Throughout the Boothbay Region, people know the YMCA. But there’s so much more to our Y than one might think. From exercise to education, from volleyball to volunteering, from preschool to preventive health, the Y doesn’t just strengthen bodies — we strengthen community. Your contribution to the Annual Fund will make it possible for children, families and adults to have access to Y programs that improve their lives. Give generously today!
Meet the Barker family, our 2018 Annual Fund chairs:
We have been delighted to be a part of this community and members of the YMCA since we moved to Boothbay 19 years ago. The first thing we did was look for swimming lessons for our kids. We were looking to continue to provide pool therapy time for our middle daughter, Maren, who has cerebral palsy, and to improve our then 9 year-old son Soren’s swim skills. While we were waiting for some free pool time, we watched the Y’s Dolphin Swim Team practice. As we sat on the bench, we heard musical scales and arpeggios coming from down the hallway in the Coastal Club room. “They’ve got a choir?” Soren asked. So we went to investigate.
There was Ginny Bishop, working from an old piano to get about 60 kids to sing the same thing at the same time for tryouts for a new chorus she was organizing. Soren and our oldest daughter, Kjirsten enthusiastically joined in, and Anne’s mother, Betty Jo Davis, offered to handle the keyboard so Ginny could better handle the kids. Thus began a lasting relationship that continued in weekly practices and monthly performances for the next 3 years as the YARTS chorus sang their hearts out around the community and competed in New Orleans at the YMCA’s 150th anniversary. Alan went as a chaperone and YARTS physician. It was an amazing opportunity that the community supported so these kids could have a wonderful experience. And they won!
After Betty Jo returned to her home out West, Anne continued to play for YARTS practices and theater productions, and Soren and Kjirsten continued to sing in the many YARTS concerts and theater productions over the years until they graduated from high school and went to college. Soren recently graduated from college in Theater Education and History, and those years in YARTS had a profound effect on him.
Anne found “her people” in the 8 o’clock morning water aerobics class, and still feels connected to the pool even though she can’t go to those classes now because of her work schedule. “Some of my most tender memories are of exercising in this class with fellow classmate, Joe Peters, who yelled ‘Break Time!’ at the halfway mark as a joke, and even sometimes brought coffee and donuts for class members to enjoy. He would always sing a song at the end of class as well. You can see a big sign in his memory on the pool wall of a singing green frog and the words ‘Break Time’ across the top.”
As a current resident of the Rocky Coast Group home next door to the Y, Maren benefits from a partnership with the Y that provides lifetime memberships for these special needs residents so they can have access to safe and supportive programs and ADA accessible facilities to keep them active and connected to the community where they live. Maren continues to enjoy her supporting roles on the stage with the Arts for All musical theater program that Emily Mirabile directs for people in our community with special needs. This program truly exemplifies the Y’s efforts to fulfill its mission to reach 100% of the youth in the region.
Now that we’re empty nesters, we each use the Y in different ways and for different purposes. For Alan it has become part of his daily cold weather fitness routine to run the track in the morning. He says it seems to help with his mental fitness, and Anne would agree that he’s just easier to live with when he gets to the Y regularly.
When Betty Jo returned last fall for an extended stay after completing chemotherapy for her leukemia, the YMCA’s Live Strong Program offered her 12-week twice-weekly free personal fitness sessions with Abby Jones, who gently and cheerfully guided her back to feeling confident in the pool and in the weight room, so she could regain her strength and balance. “She looked forward to it and really made incredible progress in those three months,” Anne noted. And it provided her with lasting connections and friendships with new people that she wouldn’t have had otherwise.
Anne served on the YMCA board for 6 years, enjoying the friendships created and especially the monthly uplifting and inspirational opening remarks of our local clergy. “Mary Jo Zimmerli, Sarah Foulger and Maria Hoeker are my heroes. I met them and worked with them on the board and wouldn’t have had that opportunity otherwise. I feel truly blessed to have been able to associate with these and other amazing women like Andrea Hutchins, Deezie Flower, Erin Cooperrider, Laura Honey, Peggy Pinkham and Helen Meserve. Their examples of quiet service, intelligent and articulate communication and humble yet effective leadership inspire me to emulate them.”
We feel blessed to have been a part of the health care of this community and count on the Y to continue to partner with us and with other non profit organizations to contribute to the wellbeing of our region.
Alan says, “Whether you are a kid, a teen, a young, middle-aged or older adult, whether you are fit or fat, tall or short, float or sink, fast or slow, there is something for everyone at the Y.”
The Annual Fund makes it possible for our YMCA to provide programs and services to the community at large as well as to members. We are blessed by having this YMCA as part of our community. We support it and hope you will add your support as well.
Will you join us in supporting the Boothbay Region YMCA? Your donation ensures that our Y’s doors are open to all. Together, we can make a difference in the lives of children, adults, families, and seniors in the Boothbay Region.