Wednesday, December 19, 2012

YMCA Receives Grants for Swim Instruction

Stew Leonard III Children’s Charity and the Middletown Health Department have teamed with the YMCA to save children’s lives by teaching low income, minority children how to swim.   The YMCA and these great organizations recognize that learning to swim is a life saving skill.  We also understand barriers such as poverty and a family history of fear for the water significantly increases the risk of accidental drowning.   Grant funding from Stew Leonard III Children’s Charity and the Middletown Health Department will assure that 80 children at greatest risk for accidental drowning will have access to YMCA swim instruction.  

The grant funding has thus far provided 33 children with swim instruction.  Additional children will be selected and scholarships will be offered during winter, spring and summer swim sessions.   The Y plans to work in collaboration with NEAT, Green Street, elementary schools, and other community partners to reach children who meet the scholarship qualifications and currently do not have a relationship with the YMCA.  

The Middlesex Y is committed to teaching both children and adults how to swim and we believe strongly in the life saving and life enhancing benefits of the water.   Our hope is to expand our reach from serving 80 children to 150 children through grants and a successful Community Support Campaign that identifies swim instruction as a community need and benefit.     

Thursday, November 29, 2012



 Welcome to one of the best physical fitness programs offered to children of all ages CATCH! Catch stands for Coordinated Approach to Child Health. Catch offers non-elimination games that include all children from all different backgrounds. Catch also includes a nutritional piece that promotes healthy eating and wellness. Currently we offer our Catch recess programming in seven local elementary schools here in Middletown. (Bielefield, Wesley, Macdonough, Farm Hill, Snow, Moody and Spencer)
             The Catch Program is conducted two to three times a week at recess time by our trained Catch Coordinators. This wonderful program is also coordinated at all of our 11 Kids Korner before and after school programs. Over 500 children take part in our Kids Korner Catch programming monthly.
            On a weekly basis we recognize Catch participants who go above and beyond within our programming. These participants get their picture taken and a prize for their hard work, good attitude and dedication to better themselves physically. These particular students are recognized on our Catch Kid of the Week Board at the YMCA and on our Kids Korner Facebook page!
            Catch is also provided three times a week to our pre-school students here at the YMCA. Catch helps develop the gross motor skills of all our participants while giving them the proper exercise they need to grow physically. Catch also helps our pre-school students further develop mentally. Kids are asked to demonstrate simple techniques and skills which become second nature through repetition.
If you have any questions or would like to receive any additional information on Catch Programming please contact Catch Coordinator Kevin Cassesse @ (860)343-6211 or email

Monday, November 19, 2012

Giving Thanks to our Heritage Club Members

As we prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving this week and reflect on all that we are thankful for, here at the Y we have much to be grateful for as well.  I wanted to take a moment to thank a special group of people who make up our Heritage Club. 

The Middlesex YMCA's Heritage Club's mission is to encourage planned giving in support of YMCA programs and services so that the good you do lives on forever.

Some of these most generous donors and supporters gathered recently to reunite and to learn about all the happenings at the Y. It was also a chance for us to say thank you. 

We are thankful for each and every one of our Heritage Club members whose lives have been touched by the Middlesex Y and in turn, want to ensure our mission, programs and services live on for generations to come.  This group of individuals have designated the Y as part of their legacy and estate plans, and for that we are truly grateful.

Some of our Heritage Club members are gathered above at our annual dinner earlier this month. We had a fantastic evening together, but also thank all of our Heritage Club members, whose  support we are most thankful for:

 Kendrick Bellows Jr.
George Brown Jr.
Eileen & Jerry Burke
Joan Cambria
Janet Daniels
Arthur  Director
Woodbridge & Nancy D'Oench
William & Janet Evison
Julie Flagg
Richard & Barbara Gibbons
David & Marcia Kalayjian
Ron  Klattenberg
Irwin  Knafel
Joan Kowack
Joseph Lombardo
James & Mabel Matschulat
Jane McMillan
Sigrid McWilliams
Marion  O'Gorman
Bruce & Amy Parmenter
Maurice Schwarz
Irwin & Helen Sitkin
Bob  Spencer & Lindsay Harvey
Charles & Joan Stone
Frank & Kathy Sumpter
Richard & Joan Tomc
Patti Anne Vassia
Michael & Dorothy Waller
Joyce Yarrow
Nancy Zimmer

We are always seeking new members for our Heritage Club. If you are interested in learning more about how you can make a planned gift to the Middlesex YMCA, please visit: or contact Jessica Carso, Director of Development at (860) 343-6232 or  
From everyone at the Middlesex Y, we wish you and your family a very Happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Henry Coe Gathering Place Construction Underway

The Henry Coe Gathering Place construction is in full swing here at YMCA Camp Ingersoll.  When completed, it will have the capacity to seat the entire camp all at once to share in the magical spirit of summer camp and deepen a sense of unity and togetherness.

Morning and afternoon flag ceremonies as well as Family Nights have been integral parts of YMCA Camp Ingersoll’s camping program.  Currently, all of our campers, families and staff sit on the ground on a steep hill.  Construction of the amphitheater will allow YMCA Camp Ingersoll to continue to provide the high quality program that our families come to expect in our program.  The structure will provide camp with an appropriate space to gather as one complete unit off the ground, out of the sun, while providing a stage sing songs, perform skits, and participate in traditional ceremonies.
The Finished Product

First day of work

Moving some dirt

Done for the day
Maegan's new look

That's a big dirt pile

Steve and the Big Foot - the footings for the stage

Friday, September 21, 2012

2012 Camp Gala Honoring Henry Coe's 40 Years of Service

On September 8th a hundred YMCA Camp Ingersoll alumni, friends, and family gathered under the Grand Pavilion for the second annual Camp Ingersoll Gala to honor Henry Coe’s 40 years of outstanding service.  Henry worked with seven Outdoor Center Directors during his tenure and they shared their great admiration and respect for his contributions to YMCA Camp Ingersoll with a written tribute published in the Gala Program.  Excerpts of their written remarks tell the story of Henry’s amazing 40 years!

Vinnie Marturano, Camp Director 1970’s - “Henry was values based and lived his life in a manner consistent with the Y’s character values.”  
Carl Rodenhizer, Camp Director 1980’s - “Henry made sure camp was a special place for counselors who came to make a difference and campers who came for the adventure.”    
Dave Jacob, Camp Director 1980’s - “Henry was the one person who continued and fostered the history and magic of the Camp Ingersoll experience.”  
Michele Rulnick, Camp Director 1990’s -  “What I learned from Henry transcends how to run a great day camp, he taught me the value of traditions that instill a sense of community, inclusion, and pride.” 
Patrick Connelly, Camp Director 2000’s - “Henry was able to teach me; about running a day camp, for sure, but also about being open-minded, compassionate, thoughtful and generous.” 
Patrick Connelly served as the evenings host and facilitated a tribute to Henry’s many years of service that included a moving speech from his daughter and camp alumni Krista Cerrano, a slideshow, a Patrick Connelly solo and the sharing of funny and inspirational Henry Coe camp stories.   Henry was also presented with a retired jersey (old camp staff shirt) and plaque that will hang on the wall of fame.  To conclude the celebration a group of camp alumni sang and acted out a version of Green Grow the Rushes Ho inviting Henry to join them for the grand finale! 

The Gala helped raised over $10,000 in support of the Henry Coe Gathering Place thanks to the generosity of our lead sponsors Aetna, Middle Oak and the Durham Fair Association and additional sponsorship from BlumShapiro, Durham Manufacturing, and CT Lighting.   Special thanks and appreciation are also due to the countless local restaurants and businesses that donated to our silent auction and balloon game.  The Gathering Place will seat close to 750 campers and staff during our traditional opening and closing flag ceremonies as well as during special events.   Those interested in supporting this project can purchase bricks and benches and be part of camp history.  Additional information on how to purchase bricks and benches can be found at

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Swimming Lessons Save Lives

Summer Time!  We all love the thought of those lazy days of summer and the time that will be spent swimming at our local parks, beaches, and in back yard pools.   This conjures up such a romantic, timeless vision of summer fun.    Swimming is a staple of the summer experience yet for many children it ends in tragedy.  
A study conducted by the University of Memphis in 2010 reports that 70% of African American Children and 58% of Hispanic Children are at risk of drowning due to low or no swimming ability.  Unintentional drowning is the second leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 14.  This alarming statistic can be reversed by teaching children the basic skills they need to save their life when in and around water.
Children need to know how to save their lives around water.   This summer the YMCA will teach hundreds of children how to swim at our summer camps and through our swim lesson programs.  Thanks to generous donations received through our Community Support Campaign many of these children will be eligible for our open doors financial assistance program.  Teaching children to swim is life saving work and it is important that we reach as many children as we can.  
This winter the YMCA worked with the Wesleyan After School Program at Traverse Square to provide swim lessons to 20 children.   Funding for this initiative came from a Middletown Health Department grant.   The Y also provided swim instruction to our preschool students enrolled in the YMCA Phelps Ingersoll Center for Children.  In an effort to reach additional young people the Y worked with the WWMS SWAGG after school program, providing lifeguards so that students could participate in a weekly recreational swim.  These three initiatives helped the Y reach more African American and Hispanic children and youth and provide them with the skills needed to safely enjoy the fun filled days of summer.   
There are many online resources and safety tips for families to use this summer.  Here is a link to one such resource and a few tips to assure that everyone enjoys an accident free summer.

Water Safety Tips from the Pool Safely "Simple Steps Save Lives" Program 

1. Staying close, being alert and watching children in and around the pool
  • Never leave a child unattended in a pool or spa and always watch your child when he or she is in or near water
  • Teach children basic water safety tips
  • Keep children away from pool drains, pipes and other openings to avoid entrapments
  • Have a telephone close by when you or your family is using a pool or spa
  • If a child is missing, look for him or her in the pool or spa first
  • Share safety instructions with family, friends and neighbors
2.  Learning and practicing water safety skills
  • Learn how to swim and teach your child how to swim
  • Learn to perform CPR on children and adults, and update those skills regularly
  • Understand the basics of life-saving so that you can assist in a pool emergency

Monday, April 30, 2012

Middlesex Y Members: Participation Makes a Difference

During the month of March, more than $3,800 was raised for our 2012 Community Support Campaign, thanks to our incredibly committed and supportive Y members!

In planning for our annual campaign, a highly passionate and dedicated group of Y staff members planned, worked and held exciting and fun events to help raise funds and awareness for our Community Support Campaign. From BINGO to a swim-a-thon, spin-a-thon; a Hoop and Shoot Contest; to a Hip Hop Party and Dodge Ball Tournament, the month was filled with exciting new ways for our members to stay fit and become involved in making a difference for their Y, their community. 

Thank you to everyone who helped to make our fundraising events such a success!  It is because of your efforts, our supporters, members and friends, that the Y will remain an essential part of our community, providing accessibility to all.

The Y Needs You
It’s not too late to participate!  Our 2012 Community Support Campaign continues and each and every dollar raised is vital to ensuring that the Middlesex Y remains an accessible and vital part of this community for everyone.  And as a non-profit organization, the Middlesex Y relies on the generous contributions from you, members, friends, participants and community members. 

To learn more about how you can contribute to the Middlesex Y’s 2012 Community Support Campaign or to make a secure donation online, please visit: . 2012 Pledge Cards are also available online for those who do not wish to make your gift via the internet.  For more information, please call (860) 343-6232 or email 

Did you participate in one of our fundraising events in March?  Share your story by replying in the comments section below.