YMCA Turkey Trot Charity 5-Ks Span the Eastern Shore

On Thanksgiving morning as turkeys were loaded into ovens and tables were set, people from Queen Anne County, MD down to Chincoteague, VA ran or walked in the YMCA Turkey Trot Charity 5-K which took place at six different locations. The Easton Family Y had 703 of those 1,535 participants. The money raised from this event will benefit those in the community that are living at or below the poverty level so that they can attend Y programs that keep them safe and engaged.

The Easton, Caroline, Queen Anne, Richard A. Henson, Lower Shore and Chincoteague Island YMCAs sponsored the 5-Ks to raise money for those in need in their communities. The Y serves thousands of children and families in the region and each year the demand for financial aid for Y programs grows.

And of course, the health benefits of exercise on Thanksgiving morning cannot be beat. There were serious runners, family teams, dogs, babies and costumes. This annual event promises to become a Thanksgiving tradition almost as good as the turkey, side dishes and pumpkin pie.

About the Y

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 Shore Ys engage over 35,000 members; men, women and children – regardless of age, income or background – to nurture the potential of children and teens, improve the shore’s health and well-being, and provide opportunities to give back and support neighbors.  In 2016, the YMCA of the Chesapeake provided over $1,226,000 in assistance to over 12,422 community members, turning no one away due to inability to pay. www.ymcachesapeake.org

FC Tred Avon Soccer Kicks Off New Season

The day was beautiful. Grandparents, parents, kids and even the family dog were in attendance for FC Tred Avon’s opening day of soccer. Conditions were perfect as 550 kids took to the field to start this season at the Black and Decker complex.

In this second season of FC Tred Avon, ages 2-13 were represented by a rainbow of different colored uniforms  and excited faces as kids learning or returning to the sport weaved and dashed toward the goal.

There is something uniquely entertaining when watching the different age groups navigate the field. The smallest group is torn between having a hug from Mom or Dad, picking dandelions or kicking the ball around. Coaches for this age are incredibly patient as they lead their young charges through skills and drills.

As the kids get older the game gets more intense but they do not lose that look of wonderment when the ball goes into the goal because they are starting to function as a team and not an individual. Passing goes from finding a friend to pass to in the younger groups, to strategic passing as part of crew that depend on each other.

As the season progresses so will the skills, as well as the satisfaction of the kids and their families knowing they are a part of such a great organization. And if by chance you missed signing up for this season you do not have to wait for next year. FC Tred Avon Indoor Soccer at the Y is right around the corner. Registration starts soon!

About the Y

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 Shore Ys engage over 35,000 members; men, women and children – regardless of age, income or background – to nurture the potential of children and teens, improve the shore’s health and well-being, and provide opportunities to give back and support neighbors.  In 2016, the YMCA of the Chesapeake provided over $1,226,000 in assistance to over 12,422 community members, turning no one away due to inability to pay. www.ymcachesapeake.org

Dorchester Family YMCA’s Swim For Life Program is a Success

What do you do if you or a friend find yourself in a dangerous situation in the water? The Dorchester Family YMCA taught twenty-one kids how to stay above and be safe in the water this past July and August.

When Dorchester Family YMCA Board Member Dr. MaryAnn Moore wanted the Y to reach out to kids who may not be able to afford swim lessons, a partnership was formed. The kids came from the New Beginnings program and were bused over once a week by the Y. Numerous volunteers, including some Cambridge City Police, taught the kids the skills they need in the water at the Y. The volunteers come from all walks of life but are united in their passion for aquatics and safety.

The Y has been involved in this type of class before. Every May the Y teaches third graders Water Safety. Barbara Wheatley, Aquatics Director of the Dorchester Y, said that the new program, Swim for Life, focuses on how to respond if a youth or a friend finds themselves in a position in the water where they are not safe. Also floating in the water, dog paddling and keeping their heads above the water are taught.

Barbara said her favorite part of teaching swimming is “watching the joy on someone’s face when they realize they can do something they once thought impossible. Conquering fear is great for self-esteem and is uplifting for all involved.” The Y hopes to extend the program and teach even more kids in the near future.

About the Y
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 Shore Ys engage over 35,000 members; men, women and children – regardless of age, income or background – to nurture the potential of children and teens, improve the shore’s health and well-being, and provide opportunities to give back and support neighbors. In 2016, the YMCA of the Chesapeake provided over $1,226,000 in assistance to over 12,422 community members, turning no one away due to inability to pay. www.ymcachesapeake.org

Summer Learning Program Has Great Partners in St. Michaels

Summer is a time for kids to play and have fun. It also has the potential to put move some kids below grade level. Talbot County Public Schools (TCPS), the St. Michaels Family YMCA and Christmas in St. Michaels are working to prevent summer learning loss.

Kids from minority populations or those that do not have an opportunity to attend summer camp or do an activity with an educational component are at risk for summer learning loss. When these kids attend school in the fall, there is an achievement gap that results in the kids being behind in their grade level. If the kids can be involved in an educational experience over the summer the gap can be closed and the kids can start the school year at the same level as their peers.

A solution that the the YMCA of the Chesapeake has been a part of, for the Easton Family YMCA and the St. Michaels Family YMCA, is partnering with TCPS to offer a full day experience. In the morning the kids are in a classroom learning reading and STEM based activities and in the afternoon they transition to a camp atmosphere of crafts, swimming and fun. TCPS and the Y have partnered to provide classrooms, transportation, meals and fun. Environmental Concern, the St. Michaels Fire Department, a Naval Academy Blue and Gold officer and volunteers from the St. Michaels High School helped with the STEM classes.

The Y’s Strong Communities Campaign helps to fund the program as well as TCPS now that St. Michaels Elementary School is a Title One School. Title One Schools have high numbers or high percentages of children from low-income families. The funding is to help ensure that all children meet challenging state academic standards.

This year, Christmas in St. Michaels donated $2,500 to help cover expenses for the Y to facilitate the program. Tracy Cohee, Executive Director of the St. Michael’s YMCA, said “their generous donation made it possible for us to serve the kids in the St. Michael’s area that were identified as being at risk for summer learning loss”. Some say it takes a village to raise a child. The St. Michaels Family YMCA and TCPS have indeed proven that with partners interested in helping the community, anything is possible.

About the Y

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 Shore Ys engage over 27,000 members; men, women and children – regardless of age, income or background – to nurture the potential of children and teens, improve the shore’s health and well-being, and provide opportunities to give back and support neighbors.  In 2016, the YMCA of the Chesapeake provided over $1,226,000 in assistance to over 12,422 community members, turning no one away due to inability to pay. www.ymcachesapeake.org

FC Tred Avon Gearing Up For New Season

FC Tred Avon soccer league is gearing up for the new season. Registration has already started and runs through August 20, 2017. This league is a premier soccer experience for kids in the community.

Len Foxwell, president of the FC Tred Avon Advisory Board, commented Last year’s inaugural season of FC Tred Avon was more successful than any of us could have imagined, and it catapulted the YMCA of the Chesapeake to the forefront of our region’s youth soccer movement.  Now that we are the only recreational soccer program in Talbot County, we will take this program to a far higher level this fall.  With highly-trained coaches and referees, a beautiful new training center in partnership with Talbot County at the corner of Glebe Road and the Easton bypass, state-of-the-art equipment and attractive uniforms; FC Tred Avon is offering the families of the Mid-Shore a travel soccer experience, without the travel, at YMCA prices, and we are making the global game available to everyone”.

In this league, kids have a superior learning experience while having fun. Everyone is welcome to play. Whether you are a beginner or experienced, there is a place for every child. The Y also offers financial aid so no one is turned away from activities or membership because of an inability to pay. This policy enables the Y to serve all the children in the community.

FC Tred Avon is made up of many partnerships. Len Foxwell commented “My thanks to Abby O’Donnell and the entire YMCA team for their hard work in making FC Tred Avon the fastest-growing youth sports program in our region.  I’m also deeply grateful for our community partners – from our local businesses that sponsor our player’s kits, to the Baltimore Blast, Salisbury University and G.R. Cannon and the staff at Shore FC – for helping us deliver such a quality product to our kids.”

Having Coach Alex Hargrove, University of Salisbury Head Soccer Coach, and G.R. Cannon, former DC United player, participating in our clinics/camps this year and last has amped up the program. When kids can meet and learn from athletes of this degree of competency, they gain skills, knowledge and a greater respect for the game.

We tend to think of fall sports beginning with the school year. The games will run from August 28-October 28. This will enable the Y to end the season before the time change in November. As Maryland has changed the beginning of the school year, parents will have to remember that registration for FC Tred Avon soccer ends August 20, 2017. If you have any questions, please contact the Easton Family YMCA.

About the Y

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 Shore Ys engage over 27,000 members; men, women and children – regardless of age, income or background – to nurture the potential of children and teens, improve the shore’s health and well-being, and provide opportunities to give back and support neighbors.  In 2016, the YMCA of the Chesapeake provided over $1,226,000 in assistance to over 12,422 community members, turning no one away due to inability to pay. www.ymcachesapeake.org

Open House at Easton Family YMCA at Washington

The YMCA at Washington, formerly Cross Courts, opened its doors on Saturday to invite everyone to see what the Y has to offer. Staff gave tours, held clinics and everyone had the chance to try tennis, pickleball, fitness classes, great food and games. Wendy Palmer, the new Operations Director, was on hand to greet everyone and make them feel at home.

The Y on Washington gives the YMCA of the Chesapeake more opportunities to make a difference in our community. It also opens up the door for the members to experience everything the Y’s have to offer. As a YMCA of the Chesapeake member you can frequent any of our eight locations. Carol Fegel, Easton Family YMCA on Peachblossom member,  said that she was pleasantly surprised at how nice it is. “It has such a warm, homey atmosphere and everyone was nice. Its beautiful.”

The kids had a great time. It was a hot day and an impromptu water balloon battle was born out of a water balloon toss. Nobody cared, it was fun. And when you have snow cones after a good water battle, the day is just about perfect.

The wellness area and fitness classes were open for everyone to try. Regina Elliott has been a group fitness instructor and a member there for over 20 years. She said it is very much a family. She said “ the transition from Cross Courts to the Y has been successful. There is new equipment and with Wendy, and the new leadership, the heart is coming back into the facility. With the Y focus we can help the community and families”.

Clinics for tennis and pickleball were well attended. Tennis has been a long standing tradition on the Eastern Shore. Now that the Y has indoor and outdoor courts, we can involve the members of all ages in the game. Anytime you go to the Y on Washington, you can see how much the members love the game. If tennis may be a bit much, Pickleball can be played at both Easton locations.

The Open House may have ended at 4:00pm on Saturday, but you are always invited to come by for a tour and see what you can do there.

About the Y

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 Shore Ys engage over 27,000 members; men, women and children – regardless of age, income or background – to nurture the potential of children and teens, improve the shore’s health and well-being, and provide opportunities to give back and support neighbors.  In 2016, the YMCA of the Chesapeake provided over $1,226,000 in assistance to over 12,422 community members, turning no one away due to inability to pay. www.ymcachesapeake.org

The YMCA of the Chesapeake “The Best Summer Ever”

Over 200 counselors from across the Shore, some returning and some new, gathered at the Richard A. Henson Family YMCA for extensive training to skillfully serve 1,000 kids a day this summer at YMCA of the Chesapeake locations. Robbie Gill, CEO of the YMCA of the Chesapeake, opened camp training and welcomed staff to the #bestsummerever. As CEO, a parent and a former camp counselor he understands the experience everyone is looking for with camp whether you are a camper, parent or staff. He addressed the assembled group.

“We get moments in our lives where the opportunity to give back and make a difference appear before us. This is one of those moments. As much as we all would love to be a camp counselor for the next 20 years, that’s just not how life works out. But, here you are, a camp counselor, this summer, with an opportunity to make a lasting positive impact in the lives of children every day. Make the most of this opportunity. There will be kids who are so excited to meet you; they can’t sleep the night before camp starts. Let’s be ready every day, to make this the best summer ever. Your best summer ever, the Y’s best summer ever and the kids we’re blessed enough to serve, let’s make it their best summer ever.”

We are ready and waiting for your children to come to camp. Every child deserves to just be a kid during the summer. Here are five reasons why children and teens should attend summer camp:   

1.    ADVENTURE: Summer camp is all about a wide variety of new experiences and exploring the outdoors. YMCA camps have a new adventure for every child and teen. Visit www.ymcachesapeake.org for details.

2.    HEALTHY FUN: Day and resident camps offer fun, stimulating activities that engage the body and mind, and also help children and teens learn the importance of nutrition to help improve their healthy eating habits. 

3.    PERSONAL GROWTH: While in the welcoming environment of camp, youth have a chance to learn new skills, and develop confidence and independence by taking on new responsibilities and challenges. Camps offer cognitive learning and social-emotional development opportunities for achievement.

4.    FRIENDSHIPS: Amidst the fun of camp games, songs, swimming, canoeing and talent shows, campers meet new friends and strengthen existing friendships. The bonds formed at camp are important and lasting for many youth.

5.    MEMORIES: Summer camp is an unforgettable experience that will give each camper memories (and camp traditions) that will last a lifetime. Youth return to school with plenty of camp stories to share!

And, to ensure that all youth have the chance to experience camp, the YMCA of the Chesapeake offers financial assistance to those in need. If you’re interested in helping send kids to camp this summer, you can donate to the Y at ymcachesapeake.org or contact your local branch of the YMCA of the Chesapeake.

The “best summer ever” is right around the corner and the YMCA of the Chesapeake is offering a variety of camp to make sure kids and teens on the Eastern Shore are adventurous, active and healthy this summer. YMCA camp programs offer youth fun and unique experiences with an opportunity to explore the outdoors, meet new friends, discover new interests and create memories that last a lifetime. The Y has Traditional, Specialty, Sports and Outdoor camps. There truly is something for everyone. We have ten different locations that, when combined, offer over 400 different camps. Come and register for camp at your local YMCA of the Chesapeake branch. Make this the best summer ever!

About the Y

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 Shore Ys engage over 27,000 members; men, women and children – regardless of age, income or background – to nurture the potential of children and teens, improve the shore’s health and well-being, and provide opportunities to give back and support neighbors.  In 2016, the YMCA of the Chesapeake provided over $1,226,000 in assistance to over 12,422 community members, turning no one away due to inability to pay. www.ymcachesapeake.org

Take the Helm Crew Has an Adventure in the Bronx

Take the Helm, which started in January of 2017, is providing youth with a chance to learn boat building skills and be a part of a unique group that is learning about themselves and how to be part of a team. This past weekend Adam Hollis, Director of Take the Helm, and crew members Creed Haddaway, Nate Moore, Isaac Little, Trinity Turnage, Evan Gostomski and Kristian Bailey were able to go the Bronx and visit Rockin the Boat, the group that was the inspiration for Take the Helm.

Adam Greene started Rocking the Boat about twenty years ago, and now has about one hundred youth in the after school program. Take the Helm and Rocking the Boat are similar, yet the boats are different. Rocking the Boat builds Whitehalls which are native to their area, where as Take the Helm builds flat bottom skiffs which are native to Talbot County. The crew along with Adam Hollis,  traveled up the the Bronx to see Rocking the Boat’s end of year celebration and the launch of Kaleidoscope, their latest boat. It was an opportunity to see a larger program and what they are doing. The Take the Helm crew were given a tour and the history of the program. They even went rowing on the Bronx River.

Creed Haddaway enjoyed going on the trip. He stated “Their program is kind of different, the boat they launched was the fiftieth boat they have built.”  He also said he really likes the Take the Helm program because he like hands on things like building. Isaac Little said the trip was fun and he learned about differences between the programs. He said “Their boats are built differently from ours and the shop is a large building that is near a river. They can launch form there”.

Adam Hollis, often says “We don’t only build boats, we build youth”. He and Jim Fodrie, lead boat builder, teach the kids woodworking skills, safety and shop maintenance. But what really happens when you have two fantastic staff is relationships form, mentoring abounds and teens learn much more than boatbuilding. As Nate Moore, participant in Take the Helm says, “Both Adam and Jim have been great mentors for all of us in the program. Although the kids in the program may take different classes at school or have different groups of friends, we all come together twice a week to work on one project. We are a team-we are working toward one goal”.

About the Y

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 Shore Ys engage over 27,000 members; men, women and children – regardless of age, income or background – to nurture the potential of children and teens, improve the shore’s health and well-being, and provide opportunities to give back and support neighbors.  In 2016, the YMCA of the Chesapeake provided over $1,226,000 in assistance to over 12,422 community members, turning no one away due to inability to pay. www.ymcachesapeake.org

Nice – YMCA of the Chesapeake Celebrates 64 Years

The YMCA of the Chesapeake held its 64th Annual Celebration at the Hyatt Regency Hotel. Although it was a rainy night, the mood inside was uplifting and filled with excitement, inspired by the Y’s theme of “Magnify the Work of the Y”. Each speaker, award winner and over 260 guests were presented with the important work the Y engages in, invited to be a part of it, and encouraged to go out and tell our story.

Paul Berry, Y board member and retired news anchor, emceed the evening’s festivities. Dick Bodorff, YMCA Chief Volunteer Officer, shared three important numbers. “The YMCA of the Chesapeake has over 27,000 members, this year we awarded 1.2 million dollars in scholarship funds and 12,422 individuals were served through those scholarship funds by becoming members or participating in programs at the Y”. Robbie Gill spoke of the work we do at the Y. “We share and celebrate with each other, but we need to bring more people into the circle. How do we magnify the work of the Y? We need to share our stories.”

New programs were celebrated. Nick Papson and Nancy Norman-Van Schaik shared Pickleball, the game that can be played by any age and any ability. With over 250 pickleball players involved with the Y across the Shore, it is the YMCA of the Chesapeake’s fastest growing program. Nate Moore, Easton High School freshman, shared his experiences of Take the Helm, a new boat building program for teens in Easton. Take the Helm participants are building relationships and learning life skills while building a boat that is set to launch off of Easton Point on June 23. Wendy Palmer, new Operations Director for the Y on Washington Street in Easton, announced that an anonymous donor has given a matching gift to the Y on Washington. This person has pledged to match donations up to a total of $25,000, and can be used to invest in upgrading the facility. Kerry Foxwell, Director of Major Gifts, spoke of an anonymous donor who has an opportunity for the Y. “A gift of $100,000 has been donated and you are invited to take part in it. If you are a new donor, a current member of the Y, and your gift is at least $100 it will be matched up to $1,000”.

Dick Bodorff also specially recognized some of our outstanding volunteers. Tom Evans, Mark Welsh, Len Foxwell, David Nagel and Blenda Armistead were recognized for their outstanding service with the YMCA of the Chesapeake. Tyler Patton, YMCA board member shared his experience of becoming a volunteer. The timeline from his Y experiences as a child, to becoming a board member, to realizing he had some health goals to accomplish and finding true friends. The magical evening wound down with Paul Berry saying “I challenge you tonight, let’s go out there and magnify the work of the Y. Let’s get more people involved in this amazing charity and use it to strengthen the communities we are so fortunate to call home”.

 

Tennis Anyone? YMCA Acquires Cross Court Athletic Club to Expand Mission

After nearly year of negotiations and blessed with the generous philanthropic support of 40 community members, the YMCA of the Chesapeake has acquired Cross Court Athletic Club located at 1180 South Washington St in Easton. One of the last remaining indoor tennis facilities on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, the 43,000 square foot facility boasts four indoor tennis courts, three outdoor clay courts, wellness and group exercise space and shower facilities.

screen-shot-2017-01-03-at-9-36-32-amThough in operation for the past 30+ years, the imminent threat of the sale of the Cross Court facility for redevelopment purposes, led local YMCA volunteers to explore strategic opportunities that could save the facility, its programs and services, while expanding the charitable work of the YMCA. With 10,000 members in Talbot County, the Y’s main facility located on Peachblossom is a hub for community activity and very busy. Y volunteers and staff determined the Cross Court facility could provide additional opportunities to meet community needs through expanded youth programs including year round tennis, youth soccer, and youth sports skills development. The facility could also provide expanded wellness programing for older adults such as balance and stability classes, fall prevention classes, flexibility and Yoga classes and functional strength activities that would help continue to support an active aging demographic within the County. The Y plans to explore with Y members and existing Cross Court members ways in which the facility may be utilized to best serve community needs, or the like.

“This is a big win for our community and the YMCA “, said Dick Bodorff YMCA Board President. “Tennis, as a way to connect to our friends and neighbors, is a big part of the culture of Talbot County. Losing this facility to development would have been a real loss. Under the Y’s leadership, not only will existing programs continue, but the development of new and exciting programs will only help to strengthen our community.”

The not-for-profit 501(c)(3) charity turns no one away due to the inability to pay and provided over $1.2 million dollars in financial assistance to over 12,000 people across the Eastern Shore of Maryland and Virginia in 2016. All Y members will gain access to programs and services at the Cross Court facility, to be newly named Y @ Washington, while existing Cross Court members will gain access to Y facilities and programs across the Eastern Shore.

YMCA CEO Robbie Gill stated, “Warren and Lynne Rich, the YMCA and so many others have dedicated their time and talents to support tennis within Talbot County. It’s very exciting to bring this facility under the umbrella of the Y. There are so many opportunities to make a bigger difference in the lives of kids, families and adults in our community. This facility will only enhance our ability do that work. “

To learn more about the newly named Y @ Washington and the YMCA, please contact Jennifer Gill at 410.770.3890 or email at jgill@ymcachesapeake.org