Inspiration in our Midst: The YMCA Plans Bench Press Contest Honoring Dan Whitzel

Dan Whitzel was born in Baltimore, Maryland. As a young man, his Christmas present was a Y membership. Dan practically lived at the Y, lifting weights and building muscle, going every day. When he entered service in the Navy he found a Y wherever the ship docked and was training for the Olympics before long. In the 70s, Dan competed in the Mr. Maryland contest, missing first place by one point and securing second place.

Once he and his family settled in Easton, Dan became a member of the Easton Family YMCA. In the 1980’s Dan lifted at the Y and noticed a lack of equipment as he was working with a young man showing him how to do leg work. With the permission of Mr. Barton, the CEO at that time, they found equipment in closets and materials they could use to build squat racks. Dan started organizing weight lifting meets at the Y to raise money for more equipment and became the Chair of the Weightlifting committee. He helped the Y provide for the growing community of body builders and weight lifters. Dan has always passed on his passion for fitness by helping his children find their forms of fitness that they enjoyed. Not stopping there, he has helped countless young people develop routines based on their individual goals.

By far Dan’s biggest cheerleader in life is his wife Beverly, who has been by his side throughout every trial in their lives. They met in Baltimore when he was training to compete in a Mr. Adonis meet and she was competing in a beauty contest. At her brother’s suggestion she introduced herself but Dan was in the middle of a workout and when she said hi he practically ignored her. Beverly thought that was the end, but the next day he was at her door and they have been together ever since. They have been married for 57 years and have five children.

Dan, at 80 years young, had brain surgery this past January. He still tries to lift and though the weights are smaller, the commitment is larger than life. It is a passion he will have forever and he is very excited to see lifting competitions at the Easton Y again.

Adam Hollis Named Director of Easton Family YMCA Take the Helm Program

The YMCA of the Chesapeake (YMCA) in Easton, MD has announced Adam Hollis of Easton, MD will serve as the Director for the new Easton Family YMCA outreach program, Take the Helm. Take the Helm is a new boat building program for high school students in Talbot County that focuses on building row boats teaching job, and social skills. 

adam-hollisHollis joined the YMCA of the Chesapeake in June of 2011 as a camp counselor for the Y summer camps, after graduating from the University of Maryland- College Park. Shortly after Adam took over as the Sports Coordinator for the 2011-12 sports season and was quickly hired as a Program Director in March of 2012. As a Program Director, Adam oversaw the YMCA summer camps, sports, childcare, and outdoor programs from March of 2012 to October of 2014. After a brief move to Savannah, Georgia, Hollis came back to the YMCA in July of 2016 to head the innagural season of FC Tred Avon; a new year round soccer program at the YMCA.   

Since joining the YMCA of the Chesapeake, Adam has lead multiple new programs, including the Summer Learning Program with Talbot County Public Schools, and FC Tred Avon. He has also served on the Martin Luther King Jr. Basketball Tournament committee, and has also volunteered as a coached with Special Olympics Maryland.  

“Having Adam join the Easton Family YMCA in this position is great for our team,” said YMCA Executive Director Derek White. “The vision for this program was cast by some key volunteers for our organization and Adam is a natural fit to connect kids to a program that not only builds boats, but also confidence, self-esteem, and passion for something greater than themselves.” 

The Take the Helm program will continue to work with several key partners in the community including the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, Talbot Mentors, and others.  Natalie Costanzo, Executive Director of Talbot Mentors shared “There are so many incredible youth programs that the YMCA offers, with Take the Helm fitting right in.  The YMCA always works closely with Talbot Mentors to make their programs available to our youth.  This not only strengthens the day to day experiences for these youth, but also the community as a whole.” 

“I am honored to be joining the YMCA of the Chesapeake and happy to be in the position of offering leadership to Talbot County as we seek to develop quality, mission driven programs. There is a huge need in the community for meaningful after school programming for high school students and I plan to use Take the Helm as a program that can help fill this need. I will continue to work hard to create strong connections within the community to create a solid foundation for our members and program participants” commented Hollis.

The Y is one of the nation’s leading nonprofits and the largest Human Service organization on the Eastern Shore of Maryland strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Across the U.S., 2,700 Ys engage 21 million men, women and children – regardless of age, income or background – to nurture the potential of children and teens, improve the nation’s health and well-being, and provide opportunities to give back and support neighbors.  In 2016, the YMCA of the Chesapeake provided over $1,000,000 in assistance in our communities, turning no one away due to inability to pay. Form more information about the YMCA of the Chesapeake, visit www.ymcachesapeake.org or call 410.822.0566.

Soccer Star Tony Donatelli to Visit the Easton Family YMCA

The YMCA of the Chesapeake has announced that Baltimore Blast forward Tony Donatelli will visit the Easton Family YMCA on Wednesday, June 22 at 10 am to participate in the YMCA’s new FC Tred Avon Soccer Camp. Campers will spend the morning with with Donatelli as he leads campers through skills and drills stations.

“The YMCA of the Chesapeake, and our entire FC Tred Avon team, are thrilled to welcome Tony Donatelli to Easton,” said FC Tred Avon President Len Foxwell. “Our aspiring young soccer players will benefit so much from spending time with a player of his stature, and getting a sense of what it takes to compete and excel at an elite level of play. We are grateful to the Baltimore Blast organization for partnering with FC Tred Avon to make this exciting event possible.”

Donatelli, a native of Glenside, PA, is an accomplished veteran of both the indoor and outdoor soccer games. His goal in Game Two of the 2016 Major Arena Soccer League championship series against Sonora clinched the 2016 MASL championship for the Blast – the eighth indoor league title in franchise history. Dontatelli’s championship-winning goal was another landmark in a career that includes the USL-1 championship for the Vancouver Whitecaps and, as a member of the Montreal Impact, an exhibition match against the famed AC Milan squad in 2009.

FC Tred Avon is a new, year-round youth soccer program that will be operated by the YMCA of the Chesapeake’s volunteers and staff. It includes competitive and instructional soccer programs during the fall and spring, as well as indoor soccer during the winter months and instructional camps this summer. Our next FC Tred Avon Summer camp is August 8-12.

The goal of this exciting new initiative is to provide all children and families of the Mid-Shore with all of the elements of an enjoyable, quality soccer experience – from attractive uniforms and evenly-matched teams to organized game-day operations and well-trained coaches and referees. Registration for FC Tred Avon is now open atymcachesapeake.org and at the Easton Family YMCA.

YMCA of the Chesapeake Reaches Out to 6th Grade Kids

The YMCA of the Chesapeake announced the 6th Grade Membership Initiative as it celebrated its 61st year of service with members, staff and volunteers at the Hyatt Regency in Cambridge, MD. Over 250 guests came together from all 6 branches of the YMCA including—Easton, St. Michaels, Caroline County, Salisbury, Pocomoke City, Chincoteague, VA, as well as members from the Queen Screen Shot 2015-05-26 at 8.11.31 PMAnne’s County community as YMCA Volunteer Susan Wilgus-Murphy Announced the Initiative, “All kids have enormous potential. At the Y, we work every day to help children and teens set and achieve their personal and educational goals in settings where they can have a sense of belonging and feel comfortable exploring new interests and passions. The YMCA of the Chesapeake is proud to announce the 6th Grade Membership Initiative, which provides a FREE one-year membership to all 6th Graders.”

YMCA of the Chesapeake Chief Executive Officer, Robbie Gill, explains why the Y is launching the initiative, “As youth begin to face the many challenges of adolescence, they are more likely to begin distancing themselves from formal organizations, friends and family, and to experiment with unhealthy and illegal behaviors. The 6th Grade Membership Initiative is an opportunity for the Y to engage, cultivate and connect with youth at a time that is most crucial to their development.”

Registration for the 6th Grade Initiative program is easy. Students simply need to bring proof of 6th Grade status (a roster or report card showing they’ve completed 5th grade), along with a parent or guardian to any location of the YMCA of the Chesapeake.

Registration for this program begins August 1, 2015. Upon completion of the application process, the FREE one-year membership will be awarded. This membership will run from August 15, 2015 – August 14, 2016.

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Letter to Editor: YMCA Says Thanks for Annual Campaign

The YMCA of the Chesapeake (YMCA) said ‘thank you’ to top donors, volunteers and community partners Monday night at their annual Chairman’s Round Table dinner. The celebration was held at the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay in Cambridge to celebrate the successes of the campaign, as well as an important announcement regarding the 2015 campaign.

Following a review of the organization’s expanding work into communities across the Eastern Shore, Kerry Foxwell, Director of the Strong Kids Campaign, announced that in an effort to better represent the expanding work of the YMCA, the annual campaign would be renamed from the Strong Kids Campaign to the Strong Communities Campaign.

YMCA donors Diane and Keith Williams.

YMCA donors Diane and Keith Williams.

According to YMCA CEO, Robbie Gill the name change doesn’t reflect a change in focus. “While the goal and mission of the Y has not changed – and has always included community outreach efforts – this name change better showcases our mission of making communities stronger, one child, one person and one family at a time. Our mission will always include building strong children, that’s still a top priority, but we can’t build strong children without building strong communities to support them,” explained Gill.

The 2014 annual campaign achieved several significant benchmarks in 2014 including the most prosperous campaign in the organization’s history raising $400,000–a sixteen percent increase over the 2013 campaign—from 661 donors, 361 of which were new donors. In addition, the YMCA provided $651,000 in assistance to over 7,500 children and adults.
The YMCA of the Chesapeake includes 6 branches across the Eastern Shore of Maryland and Virginia and is the largest Human Services organization on the Eastern Shore, strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Across the United States, 2,700 Ys engage 21 million men, women and children – regardless of age, income or background – to nurture the potential of children and teens, improve the nation’s health and well-being, and provide opportunities to give back and support neighbors.

To find out how you can support the YMCA’s Strong Communities Campaign, you can go to www.ymcachesapeake.org or contact Kerry Foxwell at 410-770-3890.

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Easton YMCA Welcomes Photographer Tom McCall to “Y-Talks”

Screen Shot 2014-11-10 at 11.06.14 AMThe Y-Talks Speaker Series are held every third Friday at 7pm at the Easton Family YMCA in the Thomas E. Hill Center for Youth Development, also known as the Teen Center. The Y-Talks speaker series brings intimate conversations to our local community. Join the conversation celebrating our local experts in their field.

Friday, November 21st photographer Tom McCall shares his stories of shooting national political figures, celebrities and socialites, million dollar weddings and best of the best events. Tom sits in the ranks of elite fine art photographers. From high society weddings to stunning individual and family portraits, McCall has a unique gift that enables him to capture beautiful scenery, people’s spirits and inspiring stories through exceptional photojournalism. McCall’s work has appeared in Town & Country Magazine and The Premier Look Book. McCall is able to capture any emotion with ease, from the natural smile of a child to the leadership essence of a corporate executive to the simplicity and complexity of a moment in time.

For more information or to sign up for Y Talks, please contact the Easton Family YMCA at 410-822-0566 or stop by the Welcome Center–cost is $12 per person per session. Coffee and Tea is provided.

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Hollywood Stories by Two Local Gals Who Worked There

What would it be like to work for Steven Spielberg? Or spend a day with Jackie Kennedy?

Liza Moore Ledford (left) and Shar McBee worked in Hollywood and will tell about it at a ‘Y Talk’ presentation

Liza Moore Ledford (left) and Shar McBee worked in Hollywood and will tell about it at a ‘Y Talk’ presentation

Liza Moore Ledford grew up in Easton, then worked in Hollywood. Shar McBee worked in Hollywood, then moved to St. Michaels. They will tell these stories plus more about what it’s like to collaborate with Matt Damon and Cameron Diaz, have Stevie Wonder sing to you, interview Dolly Parton, or be asked to recommend film scripts to top Hollywood filmmakers.

Liza Moore Ledford worked on films including “Good Will Hunting,” “Jurassic Park” and “The Bridges of Madison County.” Today, she lives in Easton where she continues to develop screenwriters and new talent. She also works with corporate clients designing their marketing story.

Shar McBee was a reporter covering Hollywood for seven years. Today, she helps non-profits with fundraising and is the author of two best-selling books To Lead is to Serve and Joy of Leadership.

This program is part of the “Y Talks’ speaker series. Friday March 14th, 7:30 pm, YMCA of the Chesapeake, Easton Branch, $12. RSVP: 410-822-0566.

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Wittman Resident, Co-inventor of the Nielsen Ratings Box

Do you know that Americans watched over 33 billion hours of sports on television in 2013? That health and food prices are now top concerns for American consumers, replacing the top concerns of fuel prices and work/life balance? The Nielsen Company has been measuring these things as well as what programs Americans watch on television for half a century.

Wittman resident Bob Luff is responsible. Luff was the Chief Technology Officer who, with his R& D team, invented the Nielsen Ratings Box. He will explain the how and why of TV ratings and other fun TV viewing facts at a “Y Talks” presentation Friday, Feb. 21st, 7:30 pm, at the YMCA in Easton. RSVP: 410-822-0566.