YMCA: It’s Fun to Stay Here

The YMCA is known for advocating youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Last Tuesday, May 21, the newest executive members of the YMCA Board of Directors were elected to help continue the message of the YMCA.

YMCA shows they know what having fun really means as they dress up in costumes.
Photo courtesy of Sara Isabel Short.

YMCA can never have a dull moment.

The role of the board is to provide oversight to the YMCA. The board does not cover operations, but they make sure the YMCA is financially sound. According to Desireé Johnson, executive relations and project manager for the Montclair YMCA, the board meets at least 6 times a year, usually 11 times a year.

The meeting on Tuesday night was the annual meeting of the Board of Directors, which was open to the public. The budget for the 2013-2014 year was adopted and a slate of new officers was voted on.

The current Board of Directors Executive Board consists of: Scott Kennedy, Board Chair; Joy J. Jones, Vice Chair; Michael Turgeon, Treasurer; Diane Esty, Secretary; Michael Brune, Past Chair, and Robert Constable, Chair Emeritus.

Other members of the board include: Mark Bess, Keith Kawecki, Izumi Hara, William Hurlock, Janice Linaugh, Barbara Martoglio, Hugh Moriarty III, Jay Pumphrey, Veronica Seeve, Usmaan Sleemi, Avril Stack and Roosevelt Weaver, PhD.

At this meeting, the five new members elected included Hara, Moriarty,  Hurlock, Stack and Martoglio. Additionally, Ted Kiesewetter, Judith Grey and Dr. Barry DiBernardo retired from the board this year.

Kennedy serves as the YMCA regional community chair. “The Board takes it’s responsibilities very seriously and works thousands of hours collectively throughout the year as volunteers serving the YMCA,” said Kennedy. “The board is also a very fun group – and not above a little fun, as the incoming slate of Executive Board members [pictured] arrived dressed as the Village People as the hit 1978 Song ‘Y.M.C.A.’ welcomed their arrival.”

Additionally, the annual budget is discussed at the meetings. “Annual budget goes towards everything that happens at the Y,” said Johnson. “[This] includes staffing, the cost for programs or camps and fundraising money that goes towards the Strong Community Campaign.”

Photo courtesy of Sara Isabel Short.
Photo courtesy of Sara Isabel Short.

According to Johnson, this past year the board donated $44,000 to the Strong Community campaign, previously known as the Strong Kids campaign. This title was changed this year to eliminate the notion that it went to only children, when the campaign benefits everyone in the community. The Strong Community campaign helps residents participate in YMCA programs, get a YMCA membership and helps support the extended care program for students. This program takes place before and after school to help parents work a full day of work. It allows parents to leave their children in a program at school and gives them peace of mind that they know where they are.

Additionally at the annual meeting, awards were given to members of the YMCA. The Red Triangle Award is given to an employee who is nominated by co-workers. They had to have worked at least five years in the YMCA and have outstanding qualities. This year, the Red Triangle Award was given to Kim Burros.

Alongside this award, the Prudential Spirit of Community Award is given to a person who has performed outstanding community service. Applicants apply through Prudential and winners receive a monetary award or a certificate.  A student volunteer, Amya Dumay, a ninth grader from Montclair High School, from the YMCA received a certificate for this award, as well as a letter from the President of the United States. She volunteered four days a week teaching swim lessons in the aquatic department.

In their mission to help further students’ education and experiences, the YMCA is also sponsoring two students who will travel to Prague this summer with a YMCA youth director. This trip will include a youth festival that takes places every five years, including  leadership workshops for teenagers from all over the world.

“It’s an international experience of a lifetime for these students,” said Johnson.

Everything that the YMCA is able to provide to the community stems from the web of support of their staff, which begins with the Board of Directors.

“The YMCA of Montclair is for youth development and social responsibilities,” said Johnson. “There is something for everyone here at our Y. We make sure no one gets left out regardless of finances, family situation, etc. We’re here for everyone and for the community.”


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