Kevin Washington President & CEO YMCA of Greater Boston 316 Huntington Avenue Boston, MA 02115 617-927-8125 | email
Jeff Conway, Chair Elizabeth B. Burnett, Vice Chair Eileen M. Connors, Vice Chair William I. Huyett, Vice Chair Brian H. Kavoogian, Vice Chair Richard C. Waters, Treasurer Mark S. Ain Hope A. Aldrich Richard H. Aldrich Brant Binder Kevin J. Blake Frederick H. Chicos Daniel F. Conley John G. Conley C. Michael Daley David A. Damassa Kevin A. Foster John P. Fowler David G. Fubini Michelle W. Hecht Professor Cornelius K. Hurley Evelyn Kaupp Robert E. Kenney Teresa K. Koster Matt McPherron C. Ann Merrifield Tara Murphy Charlayne Murrell-Smith Jack R. O'Connor Jill W. Onderdonk James P. Palermo William M. Parent Charles R. Parrott Cynthia L. Strauss Nancy Stuart Tanisha M. Sullivan, Esq. Alan W. Tuck Kate Walsh Frederick A. Wang Faith S. Weiner M. David Wilkins
YMCA KIDS CONNECT WITH MICHELLE OBAMA IN AFRICA On June 29, the First Lady hosted a Google+ Hangout in South Africa that connected African youth with young people in the U.S. to discuss the importance of education and our shared future. The real-time web conversation included Girl Up, a Houston-based non-profit; the Y Global Teen Program in New York; and singer/songwriter John Legend in Los Angeles. Young people gathered at YMCA facilities around the U.S. to view and participate in this groundbreaking event.
Youth at the viewing party hosted by the Roxbury YMCA found the First Lady to be very engaging and relatable. "Her message to so many young people throughout the world was incredible," said Roxbury YMCA Executive Director Kathryn Saunders. The students are looking forward to other opportunities for conversations with their peers in other parts of the world.
BPD OFFICERS TO AWARD Y CAMPERSHIPS With support from the AGM Summer Fund and the Paul and Edith Babson Foundation, the YMCA of Greater Boston will provide Boston Police community service officers with a total of 180 one-week camp scholarships to award to at-risk youth throughout the city. This 15-year plus partnership is aimed at strengthening relationships between police and the city's residents by providing police officers an opportunity to positively interact with youth and families rather than only when something negative has occured. As one officer told us last year, "This program has built a positive partnership between the families living in our district and the officers assigned to District D-4." (District D-4 includes the following neighborhoods: South End, Lower Roxbury, Back Bay, and The Fenway.) The police are also helping the Y identify those kids in our communities who need positive summer experiences the most.
Y STAFF HELP KEEP YOUR FAMILY SAFE THIS SUMMER Activities at the Y are always conducted with safety in mind. With summer now in full swing, staff at the Y have some reminders about smart ways for you and your family to enjoy the season, wherever your adventures take you.
"Education is important in the prevention of water emergencies," says Jeremy Stiles, Association Aquatics Director - Safety. "Spend some time with your family discussing the dangers of water, and use the tips below to prepare for your trip to the beach."
Never swim alone. Accidents can happen to anyone.
Know how to help. An inflatable thrown to someone in need can be beneficial, but never get in the water to aid a struggling swimmer.
Don't assume someone is watching your family for you. The role of a lifeguard is a difficult one and extra eyes can save lives.
Another area of concern during this sunny time of year is proper skin care and skin cancer prevention. Robyn Sardellitti, Personal Trainer and Group Exercise Instructor at the Burbank YMCA, recommends the following steps for protecting yourself from skin cancer.
Know the causes. Risk factors of skin cancer include exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun or tanning salons, having moles on your skin, having fair skin (skin that burns easily when exposed to UV light), and a family history of melanoma.
Be proactive and limit your risk. Wear sunscreen to block harmful UV light when outdoors, wear sunglasses to protect your eyes, and wear a hat when outdoors for extended periods of time. Most importantly, avoid tanning beds and sun lamps.
Know your skin. Each month, take a look at your skin and learn the patterns of your moles, blemishes, freckles and other marks. This way you will notice any new moles or changes in existing marks on your skin. If you see anything out of the ordinary, call your doctor immediately and schedule an appointment to get your skin checked out.
See your dermatologist regularly. A recent ten-year study concluded that skin cancer screening reduced the mortality rate of melanoma by 48%.
HUNTINGTON AVE YMCA RENOVATION UPDATE Construction continues on schedule for the Huntington Avenue YMCA renovation. Last week, the steel framework for the new gymnasium, pool, and handball courts was completed, and the progress is amazing to watch. Get the latest updates on our blog.
LIBERTY MUTUAL EMPLOYEES VOLUNTEER AT Y CAMPS In June, the Y's Camp Wakanda, located on the beautiful Stiles Pond in Boxford, hosted 21 Liberty Mutual employee volunteers for a day of service. As part of Liberty Mutual's annual Serve with Liberty campaign, Liberty Mutual employees worked hard alongside YMCA staff on projects including raking, painting and cleaning, to prepare the camp for the hundreds of children who will attend this summer. At Camp Wakanda, operated by the Burbank Y in Reading, kids explore the natural environment, swim, play, fish, and boat.
Camp Wakanda is just one of 12 YMCA of Greater Boston sites that benefited from the work of more than 125 Liberty Mutual employee volunteers as part of this year's Serve with Liberty event, which ran from June 17 through June 21.
VOLUNTEER SPOTLIGHT: DIANA TODARO GETMAN Diana (Di) Todaro Getman is a self-employed violin teacher who has been volunteering with the Y for over 10 years. She is currently the Chair of the YMCA Camping Services Board of Advisors.
Tell us about your first experiences with the Y. I was four months old when I spent the first of 16 summers at North Woods Camp (NWC), the Y's resident boys' camp on Lake Winnipesaukee. My father was the director there for 23 years. Beginning at age 10, I attended Pleasant Valley Camp for girls for three summers. When I was 12, I started spending all my time at the NWC horse stables, mucking stalls, feeding the horses, and helping to teach riding lessons. When I was 16, my father became the director at Sandy Island Family Camp, and I had the privilege of working there for three summers.
Why did you decide to volunteer with the Greater Boston Y? Though I never let many summers go by without spending time at one of the camps, by joining the YMCA Camping Services Board about 10 years ago, I was able to focus on a variety of initiatives, all with the common goal of keeping camp viable for future generations. Working closely with camp staff and volunteers gives me an incredible sense of worth and accomplishment.
What do the YMCA camps mean to you? My father was incredibly passionate about the work he did for the YMCA Camps, as evidenced by his 33-year history as a camp director and executive director. Our family spent every summer, all summer, at the camps, and I couldn't help but fall in love with their physical beauty as well as the traditions and beliefs they represent.
How has the Y influenced your life? My experiences at camp shaped who I am today. I developed an appreciation for nature, learned the value of hard work, and came to appreciate people's differences. I gained self confidence, a strong character and leadership skills, all of which have served me well in all of my endeavors.
SUMMER ACTIVITIES FOR YOUTH AND FAMILIES Thanks to a recent grant from The Boston Foundation's My Summer in the City initiative, the East Boston YMCA will offer activities five nights a week in Bremen Street Park for youth and families, with input and assistance from its youth workers, including family Zumba classes, healthy cookouts, and other family games and activities. Our Roxbury Y is offering similar activities for families this summer on its soccer field.
The Egleston Square YMCA was recently selected as one of four teen cafes operating in the city in partnership with the Black Ministerial Alliance. Our Y was the driving force behind the Egleston Square Peace Garden that memorializes victims of youth violence. At our teen cafes, teens will help maintain the park, including revitalizing the murals, and will also have a chance to participate in a video tribute documenting the impact of youth violence in the community. Offering extended hours until 9:00pm two nights a week, teens in Egleston Square will also have the opportunity to participate in the Hands Around Egleston community event, SAT prep at the Y, and much more. Activities at the Egleston Square Y will also be directed and led by YMCA youth summer staff.