More than 250 guests attended the YMCA of the Capital Area’s annual meeting celebration April 19 to recognize volunteers, donors and partners as well as programs, services and opportunities provided by the Y to help strengthen the foundation of the communities it serves.
Presided over by Metro Board Chairman Lance Kinchen and YMCA of the Capital Area President/CEO Bob Jacobs, the meeting featured testimonials and fellowship among the members and program participants as they dined.
Several YMCA volunteers received special recognition for their service to the Y, including John Ryan Nader, of the A.C. Lewis branch, who was given the Myron Falk Fundraising Award for being a committed volunteer, major funds-raiser and for having served as the A.C. Lewis board chairman, the Annual Campaign chairman and Major Gifts chairman.
Zachary resident John Stagg, of the Americana YMCA, received the overall volunteer of the year award in the Edward D. Grant Volunteerism award, given in honor of Grant, a former metropolitan board chair and recognized leader of volunteer service.
Stagg was an instrumental part of the Americana Y’s board development, capital campaign and tennis program. He previously has served on the Board of Directors and currently serves as the finance chairman for the Americana YMCA.
Stagg, whose own first experience with the Y was when he lived in Alabama and his son was on the swim team, said he remembers his father wanting to have a YMCA in Zachary and donating money 20 or 30 years ago.
Upon Stagg’s return to Zachary, he was one of the first nominees to accept a position on the first board of directors for the branch.
“I enjoy it, especially when they’re meeting budget,” said Stagg.
He has supported the Y prior to the construction of the Americana branch as a donor to the capital campaign and as a member of the Chairman’s Roundtable. He also is a member.
“My involvement at the Y has helped me realize that it’s more than just a gym, it’s a community,” Stagg said.
An avid tennis player, he has been involved in the growth of the branch’s tennis program through participation in programs, tournaments and events and by encouraging others to play.
Stagg volunteers for several local nonprofits and even has started his own, which mentors youth through sports.
In addition to Nader and Stagg, the Y recognized branch several Volunteers of the Year, including Will Robbins, Baranco Clark YMCA; Thomas Szekely, C.B. Pennington Jr. YMCA; Rose Willis, Charles W. Lamar Jr. YMCA; Megan Sias, Dow Westside YMCA; Gregory Williams, ExxonMobil YMCA; Laura Patterson, Paula G. Manship YMCA; and Jeremy Coco, Southside YMCA.
The April event also celebrated the positive impact made through Y programs and services: 15,608 participants in YMCA sports; 13,949 participants in child care; 8,515 participants in teen programs; and 5,433 participants taking swimming lessons. Outreach was provided to 12,316 people throughout YMCA communities, and the Annual Community Support Campaign provided $580,050 in scholarships for programs and services.
Additionally, branch members visited the YMCA 777,633 times throughout the year.
The YMCA also celebrated the efforts of its 2,898 volunteers, who gave 23,237 hours of service to help make a difference in their communities last year.