Board of Trustees
2012 - 2013
Our trustees are agents of change
The Summit Area YMCA is governed by a volunteer Board of Trustees which is charged with making sure we’re always in a position to help the people in our community develop the skills and relationships they need to be healthy, confident and connected to others. Our Board establishes operating policies, provides planning and strategic direction, and helps secure the resources we need to promote change in the community and advance the YMCA’s mission.
Cynthia B. Martin
While my family has benefited from our long-time membership and participation in Y activities, the story I like to tell is about the significant role the Y plays in enriching the life of our community. The Y takes its mission of social responsibility seriously and provides important outreach programs and generous financial assistance to those who need it – and thus truly makes a difference to the health and well being of our community. That’s why I was honored to serve on the Board and am proud to be a part of the Summit Area YMCA.
First Vice Chair
I first joined the Y (in Tampa) upon graduating from college. I joined for exercise but discovered programs that also stimulated spirits and minds – with a notable emphasis on children and teens. Over a +20-year relationship with the Y - extending to big cities (NY), small cities (Piqua, OH) and internationally - I have found all Ys staff and programs to be consistent in cause and commitment to strengthening their surrounding communities. As a former board member of the Tampa Y and now as a Trustee of the Summit Y, I hope to nurture the Y principles for future generations, including my four daughters who are active in a number of Y programs.
Second Vice Chair
We moved to the Summit area in 1992 with two young boys and a couple more to follow in the next few years. The Summit Y has been of significant importance to our family, playing a contributing role in promoting & supporting our sons’ development with its many programs such as swimming, soccer, the Explorers, and fitness facilities. Just the location of the Y’s red brick building, sitting in the center of town, symbolizes the presence of the Y as a cornerstone of our community. I am a big fan of the Y and look forward to doing my part to ensure all our families have the same opportunity that mine has been so fortunate to have had.
My YMCA experience began as a teenager in Detroit, Michigan playing organized basketball for the first time and learning the benefits of team work from my Y coach. While my basketball skills did not progress much beyond those early days, my enthusiasm for the YMCA and its programs never ended. When my family and I moved to Summit in 1994, we quickly became Summit Area YMCA members and enrolled in a variety of programs. Early on, my two sons and I attended father-son Y camp events at Frost Valley and Speers-Eljabar and enjoyed the bonding that can take place around a campfire with family and friends. We also participated in the soccer and basketball programs offered by the Y (which made me realize my kids were far better athletes than I ever was!). Now that I am a Summit Area YMCA trustee, I continue to be impressed with the organization’s mission and commitment to youth development, promoting a healthy lifestyle, and fostering a sense of social responsibility.
The Summit Y became a part of my life soon after my husband and I moved here 17 years ago. At the time, we knew no one. I’d always found friends through work and running, but I was taking care of our infant daughter and cut off from what seemed like the real world. I joined the Y because its babysitting service allowed me to exercise while staff looked after her. Joy at last! The Y liberated me from the loneliness and doldrums that can come with being home with a baby, and introduced me to other parents desperate for exercise. Suddenly, I was connected again. My oldest daughter is 16 now, and I no longer need the Y’s babysitting services, but I still go regularly to lifts weights, chat with friends, and meet up with other runners. My three children use it as well; they’ve taken spin and swim classes, shot the basketball around during open gym, and dabbled with weights. For them, the Y is a de facto community center. For me, it’s a second home.
My experience with the Y started after moving to Summit in 2000. Joining the Y was the first thing I did after unpacking, even before applying for a parking permit. Since then, I've been there hundreds of times to work out, my four children have learned to swim, and had their first youth sports experiences through the Y. Over the years I've learned so much more about the Y's role in our community, providing support for families and children to be active and healthy. As a board member, I’m excited to play a part in providing for the Y's continued growth for the next 125 years.
I have been connected to the YMCA for decades, starting with a family membership at the Shore Area YMCA in the 1960s where my five siblings and I were on the swim team and regularly participated in the many other activities that the Y had to offer. When I moved to New York City in 1986, I joined the Y of Greater New York and remained a member until 2006 when I moved to Summit. My family is active at the Summit Y — my wife and I regularly work out and my two daughters participate in the many programs offered such as aquatics, tennis, soccer and camp. I have been impressed with the YMCA organization and its mission — everybody is welcome, regardless of financial ability or background. I am very fortunate to work with a number of talented individuals on our board.
On a personal level, the Y is where I go to spin, row and run on the elliptical. It's the place where I go to stay sane when the rest of my life seems busy and chaotic. As a former board president of The Learning Circle (TLC), I will be forever grateful to the Summit Area YMCA for being the place that opened its doors and offered a corporate home to TLC, formerly known as the Summit Child Care Center which served for over 50 years as the State's largest and best non-profit provider of quality educational child care. It is fulfilling to watch both the Y and TLC thrive.
When I joined the Y in 2006, my primary focus was on health and wellness and going to a place where I could meet my goals to keep fit. I soon discovered that what I had joined was more than a gym – I had joined a special community located within the greater Berkeley Heights community. Over the years, I have met and made many new friends with whom I enjoy my daily interactions – be it working out together or sharing a cup of coffee and conversation or making plans to socialize inside/outside the Y or being there to help whenever a personal need or crisis arises.
I volunteer at the Y because I want to help ensure that the Y continues to offer excellent programs that make a difference in my community. I am proud of the many health and wellness programs the Y offers to all of its members, as well as the great fun social activities for teens, the safe and secure child care center for families, the generous Y Cares financial assistance program, and really impactful LIVESTRONG® at the YMCA program for adult cancer survivors.
My relationship with the Y began shortly after my first child started walking. Those early swim lessons soon made way for summer camp, soccer and basketball games. My children learned valuable athletic and life skills, especially in terms of the friendships they formed. The Y Adventure Guides program gave my family wonderful memories of infamous campouts, as well as solid friendships with other Y families that we still cherish today. Each day our family is at the Y; whether it is a 5 a.m. power workout for my husband, a late morning routine for me, or the pool and gym after school for my children. And, I anticipate that my children will become more involved with the Y as they grow older through the teen volunteer and summer camp counselor programs.
As I think about what the Y has meant to my family, “great” precedes every benefit - great health, great life practices, great experiences and great relationships. The Y offers all of these benefits to members of the community, regardless of the ability to pay. The Y is pulse of our community and I value how my friendships there span generations and diverse backgrounds. I am proud to represent the Y as a member, parent and trustee.
Carole A. Schwartz
My involvement with the Y started with two unrelated events: a bonus check and an aging mother who was becoming less mobile each day. So when I received the check I started to think about how I might be able to help people in need. I started thinking about the needs of the elderly (people who could benefit from wheelchairs or walkers) but decided instead to set up a fund for kids to go to camp. That happened because the Y was most responsive to my calls, and presented me with the most compelling reason for help.
Initially, I had only thought about the Y as the place to do yoga but gradually began to understand its place in the community and how many residents came to it for help. Camp meant a lot to me growing up in a city, and to my mother who sometimes worked at the camp so I could go for free. Since the creation of the fund, it has been gratifying to hear from the children who benefit from the scholarships the Y provides; and very gratifying personally to have such a satisfying relationship with the Board, which has now lasted almost a decade.
Mary L. Speckhart
My relationship with "the Y" began many years ago, having participated in years of programs at the Madison Y as a child. I distinctly remember how I loved attending gymnastics classes there as a girl. Now as a wife, mother of two and a 12 year resident of Short Hills, my family has many strong ties to the Summit YMCA. When our kids were younger, we participated in Y soccer and Adventure Guides. Over the last 3 years, we have been fortunate to have become part of the Seals swim team family. I use the words fortunate and family because joining the Seals team has been a life transforming experience for our family. We have made close friends from all over our area, all while the kids are learning the value of personal achievement, discipline and a healthy lifestyle. Our kids consider themselves Seals swimmers and so we have enthusiastically become Seals parents. Lastly, I have seen the ways in which the Y benefits our larger community through outreach programming, camps and child care, and disaster recovery assistance. These programs make a huge difference in families' lives. I am proud that our Y - the Summit Area YMCA - has the capabilities and resources to serve our community in these ways.
Frederick J. Watts
Trustee at Large
At the age of five, I spent nearly every Saturday with my dad at the Bronx YMCA. From then through my college years, I spent countless hours at the Y, enjoying its activities and working as coach, lifeguard, and camp counselor. Some of my most valuable learning experiences growing up were provided by the Y. When my wife and I began raising a family in Summit, I immediately gravitated to the Y, and sought for my children the great experiences I once had. My sons learned to swim, and shared with me the Sunday family gym and swim time, much like the time I cherished with my dad. Nearly 50 years after I first joined, the Y still provides what my dad and I enjoyed – a safe place for families to flourish. As a trustee, in some small way, I hope to help other families benefit from the same wonderful experience three generations of my family have enjoyed.
Trustee at Large
My affiliation with the Summit Area YMCA is completely selfish. It makes me feel fantastic! Why? Well, for 125 years, the Summit Area YMCA has been a place of positive transformations. Our gyms, pools, programs and services have consistently helped individuals and families blossom and grow. Who wouldn’t feel fantastic being a part of that? That’s why I’ve been a member, donor and volunteer at our Y since moving to Summit in 1996. Sharing my time, whatever talents I may have and just a bit of my tiny treasure chest with the Y has supported so many transformations. It’s supported young achievers as they prepare for college, cancer patients seeking solidarity, military families in need of programs for their families, and parents looking for top notch childcare. And, yes, it’s supported terrific gym and swim facilities for those seeking health and wellness. I’m proud to play a small part in our Y’s 125 year legacy of positive transformations; and, I hope to encourage others to “selfishly” share their time, talent and treasure with us as well. Why shouldn’t we all feel fantasic?
Trustee at Large