Militarily Speaking Ep 3 Armed Services YMCA with Tim Ney

In this episode of “Militarily Minded,” Tom and Jodi talk with Tim Nye from Armed Services YMCA and discuss how the organization helps the military community from serving as a food back to child care. Tim talks about other initiatives the AS YMCA has going on as well such as the Horse of the Sun Ranch. They also play the next round of Military Minute.

“Militarily Speaking” is a podcast produced by Armed Forces Bank that is dedicated to the military lifestyle and all the things that makes military community who they are.

We — with guests like you — will help the military community not only navigate their finances but also military life. We chat about both good and bad financial practices and provide some insight along the way. We’ll share strategies to help people get ahead, discuss military benefits that members should take advantage of, and more – all working towards the goal of helping people become more financially independent.

On the show, we’ll also preview and talk about how to take advantage of military specific services, such as loans and mortgages, and help members prepare for important milestones such as PCS moves and the transition to civilian life. Finally, at the end of every episode, we have a bit of fun with our Military Minute. That guessing-game segment features military history, hobbies, a bit of pop culture. Correct guesses by listeners could result in a donation to charity of individual’s choice.

Show Notes

Welcome to the "Militarily Speaking" podcast with Tom McLean and Jodi Vickery.

In this episode of “Militarily Minded,” Tom and Jodi talk with Tim Nye from Armed Services YMCA and discuss how the organization helps the military community from serving as a food back to child care. Tim talks about other initiatives the AS YMCA has going on as well such as the Horse of the Sun Ranch. They also play the next round of Military Minute.

“Militarily Speaking” is a podcast produced by Armed Forces Bank that is dedicated to the military lifestyle and all the things that makes military community who they are.

Episode 3: Armed Services YMCA with Tim Nye

Armed Services YMCA History and Purpose

Jodi opens the episode by introducing Tim Nye, who is the executive director for Armed Services YMCA (AS YMCA), and a veteran, having served 8 years in the United States Marine Corp. The AS YMCA provide free or low cost services for military children, spouses, and the military family unit. Today they have over 25,000 military members and volunteers have donated over 112,000 hours to support the AS YMCA.

Jodi welcomes Tim and then asks for the background of AS YMCA, as many people are familiar with the YMCA, but likely not as familiar with the Armed Services branch and how it came to be.

  • Tim says there is a lot of confusion about the Armed Services branch and how they relate to the YMCA, and this includes people within the military community itself.
  • He says they are in twelve branches across the nation, and have existed since 1861, and are one of five organizations that have a Memorandum of Understanding with the Department of Defense.
  • He notes that one of the ways they are different is that 99.9% of the people they serve are active duty military and their families.
  • Tim says the second way they are different is that they are grass-roots fundraising, since they don’t charge membership fees or high camp fees.
Tom brings up a statistic showing that 29% of junior enlisted families say they are food insecure. He asks Tim what types of support the AS YMCA provide through the food assistance and emergency food relief for military families program.

  • Tim says that as a non-profit professional, it’s easy for them to raise money around food insecurity.
  • He notes that the easiest mindset for people to get to is thinking that the military doesn’t pay them enough, which is why they are food insecure.
  • He says that the reality of the situation is, through studies they have shown that military members get paid a livable wage, but it gets complex because many of the military families are younger, have a few kids, and child care is very expensive.
  • Tim says that between child care, rent prices surging, inflation, and high gas prices, the problem is very complex and it is getting worse.
  • He says that hunger is an economic issue and it revolves around education, workforce development, cost effective child care, financial literacy, and even learning how to cook to save money.
  • Their food program is called “Distribution with Dignity” is also a gateway for the members to begin using some of their other services as well.
Jodi asks if there are specific ways that people, or companies, can contribute to that effort if they are interested?

  • Tim says that it doesn’t take a lot of funds to run something like this because they partner with Feeding San Diego, as well as the San Diego Food Bank, so the food costs very little.
  • He notes that it only takes one staff member to facilitate 24 distributions a year, with the help of all of the volunteers.
  • He says making a small gift of even just $25-100 can make a large impact, or people can get involved and volunteer by going to or go to the national website for the Armed Forces YMCA of the USA and find a local branch to get involved.
How Armed Services YMCA Helps Military Families

Jodi says that as a military family herself, she realizes that it is a proud community. She asks Tim how he approaches that and gets people to realize they need help, and then get them comfortable with the idea of asking for help.

  • Tim reiterates “distribution with dignity” that they practice, saying that the families can register online, guaranteeing their spot, reducing anxiety around the who situation.
  • At the event itself, he says, they have music playing in the background, jovial volunteers, Starbucks serves coffee or other drinks, and other non-profits that are natural partners helping out as well.
  • He points out that the environment is very fun and festive, kind of similar to a farmers market.
  • He notes that during the pandemic military spouse unemployment was near 30%.
  • Tim also says that’s why the AS YMCA isn’t just about food security, but also cost-effective child care, getting military spouses education or course development, and giving them opportunities to find employment.
  • He says the main goal is to elevate and strengthen the military family, growing the family out of the food line, rather than simply distributing food to them.
Tom says in a prior conversation he and Jodi had with Tim, they discussed the Military Spouse Symposium that was being held in San Diego. He asks Tim to share more details about the symposium.

  • He says that the program is really great, and also that they are full, likely because they are focused on running really great high quality programs.
  • Tim notes that their organization has received a lot of great support for the symposium.
  • In the last Military Spouse Symposium there was a fashion show by Nordstroms, resume writers, creative artwork, speakers that were military spouses from base commanders, as well as strong powerful women from around the community.
  • Tim says that there was also a large U-shape of companies that were hiring military spouses on the spot.
  • The next one, Tim notes, is going to include segments on financial literacy and other things around how to utilize VA benefits.
  • More details can be found on
Tim says he is excited about not only his branch, but also the growing of other branches around the nation.

  • He is leaving for a trip to Washington D.C. to meet with a strategic planning team with the National Board and their National Executive Team to plan the future of the organization.
  • Tim notes that it is important not on who you were in the past, but who you’re going to be in the future.
  • He says they are going to be an organization that focuses on solving food insecurity, child care, and most likely mental health
  • Tim makes a note about child care, saying that their plan isn’t to just be a place where a child will be watched, but where development will happen through character building and STEM courses.
Jodi says she thinks it’s great how aligned each of the branches is to the national mission, but wants to highlight something that the San Diego branch is doing. That being the Horse of the Sun Ranch. She asks Tim to give more details on what that is exactly, and what they are doing there.

  • Tim says there was a $1.7 Million donation of a ranch to the San Diego branch of the AS YMCA, that included land, 11 horses, and facilities.
  • That outdoor space, he says, was constantly used and full during the pandemic since people were able to be outside there with their families.
  • The horseback riding lessons, Tim notes, are completely full and help sustain the ranch.
  • Tim also says that because of the nature of the gift, they didn’t want to limit it to just military families, and that anybody is able to come use the facilities and ride the horses.
How You Can Help Armed Services YMCA

Tom notes many branches of Armed Forces Bank, where there are also branches of Armed Services YMCA nearby. He asks how people can get involved if they wanted to do some work locally for the affiliate locations.

  • Tim says to go to the National website at to find a location near them, or an affiliate program
  • He asks that if people want to help they can make a donation, but really urges people to roll up their sleeves and go volunteer
  • Tom encourages Armed Forces Bank associates to do the same, as there are plenty of ways to serve military communities.
Tom adds that a quote he read from Tim previously is, “the service member enlists, but the whole family serves.” Which Tom says is right on point.

  • Tim responds saying when he was active duty, he was sent to 23 different countries, and was a single father for much of that period.
  • He adds that it takes a very special person to be a military spouse, managing the entire household.
  • Tim says that the children don’t fully comprehend why their parent is gone, only that they understand they are not there for their birthday, or recital, or other events in their life.
Tom thanks Tim for being a guest, and discusses how appropriate it is for him to bring this up April is the month of the Military Child, and next month is Military Appreciation Month.

  • He brings up some statistics he found on the AS YMCA website, that kids will move between six and nine times from birth through 12th grade.
  • Tom continues with more statistics around military families and the things they are struggling with, nothing that people can donate via their website.
Tom asks Tim if there is anything else about the organization or certain events that he would like to bring to the listeners’ attention.

  • Tim says there is more than just one way to serve your country, it is not just joining the military.
  • It could be going to college, doing what is right for this country and making it a better place, such as volunteering in your community, or making a donation.
  • Tim signs off by thanking Tom and Jodi for having him on the podcast.
  • Jodi and Tom thank Tim for being on the podcast with them.
Military Minute

Tom introduces the Military Minute segment of the show.

  • Last episode’s Military Minute: What is Military Saves’ 30 – 40 – 30 plan?
  • Answer is 30% past, 40% present, 30% future, where the past is paying off loans or any outstanding debt you may have, the present is taking care of your current needs, and the future is saving for something.
  • This week’s Military Minute question is: Who was the first donor to the AS YMCA?
  • Watch for Facebook and Instagram posts about this episode.
  • Answer with the correct answer and you plus a charity of your choice can each win $50.
Join us to hear how to better navigate your finances, military life, and the crossroads of the two.