New YMCA director wants everyone to be part of the 'Y'

June 23, 2005|by RICHARD F. BELISLE

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Alan's Smith's first big job as executive director of the YMCA is rounding up more than 300 people to wear red or black shirts and form a giant "Y."

This year is the Waynesboro Area YMCA's 90th anniversary and Smith wants to celebrate it in a big way - by forming a human chain to form the organization's logo and the number 90.

The volunteers will be lined up on the high school soccer field off East Second Street. Those in black shirts will form the main portion of the Y and those in red will form the triangle. The rest, in any colored T-shirts, will form the number, Smith said.


Once Smith has everyone lined up to his satisfaction, Randy Kuhn, owner of Pictures Plus, a Waynesboro photo shop, will climb to the top of a fire department aerial ladder truck and capture the scene for posterity.

The photos will be sold in 8-by-10 or 10-by-14 sizes for $10 and $15, Kuhn said.

The money goes to the YMCA's ongoing $1.5 million fundraising campaign, which had reached 86 percent of its goal as of Wednesday, Smith said.

Kuhn will take the photo at 1 p.m. July 4 as part of Waynesboro's annual one-day Summer Jubilee, across from Waynesboro Hospital. Smith hopes some of the Jubilee participants and patrons will line up for the photograph.

"We'll take anyone who walks in, YMCA member or not," he said. "The logo will be expanded or contracted depending on how many people are in it. We'll put the short people up front and the tall ones in the back so we can get as many faces in as possible.

"It's a once-in-a-lifetime experience," Smith said of the opportunity to get into the logo. "It's a chance to be part of history.

The YMCA opened in Waynesboro in 1915. Part of the celebration will bring together members who were born that year with infants born this year, Smith said.

His other big job, since taking over the executive director's post from Dick Marks on June 1, is wrapping up the capital campaign and starting the construction projects for which the money is being raised.

All of it deals with the YMCA's impact on children, Smith said.

The $1.5 million will pay to move and triple the size of the fitness center, build a separate teen center from the one used by elementary-aged children, add a computer/game room complete with climbing wall, expand the child-care facilities and add locker rooms for members with special needs, Smith said.

"We're trying to provide opportunities so they can't say there is nothing to do in Waynesboro," Smith said.

He said his tenure will continue to focus on meeting the needs of the community and the challenges that the area's projected growth will bring to YMCA programs in the next three to five years.

Smith, 48, is a Waynesboro native. He graduated from Waynesboro Area Senior High School in 1974 and from Penn State University in 1978. Six months later, he started to work at the YMCA as director of youth programs.

"When I started in 1979, we had 700 to 800 members and 30 programs," Smith said. "Now we have 3,600 members in 120 programs."

Marks, 63, became the first executive director of the YMCA at 810 E. Main St. when it opened in 1975.

He retired in May.

Marks said Smith was groomed to replace him.

"This was not a last-minute decision," he said. "We've been planning for it for more than a year."

Smith rose through the ranks, from youth program director to adult director to senior program director to his last job as associate executive director.

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