a special issue of The CONNECTION
Special issue of The CONNECTION
News from your YMCA Alumni Travel Club
The CONNECTION * Vol. 96 * No. 1 * January 2023
From our Travel Club Chair
Bill Hooson

I have backpacked with my dog in winter wonderlands just for the solace. And I have traveled with friends and groups on both spiritual retreats and tours. I have found something special in being able to share an adventure or a journey with a couple of close friends. There is a lot to learn about yourself traveling, especially your ability to deal with the many adjustments of travel.

When I conduct pre-marriage counseling, I always ask the couple if they have traveled together. If they haven’t, I strongly recommend they take a week-long getaway together before getting married.

I remember traveling to a Bluegrass festival in 1971, in Ivydale, W.V, with my partner and two other couples. One person insisted that we eat, as a group, at 7 a.m., noon, and 5 p.m., every day. That trip taught me a lot about expectation, communications, and conflict resolution. That experience helped me plan and organize trips for our Board members to visit our partnerships with the Republic of Georgia and Costa Rica.

Today when we plan trips, the first thing we decide on is where and the second is the kind of travel experience we are seeking: a cruise where we only have to unpack once, and can enjoy meals and entertainment on board, how many ports-of-call will we be visiting, and if we will tour places on our own or be part of a group tour; or, perhaps a land tour with guided tours and staying in a different hotel every other night; or, an adventure tour where we might be bicycling, trekking, or paddling; and sometimes we plan a getaway by ourselves or another couple where we travel to a destination where we stay in the same hotel for several nights and explore the area we are visiting.

We make it clear we like to spend one- or two-days sightseeing and then a day enjoying the amenities of the hotel and its neighborhood. After all it is a vacation.

The great thing about your YMCA Alumni Travel Club is that we have a team of folks who have extensive experience traveling as well as a professional consultant. We try to offer a menu of travel options, considering price, locations, vehicle of travel, type of experience (historic, scenery, adventure, etc.) length of trip, and degree of exertion.

And if our menu doesn’t appeal to you, let us know what you are looking for and with the help of your YMCA Alumni Travel Club and our consultant, we can fine tune a trip for you and your party.

It is our goal to provide YMCA Alumni members, your family and friends, a meaningful, safe, and enriching experience of travel. We are here to make reality of your travel dreams.
Bill Hooson, YMCA Alumni Travel Club Committee Chair
Adventures at a glance
Feb. 25-March 3, 2023: Costa Rica
May 17-22, 2023: A Big Apple Getway
June 13-20, 2023: Danube Dreams River Cruise
Sept. 20-28, 2023: Mackinac Island & Grand Hotel
Sept. 27 - Oct. 4, 2024: America's Music Cities
Winter 2025: Alumni Reunion at Sea Cruise
A partnership in adventure planning
Our YMCA Alumni Travel Club professional consultant is
Bob Cook, Sales Manager of GoTravel, a major tour and cruise agency that has been working with us since the beginning of our Travel Club. Go Travel is connected to all the top tour and cruise companies around the world. Bob and his team work together with our volunteer YMCA Alumni Travel Club Committee members to build each of our trips.
All bookings go through Go Travel, whose representatives can answer all your questions, book your trip and find you the best airfares and routes from your home city.

All you have to do is click the GO TRAVEL LOGO below and let them know what trip(s) you are interested in and a representative will contact you with more information.
Costa Rica
February 25-March 3, 2023
Escape winter with the YMCA Alumni Travel Club on this affordable adventure to Costa Rica’s natural paradise with affordable pricing. Come with us to a place where untouched landscapes meet tropical beaches.
A Big Apple Getaway
May 17-22, 2023
Six nights and seven days uptown, downtown, all around the town. Visit United Nations Headquarters, enjoy two Broadway shows, go back in time in Lower Manhattan, mid-town's Times Square and the historic, magnificent Grand Central Station and then cruise the river for a farewell dinner on a European style
bateau -- a glassed in boat. Stay at the iconic Hotel New Yorker in Midtown. Your YMCA Alumni Hosts: Mary and Bill Ching.
Danube Dreams River Cruise
June 13-20, 2023
Cruise along the Danube, embarking from Deggendorf, the "gateway to the Bavarian Forest" to Passau, known as the "Venice of Bavaria." Explore the beautiful city of Linz, Austria. Visit Vienna, the magnificent "City of Dreams" and end your cruise in Budapest. The “Queen of the Danube” Cruise on Avalon Waterway's newest ship The View. Your host: Susan Bales, owner, Go Travel.
Mackinac Island & The Grand Hotel
September 20-28, 2023
From the excitement of the big city of Chicago to the hushed silence of lakeside dunes and the gentle elegance of the Grand Hotel, explore Michigan's unique wonders, Canada’s scenic rail and journey to the heart of Henry Ford country. Conducted by Mayflower Tours, who led our excellent railroad trip last summer. Your YMCA Alumni host: Jean Carmichael, YMCA Alumni National President.
America's Music Cities
September 27-October 4, 2024
Join us on an unforgettable musical motor coach journey to America’s Music Cities. From Nashville, the Home of Country Music, to Memphis, the Birthplace of the Blues, and on to New Orleans with its deep Jazz Roots, you will be entertained and energized every step of the way. Led by Mayflower Tours. Your YMCA Alumni Hosts: Peggi Simmons and Craig Altschul, YMCA Alumni Communications.
YMCA Alumni Reunion at Sea
January 26 – February 2, 2025
Plan right NOW to be part of YMCA Alumni’s Reunion at Sea aboard the fabulous Royal Caribbean Harmony of the Seas Jan. 26-Feb.2, 2025 for a 7-night cruise into the beautiful Western Caribbean. We’ll sail from the brand new and stunning Royal Caribbean Cruise Terminal in Galveston, Texas (photo above) with port stops in Roatan, Honduras, Costa Maya and Cozumel. The Harmony of the Seas set a new standard with deck-defying stunts at the AquaTheater, the robot-helmed Bionic Bar, dazzling Broadway performances and globetrotting dining experiences that go from Asia to the Mediterranean, and beyond. 

All this plus re-connecting with friends and former colleagues at special YMCA Alumni ship-board workshops, speakers, events and fun. Great prices, too on all staterooms now. The reunion is hosted by the West Region YMCA Alumni Chapters and the YMCA Alumni Travel Club. We understand it seems a long way off, but if you want to be sure of a stateroom of your choice at today's pricing, don't wait. You may cancel if necessary up until October 2024.
YMCA Alumni Travel Club Committee
Chair: Bill Hooson
Craig Altschul * Bill Ching 
Chuck Dandridge * Shayna Ellovich
Suzanne Mabie * Don Macher * Patrick Murphy
Craig Schaefer * Charlotte Waters
Bob Cook, Go Travel, consultant
GOING PLACES is written, edited and produced by
Next issue of The CONNECTION: February 1, 2023
Next issue of GOING PLACES: March 1, 2023