2014 - 2015
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.
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.
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.
President & CEO
I grew up attending the Westfield YMCA and, at a young age, I learned how the Y brought the community together. After Graduate School, I accepted a job at the Y and quickly determined that it would be my career path. I love the values that we embrace, the uniqueness of everyday in the Y, and the impact we make on the community. Seeing a toddler smiling and learning in child care, a youngster making his first basket in the gymnasium, a teen volunteering to help our local food pantry, or a swimmer representing the Y at the highest level of competition is magical to me. These experiences are enhanced when I see families, adults, seniors and so many others building community inside and outside our Y every day. The Y is not only where I have the privilege to make an impact, it is also where I take care of my own mental and physical health by exercising regularly. I truly look to share the joy I have experienced, and continue to experience, with others!
Secretary, Treasurer & CFO
I chose to work at the Y because I wanted to give back to the community by working at a non profit organization. As a single mom with three adolescent children, I knew my kids would benefit from my association with an organization dedicated to developing youth. All three of my kids have worked at the Y — how wonderful knowing that their first working experiences would be at an employer concerned about their development. The Y has helped me raise philanthropic young adults who continue to give back to the community. I feel great knowing that my work is helping others.
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.
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.
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.
The YMCA has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. As a toddler I took swimming lessons at the Somerset Hills YMCA, where I went on to compete as a member of the swim team for thirteen years. I was also a very active participant in what is now referred to as Adventure Guides and a youth leadership program. My high school years found me adding work as a lifeguard, swim instructor, volunteer swim coach, and front desk receptionist at the Y to my swim team activities – meaning that the majority of my days were spent at the Y. On returning to the area I joined the Summit Area YMCA, where my two daughters have remained active in the swimming programs from when they were six months old to today as they are both members of the swim team. I am proud to be a member of the SAY community, and am fortunate to be able to serve as President of the Swim Team Parents’ Organization in addition to my role on the Board of Trustees. We are blessed to have such an amazing resource in our community – one that does much more for people than providing a place to work out. As an inclusive organization that that supports the development of children, active and healthy lifestyles, and social responsibility, the YMCA is unparalleled.
I first came to the Y to become physically fit - little did I know that I would gain overall wellness in body and soul. The more time I spent at the Y, the more I learned about the depth of their programs and support of the community. The Summit Area YMCA is a place where everyone can come to feel healthy, comfortable, safe and connected. As a child, I had a difficult upbringing, which inspired me to make a difference in the lives of others and to have a positive impact on the community. That is exactly what the Y does. I want to be aligned with organizations that share my values – so I became a volunteer at the Y. This area is a beautiful place to live but, just like everywhere, there are individuals and families who are struggling financially, physically, socially, and emotionally – the Y is always there to make a meaningful impact in their lives. I believe in the Y’s cause and helping others feeds my soul.
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.
I was working full throttle in the early 1990s to build a business, when I found myself out of sorts and out of shape. Soon thereafter, I joined the Summit YMCA to exercise and improve my health. I quickly learned the Y was unlike other gyms I had sporadically patronized in the past. I found that class instructors and personal trainers really cared about members, and that members cared about each other. It was at the Y that I made my lifelong commitment to fitness. When my husband and I moved to Berkeley Heights, we transferred our membership to the Berkeley Heights YMCA. It is a special place where the remarkable kindness and support of the staff and members inspired me to get personally involved in the broader mission of the Y – to shape a better, stronger community for adults, children, and senior (even those that weren’t members). I am proud to be part of the Board of Trustees and a part of a movement that enriches people’s lives.
My experience with the Summit YMCA started at Overlook Hospital in the mid 90's when the Y managed our employee fitness center. When that ended, my logical choice was to join the Y. It was at the Y that I learned how to swim as an adult, tried out and got to enjoy different exercise classes and became health and wellness-conscious. Over the years, I've developed real friendships with the instructors and fellow members. I am grateful to be part of the Y community and the Board of Trustees.
My two sons developed their athletic abilities many years ago starting with their first Mom and Me swim class at the Y. It was followed by swim lessons, youth basketball clinics and leagues, and now open gym and the weight room. In the early days, as a newcomer to town, joining the Y made me feel grounded and fostered my feelings of belonging in the community. I cheered my kids on the sideline along with other parents, and participated in the gym and yoga classes myself. And, I remember the arrival of the Y brochures by mail was the trigger to register my boys for their enrichment programs – classes which they so enjoyed and in which they thrived. Summit is a wonderful town and we are blessed with so many people who care and give of themselves to others. That strengthens us individually and collectively. I am thrilled to be part of the Board of Trustees and follow in the footsteps of those who have given back."
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.
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.