YMCA honors staff, volunteers at 38th annual celebration

Andy Hamblett receives surprise gift for 15 years of service anniversary
Posted:  Thursday, April 12, 2018 - 6:00pm

Andy Hamblett has made it a great day for many people since becoming Boothbay Region YMCA executive director in 2003. But April 10 was a great day for him. At the Y's 38th annual celebration in Boothbay Harbor,the executive board presented Hamblett with a special gift for his past leadership.

A special unrestricted fund was created for Hamblett’s use for any Y project or projects. So, for the man who often greets Y members with the phrase “Make it a great day,” he now has an extra resource to make that happen within the Y community.

Hamblett was one of four Y staff members recognized for achieving a years of service milestone. Linda Cusamano (10 years), Lori Murray (25 years) and Jayne Lewis (30 years) also received pins in recognition of continued service. But Hamblett’s anniversary received extra attention. Besides the special gift, the board also expressed its gratitude for his past 15 years as director.

Member Bill Bailey has served multiple terms on the executive board. He remembers when Hamblett first arrived in Boothbay Harbor. He recalled the Y dealt with several crises during  Hambletts’ first few years. The new director inherited a child care dilemma revolving around off-peninsula facilities. Bailey reported it took Hamblett nearly two years to resolve the problem without disrupting the lives of any kids.

Hamblett assisted in tackling a couple other difficult situations. Two years later, the board was split regarding poor performing investments, and in 2007, a recession hampered the board’s plan to replace its outdated swimming pool. “It wasn’t the smoothest time to be executive director, but his leadership and patience made a big difference,” Bailey said.

Vice President Jonathan Tindal has served five years on the executive board. He credited Hamblett with being a strong advocate for the local Y. Tindal is also impressed with Hamblett's striving to improve his own leadership skills to better serve the local Y and entire community. 

Earlier this year, the Y sponsored Hamblett’s participation in Leadership Maine, a private, non-partisan membership organization seeking communication and collaboration toward sustainable, long-term state economic growth.

“I’m proud to serve on the board with Andy because he lives the Y’s mission. He’s been such a great leader over 15 years and here’s to 15 more,” Tindal said.

Even when Hamblett doesn’t say “Make it a great day,” he often hears it from a Y member in one of his classes. Hamblett learned the phrase many years ago from his “role model.”

“I learned that from my father who taught me to give back not only in money, but in time,” he said.

Each year, the Y celebration celebrates accomplishments of staff and volunteers. The most prestigious award is Character Development. This year’s recipient was Amy Winston. The award is for a person who exemplifies leadership and caring for those most vulnerable in our community.

“This person reflects those values that the BRYMCA holds so dearly,”  said presenter Holly Stover.

Y Volunteer of  the Year is Tracey Hall who received the honor for her work in the child enrichment program at Camp Knickerbocker. Amy Henderson  presented Hall with the award. Henderson described Hall’s work with the Boothbay Region Land Trust and Camp Knickerbocker as embodying the Y’s mission of strengthening individuals' and families’ bodies, spirits and minds.

Two people were recognized as Program Service Award recipients: Amy Case and Kathleen Pearce. Past recipient and assistant swim coach Heather Hills described how the two mothers logged countless hours over 10 years in scoring and timing home and away meets.

Former Y Director of Development Lisa Van Dyk presented board member Lilly Sherburne with the “Youth of the Year" award. Van Dyk said Sherburne’s advocacy for an expanded teen program was instrumental in getting her Y board peers’ approval.

“The Y helps those young leaders find their voice, and she has found that voice in the past three years being a community advocate,” Van Dyk said.

The board also honored Bill and Jo Haney for their service as “We Are Family” annual campaign chairmen.