We missed you at Silver Bay

A Special Report for our chapter members

Save the dates now: September 16-19, 2024

New England Chapter

Central Atlantic Chapter

McBurney Morse Chapter

November 2023                View as Webpage

Listening to the silence at Silver Bay

By Joyce Wilson

Hello Craig,

The September outing to the YMCA Silver Bay Conference Center on Lake George in the beautiful Adirnondack Mountains of New York provided close contact with nature.

Our laughing and enjoying each other’s company was transformed into a special awareness of the natural beauty of the setting. “A moment of silence” was observed as we drifted into a small bay reserved as a spiritual retreat center for Catholic priests. The absolute silence was unforgettable.


The YMCA Alumni 3-Chapter Retreat at Silver Bay is an experience not to be missed.A wide range of activities, including hiking, pickleball, yoga, historic tours, and a special labyrinth meditation were available. Rocking chairs on the lodge porch provided time for relaxation and reflection. Nora Tafel from Y-USA World Service provided an informative overview of how our donations are helping to provide support and service around the globe. She was available during the entire event to answer questions. 

YMCA Alumni who have had recent experience on the Sioux reservation were eager to share their enthusiasm for our National Service Project with a slide presentation and pictures of the first tiny homes nearing completion. A discussion session revealed a wide range of retirement issues and challenges facing new retirees in the coming years. The last gathering ended with a most informative and engaging message from Phill Morgan, President-Elect of National YMCA Alumni.


Silver Bay, a historic center, has spent considerable time and funds modernizing, yet retaining its traditional appeal. Tours of the campus and a view from the nearby mountainside after a morning hike provided a special awareness of the beauty of the setting.


The retreat affords a chance to escape the routines of everyday life and become revitalized in a unique and spiritual setting that provides enjoyable options with a closeness to nature not to be forgotten. Don’t miss out next year. Put the dates on your calendar: September 16-19, 2024.

(Joyce Wilson is a member of the Central Atlantic Chapter and is co-editor of BRIDGES, the newsletter of the World Fellowship of YMCA Retirees.)

Here's what participants are saying...

From Jack Young

"What a wonderful time we had at the 2023 fall retreat for YMCA Alumni members. We renewed acquaintances with former colleagues, and we made new friends across the three-chapter rosters of participants. Whether we were sitting on the rockers of the front porch, sharing a meal in the cafeteria, visiting the ice cream store or taking one of several hikes on the grounds, we always had the opportunity to share old stories and make new discoveries."

From Chuck Ainsworth

"Throughout my 33-year YMCA career, my visits to Silver Bay were frequent as I fulfilled a range of responsibilities. Yet, they did not compare to the three-day, tri-chapter stay in September. This assembly of 45 YMCA Alumni members enabled my renewed involvement with old friends and colleagues, and it also allowed for personal escapes and adventures: hikes to Inspiration Point, boat rides around Lake George, wine receptions and unanticipated discoveries. The labyrinth, an ancient walking meditation tool, was my introduction to that unique resource. I look forward to returning to Silver Bay in 2024 to join with more friends and former colleagues."

From John Hedbvany

"This event attracted a diverse group of former Y professionals and, for me, created opportunities to meet others and make new friends, as well as time to reconnect with many I have known over the years. The two-night/three-day get-together was an enjoyable and fun time with lots of activity options, including boat tours on Lake George, hiking to Inspiration Point, updates on our YMCA Alumni National Service Project, World Service and more, plus time to simply relax and visit. It was, again, a great time with great people!"

From Bruce Tamlyn

"We so enjoyed attending the YMCA Alumni event at Silver Bay. It was truly great to connect with YMCA colleagues we had worked with and known, and to meet other YMCA alumni whom we were not familiar with. There were many interesting activities and offerings available. The most enjoyable aspect of the reunion was the fellowship this group enjoyed together. The opportunity to sing , participate in evening devotions, and enjoy many thoughtful and meaningful conversations was so rewarding. We are already looking forward to next year's YMCA Alumni event at Silver Bay."

From Sandy Berlin Walker

“Loved the beautiful setting, great accommodations, and varied activities to connect in small groups with new and old friends. Chance to share and renew the spirit of the Y - priceless!”

From Bruce MacDonald

"What a spectacular venue for an opportunity to reconnect with some old friends and to meet some new ones. I enjoyed speaking with everyone to hear about what they are doing in their retirement. It also offers you an opportunity to remain active in the Y without a huge time commitment.I did see many old friends but would like to see more of the newly retired folks. Let's make this an even better couple of days by contacting some of your old friends and asking them to meet you in Silver bay next year." 

Silver Bay:

'Our touchstone in the wilderness'

By Mark Rutkowski

We all have touchstones in our lives. Sometimes they may literally be stones we keep in our pocket such as those we would give our NY delegates attending the Youth and Government Conference on National Affairs that they could use to settle if nervous or feeling a little glum. As we age, our touchstones may take the form of places or people where we connect, reinvigorate, find a new path, renew acquaintances, or meet new people.


Our YMCA Silver Bay Conference Center is such a stone. Situated on the shores of Lake George, it is nestled between the mountains that rise directly from the lake, 1,000 feet on each side. Being north on the 32-mile lake, it is separate from the busy touristy locations south, promoting an opportunity for retreat that has served as a YMCA Training School for our movement’s colleagues that began in the early 1900s. 


Almost like returning home, here we rekindle memories with colleagues, meet others who also engaged in our work of service to community, refreshing our soul in song around a campfire or through an inspirational hike, a boat trip on the Lake (where we stopped to listen to the sounds and views ancestors had seen hundreds of years ago).

We reflect on our journey whether in a rocking chair, along a labyrinth path, in a short workshop about our retirement stages or simply in conversation with a friend. Trying new things such as Yoga stretching and toning these older bodies, learning how to play paddleball, walking on the campus, or simply exploring the area with a friend.


While our connection was so short, so it is with all who visit Silver Bay – why we need and want to return every year to once again touch the stones in our lives in celebration with those who have journeyed on this path before us. 

(Mark Rutkowski was Associate Executive Director at Silver Bay for 18 years.)

We'll see you at Silver Bay next fall

Friends, we look forward to having you join us September 16-19, 2024 and we heartily thank all you who explored the Adirondacks with us this year. Watch for details in The Nor'easter, Clippings or The Messenger next spring.


Central Atlantic Chapter President: Len Wilson

New England Chapter President: Karen Leslie

McBurney-Morse Chapter President:Chuck Ainsworth