Chambers Chapter scores

a touchdown in Canton

Chambers Chapter members gathered for our Spring Reunion in Canton, Ohio June 5-7. Our first evening was spent enjoying dinner and reconnecting with our colleagues. 

Joining us was Eric Kempthorne, a longtime member and volunteer for the YMCA of Central Stark County who had recently returned from working on the National Service Project in South Dakota. It was very inspiring to hear about his experiences.

The group toured the First Ladies Museum Thursday morning and heard a very informative presentation by the museum staff. We then proceeded to Tim’s Tavern for a wonderful lunch before heading over to the Pro Football Hall of Fame for an afternoon of football related fun. 

The HoF staff were amazing and we heard many great stories and learned a lot of history about the game and teams and even saw some incredible championship rings. We finished the day with a fantastic meal catered by the hotel and a short business meeting. 

There was a lot of socializing and laughter for the rest of the evening and everyone is already looking forward to the next reunion in September in Dayton, Ohio.

YMCA Alumni
William S. Chambers Chapter
Ohio * W. Virginia * N. Kentucky * W. Pennsylvania

June 2024 * View as Webpage

From our President: Connie Clark

'A bouquet of good feelings...'

I recently posted on Facebook about gathering flowers after a hard frost. Blooms were hanging down or damaged in some way and had petals that were looking rough. I gathered many kinds of flowers together and put them in a vase. They were a beautiful and cheerful bunch.


This is what I thought after I made that bouquet. Isn’t this how we should be? When we are dragging, worn out, not feeling well, dealing with life’s struggles that come as we age, and we are physically or emotionally damaged in some way?

When we get out there and gather with others who have experienced some of the same things. Or, have faced similar trials, we perk up. We feel better and become a more cheerful and beautiful bunch. When we join with other Y Alumni at local or chapter events, decide to work on an alumni committee, take time to build a tiny home for the National Service Project, continue to serve our local Y or other organizations we care about, we feel more alive and valuable. Because we are alive and of value.

Our Spring reunion took place in Canton, Ohio June 5, 6 and 7. A group of YMCA Alumni who either worked at the Tuscarawas County Y, grew up there or are associated with it, gathered to plan and organize this event, pulled together by Keith Lands, a former Executive Director of that Y. Keith has been fighting some serious health challenges. Sadly, he was unable to attend our gathering but we thought of him often and he was in our prayers so he can join us next time around.

The rest of the planning team: Faith Patton Settles, Karol Jones, and Cinda Orr welcomed folks and helped everyone enjoy their time together over the 3 days. If you attend and see one of these folks who are in the picture with me during an event planning meeting, say thank you. They are a wonderful bunch, indeed. We are also looking forward to joining Ed Thomas, who is planning our fall YMCA Alumni reunion in the Dayton area. These members are connecting, traveling, and serving. Come join us.  

Connie Clark

Chambers YMCA Alumni Chapter President

Coming this fall: We'll go

up, up and away in Dayton

We'll go "Up, up and away!" at our Chambers Fall Reunion, September 25-27, 2024. A detailed schedule, hotel information and more about the $95 per person registration fee will soon follow this announcement, but we wanted to make sure you had a chance to lock in these important dates. 

Whether you plan on attending the entire event or just come for a very packed agenda on Thursday, there will be something for everyone. Wednesday, September 25 will allow for some optional great golfing. Thursday will include a trip and tour in the morning at the beautiful Carillon Historical Park with over 30 historical buildings to visit. That's followed by another incredible tour opportunity that same afternoon at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force which includes the largest collection of military planes in the world. Both these sites are fully handicap accessible, and include wheelchairs and golf carts (Carillon Park) should you have any difficulties getting around.  

The day will be capped off with a delicious dinner followed by our business meeting.  On Friday, if you choose to stay, you will have over 20 additional fun-filled options to choose from including canoeing or kayaking down the Great Miami River to visiting the Neil Armstrong Museum.  

We hope you’ll plan on meeting us in historic Dayton this September. Questions, please email Ed Thomas.

(Photos: Top -- Carillon Park; P-51 Mustang exhibit at A.F. Museum. Below: The museum houses the largest indoor collection of airplanes in the world.)

Member Musings...

with Tony Delisio

Meet the REAL Dick Bennett

If Miami University (Oxford, OH) is “The Cradle of Coaches”, then the Youngstown YMCA is “The Launching Pad of YMCA Leaders”. This month, we turn the spotlight on Dick Bennett, one of those YMCA leaders who got his start as a member of the Youngstown YMCA Leaders Club.

“I was unique. I was there 35 years in one association.” Dick really enjoyed physical education, where the Youngstown YMCA would receive national recognition. In fact, during his tenure, the YMCA hosted national championships in swimming and diving, weightlifting and basketball.

But, it was Leaders Club that would make the biggest impact. “Leaders Club was the best thing that I did. It is the epitome of what the Y should be,” he says.

In addition to Dick Bennett, the Youngstown YMCA would launch the YMCA careers of Paul Weber, Denny Ruble, Dick Jones and Dick Bennett, Jr. More than 12 YMCA Professionals were members of the Youngstown YMCA Leaders Club.

Dick Bennett is a graduate of Kent State University. In addition to acquiring the education he would need to work for the YMCA, Dick met his future wife, Gwen, at KSU. The love of his life for 66 years passed away eight months ago. Together, they raised three children (Terrie, Dick Jr. and Jill) and six grandchildren.

Dick Bennett turned 91 years old this month. Happy Birthday!

Membership Report

with Dave Patterson

'What kind of member are you?'

2024 NEW MEMBERS ~ Welcome these new members that have joined the Chambers Chapter of YMCA Alumni since the last Newsletter:


Bob Commings ~ Canton, OH

Marci and Wes Crawford ~ Toronto, OH

Sierra Estell ~ East Liverpool, OH

Lora and Ron Hockman ~ East Liverpool, OH

John Schaller ~ Liberty Township, OH

Giana Varchetto ~ Ashtabula, OH


CHAMBERS CHAPTER by the NUMBERS ~ In May 2024, Chambers Chapter has 106 Membership Units equaling 176 Members. Chambers is the second largest of the 17 YMCA Alumni chapters.

What type of member are you?


CASUAL: New Member ~ Free this year; Friend invited you to join; Heard about us in Liaison Report; Like the Newsletters; Like to Travel; Like the YMCA; Active staff person; May or may not renew.


CONNECTED: Values the YMCA connection; Friends with other members; Attends Chapter events/reunions; Interested in Travel Club; Volunteers for Service Project; Member for multiple years; Leadership role at Chapter level; Donation to Chapter; Opens and reads newsletters; Likely to renew.


 COMMITTED: Embraces the big picture; Leadership role Chapter and/or National; Makes donation to Chapter/National/NSP; Supports ISC/EAF/World service; Renews membership early; Writes articles for newsletter; Volunteers for National Service Project; Member for a lifetime.

New service opportunities

coming soon with ISC

By Wayne Uhrig

The International Service Corps keeps moving forward with several volunteer opportunities in the near future.

We are in contact with YMCAs in the Czech Republic, N. Macedonia, Serbia, Panama, Uruguay, Dominican Republic, Georgia, and more. We continue to communicate with Juan Iglesias, General Secretary for YMCA Europe, and Renata Ferrari from the YMCA of the USA on our Latin American contacts. Both Juan and Renata keep us up to date on their YMCAs and their progress.

As we get closer to completing the application process, we will need volunteers who are willing to travel to these countries, and work with their Ys in different areas of expertise.


One of the most exciting opportunities is this Oct. 23- 28, 2024. We have eight volunteers who will be traveling to the YMCA Youth Migrant Center in Tijuana, Mexico. In collaboration with the YMCA of San Diego County, we are preparing 150 gift bags for "Teens at the Border." Once our gift bags are ready, we will travel from San Diego to Tijuana, and deliver the gifts to the teens at the center. The YMCA Youth Migrant Center has three locations along the Mexico/U.S. border, and our hope is to make 150 teens' day a little brighter.


 For an application or questions, please contact Wayne Uhrig or Bob Martin for more information.

National Service Project:

Lots of progress made during spring work weeks

By Steve Gunn

I was able to attend Wave One in Dupree, South Dakota (May 7-14th) along with another chapter member, Art Helldoerfer. Art is very new to the chapter and worked so very hard at many different tasks along with the other 23 Team Members. He is an example of what the Chambers Chapter is all about!


This is what was accomplished in one week:

- All three of the Tiny Home three SIPS (Structural Insulated Panels) were moved out of winter storage and staged. There were 38 panels ranging from 6 ft.x 20 ft.x 8 inches down to the smallest about 4x4 feet. This one task took about one day.

- We erected all four walls of home #3 by the last work day of the week.

- The team installed sub-flooring along with vinyl tile in homes 1 and 2 to completion.

- Homes 1 and 2 were finished with exterior painting along with finishing windows in #1.

- General grounds work was accomplished to repair the ruts and remove large rocks for safer work surfaces.

- Went to Camp Marrowbone to remove debris from the blown over cabin and to reset another cabin on its foundation. Both were caused by a microburst wind incident. 

- Assisted the Y staff in meal preparation and clean up as well as actually making some meals for the entire team.


The Team had wonderful experiences in the week by attending the Reservation High School graduation (Eagle Feather Ceremony) and going to the Lakota Cultural Center to learn more about the culture and a fun day going to Deadwood, South Dakota for some needed R & R. 

I think all team members came away from the week with renewed hope and enthusiasm for our project with a determination to see this through to total completion for the YMCA of the Seven Council Fires and for the community it serves.

I am excited about our chapter and the 12 members who will be attending Waves 3-5 in September. I want to leave you with one last appeal - we need your thoughts and prayers for the needed funds to furnish the homes, safety for the future waves and to help our volunteers to be good representatives of the YMCA Alumni. 


There is a word in the Lakota tongue that is "Wawokiye" which means "Grateful." I am truly grateful for the many team members going to Dupree since the start with over 144 individuals; grateful for the YMCA Alumni leadership; grateful for the needed givers and funds and grateful for our chapter that has stepped up and provided all the above and much more. 

Thank you for supporting me as well in this wonderful project. Click the button below to visit our Service Project website.

(Photo: Work on tiny homes continues in the fall.)

Service Project Website

YMCA World Service:

Update from the YMCA in Haiti

By Tony Delisio, World Service Chair

Thanks to your generosity, the YMCA continues to shine its light in the darkness. Support of YMCA World Service strengthens long term, strategic relationships around the globe – allowing the YMCA to help as many people as possible.

To date, 10 Chambers Chapter members contributed $2,150 to World Service in 2024. Total YMCA Alumni Giving is more than $120,000 and overall, $1,552,806 has been raised.

Here is a brief update from YMCA d’Haiti, where your gifts are making a big impact despite very trying conditions:

·      Four YMCA Community Centers are now up and running

·      Food for the community, after-school programs, homework support, literacy and recreational sports and games are currently provided

·      Parents express deep appreciation for the YMCA and the safe opportunities it offers for young people


Thanks again for your generous support of YMCA World Service this year. Click on the button below to learn more about YMCA World Service or to give online.

"Thank you for Changing the World for Good"

Donate to World Service

A Little Bit of History

The Cleveland YMCA

'A safe Christian environment since 1854'

By Bill McCallister, Chapter Historian

postcard 1915

The YMCA in Cleveland started out as nearly every YMCA did going back to the first one in London, England in 1844.

The Cleveland YMCA was founded in 1854 to provide a safe, Christian environment where young men could find support, guidance and recreation during rapid urbanization. Its founding leaders included prominent figures from the local religious and business communities, such as James A. Garfield, who would later become the 20th President of the United States. Henry A. Sherwin, the founder of The Sherwin-Williams Company, was a passionate supporter of the YMCA from its earliest days. He served as an adviser and president of the organization and helped raise funds to build the first YMCA building in Cleveland. The Y has a dedicated seat on their board to Henry Sherwin, which continues to be filled by a Sherwin-Williams Company executive.

Sereno Peck Fenn, who Sherwin hired as a cashier-bookkeeper in 1870, also strongly supported the YMCA. He served as a director of the organization from 1868 to 1920 and its president for 25 years. Fenn was a champion of education and Fenn College was named after him. In 1964, Fenn College became Cleveland State University.

Initial YMCA activities included prayer meetings, a Sunday school, and a lending library. In 1872, they opened the nation's first YMCA specifically for transient railroad workers (Collinwood Branch).

There was an increased focus on religious and missionary work and expanding outreach to younger boys. The Y established a home for "newsboys and bootblacks" (shoe polishers) in 1875.

Y-Haven has been a cornerstone of support for those battling substance use disorder and co-occurring mental health disorders since 1993. With its residential treatment programs and transitional housing, it has been a haven for thousands seeking solace and a path to sobriety.

Today, the Cleveland Y has 11 Y locations in the greater Cleveland area.

(Sidenote: Even though John D. Rockefeller (1839-1937) grew up in Cleveland and is buried in Cleveland's Lake View Cemetery, there is no record of him being involved with the Cleveland YMCA. Although in the 1920s, he donated $1 million to help establish the Y Retirement Fund.)

Photos: Top: Postcard showing Cleveland YMCA building, circa. 1915. Right: Newsboys, or "newsies," as they became known, were Cleveland street kids who sold morning newspapers to survive at the turn of the century. The Y established a home for them. Historical photograph.

A port stop in captivating Cozumel; Join our YMCA Alumni Reunion-at-Sea

January 26-February 2, 2025

Our seven-night Reunion-at-Sea cruise will depart from the brand new Royal Caribbean port in Galveston, Texas and includes relaxing days at sea and delightful port stops in Roatan, Honduras; Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico. Check out the video for a look at our final port stop in captivating Cozumel, one of the most popular cruise ship ports in the world and more info on our cruise. Click the button below for details and to register.


'YMCA Stories

From The Heart'

by Tim Shetzer available on

Our very own Tim Shetzer (former CEO of the YMCA of Central Stark County), has written a wonderful book of stories and lessons from his career with the YMCA. The book was just released in April.

This easy to read book is full of many stories that I know we can all relate to. Although our paths have been different, we can all share stories about the people we have encountered through our Y career, the lessons we have learned and the way these experiences have shaped who we have become. 

This book made me smile, made me think and helped me to remember. Thanks, Tim, for putting together the book we have all talked about writing and giving us this gift of so many special stories. Click the button below to order Tim's book in ebook (Kindle) or paperback form from Amazon.

--By Sue Smith, editor

Order Tim's Book

Inspiration: 'We are still learning'

By Mike Leiber, Chapter Spiritual Lead

I recently gave a presentation to graduating seniors and used this quote, "Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today." I got to thinking that even at "our age" we are still learning. I believe that is why our reunions are so popular. We are always receiving new information about submarines or an upcoming trip to the National Museum of the Air Force or from each other during our "games night out."


 It is important to keep our minds sharp and to keep challenging ourselves every day. Jesus said these words in Matthew,"take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."


While our Ys continue to teach our members about caring, honesty and respect, our task has become to teach out in our new world. To use our skills and to share in our communities and to challenge ourselves to reach beyond the borders including internationally.


So, let's continue, knowing that God does teach us. He wants us to be righteous, holy, pure and ultimately like him. Knowing that others will see "our learning and see God" if we continue to be humble and teach each other.

An editor's note...

By Sue Smith, Chambers Chatter Editor

What a great way it was to start off the summer by spending a few days with fellow YMCA Alumni in Canton, Ohio this past week! 

Special thanks to our planning committee – Keith, Cinda, Karol and Faith - for putting together such a fun event. I hope you enjoy this issue of the Chambers Chatter – so much information! 

When I read these articles and spend time with Y friends, I’m always reminded of what a wonderful organization we had the honor of working for throughout our careers. Not many people get to say that. If you haven’t joined us for a reunion lately, I hope you’ll consider joining us in Dayton in September. Have a wonderful summer!

Chapter leaders

President: Connie Clark

1st VP: Lowell Nees

2nd VP: Tony Delisio

Secretary: Mike Lieber

Treasurer: Lowell Nees

Immediate Past President: Mike Frith

Editor: Sue Smith

Click on name to send email.

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YMCA Alumni Mission:
" enable members to promote a nurturing worldwide Christian Fellowship that provides educational, social, service and charitable opportunities."