by Ardeana Hamlin
of The Weekly Staff
BANGOR — The Bangor Y is in the midst of its annual Giving Campaign, which will continue through Sept. 30. In addition to the obvious goal of raising funds to support the Wilderness Center at Camp Jordan in Ellsworth, Camp G. Peirce Webber in Hampden, the Y childcare program, before and after school programs, youth and family services, aquatics and youth sports programs, Adventure Seekers and Health Living programs, the campaign has several other goals.
“We want to tell the story of the Y and to honor those who have supported the Y to make it what it is today,” said Diane Dickerson, executive vice president of marketing, development, and community engagement at the Y.
To that end, the campaign brochure was designed, through its Giving Levels, to tell the stories of the individuals and families — sometimes over the course of several generations — who provide financial and other support to the Y. These stories also reflect some of the history of the Y.
For example, Stan and Marie Macmillan contributed funds to build three cabins at Camp Jordan in memory of their daughter, Heather. Their son Sean, who in his youth was a member of the Y swim team, led a drive to replace the swim team scoreboard, raising the necessary funds in seven days. His wife, Ginny serves on the Y board of directors, and their children Collin and Ellie swim competitively on the Y’s Barracuda swim team.
Judson M. “Bud” Grant was a Bangor businessman and developer who prided himself on support and service to the Y, particularly as a seller of tickets for the Y Triangle Club’s annual baked bean supper. Each year he sold more tickets to the event than anyone else. His involvement with the Y was to make certain that all children had an opportunity to participate in Y programs and camp experiences.
When he was inducted into the Maine Sports Hall of Fame, former U.S. Secretary of Defense William Cohen remarked that the only lie he ever told was when he was 8 years old. In those days, one had to be 9 years years old to enter the Bangor YMCA, so he added a year to his age in order to take advantage of Y programs. “I lived there. That is where I learned to play basketball,” he said in his address at the Maine Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Former U.S. President Bill Clinton, under whom Cohen served as defense secretary, stated in a video presentation at the induction ceremony that the work ethic and lessons Cohen learned from growing up in Bangor and playing basketball at the Y were valuable in later years to his political career.
Nancy Savage, Shirley Randall, Geneva Inman, Verlie Bowdan, Arlene Salisbury and Polly Barron played an important role in the creation of the YW Aquatics Program in 1978. Savage, then director of health, physical education and recreation at the Y, trained the other women to be volunteers lifeguards. Those women opened the pool at 6 a.m. and took two-hour shifts during the day to keep the pool open.
Other Giving Level stories in the brochure include the Stephen King, the Means, the Carlisle, the Aloupis, the Cole, the N.H. Bragg and the Eames families. Individuals include Bill and Peg Bennett, Barbara Cassidy, Tom and Bonnie Sawyer, Doug and Ana Brown, Julia Eaton, Mary Dyer, Doc Mann, LlOyd and Jay wiley, John Coombs, Tim Rice, Sally and Bill Arata, Frank Farrington, Mike and Elsa Cohen and Vitauts J.Knuble. Business entities include BDN Maine, Bangor Savings Bank and The Libra Foundation.
It is this spirit of involvement, Dickerson said, that has built the solid foundation of the Bangor Y, Dickerson said.
“It takes $500,000 annually of contributed income to run the Y,” said Bangor Y CEO Mike Seile. Those contributions, he said, make it possible for one in four children in the Y Day Care Program to receive a financial assistance scholarship from the Y, 1,365 children to participate in swimming lessons at the Y and 1,961 people to take part in in Y health and wellness classes.
The Y provides $75,000 in scholarships to Camp Jordan, $40,000 in scholarships to Camp G. Pierce Webber and $90,000 in scholarships for Y membership and childcare programs. “This allows us to keep our rates affordable,” he said.
“Children enrolled in the Y day care and before and after schools programs receive free swimming lessons and free youth membership to the Y, Dickerson said. “We also have a nutritionist on site.” This ensures that children eat food that is good for them and helps them learn to make healthful food choices.
Children in the before and after school programs are bused from the Y to and from their schools. The Y also maintains off-site before and after school facilities in Winterport and Glenburn.
Currently, 155 children are enrolled in those programs at the Y, with 60 more taking part in facilities in Winterport and Glenburn.
The fundraising campaign, which has for its slogan, “Changing Lives … That’s Your Y,” will wind up with a Gala event at 6 p.m. at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor. The event will feature cocktails, live music and an auction with an auctioneer who also will do comedy. “Sponsors dear to our hearts are Bangor Savings Bank and Bangor Hydro,” Dickerson said.
To make a contribution to the Y’s annual Giving Campaign, stop by the Y at 17 Second St. in Bangor and ask for a campaign brochure which contains the stories of those who support the Y, provides information about its programs and naming opportunities. The brochure also has information about some of things the Bangor Y needs, such as a new playground and an aquatics bleacher system and how to become a sponsor.
For information about the Y or any of its programs, to learn about day care, before and after school programs, or to arrange to have a Giving Campaign brochure mailed to you, call the Y at 941-2808 or go to BangorY.org.