Volunteers, staff honored at YMCA annual meeting


GREENVILLE — The YMCA of Darke County hosted its annual meeting Thursday, April 27, at Birchwood Training Center to honor staff members and volunteers, highlight the achievements of the past year, and launch the annual fundraising campaign with the theme, “A Stronger, More Connected Community.”

“To seek unity is not to demand sameness. … Unity is what helps us zoom out and see that we all are circling the same desire – safety, belonging, a future for our children,” CEO Sam Casalano said in his closing speech for the evening. “ Unity may not always be easy to pinpoint, but like planets orbiting the sun, we are always joined by force at our center, if we only trust in its gravity.”

He also stressed the importance of forgiveness: “Forgiveness is a frangrance that flowers give when they are crushed.”

The annual campaign provides funding to ensure that any member of the community can participate in the Y experience, regardless of their ability to pay.

Highlighting the evening, Casalano announced the inclusion of five new honorees on the YMCA of the USA National Honor Roll of Donors, which recognizes donors who have cumulatively given more than $100,000 and continue to give today. Added to the National Honor Roll this year for Darke County were Matt and Angie Arnold, Dennis and Shirla Neff, The Coppock-Hole Trust, Midmark Corp./Eiting Family, and The Hole Family.

The honorees were presented with a certificate and letter of recognition from the YMCA of the USA’s President and CEO, Suzanne McCormick, and National Board Chair Dr. Pamela Davies, for their extraordinary support of the Darke County YMCA.

“Thank you for helping us to deliver our mission to the community,” Casalano said.

Casalano also took the opportunity to honor the legacy of a founding member of the YMCA of Darke County. Gloria Hole, who was known as “the Mother of the Y” in Darke County, passed in October, and a plaque in her honor was presented to her son Jeff Hole and daughter Julie Kirk, who attended the event.

“Legacy is not what you accomplish. It’s what others accomplish because of you,” Casalano said.

Donors who have given more than $5,000 during the previous year are named as Champions of Hope, and receiving the recognition for 2022 were Matt and Angie Arnold, Jeff Hole, John Keller, Dennis and Shirla Neff, the Coppock-Hole Trust/Hole Family, Financial Achievement Servies, Midmark Corporation/Eiting Family, and Park National Bank.

Operations Director Lisa Toomey was honored with the Carpe Diem award. This award was originated at the Sidney-Shelby County YMCA to recognize a member of staff who exemplifies the Y’s core values in their work and personal lives.

Outgoing board president (Chief Volunteer Officer) Dr. Laurie White was recognized for her service to the YMCA. Casalano extended his gratitude and appreciation to White for her exemplary leadership during difficult years.

Verlin Thompson will be taking on the position of CVO, and Lisa Bolyard-Herron will be serving as vice chair. Bill Klepinger was announced as the newest member to join the board of directors.

The financial report for 2022 was bright, with Thompson reporting that the close of 2022 was a record year for the Y, with the help of additional government funding for pandemic support. He added that membership is up, accounts payable are current and cash flow is positive.

“I think the CEO and the board of directors, over the years, have made some really good decisions,” Thompson noted.

Wellness Coordinator Jen Sturgill reported that the YMCA was chosen Best Fitness Center and Best Childcare Center for the sixth year in a row in the annual Daily Advocate Readers’ Choice Awards. She shared highlights and photos from YMCA programs and classes, partnerships, and provided updates on new equipment in the facilities.

Toomey addressed facility improvements, including new lockers in the women’s locker room in Greenville, flooring in the locker rooms and gymnasiums, and pool and hot tub repairs.

Citing the ongoing search for an aquatics director, Casalano shared the highlights from that department. He said the Y has held several trainings to secure more certified lifeguards for staff during a national shortage, which has enabled the Y to return to return to a normal pool schedule.

Child Development Center Director Zach Kendall shared that the center was able to earn a 5-Star rating in the state’s Step Up to Quality program. He said ongoing training for staff was key to securing the top rating and that has been made possible with the purchase of new laptops for each of the childcare classrooms.

The evening closed with a reminder of the importance of the annual Partner Campaign. As a nonprofit organization, the YMCA is required by law to obtain a percentage of its operating budget from charitable sources. The campaign goal for 2023 is $141,000.

To learn how to get involved with the YMCA of Darke County, stop by or call either the Greenville (937-548-3777) or Versailles (937-526-4488) branch or visit us online at www.ymcadarkecounty.org or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ymcadarkecounty.

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