Victor Botello

(March 16, 1944 - April 1, 2023)

Victor Botello, President of the Marston YMCA Alumni Chapter, died suddenly April 1, surrounded by family. He loved adventure, traveled the world and made friends wherever he went.

Victor dedicated his life to building communities in San Diego County through his work with North County Health Services (now TrueCare), the YMCA and United Way.

He is survived by his wife, Judy; his son, Victor Jr.; his stepchildren Jacob and Kt and six grandchildren.

Victor Botello Memorial Fund. More than $5,000 has been raised in donations in memory of Victor. Funds have been earmarked for the YMCA Alumni National Service Project in partnership with the YMCA of the Seven Council Fires.

September 2023

Connect. Travel. Serve.

I hope you all had a wonderful summer, full of travel, vacations, family, and friends. Now that the summer months are behind us, I look forward to the fall with cooler temperatures and the changing of the season. In reflecting on my quality time, I enjoyed visiting with my great granddaughter, reading novels, and going to the beach frequently.

I want to personally thank you for your generous participation in the YMCA Alumni National Service Project. Our chapter did very well to support both the volunteer and fundraising efforts. Work on the tiny homes has started and volunteer recruitment will be an emphasis for the coming year. We will keep you apprised of the progress as the project moves forward,

I look forward to seeing all of us for our next event October 26 when we visit one of our San Diego YMCA resident camps. We will end the year with our traditional Holiday event in Temecula. More details coming soon.

(Photo: Jeanne and great granddaughter Finley Elaine Williams)

Jeannie Schmelzer, President

Construction continues in Dupree, SD this fall

By Steve Rowe

Our YMCA Alumni National Service Project is in the second year continuing the construction of the Tiny Home Village in partnership with the YMCA of the Seven Council Fires in Dupree, South Dakota. 

The first home (pictured here) was completed earlier this year, with plans to start on the remaining second and third homes this fall.

The Marston Chapter has been actively involved from the beginning raising more than $78,000 of the $780,000 raised to date nationally.

Jeanne Schmelzer has led the fundraising effort for our chapter with fundraising support from Debby Lenz, Steve Rowe, Sam Wurtzbacher, Victor Botello, Cheri Choy, and Bea Halk. We were delighted and appreciated the more than 50 chapter members, friends and family who were excited to support the project.

Thank you all for helping the YMCA improve the lives of the youth and families on the reservation.This past year five of our members of the chapter traveled to Dupree to volunteer on the project (Sam and Judy Wurtzbacher, Steve and Denise Rowe, and Cheri Choy).

Cheri Choy, who attended this past October with 24 volunteers from across the country, sums up her experience:

"For me, all the great things about Y-camp and belonging to the YMCA was amplified 100-fold: a strong sense of purpose, teamwork, was refreshing to be in the company of people who possess a caring-sharing-giving attitude… My week-long adventure at the YMCA of the Seven Council Fires was indeed an experience that will last a lifetime.

In addition to working on the project we also visited YMCA facilities including the resident camp and did some sightseeing to the Badlands and Mt. Rushmore. We also had visits from tribal leaders and social organizations. 

In summary, my week in Dupree was a terrific experience; gave me a feeling of accomplishment; bonded with new friends; became sensitized to the plight and needs of the Native populations in our country, tougher than many of the urban neighborhoods of which we are familiar."

Upcoming chapter events

Camp Surf

Thursday, October 26, 2023, 11:00am-1:00pm

560 Silver Strand Blvd

Imperial Beach, CA 91932

Cost: $12 per person,

Holiday Party

Thursday, December 7, 2023

10:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Verna Griese

40470 Calle Torcida

Temecula, Ca 92591

new members...

Lisa Betterton and Bob Tompkins: "My involvement with the YMCA began as a child attending gym/swim classes at the Downtown Y, Day Camp at Copley as well as summers at Camp Marston and Raintree. I worked part-time at 7 branches during college including the Corporate office. 

"Upon graduation from SDSU, I was offered a position as Program Director at the South Coast YMCA in Laguna Niguel where I supervised the After School and Day Camp Programs. 

"My final Y position was at the Palomar Branch in Escondido. After 16 years in the YMCA, I moved on to the Poway Unified School District. My husband Bob recently retired from General Atomic. 

"We have 3 children and 4 grandchildren. We enjoy spending time with our grandkids, attending family gatherings, walking on the beach at Torrey Pines and traveling with my “YMCA Hall of Fame” mom Bea. Bob and I look forward to our involvement with the YMCA Alumni Marston Chapter. "

Karin Barnes: "I was introduced to the YMCA in 1988 and joined the staff of the Cresenta/Cañada Family YMCA as an aerobic instructor. I became a program specialist as coordinator of the Feeling Good program. This was a healthy lifestyles program that was taken to the local schools.

"I became a Program Director in 1993 and worked with the after school childcare programs, as well as day camps and Mountain Camp. I spent 3 years working with Y-USA as a Faculty Child Development Instructor. My last year at the YMCA was as Administrative Director. I officially retired about 2006.

"I quickly jumped into my newfound hobby of PaperCrafting and, of course, going to lunch with my former co-workers. My husband jokingly told people my new mantra was “Retired… Let’s do lunch.” As my hobby grew into a business, my mantra became my company name.

"I currently live in Oceanside enjoying the beautiful weather and gorgeous sunsets that make San Diego the perfect place to live. I'm looking forward to meeting other San Diego YMCA Alumni."

We heard it on the grapevine...

Cindy Leso, Mustang Cindy. "Those who remember my Y days, I drove a '66 yellow Ford Mustang. It is now blue and has been passed to the 4th generation, my granddaughter."

Bea Halk: Travel during the month of May brought awesome visits to Portugal’s major cities. My niece Diana and I enjoyed the wonderful Port wine by the Tagus River as well as several days in Cadiz and Jerez area of southern Spain. Sampling Sherry on the isle of Santa Maria near Cadiz was of course our favorite.

Judy Wurtzbacher: Sam and Judy Wurtzbacher, Steve and Denise Rowe, Bob and Judy Shafer and Bill Davis and Kathy Pavey traveled to Croatia and various small islands on Mama Marija II. We started in Split and sailed to Bol, Vis, Hvar, Korcula and visited Mijet, the National Park. We finished the cruise to Sipan and disembarked in Dubrovnik. Fun times with this crew.

Bea Halk and Gerry Martin:

Oscar Escalada continues to recover from his strike. His friend drove him to SD for a brief visit with Bea and Gerry.

Five trips currently available with YMCA Alumni Travel Club for 2024-25; Don't delay

There is currently space available on five YMCA Alumni adventures for 2024 and 2025. But, if you waited to make up your mind, three in 2023 and one in 2024 sold out. (Lesson: Don’t delay).


Space available:


Jan. 27-Feb. 4, 2024: Winter Warm-up in Caribbean

April 21-May 3, 2024: Atlantic Crossing to Italy

Sept. 27 - Oct. 4, 2024: America's Music Cities

Jan. 26-Feb. 2, 2025 YMCA Alumni Reunion at Sea Cruise

June 17-July 3, 2025 Land of the Midnight Sun & Summer Solstice Cruise


Sold Out: Look what you missed...


Sept. 20-28, 2023 Mackinac Island & Grand Hotel

Oct. 15-25, 2023: Gems of the Danube & Prague

Aug. 2-8, 2024: Scottish Dream w/Tattoo

Travel Club

Interested in international service?

As a retiree, have you ever thought of volunteering and sharing your talents with a YMCA overseas? The International Service Corp (ISC) is a national program of YMCA Alumni that provides short and mid-term placements for our members abroad.

ISC seeks donations that will assist selected volunteers with travel costs, visa and immunizations. The host YMCA provides housing and local transportation, some meals and a stipend (in certain locations). This is a great opportunity for an individual or couple to see the world and provide a community service. If interested, email Wayne Uhrig, Click the button below for ISC details.

ISC details

Marston Chapter Leaders

President: Jeanne Schmelzer

Vice President: Steve Rowe

Secretary: Steve Totten

TreasurerSam Wurtzbacher

World Service Chair: Rick Riehman

Program Coordinators: Debbie Lenz and Bea Halk

Newsletter Coordinator: Cheri Choy

Honorary Member: Bea Halk YMCA Hall of Fame

The Grapevine is produced for the Marston Chapter by

craig altschul + associates

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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