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South Shore YMCA Celebrates 125 Years of Service to the Community & Inspires Promise for the Future

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October 25, 2017
South Shore Y 125th Anniversary Celebration Brings Together 175 Longtime Members, Supporters and Staff
Quincy, October 23, 2017 – The South Shore YMCA hosted its 125th Anniversary celebration on Sunday, October 22nd, bringing together more than 175 longtime members, donors and staff for an evening of shared memories of the impact, relevancy and history of the Y.
Guests were treated to historical displays that included the contents of the time capsules from both the 1904 and 1955 Quincy YMCA buildings, which were opened for the first time in January 2017, the new historical timeline mounted in the “Main Street” hallway, and an extensive exhibit of South Shore YMCA photographs and historical artifacts. State Representative Tackey Chan spoke of the great work the South Shore Y has done and presented citations from the House, Governor Charlie Baker, and State Senator John Keenan who, along with District Attorney Michael Morrissey, attended the event.
Paul Gorman, President & CEO of the South Shore YMCA, greeted the guests and shared the life-changing impact that the South Shore YMCA has made through time. He described how the South Shore Y began as the Quincy Y in 1892 with the incorporation of an organization of a dozen concerned Quincy citizens, and how from those simple roots grew today’s South Shore YMCA, with nine locations, involving more than 60,000 members and program participants annually, and returning $3 million to the community each year so that everyone has the ability to belong. All of the growth the South Shore Y has made over the past eight years has focused on impact, relevance and sustainability, all to strengthen the community.  “All of the accomplishments we celebrate tonight happened because of you,” he told the crowd, “our dedicated donors and volunteers, who, like our predecessors, wanted to help others be better, and to ensure that all are welcome.” 
Longtime members Steve Curtis and Jane Cook shared their stories. Curtis, who joined the Quincy Y at about eight years old to swim and play basketball, has been a member for six decades. Joining the Quincy Y’s wrestling team as a high schooler, he attributed the wrestling coaches at the Y for his success that taught him a life lesson –stay focused and put forth effort, and you can achieve great things - that he applied throughout his career.  “The Y is part of my life and as long as I am able and wherever I am, I will always be a member of the Y.” Cook, a member for the Quincy Y for 51 years, said that swimming at the Y is part of her daily life, and that her children grew up in Y pools, as members of the Y’s swim teams. “The Y is a comfortable place that I can depend on. Even as I traveled around the world, the Y was the first place I sought out,” she said, noting that the back of her membership card displayed the acronym “AWAY,” standing for “Always welcome at the Y.” “The Y is an integral part of my life,” she said, “and I’m so glad to belong.”
The Executive Board Chief Volunteer Officer, Suzanne Stefany shared the Y future – the near future of the next three to five years – with the completion of a new strategic plan focusing on: the Y’s core – strengthening existing programs, increasing opportunities for growth for our teens and enhancing the Y’s role with community integrated health; the Y’s reach – extending deeper into the communities the Y serves, increasing the Y’s presence through outreach programs and extending community benefits to all friends and neighbors to ensure that all understand that the Y is a charity; and the Y’s engagement – taking a good look at how the Y engages its staff, members and volunteers. As far as the next 125 years, Stefany made no promises of what that will look like but did assure all that whatever the needs are, the South Shore Y will rise to meet them thanks to our passionate and dedicated staff, donors and volunteers who make it possible.
Alex Clark, whose great-great-grandfather was a founding member of the Quincy Y, serves on the Y’s executive board and has a son serving on a regional YMCA board, meaning that his family has been involved with the South Shore Y for five generations. “My father taught me, as his father taught him, and I have shared with my children, that giving to other promotes happiness within. I have made the choice to give of my time and talent as well as to invest in the Y as I do feel good when I know that a child who otherwise couldn’t afford it can attend summer camp, that a teen can find acceptance and a place to belong, that a senior can stay active and healthy, to name just a few outcomes of giving.” As the current stewards of the Y, he said, today’s volunteers and donors will be thanked by its future caretakers, who will “look back and thank you for your vision and investment.”
An anniversary booklet was published for the event including the historical timeline, history of leadership and recognition of partners, donors and impact on our community. A limited supply is available at the Quincy Y for those interested.  In addition, the South Shore YMCA is seeking ideas for items for inclusion in the new building’s time capsule and its complete history book that will be published this December. Members of the community with Y stories or suggestions are encouraged to contact Mary Orne at morne@ssymca.org or (781) 264-9453.
About the South Shore YMCA
The South Shore YMCA is a nonprofit association committed to strengthening our communities by nurturing the potential of kids, promoting healthy living and fostering a sense of social responsibility. Throughout the South Shore community, the SSYMCA engages more than 65,000 members and participants, nearly two-thirds of whom are children and teens, in over 100 different programs.  The Y strives to serve our entire community and provides financial assistance to ensure every child, family and individual has the opportunity to learn, grow and thrive through South Shore YMCA membership, programs and services