December 2022 View as Webpage

Hello Craig,

Norway to Spain – that was the ocean path we took on the YMCA Alumni Travel Club’s Trade Routes of the Middle Ages Viking Ocean Cruise in early October. Dave and I joined three other YMCA Alumni couples on this fantastic once-in-a-lifetime trip covering 18 days and 7 countries. This cruise was originally scheduled three years ago but was postponed twice because of COVID concerns. So this Fall we finally did it!


Traveling with fellow YMCA retirees is a great way to see the world. Our companions were Phyllis and Jim Murphy, John and Susan Green and Peggi Simmons and Craig Altschul. The eight of us enjoyed great food and drink on the ship and some wonderful excursions to places of real interest. We strongly encourage all of you to consider a YMCA Alumni Travel Club trip. You will be so glad you did.


After returning from Barcelona, Spain, it was only a couple of weeks until the YMCA Alumni Reunion in New Orleans. At that time we were on our boat in Pensacola, so we drove over to New Orleans to join other retirees from all over the country. It was so good to reconnect with our friends and former colleagues. There was lots of sightseeing around New Orleans, great happy hours and meals, updates from the Retirement Fund, National Service Project and more. Next up: YMCA Alumni Reunion at Sea is all set scheduled for Jan. 26-Feb. 2, 2025 on Royal Caribbean's famous Harmony of the Seas embarking from Galveston, Texas into the Western Caribbean. Our West YMCA Alumni Chapters will be the hosts. You won’t want to miss it. Watch for details.


We wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a healthy and Happy New Year in 2023.

Marian and Dave

Grand Canyon Chapter Co-Presidents

Our Grand Canyon Chapter Board of Directors would like to know your thoughts on some ideas for 2023. Would you be interested in a Chapter Reunion event in Phoenix, Albuquerque, Colorado Springs, or even Rocky Point, Mexico?  Would you attend? What time of year do you prefer? We need to hear from you. Please send an email to Marian and let us know your preferences: Will you come? Yes or no. What location do you like?  And what time of year? Thanks for doing this so we can begin planning.

Members Corner

By Charlotte Waters

I’d like to think that I’m not alone in that time simply flies and suddenly we find we already are looking to start a new calendar for a new year. I originally thought of the analogy of hanging a new wall calendar but then wondered if folks still hang wall calendars. My daughter gave me one that her place of employment hands out to members which has beautiful Colorado pictures for each month of the year. However, it’s not used because my electronic devices (phone, iPad) serve as my calendar. It’s handy and once I have something put on my electronic calendar, my brain is freed up to move on to other things.


Speaking of calendars, I am very excited to continue to enjoy the benefits of being part of the YMCA Alumni. As members, we have wonderful trips available through our Travel Club that not only are exciting and interesting, but also provide travel opportunities for various budgets. 

I’ve already signed up to go to New York City in May and Mackinac Island in September. Be sure to check out the Travel Club website (click here) for these and other trips. And, remember to renew your membership to YMCA Alumni and our Grand Canyon Chapter, if you haven’t already done so.


Merry Christmas to all of you and your families. I send my wishes for a healthy, happy and adventurous 2023. 

Checking in with clusters

(Photo: L-R -- Cris Ciasca, Kerry Dufour, Dane Woll, Pete Walsh, John and Ann Brooks).

Southern Arizona Cluster by John Brooks

Nine members of Southern Arizona YMCA Alumni Chapter gathered at the Locale Restaurant in Tucson Dec. 6 for a Holiday Luncheon. Catching up on travel this past summer and plans for this winter seemed to be the main topics along with, as usual, health issues, grandchildren and YMCA experiences.


Don Deal has just received his permit to drive his car with his hands only following several weeks of training. Foot problems forced him into this new application for getting around town. John and Ann Brooks recently returned from a Viking cruise along the Croatian coast and will spend New Year’s in Desert Springs with family and friends.


Kerry Dufour recently retired from the Tucson YMCA as their Development Officer and attended our gathering for the first time. Pete Walsh recently returned from the East Coast where he spent his summer and plans a return visit and drive along the coast this winter to Florida. The Wolls will head to Rocky Point in Mexico over the holidays with family. 

The Ciascas will also be in Rocky Point following the holidays as Al recovers from hip surgery. Peggi Simmons and Craig Altschul are just now thinking about retiring. Their company handles newsletters, websites and copy writing for YMCA Alumni, the Community Performance and Art Center in Green Valley and, a huge international winter sports website. Craig is chair of Jazz in the Desert, a Rotary fundraiser benefiting school music programs.


We also conducted a raffle event with “YMCA” (Yimka) the traveling YMCA Chinese Panda Bear put in care of the winner until our next gathering, to raise money for our National Service Project with the YMCA of the Seven Council Fires. $100 was raised. He is in the good care of Cris Ciasca until we meet again.


Dane Woll suggested that we meet in late March 2023 at the Café a la Cart for lunch and then visit the Memorial site in downtown Tucson, commemorating those who were killed and wounded in the Jan. 8, 2011 mass shooting, including Congresswoman Gabrielle Gifford .All agreed and information will be forthcoming in the next year.  

Albuquerque Cluster by Pam Hegarty

We held our annual Christmas Party at the Red Lobster Restaurant with 10 members attending. Our gift exchange had its usual back and forth bartering of the favorite item – a talking and dancing Christmas moose that Pam stole from our illustrious Chapter President Marian. We wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year.


Some news from our members include: Marian and Dave Bolton returned from New Orleans and their Viking cruise with head colds which turned into pneumonia for Marian. They are now well and tackling another year as co-presidents. Our hats and hearts are definitely off to them. WE LOVE YOU GUYS!! They will spend the holidays in town or in Silver City.


Jim and Mary Lipscomb are preparing to go to California for Christmas with their son and daughter’s families. Jim turns 90 years young next week and is recovering from knee surgery. Happy Birthday to Jim and no more dues!


Pete and Janet Smargon had to postpone a trip to their daughter’s Boston home for health issues but she and her husband came out here to visit them. Pete again was the star of the Los Lunas, NM, Holiday Parade as Santa Claus as well as in the Dec. issue of The CONNECTION. He starts growing his beard in June and, yes, it is all REAL.


Teresa and Ken Callahan are our traveling members with a trip or two a month. How lucky! An Alaska cruise, New York and New England for the fall colors were some of his year’s highlights. They’re usually home most of the winter cheering on the UNM Lobos men’s and women’s basketball teams. They head to the Mountain West Conference tournament in Las Vegas every year in March.


Pam Hegarty stays busy working out with her personal trainer three times a week in the local park. No – it’s not too cold most days. She also travels to Denver several times a year to visit her son, daughter-in-law and two grandsons. She is going on the YMCA Alumni Travel Club's Costa Rica Winter Escape trip in February with two of her friends.

Meet our new members:

Don and Rochele Remaly

While at the YMCA Alumni Reunion in New Orleans, we were thrilled to meet two of our newest Grand Canyon Chapter members who also were attending: Don and Rochelle Remaly from Broomfield, Colorado. As we got to know them we learned they have quite an extensive YMCA background. Don was the head swim coach at the Bloomsburg Area YMCA in Pa. and then became the head swim coach at the Piedmont Family YMCA in Charlottesville, Va. from 2004 – 2012. 

Rochelle worked for the Bloomburg Y as Aquatics Director and Development Director. She also worked at the Boulder, Colorado YMCA as Membership Director. Don was with the YMCA movement for 25 years, all while practicing as a board-certified family physician and Rochelle was with the Y for 29 years. What a delightful couple. We are so glad they are now in our chapter and look forward to seeing them again soon.

Grand Canyon Chapter Treasurer's Report

By Rich Hill

We Remember: Clark Lupton

Our Grand Canyon Chapter lost a well-loved member this year. Gary Clark Lupton of Loveland, Colo. passed away April 7 at the age of 87 after a long battle with Parkinson’s.  During prior years, he and Nancy, his wife of 66 years, lived in Estes Park in the summer and Mesa, Arizona in the winter. Clark’s 25-year YMCA career took him from Wyandotte, Mich. to Monmouth, Ill. and to Buffalo, WY.


Clark was President of the Grand Canyon Chapter in 2006-2008. He was instrumental in organizing chapter events at the Barleen Musical Center in Mesa and also the 2008 Chapter Reunion in Cottonwood, Ariz. In addition, Clark was a volunteer park ranger at Rocky Mountain National Park and a proud member of Rotary. He is missed by many.


is produced for the

Grand Canyon Chapter by

craig altschul + associates

Chapter leaders

Co-Presidents: Marian and Dave Bolton

Vice President: Vacant

Secretary: Pam Hegarty

Treasurer: Rich Hill

Membership: Charlotte Waters

EAF Representative: John Brooks

International: Pete and Jan Smargon

So. Arizona Cluster: John Brooks

Albuquerque Cluster: Pam Hegarty

Click on name to send email.

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YMCA Alumni Mission:
" enable members to promote a nurturing worldwide Christian Fellowship that provides educational, social, service and charitable opportunities."