By Dale King
The Boca Raton-based South Palm Beach County YMCA has big plans for 2022. The Y announced last month that to honor its 50e anniversary, celebrations are planned every month next year – and a big gala will take place in December 2022.
Supporters, leaders, one-time leaders and volunteers who have dedicated so much time and treasures to the Y over the decades gathered in the memorabilia-filled foyer of the Wick Theater on September 28 to kick off the happy festival honoring the five The nonprofit agency’s decades of serving Boca Raton and area residents.
Former YMCA CEO Richard Pollock and current YMCA CEO Jason Hagensick have invited a hall full of guests to attend the pre-party. Several hundred people who have contributed to the YMCA’s efforts since its opening in 1972 have attended.
The local Y serves as a community anchor in Palm Beach County by enriching the lives and strengthening the cooperative spirit of residents through youth development, healthy lifestyles and social responsibility, said Y leaders to supporters gathered at Wick.
The organization is made up of the Peter Blum Family YMCA of Boca Raton, the DeVos-Blum Family YMCA of Boynton Beach, the LABO: YMCA Leadership Academy at Town Center Mall and the [emailÂ protected] NCCI.
Tracy Sussman, Director of Marketing at the Y, said that in preparation for the South Palm Beach County YMCA History Celebration Night, “guests were encouraged to bring old YMCA memorabilia, photos and stories to share at the reception “. The theater lobby was decorated with newspaper clippings and photos, posters honoring Y milestone events, and other nostalgic pieces.
Pollack, who served as President and CEO of the Y from 1996 to 2016, recalled how community leaders in the 1960s âcame together and raised $ 30,000 to start our YMCA. Like many of us, these visionaries had YMCA experiences in other parts of the country and knew the impact a Y can have on a community.
He noted that the entity known as the YMCA actually started in London over 180 years ago.
In Boca, Pollack recalls, “community leaders stepped in to serve our Y starting with William French, our first official CVO in 1972 – followed by figures like OP Anderson, David Chapman, Peter Blum, Richard Simmons and Robert MacLaren.” .
John Mulhall spoke of the early days of the Y. âPaul Schnabel was then the manager of Boca Del Mar, which was owned by Texaco Corporation. Paul and David Ashe traveled to New York to ask Texaco’s board of directors for a donation of 10 acres of land in Boca Del Mar for a Y in Boca Raton.
âIt was approved,â Mulhall said. Work on a Y at this site began in 1970. Boca businessman Peter Blum âthen stepped in and led the fundraising campaign which raised over $ 500,000 for construction and, in 1972, we were officially incorporated â.
“Yes,” he added, “it was Peter who made this possible.”
While the building was under construction, âwe occupied two other spaces – the downtown retail space, then the Arvida sales office which is now the fire station on Glades Road.
The Y de Boca officially opened in 1975 “with handball, squash, racquetball, weight room, outdoor swimming pool, football / soccer fields, baseball fields and a basketball court. outdoor volleyball “.
Other speakers spoke about additional fundraisers, including an S&H Green Stamp Drive campaign at Publix to raise money for a YMCA bus.
âFrom 1982 to 1991,â Hagensick said, âour CVOs included Clem Winke, Bernard Kulavic, William Schipani, Douglas Wolfe, and J. Randy Justice.
In 1986, Boca philanthropists Eugene and Christine Lynn stepped in to help fund the aquatic center enclosure. Seven years later the Countess Youth Learning Center in Hoernle was inaugurated and in 1996 the William R. and Judith Schipani Family Fitness Center was renovated.
The following speakers have spoken of the last decade of the 1900s – 1992 to 2001 – when, among other things, the Y grew and also opened a branch in Boynton Beach. The Weaver family provided 11 acres in 1998 to build the Y in Boynton.
Speakers also spoke of opening the [emailÂ protected] with a preschool and company wellness center. He was considered “a model of partnership” with NCCI when Bill Donnell was the CEO of the company. Bill’s wife, Mary, attended the reception and was greeted by crowds attending the Wick event.
At the start of the new century, the Y added a prayer breakfast to its community schedule that has evolved into an inspirational breakfast. The morning meal and insightful conversation moved from place to place, among them, the Y, the Boca Resort and the Office Depot headquarters. Speakers at the event included Rich DeVos, Wally “Famous” Amos, Pam and Bob Tebow, Bobby Bowden, Regis Philbin – with special guest David Cassidy – and Joe Theismann.
Hagensick, who has been president and CEO of the Y since 2016, recalled how he got the job. âIt was winter 2015; I was in Chicago. The temperature was 10 degrees. I met Dick Pollack, who was leading a CEO search [for the Y]. “
âI called my wife,â he says, âand asked her what she knew about Boca Raton. She said, ‘Is it near the water?’ and I said, ‘I don’t know.’ She said if it’s near the water, I’m there.
It led to an interview – and he got the job, he said.
âWe are one of 790 YMCAs that exist today, and I challenge you to find another volunteer run Y as good as ours. “
The session ended with Terry Fedele on the 50e Anniversary event chairperson (with husband Jerry) discussing the festive year ahead. âActivities will take place all year round. Programs will take place every month.
An anniversary gala will take place on December 3, 2022 at the Boca Resort. âWe have a planning committee and over 12 months to work on it,â Terry said. She noted with great pride that $ 100,000 has already been raised to help fund the event.