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November 2022

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From the President...

Hello Craig,

Happy Fall to all of our members,


Fall is here with cooler weather and colorful scenery which I hope you are enjoying. We in the Northeast are blessed with beautiful weather while our Floridian neighbors are experiencing a horrific event that possibly will take years to overcome. We need to continue to keep them in our thoughts and prayers and offer them any assistance we are able to.


This past summer a few of us enjoyed a delightful day at the Wilson’s shore house. Due to unforeseen circumstances, there were only a few of us and hoping next year all of our friends will again be able to join us.


Our chapter was invited to attend a gathering at the Silver Bay YMCA Conference Center with the New England and McBurney-Morse chapters. The Grahams and Taylors were able to attend and had a wonderful experience. There was so much to do: a hike, a boat trip, a camp fire, tours of the magnificent grounds and buildings, and so much more. It was so much fun reacquainting with old friends and meeting some new ones. It was just plain fun! We all felt it exceeded our expectations and are planning for another reunion next year.


Nancy Gray, our event planner, arranged a great outing October 13 at the Pearl Buck house and lunch at the Ram Pub in Perkasie. Don’t forget to put Wednesday Dec. 7 on your calendar for our Annual Christmas Luncheon at the Lambertville Station Restaurant in Lambertville, N.J.

Enjoy the weather, hope to see you soon and stay healthy and safe.

Photo: Barb and Roy on Silver Bay

Barbara Taylor, President

An amazing life: Jerry Lawton

By Ken White


Long time Central Atlantic Chapter member Jerry Lawton’s whole life has been the YMCA. His father was the Boy’s Work Secretary at the Morristown YMCA (NJ) when he was born some 97 years ago. He attended YMCA Camp Washington on Schooley’s Mountain in New Jersey at seven months old, of course with his dad, who led the program.


All through school, Jerry was at the YMCA at least three times a week in various programs. He continued his involvement in YMCA Camp Washington, eventually also becoming a counselor at the YMCA of the Oranges and Camp Fairview Lakes until he joined the Marines. He served during World War II. He attended Springfield College and still worked at the Orange’s Day Camp in the summer after the war.


During his junior year of college Jerry married his beautiful bride, Ruth. The first full-time job in the YMCA was as Boy’s Work Secretary at the Paterson, NJ YMCA. He then moved to the Glen Falls, N.Y. YMCA. There he added adult activities and built a 35-acre day camp south of Lake George. Jerry was able to get the Seabees to help with the construction of the facilities.


During his many years of service, he provided leadership to the Somerset Hills YMCA, the Morris County YMCA in Dover, N.J. (which became the West Morris YMCA), the Randolph YMCA and the Gloucester County YMCA. Jerry filled every job at the YMCA including facility maintenance which eventually caused him extreme back problems resulting in his retirement and subsequent back surgery.

He joined YMCA Alumni in 1984 and served for several years as Treasurer and that is the story of an amazing man on an amazing YMCA journey.

New waves of volunteers in Dupree

… and so begins a brand new inspirational video on the YMCA Alumni National Service Project, professionally produced by VATIV Media. The video, shot over the summer, includes footage from the colorful groundbreaking ceremony in May and the beginning of construction by our member volunteers. The video will debut at the YMCA Alumni Reunion ’22 in early November.

Bonnie and Gary Graham are in Dupree, South Dakota just about now, to participate in the construction of the first of the “tiny homes” for the YMCA Alumni National Service Project in partnership with the YMCA of the Seven Council Fires (the Sioux Y’s new name) and the Lakota community.

Four waves of volunteers have worked on the foundations and the site preparation to date for what will be a village of four Tiny Homes centered around a council fire and seating. The design brings state of the art, energy efficient construction techniques together with traditional, native customs of hospitality and community.


The fifth wave of volunteers will erect the SIP (structural insulated panels) panels which will shape the walls and the roof. This is the most energy efficient in passive construction and insures both coolness in summer and warmth in winter so necessary with the huge temperature swings on the Reservation (sometimes as much as 120 degrees between the high and the low).


A video of the project will premiere at the YMCA Alumni Reunion in November in New Orleans. There also will be real time reports from the site at the fifth and sixth waves in late October and early November. Suzanne McCormick , CEO of Y-USA ,will be joining in the fifth wave.

Please get involved as a construction volunteer next year as a donor, or as an at-home volunteer for many of the support functions.

Where in the world are the Wilsons?

As editors of the Bridges newsletter, Len and Joyce Wilson were delegates to The World Federation of YMCA Retirees (WFYR) conference held in Aarhus, Denmark in July. The conference was held in conjunction with the World YMCA Council. 

More than 1,200 participants took part in the World Council, while approximately 1,000 attended virtually via Zoom video.Our 60-member WFYR group had our own agenda, but also attended main conference events, including tours of local sites and YMCA service activities.


The WFYR program included addresses by Carlos Sanvee, Secretary General of the World YMCA, and Victor Serbulov, General Secretary of the YMCA of Ukraine, who spoke of the relief work the YMCA is providing in that country.  

Jakob Enberg of Aarhus University and Rene Ottensen of Open Doors, led a discussion of growing religious persecution in the world, and we learned of an urgent economic crisis in Sri Lanka and the YMCA efforts to help there. Reports also were presented on the Global Retirement Initiative and the World YMCA Emergency Fund (Secours Speciaux), two charities that WFYR actively supports. 


Unfortunately, Len and Joyce were among the more than 100 conference attendees who came down with COVID. Despite the virus and travel difficulties, they felt warmly welcomed by wonderful people in Denmark. They continue to be inspired and amazed by the significant work the YMCA does on an international level and by the energy and dedication that YMCA retirees continue to demonstrate.

Cathy is sous chef this issue

Chef Kenno is still on hiatus (possibly something he ate), so Cathy Fromm is sharing a family favorite dessert. This version is alleged to be calorie free, well perhaps not. It is however a moist rich cake that will satisfy adults and children alike. The cake only takes an hour to prepare and bake. It serves 14; calories are 336, while carbs come in at 44gm per slice. Yeah, just don’t look at that, it’s too depressing. It was better when we didn’t know this stuff.

Click for Recipe

60 Years: Len and Joyce Wilson

This is the year Len and Joyce Wilson celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary with a plethora of parties!


On August 26, the actual wedding day, they hosted a gathering of close friends and family, and Len presented Joyce with a rather symbolic bouquet, white flowers surrounded by six red roses, one for each decade.


Then on September 10, they hosted distant cousins and other family. Len managed to arrange a special cake. Who knew he was such a romantic?


On September 14, a previously scheduled Central Atlantic Chapter luncheon became a smaller group because of health and schedule difficulties. Still, several YMCA friends arrived and continued the celebration.(Photo below)

Dab Zvanut: She's a 'basket case'

Chapter member and ISC Committee Chair Deb Zvanut has a whole other life beyond the YMCA and volunteering. She is a dedicated basket weaver and fused glass artist. Deb won several awards at the Great Allentown Fair in both categories his year.


She submitted handcrafted baskets in three categories under the Craft Division. Each earned a first place blue ribbon. Two fused glass submissions earned a first place blue ribbon in Serving Dish category and a second place red ribbon in decorative wall-hanging category. Both of the glass pieces were experiments in a new glass design technique. Deb’s motto is “Keep Calm and Craft On.”

Photo: Deb's Nantucket Wine Chiller

Visit our Website
Central Atlantic Chapter Leaders

President: Barbara Taylor
Membership: Cathy Fromm
Programs: Nancy Gray
Secretary: Jude Gallaher
TreasurerBetteanne Kramer
Hospitality/EAF: Hank and Lois Van Zanten
World Service/ISC: Debbi Zvanut
Clippings Editor: Jude Gallaher
Special Projects:  Gary Graham

Click on name in blue to send email.

The mission of YMCA Alumni is "to enable members to promote a nurturing worldwide Christian Fellowship that provides educational, social, service and charitable opportunities."
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