June 18, 2018
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Down East Family YMCA to receive the Chamber Top Drawer Award 2018.

Community Author: Gretchen A. Wilson, Ellsworth Area Chamber
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The Board  of Directors of the Ellsworth Area Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce that the Down East Family YMCA will be the 2018 recipient of the Top Drawer Award.  The Top Drawer Award is the EACC’s highest honor, given to a business, organization or individual who has made a substantial contribution to the growth, development and improvement of our city, county and or state.  The award has been given by the Chamber of Commerce since 1980 when it was given posthumously to honor Tom Caruso and his company Bar Harbor Airways.  The award, a miniature chest of drawers, is designed and built by a local craftsman to fit the business being honored.

“We are thrilled with the selection of the Y this year” stated Gretchen Wilson, Executive Director “Their history and continued growth in this community and county has given so much to families, I am not sure where we would be without so many of their events and programs!”

The Y has a 57 year presence in the Ellsworth community.  It was first organized under the Maine State YMCA, as the East Central District YMCA in 1961.  A local committee of 18 ran the organization out of offices on Main street, including Katsiaficas office, 72 Main street, and then moving to the old school house on Bridge Hill in 1970.  In January 1986 the YMCA separated from the Maine State YMCA and became autonomous.  The New name became Down East Family YMCA.  In 1988 work started on a capital campaign for a new facility.  In June 1989 facility construction began and in September 1990 the facility opened on its present site on State Street.  In 1995 after a second capital campaign, the building was named after James Russell Wiggins.

Thru the start of the new century the Y began leasing and then purchasing land on Webb pond for their Camp Discovery. They also moved their after school program out of the YMCA building to the vacated Gen Bryant E Moore School.  With the renovation into a new community center, the Y expanded programs and leased space to Friends in Action.  It also began partnerships in both the Blue Hill and Bucksport communities for satellite fitness and recreation programs. Blue Hill announced the building of an expanded facility that the Down East Family YMCA will manage once completed.  In 2017 the Y and Jackson Lab partnered to establish another childcare facility, on Beechland road for the expansion of Jackson lab jobs into Ellsworth.  The Beechland Road Early Learning Center opened in November of 2017.

“We are overwhelmed with this honor” stated Peter Farragher Executive Director of The Down East Family YMCA “ This is an incredibly humbling and special award for all of our staff and board at the Y.”

The Down East Family YMCA will be honored at the Chamber’s Annual Meeting on May 17.