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In remembrance of Chase Kowalski, the students and educators of the Sandy Hook tragedy, Chase's parents started the CMAK Sandy Hook Memorial Foundation. The Kowalski family wanted to capture Chase’s competitive spirit and vitality in creating a charity in his honor with a focus on health and wellness for children and their families. CMAK (Chase Michael Anthony Kowalski) Sandy Hook Memorial Foundation has pursued programs and initiatives that encourage personal improvement, healthy lifestyles and strong family and communities.

The CMAK Foundation has created a triathlon program called Race4Chase.  The Race4Chase Kid’s Triathlon program is a youth triathlon program aimed to provide kids ages 6 to 12 with a safe, healthy non-competitive environment to discover the sport of triathlon.  It bring together kids from all different backgrounds and educates them on how to adopt a healthy lifestyle, coaches them to develop a foundation of athletic skills, and inspires them to aim high in sports and in life.

Designed as a free six-week goal oriented summer program, the program provides kids with expert instruction in swimming, cycling, running, strength training and flexibility, and teaches them the fundamentals of good nutrition, under the supportive guidance of coaches, lifeguards and instructors. Implementing a custom-designed training program, the coaches provide the youth athletes with all the equipment, knowledge, and one-on-one support they need to become tri-athletes.  At the culmination of


the training camp, all the youth athletes come together to compete in a USAT-sanctioned triathlon race.

The Southington Community YMCA is proud to be one of the sites to offer this program. Currently, the Southington Community YMCA has 8 spots still available for kids to join.  The program begins, Monday June 22, but they will be accepting kids until July 3. The program ends Saturday August 1.  The program will run from 8:45 a.m. - 11:45 a.m. daily, Monday- Friday.  On Saturday August 1, all participants will compete in a Youth Triathlon day at YMCA Camp Sloper.

If you’re interested, or would like more information, please contact: Karen DiGirolamo (P) 860-426-9529(E) kdigirolamo@sccymca    

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The Southington Community YMCA International Committee, in collaboration with YMCA Camp Sloper, is pleased to introduce the International Camp Counselor for summer 2015.  She is twenty-two year old Jordan Tyson from London, England.  Jordan is currently attending London Metropolitan University where she is studying for a BA in Textiles which includes work in fashion design, sewing, printing, and silkscreening.  Jordan describes herself as friendly and easygoing, a good listener and problem solver, and she says, "I love making people laugh because, to me, laughter is the best medicine."  Jordan is looking forward to visiting the United States and to working with Sloper campers, hoping to encourage them to be creative.

We are looking for host families who would enjoy having Jordan as a part of their family for two weeks.  You would need to have a separate bedroom available for her.  Jordan will have her own insurance coverage, and transportation is provided by YMCA     Camp Sloper.  You only need to provide meals and involve Jordan in everyday life at your home.  This is a wonderful opportunity to get to know someone from another country, and to help her get to know our American way of life.

For more information:

Susan Skarvinko 


Christina Simms






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At ages 6 and 4, Matthew and Abby Pooler are practically veterans of the Southington Community YMCA. They have both been involved in a number of activities at the YMCA, including: Adventure Guides, Youth Sports, School Age Child Care, Swim Lessons and Day Camp at YMCA Camp Sloper, just to name a few. 


What do you like most about the YMCA?

Matthew = "I like that I can play games at the Y afterschool and see my friends. I also really like coach Justin and Coach Adam"

Abby = "Playing on the playscape at the Learning Center and doing Adventure Guides with mommy and seeing all my friends at school and my teachers Mrs. June and Ms. Ally"


What has the YMCA taught you?

Matthew = "The YMCA has taught me how to swim and be responsible in Adventure Guides"

Abby = "The YMCA has taught me how to sing songs and share with my friends"


What is your favorite part of Camp?

Matthew = "My favorite part of camp is going swimming and playing Gladiator Dodgeball"

Abby = "My favorite part of camp is going on the playscape and the Superslide"


If you could spend your time doing one one activity, what would that activity be? Why?

Matthew = "Adventure Guides and Day Camp because then there would be no school"

Abby = "Gymnastic and day camp"




Starting this month, Abby and Matthew will also be featured on the YMCA billboard heading

towards Plainville on Queen St.

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"Dear Child Care Staff,

This is my sons fourth year attending the YMCA Before and Aftercare program.  I am writing to let you know how much my son loves this program, how the team of counselors have touched his life and what I have personally experienced as I drop off and pick him up.   

My son is an early drop off at 6:30am.  At that hour in the morning, he is always welcomed and greeted.  The staffs take interest in how he is doing and compliment him if he is dressed up or wearing a new shirt.  Sometimes there is music playing to pep up the early birds.  When I arrive to pick him up at the end of the day, he doesn’t want to leave because he is having so much fun, either in the gym or playing with the kids in the cafeteria.  As a parent, that really says a lot about the program when your child doesn’t want to leave.  

Over the years, staff members have come and gone as peoples’ lives change, but their kindness, caring and attentiveness to the kids has not.  My son has grown close to several counselors over the years.  I see them as mentors for him…big brothers…big sisters…people who care…give advice…help him to understand situations…forgive others and to say “I’m sorry” if he hurts someone.  I believe, because of the YMCA staff and the YMCA values, my son will be an even better person as he grows up.

Now picture this in your mind….you walk in to a crazy cafeteria with 40+ kids…they are playing games, legos, crafts….there is a staff member playing Headbandz with a group of kids and has a card stuck to their forehead…they are all laughing…another staff member is helping with homework, a couple of 5th graders are practicing their instruments….some kids are having to sit because they were running and as loud and crazy as it is, there is order, there is control, there is fun.  This is what a parent wants to experience and see at the place where their child has to be because the parent has to work.

I am very grateful to the schools and the YMCA for working together and making this program available to the families of Southington."

After School Care Parent

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Jennifer Medina grew up in California and then, as a teen, moved to Connecticut and lived in Terryville and then Southington. She didn't have her first Y experience until she was an adult and began walking the Linear Trail behind the YMCA. Jennifer had been struggling with her weight and decided she wanted to live a healthier life for herself and for her children, one of whom is special needs and greatly depends on her. Once she decided that it was time to get healthy she began to walk the trail every day. Passing the YMCA day after day would peak her curiosity enough so that she finally found the courage to come inside and see if it was for her.  Jennifer began taking classes, which was hard for her because she felt insecure, and her shyness also made her feel apprehensive. However, Jennifer stuck with it and even ended up purchasing a bike so that she could ride to and from the YMCA every day. The winter cold and snow wouldn't even stop her!   

Fast forward a few years and not only has Jennifer lost weight and taken on a healthier lifestyle, but she is now a fitness instructor for our Y!  She started off subbing for other instructors classes, but is now a permanent instructor teaching Zumba Step along with other classes. Jennifer takes great pride in teaching each and every one of her classes and loves to add her own energetic and fun flair. 


Jennifer believes that she never would have kept the weight off if it weren't for the connections she made at the Y. For Jennifer, the Y is not only a place to get and stay healthy, but it is also her social network. Jennifer says, " It is the people that I met at the Y that have kept me motivated throughout my journey. The YMCA has made me more confident, and I love being a part of the Y."


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Before Jerry Polito was first introduced to the Southington Community YMCA, he had been struggling with the crippling effects of losing his job, coupled with financial hardships. Jerry found himself falling deeper into depression and becoming less and less active. It wasn't until the driver of the senior citizen bus, mentioned to Jerry that he should try out the YMCA. Two years later, after receiving financial assistance from the YMCA, Jerry is still an active member and is 50 pounds lighter, he continues his positive journey to promote a healthier mind, body, and spirit, by exercising four to five times a week. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, you will more than likely find Jerry in yoga, meditation, or tai chi classes.

"My new outlook on life would not have been possible, without the supportive staff and members of the Southington Community YMCA." commented Jerry when asked about his life now.


Not only has the Y been a place for Jerry to exercise, but also a place where he feels truly loved. In his own words, Jerry describes the Y best by saying," it is simply a cradle of love, and I have never experienced a place in my life, where everyone is so good at their job."


Jerry feels that the relationships he has formed at the Y, in just two short years, have allowed him to become healthier, happier, and live a more fulfilling life. According to Jerry, every time he enters the Y, all the stress going on in his outside world, just melts away.

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As a leading nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening communities across the nation through youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility, the Y hosts more than 700,000 youth in day camps over spring and summer breaks each year. The reach and timing of day camp programs position the Y to boost academic achievement and tackle summer learning loss in hundreds of communities, while continuing to offer our hallmark physical, social and character-building activities.

To maximize its impact, a cross nation multi-year Day Camp Upgrade effort has begun to identify opportunities for program innovations and extend operational best practices to day camp programs across the country. The upgrade project will center on the primary drivers of Achievement, Relationship and Belonging that have been shown to improve all dimensions of well-being in successful camps.

At YMCA Camp Sloper we have begun to self assess our standing with these national best practices, we have found vindication in some of the pillars of our programming. YMCA Camp Sloper has long been a place that intentionally fosters Achievement, Relationships and Belonging not only with its campers, but staff as well.

Achievement, through our West Coast skill clinics that see campers learn new skills—how to play cricket, speak French, or play the guitar—as taught by our staff.

Relationships, through the Icebreakers and teambuilding activities we do with every group at the start of a new session, to establish the groundwork for new friendships.

Belonging, by the community of caring role models we’ve brought together and trained to provide the best camp experience for our campers.   




Yet we realize there is always the ability to improve our programming at YMCA Camp Sloper, parent and self. This national Y Day Camp Upgrade provides us with an additional lens to fine tune our practices and we are excited about this opportunity.  

At YMCA Camp Sloper, we are here to make your kids feel welcome, to help them quickly realize this is a place where they belong and can be themselves, to encourage them to try new things, to help them make new friends and to help them be a part of something great. 

If you would like more information on Y Day Camp Upgrade, feel free to contact Shane Altwies at YMCA Camp Sloper in Southington, CT, at 860-621-8194 or           

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The YMCA is proud to share the news that our own Jackie Laramee will receive the Rising Star Award at Professional Women in Construction Dinner on March 3rd.  Jackie is a YMCA Member, on the YMCA Board of Directors and a member of the Y Property Committee. In addition to Jackie’s involvement in Youth and Government she was also awarded the Teen Leadership Award and became the first teen representative on the YMCA Board of Directors. 

This award is given to a woman who has been in the A/E/C industry less than 7 years, who has demonstrated ethics and values, has the ability to learn & think quickly, focuses on customer’s needs and sets high standards for themselves.  They must have ability in building rapport and managing conflict. She works hard in achieving personal work goals and objectives.  Jackie is a Project Manager with Network Interiors of Plainville.  In Jackie’s last project she started and completed the Wesleyan Band Room Renovation during the winter break in just 30 days! 



Christina Simms, YMCA Senior Program and Membership Director said, “In high school Jackie participated in the YMCA Youth and Government program.  During her time as a youth delegate Jackie wrote and debated legislation that she felt would make a positive impact on the state of Connecticut.  Jackie led impressive debates and demonstrated that she was a leader and that she would continue to fight for what she believed in.  Jackie is an incredible woman with great character and I am honored to know her!”

We congratulate Jackie for receiving this much deserved recognition.


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Y Making Plans for a 
Super Hero Annual Meeting
Wednesday, January 28th at the Aqua Turf Club

Keeping with past tradition of selecting a theme to compliment the annual meeting, the Y is going with a Super Hero theme.  "It's really a natural choice as we get to honor so many wonderful folks in the community who through their own super powers make Southington a better place to live."


The Y will be honoring the following: Dawn Miceli (Person of the Year), Southington Education Foundation (Reaching Out Award), Nancy Chiero, (Unsung Hero Award), Justine Griffin, Sarah Lamb & Trevor Rogers (Youth Leadership Award)  Tina Asido, Tony Michaud, Lisa Whitaker, and Mary Yuskis (Volunteer Service Award)


Three folks, Dave DeCroce, Patricia Hill, and Paula Knight are finishing up their second 3-year term of service on the Y's Board of Directors.




The Y will welcome three new Board Members: Paul Bedard, Diane McNicholas-Botsacos, and Jeff Leone


Melissa Sheffy is finishing up her second year as the Board President for the YMCA.  "Two years flew by under Melissa's leadership.  She's been phenomenal.  Like her predecessors, she carried the torch with vision, integrity and lots of passion."  The Board will vote in the following as 2015 officers:  Joe Eddy (President), Dan Daigle (Vice President), Dan Massucci, (Treasurer), and Mary Yuskis (Secretary)


In addition to honoring these inspiring people, attendees at the Y's Annual Meeting can look forward to a fun evening filled with surprises.


If interested in attending the Annual Meeting, please contact Janet Ebert at or 860-426-951

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If you’re one of the estimated 45% of Americans who made a New Years Resolution, now might be a good time to ask; how’s that going for you?  For those who can’t recall, or if you want to start one now, here’s a compilation, which represents the top 10 resolutions made for 2014.


1. Lose weight

2. Get organized

3. Spend less, save more

4. Enjoy life to the fullest

5. Staying fit and healthy

6.Learning something new

7. Quit smoking

8. Help others in their dreams

9. Fall in love

10. Spend more time with family

Any of these hit home? If so, your chance of success is not good. Consider that less than 10% of individuals achieve their resolution goals. Do not get discouraged though, as you can beat the odds!

As a YMCA Fitness Trainer, Group Exercise Specialist and Running Coach, my life revolves around assisting a wide variety of individuals, who are seeking numerous changes in their life.

While there are many models for change, individual patterns, backgrounds and habits are different from person to person and behavior to behavior. 


At the Y, as with most Fitness Centers, we experience the annual swell of New Years health seekers followed by an all too predictable retreat, within just the first quarter.  This Year let’s change, EVERYTHING!


In my experience, having helped in the transformation of hundreds of individuals, there are two key components for success 


1. Showing up (80% if you believe Woody Allen)

2. Having a plan. 


While I cannot help with the showing up, although I have threatened to drag someone to workout, I/we can help with the plan and make your dream a reality!  

Find out how the Y’s Focus on Youth Development, Healthy Living & Social Responsibility, can enrich your life and in the process receive more than you’ve dreamed, whatever you want to be!


To be a runner, Join Coach Tim and The Southington Y Running Crew! 



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Ask Mike Pelletier and wife Sharon why they have donated to the LIVESTRONG Program at the YMCA, and the long-time Southington residents answer is short and sweet.


"It was the best way we knew how to say thanks."


Mike retired in 2012, after 30 years of service with the State of Connecticut's DOT.  Six months later, a curveball was thrown his way. He was diagnosed with a rare form of Leukemia, called Chronic Myelomonocyctic Leukemia (CMML).


After 8 months of chemotherapy, it was determined that a Stem Cell Transplant was the only option to perhaps prolong Mike's life and, maybe even cure the Leukemia.

Given Mike's age, it was agreed the prognosis was totally unacceptable.


Be The Match, the global leader in bone marrow transplants, identified a perfect match.  The donor agreed to try and save Mike's life by donating stem cells.  Mike's donor is a 20-year-old male from Germany.  


Mike's Stem Cell Transplant took place on October 16, 2013 at the Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale.  With the support of the Transplant Team, nurses, family, and friends, Mike is now in remission.


Once Mike was home recovering, a neighbor recommended Mike join the LIVESTRONG Program at the Southington's Community YMCA.   The LIVESTRONG Program helps Cancer survivors  begin the journey toward recovery.  This free twelve-week program offers adults affected by cancer a safe, supportive environment to participate in physical and social activities focused on strengthening the whole person.


Mike  says, "this program has helped boost my self-esteem, improve my muscle strength, physical endurance,  and balance.  It's a wonderful program that has made a huge  impact in my recovery." LIVESTRONG has helped thousands of cancer survivors move beyond cancer in spirit, mind, and body.


On Saturday, October.18, 2014, at  The  Southington Elks Club, family and friends held la benefit  for Leukemia  Awareness.  After an amazing turnout, Mike and Sharon were able to donate funds to BeThe Match and the LIVESTRONG Program at the Southington YMCA.


Donna Ayers, Community Development Director at the Southington Community YMCA said, "We are so grateful for the generous donation from the Pelletiers on behalf of all their friends, family, and supporters.  This donation will help our Y continue to offer the LIVESTRONG Program to other cancer survivors in our community free of charge.  Their gift will help us continue to help cancer survivors gain back their strength, balance, agility, and endurance ".


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The Connecticut Alliance of YMCAs, the affinity and policy-making group representing 23 independent corporate YMCA’s, and its 41 branches, honored its volunteers of the year at its Annual Y Leaders’ Dinner On Tuesday, October 21, at the Courtyard Marriott in Waterbury. Select volunteers were honored, based on nominations from their local Y’s. Volunteers make it possible for YMCAs to fulfill their mission in the community, achieve good governance, and offer many special events and extra services each year.

Honored at the event was Southington resident, Joe Eddy. Joe is currently on the board of directors for the Southington-Cheshire Community YMCA, were he serves as the boards Vice President. Eddy, also chairs the Y’s Property Committee, which oversees several million dollars worth of projects within the association. As a self proclaimed “Y rat”, Eddy has been involved with the Southington-Cheshire Community YMCA for over 20 years. He has served on a multitude of committees, held board officer positions, and helped at numerous YMCA special events. “ I am honored and humbled to receive this award from the CT YMCA Alliance.  The YMCA is the lead organization in providing community support of all types and I appreciate the opportunity to help,” Eddy said.


“When you talk about the value of a board member offering the 3 T’s of time, talent and treasure, our Y has hit the ‘jackpot’ with Joe.  Constantly thinking about what’s best for our Y and what’s best for our community, Joe has been an inspiration for fellow board members, volunteers and community leaders." said John Myers, Executive Director of the Southington-Cheshire Community YMCA.

The Connecticut Alliance of YMCAs collaborates and works together on areas of mutual benefit in order to strengthen and enhance individual YMCAs and the collective strength of CT YMCAs to better serve all people of Connecticut.



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The Y: A Place Where All People Can Come Together


As the Membership Director,  I look forward to when our lobby is full of our members. Just this morning I was walking through this intergenerational crowd of people and not only were our members diverse in ages but also in languages. As I walked by a group of tables I heard some of our regulars, enjoying their morning coffee, talking about what they have to do today and debating how our government would handle


current affairs going on in our nation.  Just a few steps away were two staff members speaking to each other in Italian. Then, at the far end of our lobby, were two mothers with their young children laughing with each other while they spoke Spanish to one another.  To me, this is what makes us more than a gym.  We are a place where all people can come together.


Christina Simms
Membership Director

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The Power of Teachers

I drove up to my son’s elementary school this morning and together we waited in our designated space until it was time for him to get out of the car and walk into school by himself.  “It’s time”, he said to me and so I gave him permission to open the car door and begin his walk into school.  My son is the first of my children to start elementary school so our family is learning together.  I watched as he walked confidently to the cross walk where a staff member directed him and other students across the street and into school.  I joined the rest of the parents as we all got back into our cars and drove off to begin our day.  In my car I took a deep breath and marveled at the change I have already begun to see in my son after just a few days at school.  I have always respected educators as well as other school staff but now I am in awe of the role they play in our children’s lives.  

Educators and school personnel have an amazing responsibility that goes beyond teaching academics and should be recognized and appreciated for the role they serve in our children’s lives. The role of a teacher today is much different than it used to be. Teachers’ used to be told what to teach, and how to teach it. They were expected to use the same methods for all students. In today's world, a teacher's role is multifaceted. Their job is to counsel students and help them learn how to use their knowledge to become successful and valuable members of their community. Teachers are encouraged to really tune into how each individual student learns, and try to really challenge and inspire them to learn.  The role of a teacher is clearly more than just planning and executing lesson plans, it's also becoming the student’s third parent and consistent role model.

Elementary school teachers play an important role in the development of students. According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook offered by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, elementary school teachers are often the sole source of a students learning experience. What students learn in their formative years can shape how they are in the future.

As parents we should not only be thankful for the teachers we have in our school system but also supportive and understanding of the tremendous responsibility they have and acknowledge what they do for the students of Southington.  To this mother each one of you is a hero!

Show your teacher how much you appreciate what they do for your child during teacher appreciation week September 22-26th. 

Christina Simms M.S.W.
Membership and Senior Program Director

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When you think of summertime as a child, what comes to mind? Campfires? Capture the flag? Canoeing? Kum Bah Yah? Whether you’ve had memories you’ll never forget or you always wondered what it’d be like to go to camp, summer is home to some of the most positive, powerful adventures.


Thousands of local children miss the growth and adventure of summer camp simply for financial reasons. These same kids are at risk of unhealthy and unsafe behavior when the summer school bell rings.This year alone, nearly 3,000 kids attended YMCA Camp Sloper, 85 of which were afforded this experience through financial assistance


When asked to describe her camp experience, one camper who is on financial assistance said, “ I would live here, if they let me” Every summer, campers have enriching days filled with healthy friendships, core values, confidene and self-discovery. Yet, there are far too many kids whose families simply were never able to afford it


The YMCA strongly believe that every child should have this experience, no matter his or her family's financial situation.


The Y’s Annual Giving Campaign raises funds to give the gift of camp to children who couldn't afford to attend YMCA Camp Sloper otherwise.


As the largest provider of summer camps in the U.S., the YMCA makes sure that kids have fun but also learn to socialize, share and develop new interests. YMCA Camp Sloper nurtures the healthy, successful growth of every camper by emphasizing values such as caring, honesty, respect and responsibility.


We can't get there without you. Your support is vital to giving a child the best summer of their life!


Help Today!



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