Boothbay Region YMCA celebrated adult and student volunteerism at its 39th annual meeting April 16. It started with a Y-Arts performance from five of April break’s students and a video from many who could not be there.
“The Y family,” as Director of Development and Communications Kate Borsig described attendees, cheered as awards went to this year’s finest.
Borsig presented special recognition to 2018 annual fund chairs Anne and Alan Barker for helping secure donors for the Y's annual fund.
“Last July they spent a lot of time literally writing hundreds of notes to our family and the community at large sharing their story and asking them to consider giving to our cause,” said Borsig.
The annual fund raised just under $400,000 and the Barkers helped increase the number of donors from 494 in 2017 to 573. Two hundred seventy-one volunteers contributed nearly 8,000 hours to Y-Arts, youth sports and member services among other programs.
Lifelong Y member Alexis Davison presented her grandfather Charlie Balsdon, longtime Y member and employee, with the esteemed Character Development Award. Davison spoke of Balsdon’s commitment to raising her, and to lifting the Y family and broader community.
Said Davison, “When I think of the Y's values … I think of this man … I have a caring, loving, outgoing grandfather … I truly believe that it is because of him and his love and support that I am graduating in two months and going on to college to follow my dreams just like he told me I could. He cares deeply about his family, his job and his community. If there is ever an event going on, he is always there to show support and help in any way he can … I'm always told by so many people that they respect him for his dedication at work and outside work.”
Healthy Living Coordinator Abby Jones presented Henry Simmons with the Volunteer of the Year Award. Simmons came to the 12-week long Livestrong program designed for cancer survivors. Jones said Simmons was a “reluctant participant.”
“After several weeks of Livestrong, he was all in,” said Jones. “He quickly became our biggest supporter and indeed our volunteer ambassador … (Livestrong) even asked him to be one of their national program ambassadors.”
When the program ended, Jones asked Simmons if he would be willing to volunteer for the Rock Steady program – also known as “boxing for Parkinson’s.” He said yes. Volunteering every Tuesday and Thursday morning, Simmons has been an inspiration for program members and other volunteers, said Jones.
Dolphins’ head swim coach Zach Gray presented swim coach Mike Hills with the Program Service Award. Four of Hills’ Dolphins spoke of the four tenets of YMCA philosophy. Kayla Watts spoke of caring; Byran Hills, respect; Ella Watts, honesty; and Heather Hills, responsibility.
Hills volunteered for over 300 hours over the past year coaching the Dolphins, said Gray. Volunteering over the past two years, Hills has helped as a swim coach, a bus driver for the team, scheduling and attending high school meets and as an assistant lacrosse coach. Gray said the swim team's service award would be renamed for Hills due to his honesty, service, dedication and volunteerism for the Dolphin Swim Team.
Y Arts and Humanities Director Emily Mirabile presented the Youth of the Year Award to Spencer Pottle. A member of the Y since a young boy playing a rock lobster in “Alice in Wonderland,” Pottle has grown to be a natural leader, said Mirabile.
“(He’s) an integral part of our Y-Arts family … He is a mentor and a friend to Y-Arts performers, young and old, and we are blessed to know him and I can't wait to see what his future holds.”
Executive Director Andy Hamblett gave special recognition to Member Engagement Director Logahn Walker for her outstanding work; and to longtime employee Pat Fraker, who Hamblett said was attending her first annual meeting in her nearly 20 years at the Y due to a conflict between her schedule and the Y’s bylaws requiring an annual meeting be held on a Tuesday in April. Hamblett also honored employees reaching their fifth, 10th and 15th years: Deb Arter, Ron Lambert, Alexandra Pinkham, Taylor Fish, Tara Lyons and Dale Robertson, five years; Jen Dorwart, 10 years; and Arlene Celler, 15 years.
Closing out the meeting were outgoing Board of Trustees President Mary Neal and incoming President Jonathan Tindal. Neal spoke to her past two years serving the board and Tindal, speaking for the board and the Y family, thanked her for her service.
Said Tindal, “My YMCA story started as a child participating in youth sports programs here in this gym … Everybody in this room has their YMCA story and to me that really speaks to the unique ways in which this Y has an extremely broad reach in our community (and) I can't help but think about those who make it possible. Over the years it's been our commitment of our community, volunteers and YMCA staff who have moved the YMCA forward … It is the YMCA movement and it takes a village …”