February 2022
Connect. Travel. Serve.

Here we are, already in the second month of 2022! Since the last time The Grapevine came out, we all have had our challenges and opportunities, not the least of which was the postponement of the New Orleans YMCA Alumni Reunion, not to mention our holiday get-together which was scheduled for January.

While these losses were a big disappointment for many of us, the National Service Project has managed to engage our energies, enthusiasm, and generosity. You all received the campaign materials a few weeks ago. Under the leadership of Jeanne Schmelzer, our campaign chair, the campaign team has started making calls, and some of you already have responded.

If you have not already received a call, you will! Our hope is that everybody will have the opportunity to participate in this exciting project. Several of our members have expressed an interest in traveling to the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation in South Dakota to do some hands-on work. If this is of interest to you, please email Steve Rowe.

Knowing YMCA people, I have no doubt this project will be another successful one! Meanwhile, Spring is on the way. Enjoy our beautiful world and stay safe.
Victor Botello, Chair
My first-hand visit
to the Sioux YMCA;
how I got inspired
By Cheri Choy
"Up until last June, I had no idea about the YMCA movement with the Sioux YMCA in South Dakota. We had a guest speaker at a meeting of the Marston Chapter who was the CEO of the Sioux Y and a thought came to me: I was flying 1-way to New York City on the 4th of July and driving my daughter’s car back to California & I had planned a route through the Great Lakes & Northern Plains…maybe I can plan my route to actually VISIT the Sioux Y."
By the numbers...
as of now
The Chapter Campaign Team: Jeanne Schmelzer, Chair; Victor Botello, Cheri Choy, Bea Halk, Debby Lenz, Steve Rowe, Sam Wurtzbacher
Marston Chapter
$33,300 raised in 1-time gifts and 2-3 year pledges.
19 Donors (10 are chapter members: currently 35 units renewed or new 2022)
YMCA Alumni from 17 Chapters
$370,398 (61.7%) on goal of $600,000
258 Donors
Please take the time to visit our YMCA Alumni Case for Support. Be sure and watch the brief video on the front page. Go to the “Giving” page to donate by credit card, check or to make a pledge. Just click on the button below.
After the reunion...
Join the YMCA Alumni Travel Club on the brand new American Jazz paddleboat for a cruise up the Mighty Mississippi from jazzy New Orleans to bluesy Memphis and plenty in between including a visit to the Civil War battlefields of Vicksburg. Nov. 6-13, 2022
We heard it on the grapevine...
Welcome new members:
Lisa Betterton and Bob Tomkins

Lisa Betterton and her siblings grew up attending various programs at the YMCA. It was no surprise that her first job was in the After School Program at the Copley Branch under the leadership of Maryellen Maher. Lisa earned her BS in Early Childhood Education at SDSU.

While attending college she worked at Mission Valley, Davis, Rancho, CRS and Corporate. After graduation, she became Program Director at the South Coast YMCA in Laguna Niguel and later at the Palomar Y. 

Lisa and her husband Bob Tompkins live in Poway with son Trevor, a student at SDSU. They enjoy family gatherings with two older daughters and three grandchildren as well traveling and staying connected to friends. Lisa recently retired from Poway Unified School District and is happily collecting YMCA Retirement as well. Lisa attributes her success in working with children to Maryellen, her mentor. Maher.
Rick Riehman shares….What a delight it was over the 2021 Thanksgiving Season to return to Camp Whittle, after a 45-year absence. Whittle was my very first camping experience as a youth/ adult and to this day it has left an indelible impression on my life.  

In 1977 I led a group of 175 youth from SPPY on a wonderful week-long gymnastics/soccer camp experience. I was the Associate Physical Director at the time and over my directorship, I had two amazing camp experiences while serving at SPPY. The treasured memories rushed back through my heart and mind as I walked through the camp and enjoyed the breeze and smell of the pine trees. It captured my thoughts and brought great joy to my heart.  
One of my delights on my visit was meeting Stephanie Lauth, Senior Camp Whittle Program Director. I reminisced about my experience and then we toured the dining hall. Looking up and seeing the many YMCA placards with testimonial mottos was heartwarming. I was so glad to hear that the camp will be open this summer and available to so many kids and adults.

Camp Whittle has forever changed my life and I return as a volunteer. “For I will be true to those who trust me and pure to those who care.” 

Steve Mott and Karen Kohl had a different kind of holiday season this year. Karen flew to New Jersey on Christmas Eve and helped one of her nieces make a cross-country move (by car) from Newark, NJ, to Bend, Oregon, occurring the last week of the year! Weather and travel obstacles were dealt with and Karen, her niece, Jennifer, and Jennifer's 60 lb. pit-mix made it to Bend in time for New Year's Day!

Karen made it back home just in time for her and Steve to make another travel trip to Clarkdale, AZ, to help a nephew and his wife move from Amarillo, TX, into a new home in Clarkdale. At least we only had to drive to Clarkdale for this "move in." 

We were registered for the YMCA Alumni Reunion in New Orleans, but will see how the reschedule to November goes. Now back home with some April travel plans just cancelled. Next trip, hopefully, in May, up to Kanab, Utah, to volunteer at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary. Hello to all in the Marston Chapter.
Gerry Martin and Bea Halk share that they celebrated “Dia de los Muertos” in full attire. 
Bea Halk shares…I was able to have a bit of “fun time” during the Fall & early Winter both on Zoom and in person. Early October, four family members accompanied me to the Italian Festival in Reno. We enjoyed all the festivities, music, food, street fair, Tim McGraw concert and hiking the outdoors. An added plus was the wonderful meal at a Basque Restaurant.

Daughter Lisa, son Rick, and daughter-in-law Jackie and I attended both the Sistine Chapel Exhibit as well as Van Gogh. Both were well done and informative, but the Van Gogh was a wonderful experience of being enveloped in his art. 

We ended the year with a visit to the Christmas Marketplace at Petco Park where we ran into the Grinch LOL. In addition, I have attended some wonderful Zoom events with both McCoy and Allen-Stone Chapters and look forward to joining them for a few days at Coeur d’Alene Idaho in June.
Victor and Judy Botello share… We have always loved the Anza Borrego desert for its peace and beauty, so we rented a studio apartment there in January, and we luxuriated in the quiet and the chance to reconnect with each other and with ourselves. In the absence of a TV, our entertainment was watching the sunset, enjoying the sparkling night sky, and listening to the song of the coyotes. Borrego Springs is a great place to ride bikes, as there’s very little traffic, and throughout the State Park, there are endless trails to explore on foot. Although there are a few restaurants in town, we were happy to cook our meals in the little mini kitchen of our Airbnb apartment, and it felt very safe and far from the world’s troubles. We returned home renewed and refreshed. 

The Bruce Barr clan is hang’n tough and sends love to all. They are moving to assisted living the first of March. Bruce says, “Can’t complain. Thalia’s 95. I’m a centenarian.

"Still working, planning a seminar with SDSU.” The YMCA led the way in leadership and social invention and Bruce is still making it happen.
Pattie Griffin and her husband Steve’s son Dave and wife Laura welcomed their fourth granddaughter Charlotte Grace in November.
'See the pyramids along the Nile' with the YMCA Alumni Travel Club
April 29-May 4, 2023
The daunting Great Pyramids, the enigmatic Sphinx, the extraordinary temples of Luxor and Karnak, and the magnificent royal tombs in the Valley of the Kings are all part of the journey. There's also the sparkling treasures inside Cairo’s Egyptian Museum, including the fascinating burial items from the opulent tomb of “King Tut.” 

Join with your YMCA Alumni Travel Club as we sail down the legendary Nile from Luxor to Aswan on this enthralling tour of Egypt. This 10-day cruise and tour begins and ends in bustling Cairo and is conducted by Globus Tours. Click the button below for details.
Marston Chapter Leaders

President: Victor Botello
Vice President/Membership: Jeanne Schmelzer
Vice President/Programs: Steve Rowe
Secretary: Steve Totten
TreasurerJulie Rose
EAF Chair: Bill Parkhurst
World Service Chair: Rick Riehman
Newsletter Coordinator: Pattie Griffin
Friendship:  Barbara Parkhurst
Health and Fitness: Gary Wegener
Past President: Sam Wurtzbacher
Honorary Member: Bea Halk YMCA Hall of Fame

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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