Wednesday October 1, 2014


Becky Harkema

Fall programs are in full swing and it is great having all the kids come to our YMCA branches after school.  What has been really great for me personally is all the wonderful people I have gotten to know.  Washington County is really a great place to live and it is the people who make it that way.  The stories that I will talk about this month are just another example:


On Saturday, September 13 I opened the indoor pool for lap swimming and had such a great experience.  I saw  Veta Thode and Jean Knowles.  These two wonderful ladies are sisters and it was nice to hear their pleasant conversations about work, family and daily activities.  They come into the YMCA daily to exercise together and catch up, making their sisterly bond even that much tighter.  I can surely say that it is a true joy to see them together!  The attached picture is when I caught them working out together at the Washington Community YMCA branch fitness center. 


A year ago I saw the cutest little boy come into the Washington YMCA branch for swim lessons.  His name is Levi Fernau, the son of Joe and Carmen Fernau, who live in Wellman.  Levi caught my eye because he was wearing the coolest stocking cap that any little boy  could wear.  He began in our beginner level swim lessons and was a little frightened.  Now though he has advanced to our highest level of preschool lessons and swims like a little fish in the water.  What has been the most touching though is that he always comes into my office to thank me for having swim lessons.  Well I didn't know much more about Levi until I was at the Wellman YMCA just a few days ago.  In walked Levi with his mom, Carmen and two sisters!  Carmen was coming to the Wellman YMCA for a spin class and this allowed me the chance to talk to Levi more.  As he colored a picture I was able to hold one of his sisters.  Levi demonstrated kindness, great listening skills and was very helpful to his mom and sisters.  Joe and Carmen are doing a great job in raising their family!


On Friday, September 26 we hosted a beanbag tournament at Unc & Neph's Restaurant in Washington.  This event was a fundraiser for our upcoming mentoring program.  This new program will involve 12 fifth grade students from Lincoln Elementary.  They will be paired up with 12 adult mentors.  Kerri Hall is our coordinator.  The mentors and mentees will begin meeting in November and continue through May.  I am really excited about this partnership with the Washington School District and the impact that we can have with the students.  We are accepting monetary donations for this program so if you would like to contribute please contact Kerri or myself. 

Our beanbag tournament was really a lot of fun and we had several spectators donate to the mentoring program!  What was  wonderful to see is the comradery that  everyone had.  The support for the YMCA was wonderful to see and I'm so glad to have the opportunity to visit with all the players.  I'm still trying to beat Shawn  Redlinger and Ryan Bruty but these guys are way too good.  

Becky Harkema

YMCA Mission:

"To put Christian principles into practice through programs that help healthy spirit, mind and body for all."  


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