How Fastsigns Helped the Ymcas of Cambridge & Kitchener-Waterloo, and the YMCA-YWCA of Guelph Reopen!

Author: FASTSIGNS® of Kitchener-Waterloo

Our team has been very hard at work helping the YMCA reopen, and I had the pleasure of speaking with Soni Mills, Creative Services Lead and Vic Ford, Marketing and Communications Manager for YMCAs of Cambridge & Kitchener-Waterloo, and the YMCA-YWCA of Guelph.

We spoke about all of the changes that have been made at the YMCAs of Cambridge & Kitchener-Waterloo, and YMCA-YWCA of Guelph during the pandemic, that will help them re-open safely.

Question One:

Tell me a little bit about your team!

Soni/Vic: We go by the name “Most Awesome Team Ever” – which, while self-titled, is true.   We’re a small, diverse and dynamic team that handles all marketing and communication needs, both internal and external, for regional YMCAs (Waterloo Region, Guelph-Wellington, Stratford-Perth). We have a huge amount of respect for one another as well as friendship – it’s a perfect mix. While we each have a niche/specialization area (graphic design/UX, design thinking/writing, leadership/project management), we’re all skilled at strategic thinking, which helps us to build out functional and integrated marketing and communications pieces that accelerate impact.

Safet signage on the door entranceCustom decal on the door

Question Two:

How was your team involved with this project?

Soni/Vic: Our team facilitated the “vision” of the service area (child care and day camps) towards a deliverable communications package. We worked together as a team and with our “clients” to ensure we’re on-brand with Y Canada, while also conveying regionally-specific public health guidelines. As well, we liaised with FASTSIGNS team members to determine timelines and pricing, and which materials were best to use for the products we needed.

Question Three:

What are some of your highlights of the project so far?

Soni/Vic: First is the functionality – parents/children/staff all have a strong understanding of what’s happening to keep them safe, and what they need to do to help maintain safety.

Expectations are clear, so teams are all on the same page. We’ve also had some fun working collaboratively to get this done and celebrate re-opening these areas of our business.

Safety signage for YMCA childCustom decal on the ground

Question Four:

Were there any challenges? How did you overcome them?

Soni/Vic: Four of the challenges from this project we were able to solve:

  • Challenge 1 – As a charity, we always need to balance wants with fiscal realities. We’ve come to rely on FASTSIGNS because of their exceptional quality and customer service, which, combined with fair pricing, enables us to deliver high quality final pieces.

  • Challenge 2 – Timelines, not a lot of time from the Premier’s announcement to coming back online and FASTSIGNS was able to source and deliver various pieces in short order.

  • Challenge 3 – Working within COVID-19 realities, including needing to source hard-to-find products due to increased signage demand. Again, FASTSIGNS was up to the challenge and was not only able to source and deliver products (including A Frames, which were out of stock nation-wide), but did so at a fair price and in a reasonable timeframe.

  • Challenge 4 – Managing expectations – internally teams wanted things right away, but realities of printing mean we need to have the space to create and deliver, this has been complicated by COVID-19. Regardless, FASTSIGNS maintained strong communications with our team and helped us manage expectations. In the end, they delivered based on their expectations.

Question Five:

How did FASTSIGNS help you achieve your goals?

Soni/Vic: In addition to the fair pricing, which is important to us as a charity, as well as their work to achieve timelines as described above, FASTSIGNS sourced solutions for our needs. FASTSIGNS provided us with options and insights into the best product for our specific needs.

Custom decal on the groundSafety signage for YMCA child

Question Six:

Is there anything else you want to tell our readers?

Soni/Vic: As a mid-size charity, it’s nice to have a locally owned, knowledgeable supplier who has our best interests in mind. We appreciate the quality and customer service at FASTSIGNS – you've provided insight and advice that we can carry into other/future projects.

While the YMCA had to physically close our facilities because of COVID-19, we didn’t stop showing up for our community. FASTSIGNS allowed us to communicate this to our community. We’re here for good. FASTSIGNS knows and supports this.

I want to say a huge thank you to Soni Millsand Vic Ford for taking the time to be part of this blog series. If you want to learn more about the YMCAs of Cambridge & Kitchener-Waterloo, and the YMCA-YWCA of Guelph please visit their website at  | If you want to learn more about FASTSIGNS® of Kitchener-Waterloo and how we have helped businesses re-open, please visit us at