YMCA Reviews

Updated October 22, 2014
Updated October 22, 2014
1,459 Reviews
3.6
1,459 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
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YMCA President and CEO Neil Nicoll
Neil Nicoll
358 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • One of the best perks of working at the YMCA was the fact that employees are entitled to a free gym membership (in 173 reviews)

  • Always enjoyed working around fellow facilitators and working with kids everyday (in 41 reviews)


Cons
  • The pay is not very competitive but it is non profit so this is to be expected (in 74 reviews)

  • There is no growth potential you will only go so far with only part time positions (in 64 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

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  1. 1 person found this helpful  

    you deserve better

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Summer Camp Counselor in Flushing, NY
    Current Employee - Summer Camp Counselor in Flushing, NY

    I have been working at YMCA part-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Get to use the facilities for free, which include two pools, gym, basketball courts and squash courts.

    Cons

    Extremely low pay for the amount of work that is asked of you. The desire to avoid the YMCA getting into trouble leads to a lot of ridiculous rules and restrictions. People who are willing to work there generally fall into two categories: cool, intelligent, but just made a bad decision in working at the Y and leave soon after, or community college deadbeats that will do nothing but cause unnecessary trouble and gossip. Those people generally tend to progress to the top because those in management were also once like them.

    If you would like to try working for a camp, go anywhere but near this one. All other camps tend to pay more, and if they don't, at least they are in a better environment with better people, less unnecessary rules and hoops to jump through, and you will generally receive tips at the end of summer. To be honest, there is a certain demographic that puts their kids into Y camps in the city, and they aren't the type to tip or appreciate anything you've done all summer long.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Step your game up. Stop acting like you're the most important people in the world and drop the condescending tones. You're camp coordinators for crying out loud.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  2.  

    not the best working experience

    Former Employee - Cashier in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Cashier in New York, NY

    I worked at YMCA part-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    coworkers are nice and chill

    Cons

    minimum pay = minimum effort. work for many years and did not get a raise at all

  3.  

    It's all about management

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Sumter, SC
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Sumter, SC

    I worked at YMCA part-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Free membership (but only for yourself--if you want a spouse or kids on your membership, you have to pay the monthly difference). You also have to pay for your locker every month.

    Cons

    Terrible pay (minimum wage). No benefits. Stingy about breaks. We were actually told that under SC law, they are not required to give us breaks "but take one if you need one...just keep it short." Managers have very little experience or interpersonal skills. You get the sense that management doesn't care about anyone who works there.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Quit talking about how "Christian" you are and throwing Bible verses around, if you're going to treat employees this way and pay them this badly.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
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  5.  

    Good company

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Childcare in Havre, MT
    Current Employee - Childcare in Havre, MT

    I have been working at YMCA full-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    Good people, fair pay, never bored

    Cons

    I have no cons for this company

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    none

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  6. 1 person found this helpful  

    YMCA builds healthy communities, but not healthy internal practices

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Kitchener, ON (Canada)
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Kitchener, ON (Canada)

    I worked at YMCA full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Front line staff and volunteers (membership, personal trainers, facility, fitness and aquatic instructors) were great to work with: friendly, knowledgeable, committed to own, and others' learning and development. They try really hard to embrace organizational values of Acceptance, Caring, Health, Respect and Responsibility in their day to day work with members and potential members.

    Cons

    Total lack of onboarding process for new employees, and non-existent expectations or performance reviews provided. An attempt at creating measurement standards was started, but then upper management did not have the know-how or make time to sustain the plan. Upon asking for a 3 month probationary review from my manager, I was told "You're okay. The first 3 months is just to see if you're an idiot or not". Over a year later, and still no formal goal-setting or review ever provided, but lots of verbal insults in private meetings about myself, and other staff / volunteers.
    Full time staff are allowed 12 paid sick days per year, but unspoken reality is if a person actually took sick days it was a little virtual black mark against the person.
    A totally autocratic organizational structure where 1 person makes all the decisions, and has stated "If I had my way I would just do it all myself". This leaves a feeling of never being able to do a job well enough to whichever non-descript project objective is in place at that moment.
    Lack of role definition and communication between departments; if you question a process or propose a new way of doing something more efficiently a response is received such as "that's not how we do it at the Y", or "staff just have to learn to suck it up".

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Read, understand and fully embrace your Mission and Values. Encourage communications between departments instead of silo'ing people from each other. Invest in leadership and management training for senior staff and hold them accountable to those behaviours and practices.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
  7.  

    High employee turnover is the direct result of poor management

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Water Safety Instructor in Greenfield, WI
    Former Employee - Water Safety Instructor in Greenfield, WI

    I worked at YMCA part-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Free access to gym-health club facitlities, many nice members and nice workers at the lowest levels of the organization. Sometimes, the kind of camaraderie that is created by really mean and inept management occurs, and that part can result in good friendships (not unlike the friendships forged in crises, disasters, and combat).

    Cons

    Even comparing to other non-profits, where crisis management, budget shortfalls and understaffing are the norm, the Y is notably poorly run. Towards the top, there's a mentality that the proper model for operation is the American Megacorporation, so in dozens of inappropriate ways they try to run like Walmart, McDonald's or United Airlines. However, aside from jingositic lipservice, there is no real investment in frontline workers, there isn't even much respect or support for functional levels of morale. Mid and lower level managers are selected for narrow rule enforcement enthusiasm, and misapplied corporate jargon is repeated like mantras: "be professional" (which means, be subservient and obsequious), "be customer friendly" (avoid complaints from the more generous White middle class donors by selectively enforcing or ignoring safety rules for the favored clients). It's hard to believe this is a Christian organization, as they have institutionalized a complete disregard for the human needs and viccissitudes of the army of low paid bottom level workers and volunteers. Put more simply, the organization is downright mean to its staff, starting somewhere way above my paygrade, not just trickling down, rather pouring down as a crushing waterfall to the lower levels. It's just not that hard to notice that YMCA workers are treated poorly, constantly worried about their jobs, overly disciplined. At the Southwest location where I worked the most, non-White employees had the shortest lifespan, complaints from openly racist patrons weren't questioned, instead, suspensions and firings were immediate. An illogical and dizzying array of health, safety, and other rules were partially, selectively enforced, depending on who specifically the clients were, and since this was all quite unofficial, quite the minefield for new workers. I saw many workers suspended and fired for enforcing posted rules against the favorite patrons (percieved to be better donors). I saw workers fired for all sorts of very petty reasons, two lifeguards were fired for reading lifeguard magazines when there was no one in the pool, another lifeguard was fired for swimming when there was no one in the pool; a gym attendant was fired for reading a book. The most loyal workers, the ones coming in on short notice to cover the many suddenly open shifts resulting from the high turnover and low morale, those workers were usually on the firing line first - the long hours exposed those most dependable workers to the meanest supervisors over the most critical times, and violating one of the numerous senseless work rules would be inevitable. Thus, there was a built-in incentive to minimize vounteering to cover extra open shifts, resulting in a chronic situation of being shorthanded, also creating pressure to slip on the many work rules. Employee discipline could best be described as Draconian, many of the mid and lower level supervisors clearly relished being mean to the workers, many of the latter being young people on their first jobs, retired people who were scrapping to get by after unfair pension or retirement plan changes screwed up their golden year plans, and teachers and other underpaid workers on second, or even third jobs.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Trying to emulate large profitable monopoly corporations is ill-advised. Get back in touch with your Christian roots (and this coming from a non-Christian!). Christ's teachings of compassion, brotherly love, forgiveness, all need to be worked into the daily operation of the Y. Lower and mid-management level supervisors shouldn't be enforcer and rule follower types, they should be teacher types, or even actual teachers, people who care about people, people who are capable of common sense understanding, compromise and humane sympathy. If rules can't be universally applied and enforced for all patrons, then change or remove the rules. Stop being hypocritcal, either openly allow promiscuous behavior in the men's locker room, or stop playing the YMCA song incessantly!

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
  8.  

    Who would like to work for a company that doesn't follow its own standards?

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at YMCA full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Full time benefits okay... but for the price you pay, they better be.

    Cons

    Many people in managerial positions only care about their job, and will do anything to keep it, including blaming others for mistakes made.

    No raises for past 3 years, last raise was less than 2%.

    It seems that Managers don't care about the staff, paying them as little possible (minimum wage) and expecting them to do work way over their pay grade.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Pay staff more than minimum wage, when others in the same organization make over $200,000 a year, I think the organization can pay better than minimum wage for what is expected.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
  9.  

    trash

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Counselor in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Counselor in New York, NY

    I worked at YMCA part-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    this place is really trash

    Cons

    there are no pros to this place

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    get a life

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
  10.  

    Toxic Environment

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Director in Spokane, WA
    Current Employee - Director in Spokane, WA

    I have been working at YMCA part-time

    Pros

    I have no positive words to share!

    Cons

    Absurdly low pay for extremely high expectations, almost nonexistant support for certain programs, high turnover of many dept., extremely bad attitudes @ YMCA all around, no pay increases due to inefficient money managing--some up to seven years, not reinvesting the money from largest providing program back into the program leaving those programs to pay their own way--by employee, expectations to provide personal monetary donations to the YMCA with what they pay workers, made to solicit donations from clients on the phone and in other forms, deaf ears whenever problem issues are brought up regarding sore lack of decent management, and so much more....

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Start providing an honest, reasonably competitive, supportive, flexible, professional work environment.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
  11.  

    horrible

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at YMCA

    Pros

    none, horrible experience overall and would not reccomend

    Cons

    salary too low, management unfair and hypocritical

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