other kids only passed one. That was the first time someone saw potential in me; that was the very first time someone gave me the chance to discover something I didn’t know I had in me. It was a life changing moment.”

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From that day forward, the Y was a place of refuge, an outlet to express himself, a place that provided mentorship and opportunities, a constant when everything else continued to change. “Throughout my youth I joined many Y programs: I took the Junior Leaders program, completed my swim courses, played basketball, and attended youth nights. Growing up, the Y was always part of me at some level. I felt compelled to do something with my life, something that would help me make the same positive impact on a child’s life. I decided to complete a college diploma in Recreation and Leadership Studies.”

Rob’s professional career has led him to take on a variety of leadership roles within the YMCA; he has provided administration to the YMCA-YWCA of the National Capital Region’s camping portfolio, re-launched youth programs and adult recreation services at the YMCA of Brockville and Area, and held operational influence within Health, Fitness, and Aquatics for the YMCA of Brockville and Area and the YMCA-YWCA of the National Capital Region in a variety of capacities.

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Not only has Rob provided for this community through his professional accomplishments but on a personal level as well. Rob is part of our monthly donor program – ensuring that he gives back to children in the very same way that the community gave to his family. He understands on the most intimate level how each and every donation he makes can change the direction of a child’s life. “I wouldn’t say that the Y saved my life, but I can say, with absolute certainty, that it has positively impacted my life’s direction ever since 7-year-old me stepped into that first swim class. I want to make sure you know that my story is not unique: there is a story just like mine unfolding every day here at the Y.”

Through is outstanding leadership, knowledge, vision, and wisdom he is helping improve our community each and every day. It is with much admiration that we share with you that Rob is taking yet another step forward in his Y journey. On October 22, Rob took on a new role leading both the YMCA of Brockville and Area and the YMCA of Kingston in his new position as CEO. As we wish Rob all the best in his new adventure, we want to thank all of you for giving kids like Rob the chance to learn, grow, and succeed. Most importantly thanking for giving kids like Rob the opportunity to see their own potential and transform into our community leaders of tomorrow.