Uniting & Inspiring: The 19th Annual NJ YMCA State Alliance Recognition Celebration

[SUMMIT, NJ, October 18, 2019] Last night, Thursday, October 17, 2019, at the Forsgate Country Club in Monroe Township, NJ, the NJ YMCA State Alliance held their 19th Annual Recognition Celebration, honoring and recognizing YMCA community champions and outstanding youth across the state of New Jersey. This year’s theme “Uniting and Inspiring” exemplifies how leveraging the collective strength of 31 corporate YMCA associations and 76 branches across the state, further strengthens our communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.


Through joint efforts, NJ YMCAs serve nearly 600,000 residents – 50% of whom are children under the age of 18. In total, this represents 14% of the state’s youth population, in turn making the YMCA the largest provider of childcare, aquatic lessons and summer camp experiences in the state. Each year, as a result of the united forces of the NJ YMCA State Alliance, its YMCAs:

• Provide early childhood education to more than 8,600 children
• Deliver after school programs to 20,000+ children
• Engage 82,000 children in summer camp experiences
• Teach 38,000 children to swim

During the Recognition Celebration, the NJ YMCA State Alliance honored over 24 youth from YMCAs all over the state of New Jersey. The teens and pre-teens were recognized for their demonstrated leadership and volunteerism within their respective communities, including 4 teens from our very own Summit YMCA, Carly Criares, Brandon Goldberg, Clara Schulz and Zoe Segal, who selflessly gift their time and energy to the Sundays In Motion Special Needs Program.


The Special Needs Programs at the Summit Area YMCA are thoughtfully designed for children with communication, social, behavioral and learning differences to thrive in a safe, friendly and supportive environment. Our mission is to encourage, help, build and strengthen healthy physical activity, confidence, social skills and more. The Sundays in Motion program encompasses 2 hours of recreation where children with diverse abilities (ages 5-14) and their families can enjoy a variety of activities in the gym and in the pool, that promote health, wellness, creative enrichment, socialization and community. This free event is offered monthly at the Summit YMCA.

“Youth Development is one of the Y’s core focus areas, and listening to the young adults who either spoke this evening or the list of accomplishments of the teens who were being recognized, truly was inspirational,” said Haley Behm, Manager of Digital Marketing & Analytics at the Summit Area YMCA, who was in attendance to celebrate the achievements of the association.


The YMCA is a cause-driven, volunteer-led organization. Our volunteers are advocates for a better tomorrow. We view them as shining examples of social responsibility. They selflessly share their time, talent and treasure to advance the Y’s cause and to make a meaningful difference in the lives of individuals and families locally in need of a helping hand.

The NJ YMCA State Alliance also recognized the Honorable Senator Vin Gopal and the Honorable Senator Tom Kean, Jr. as recipients of the 2019 Social Responsibility Champion Award, for their significant contributions in championing the Y mission and supporting overall community needs.


In addition, the NJ YMCA State Alliance paid tribute to John Powers, the 2019 Healthy Living Champion, for his many contributions in helping people of all ages achieve their personal health and wellness goals.

Paul Kieltyka, President & CEO of the Summit Area YMCA, also serves as the President of the NJ YMCA State Alliance. When asked about last night’s event Paul said, “This awards ceremony recognizes those whose spirit embodies the meaning of the YMCA, whose work strengthens local communities and whose support assists our YMCAs in furthering its mission. I am thankful to all of tonight’s leaders and honorees for their commitment to making New Jersey a better place. This particular group of kids are seriously, extremely impressive and I believe that speaks a lot to New Jersey's YMCA movement.”

• Interested in more information about the NJ YMCA State Alliance?

• Want to gift your time as a Summit Area YMCA volunteer?

• Looking for additional details about our Special Needs Programs?


About the Summit Area YMCA
The Summit Area YMCA is one of the area’s leading 501(c)(3) charitable organizations. Founded in 1886, the Summit Area YMCA has a history steeped in working side-by-side with our neighbors to ensure that everyone, regardless of age, income and background, has the opportunity to learn, grow and thrive. Each year, we serve more than 10,000 individuals with our free and fee-based programs and services in an area spanning the communities of Berkeley Heights, Gillette, Millburn, New Providence, Short Hills, Springfield, Stirling and Summit. Through the generosity of our members, donors, and partners, we are able to offer financial assistance for our programs and services to those with demonstrated need.