"There are a lot of things that affect who you are,
and the Y lends itself to a lot of what I've become."
"As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace." 1 Peter 4:10
The YMCA of Easley, Pickens & Powdersville's commitment to caring for our community through programs and services that give back is at the very heart of the Y's mission.
Countless members, including Pickens member Rick Murphy, have volunteered their time, energy and passion into opportunities like Y Mentor, Togetherhood, Branch Advisory Boards, and the Y's Board of Directors.
"At one time there was a picture of the Y as being one-dimensional with sports, but anyone who gets involved with the Y sees that it is about more than that," Rick said.
The Y has been part of Rick's life from the beginning. It's where he learned to swim, played youth sports and enjoyed After School programs.
In high school he worked for the Y as a camp counselor and then worked at the Y at Clemson University.
"I've had a lot of my life that's been connected to the YMCA," Rick added.
Rick's lifetime of connection with the Y has helped shape who he has become and how he views his role in the community.
"There are a lot of things that affect who you are, and the Y lends itself to a lot of what I've become in terms of valuing responsibility, giving back to the community and being active," Rick said.
He's been part of the Y Mentor program for three years and is paired with a rising second-grader.
"I see so many kids who don't have a positive role model," Rick said. "Mentoring helps keep kids focused on what's good and helps them become all they can be."
Starting with a kindergartner who just wanted to play, Rick has encouraged more focus on school as his mentee has grown.
"He loved to get out and play ball, but I've worked to move from sports to 'Let's read,'" Rick said.
Rick has witnessed first-hand the change that can happen in a young person through Y Mentor, even when a mentor may not think they're making an impact.
"I have friends who have mentored who felt they weren't really doing a lot for the child," Rick said.
"I tell them, 'Take a real deep look. You're more important than you think. Ask the teacher. Ask the counselor. They'll tell you what a difference you're making for the student.'"
Rick also served on the Board of Directors for six years, serving through the development of the Powdersville branch.
"You become part of a community, and it's important for us to give back," Rick said. "And the Y helps us do that. To be part of an organization like the Y not only helps the people it serves, but it also helps you too."
Rick is a longtime member of the YMCA of Easley, Pickens & Powdersville and still comes in three times a week to exercise at the Pickens branch.
"I'm a pretty avid biker, so I like to stay in shape so I can keep up with the younger bikers," Rick said. "The Y keeps you in a group that values healthy living."