The Chilliwack YMCA has been renamed in honour of one of its longest-serving and most prominent supporters.
YMCA of Greater Vancouver announced that its facility on Hocking Avenue in Chilliwack is now known as the Bob Chan-Kent Family YMCA.
“Bob Chan-Kent has been a dedicated YMCA volunteer, advocate, fundraiser and donor over many years, making him an exemplary namesake for this centre of community,” said Heidi Worthington, president & CEO of the YMCA of Greater Vancouver. “We are eternally grateful for his commitment, guidance and generosity to the YMCA and are delighted to express our appreciation through the renaming of this facility.”
The new name was officially unveiled during an intimate ceremony on Sunday, Oct. 2 that included Chan-Kent, wife Linda-Mae, their four daughters, key YMCA stakeholders and other invited guests.
Chan-Kent is known to many in the Lower Mainland as an ambassador and champion of the YMCA and its values for some time. His YMCA journey began five decades ago when he joined his uncle for a run at the Downtown YMCA, where he was inspired by its welcoming, inclusive atmosphere and the Y’s wide-reaching community supports and services. This first introduction laid the foundation for Chan-Kent’s legacy as an enthusiastic and influential proponent, patron and representative of the YMCA.
“This is really the pinnacle of my volunteerism in the YMCA,” said Chan-Kent. “I never dreamed that I would have the opportunity to have my name – and that of my family – associated with the Y in such a manner.
“Throughout my 40 years of volunteerism, I have come to appreciate, better understand and greatly admire the work of the YMCA, so I am thrilled by this special affiliation.”
Among his wide-ranging service to the YMCA of Greater Vancouver, Chan-Kent has spent the past 15 years as a key member of the Y’s volunteer governance leadership team. His presence on the board of directors has coincided with key milestones for the former Chilliwack YMCA, including its expansion and renewal completed in 2019.
“Chilliwack holds a special place for me,” said Chan-Kent. “It’s an incredible community that has long stood for strong family values and a commitment to caring for each other.
“To be connected to the community of Chilliwack in such a way speaks not only to my belief in the amazing future of the YMCA there, but of the opportunity to be of service no matter where we live.”
The facility’s renaming comes on the heels of an expanded YMCA presence in the Chilliwack community. The City of Chilliwack recently selected the Y to operate its two existing leisure centres and the outdoor Rotary Pool, with the YMCA effectively assuming management of the city-owned facilities in mid-September.
A true believer in expanding the Y’s reach to benefit communities the world over, Chan-Kent’s impact has also been felt at the national and international levels as a past member of the boards of directors for both YMCA Canada and the World Alliance of YMCAs. His tireless dedication resulted in him receiving a YMCA Fellowship of Honour Medal – an accolade presented to a select few individuals across Canada over the past 40 years – from the Governor General of Canada in 2017.
“Bob’s enthusiasm for the YMCA and its mission – whether close to home or on a global scale – is, quite simply, second to none,” said Greg D’Avignon, chair of the YMCA of Greater Vancouver’s board of directors. “He has played a pivotal leadership role in ensuring the YMCA’s supports and services are accessible to as many members of our community as possible in various capacities and embodies the spirit of the Y in striving to make a difference in the lives of others.”
“As a Chilliwack native, I can confidently say Bob is truly deserving of the honour to have his family name on this YMCA facility.”