Improving the nation’s health and well-being

In communities across the nation, the Y is a leading voice on health and well-being. With a mission centered on balance, the YMCA of Youngstown brings families closer together, encourages good health and fosters connections through fitness, sports, fun and shared interests. As a result, thousands of youth, adults and families at the Y are receiving the support, guidance and resources needed to achieve greater health and well-being for their spirit, mind and body.

Splish Splash – Aquatic Upgrade at Central & Davis Ys

nullThe YMCA Aquatic Program has experienced a series of changes to its swim lesson program which started January 9th of this year. Statistics have proven that drowning is the second leading cause of death for children from 5-14 years old. Statistics this startling call for a movement to not just focus on building strong swimmers, but also to emphasize safety in and around the water. The YMCA Aquatic Update has brought this emphasis to its swim lessons and hopes it will help to decrease the likelihood of water-related incidents.

The newly structured swim lesson program is designed to help adults, kids and families learn important skills that could one day save a life. A major focus of the program is the importance of supervision. From the very first lesson, children are taught to ask permission before entering any body of water. Parents are also taught how to actively supervise, without distraction, in order to properly ensure all are safe in the water. In addition to permission and active supervision, beginner swimmers are taught how to float on their backs or turn back to the edge and grab on if they were to accidentally fall into the water. Davis Family YMCA Aquatic Director, Chris Hughes explains that “we are hopeful that we can help reduce the number of drownings each day by teaching these techniques.”

nullNot only does the new YMCA Swim Lesson program emphasize safety around the water, it also maximizes physical activity and elevates character development. Participants learn through fun activities that will help them to develop confidence and feel a sense of achievement. Swim lessons are offered in the form of parent-child classes starting as early as 6 months old. But swim lessons are not just for children… The YMCA Swim Lesson program is designed for adults, too. No matter how old you are, it’s never too late to learn to swim!

The second winter session is set to begin February 20 for those wishing to enroll.

Swim Lesson information for both Central and Davis can be found on the Swim Lessons page of our website.
Central Y Swim Lesson Information
Davis Family Y Swim Lesson Information

WTLOWEA XXXIV Rings out 2016

nullThe 2016 version of the Win the Last One Win ‘Em All volleyball tournament at Youngstown’s Central YMCA was one of the most entertaining in its 34-year history. Once again many of the area’s top players participated in the annual New Year’s Eve event.

Highlighting the day was an appearance by one of the legends of YMCA volleyball, Dean Ferris. Now in his 80’s, Dean was one of the participants in the early days of Y’s noontime pickup games, earning a reputation as one of the top setters in town.

Barry Wessels came in from Aurora, Ohio, once again garnering the coveted WTLOWEA award for “Player Traveling the Farthest to Embarrass Himself in Front of His Peers.”

Thanks to sponsors Trinkle Signs, Keynote Media Group, the YMCA, Chuck “Skywalker” Wissuchek, Barry “Once A Year” Wessels, and Regis Smith.

Programs to Keep You Fit over the Holidays

A group of new fitness programs and Body Pump are being offered at the Central and Davis Family YMCA facilities. These programs are geared toward providing an invigorating workout for all types of exercisers – and are easily workable around holiday parties and events.

At the Central YMCA, 12 Rounds and Jump Stretch are now being offered as paid classes. 12 Rounds is a class that focuses on a boxing format – promoting agility, flexibility, speed, power resistance, hand/eye coordination – for a total body experience. Only 24 spots are currently available in this class to provide attendees with the greatest amount of individual support. The well-known Jump Stretch program will be offered through three different classes, Basic Jump Stretch, Team Session Jump Stretch, and Athletic Jump Stretch. Basic and Team Jump Stretch classes are great for all members who would like to work at their own intensity. Athletic Jump Stretch is geared toward those looking to train at a high level of intensity, or training for an athletic event. The Central YMCA also offers an extensive list of other paid and unpaid classes.

New programs at the Davis Family YMCA in Boardman include Metafit, Les Mills BODYPUMP™, Metabolic Training, and CXWORX (February 2017). Zumba will also be brought back to the Davis Family YMCA’s long list of classes that are included with your YMCA membership.

Metafit, a 30-minute HIIT style class is designed to boost fitness and get massive results in the shortest amount of time just by using bodyweight. One member said, “I never knew there were so many ways to use my own bodyweight … I was FRIED in a good way by the time we were done!” about the Metafit class. A member explained that BODYPUMP™ is “a class that gives you a great overall workout because it incorporates all of the muscle groups. Also, you get a great cardio endurance workout because you not only build muscle strength with the use of the weighted bar bells, but also with rapid movements used when changing weights and going from one routine to the next. Your heart and respiratory system really crank themselves up!!” Metabolic Training is a 30-minute class designed to increase your metabolism using free weights. In February, the YMCA will offer CXWORX, a 30-minute core training workout designed to tighten and tone your midsection. The popular Latin and International fusion dance workout craze, Zumba, is coming back to the YMCA! Class participants will feel the beat as they tone and sculpt their entire body.

Interested in one of these programs? Call Meri Fetkovich, Director of Health and Wellness, for Central YMCA classes at (330) 744-8411 or Ashley Whan, Fitness Coordinator, for Davis Family YMCA classes at (330) 480-5656 for more information, class times and signups. You can also check out class schedules on our YMCA app! Download on the iTunes and Google Play Stores for free!

Saying Goodbye and Hello

nullManaging the weight rooms, facilitating all activities and tournaments, and training the fitness instructors at the YMCA was all in a day’s work for the recently retired Fitness Director, Maureen Horvath. In the past 30-plus years of her service, Maureen has actively contributed to creating the YMCA we know today. “She has had a legacy of helping people completely change their lifestyle and become more fit, healthier and happier,” says Mike Shaffer, Executive Director at the Central YMCA of Youngstown.

Maureen can be credited for starting the spinning and triathlon programs and for being a proponent in making the Health Fair as successful as it has been. If you got to know Maureen, then you’d know that she is a passionate fundraiser. From her days as a volunteer and part-time employee, she saw the impact that she could make in the lives of kids from challenging backgrounds. For that reason, she started the annual Spin-A-Thon, which over the years has raised over one million dollars to help needy kids to come to the Y. In her retirement, Maureen continues to give of her time to the YMCA, helping with various events and teaching spinning classes weekly.

We thank Maureen for her dedication and service to the YMCA through the years as part of our family.

nullMeri Fetkovich, the new Director of Health and Wellness, joined the Central YMCA staff on June 20th. She has already seen a great deal of change take place as the facility undergoes a large renovation project.

Meri is excited to bring her skills and experience to the YMCA of Youngstown, as well as be able to manage the new second floor spaces upon completion of their renovation. She explained how she loves that every day on the job is different. She pointed out that she is looking forward to her interactions with members as she loves to motivate people and help them achieve their goals.

Michael Shaffer said, “We are excited and grateful to have a seasoned, talented professional like Meri Fetkovich join our team at the Central YMCA. She has had a highly successful career at multiple YMCA locations around the country, and most recently was the Director of Fitness, Recreation, Military and Adaptive Programs at the Spire Institute in Geneva, Ohio. Her background, experience and passion for fitness for ALL makes her the perfect choice to lead our wellness facilities and programs as we go through the transition of a major renovation.”

Welcome, Meri!

Diabetes Prevention Program: Class Teaches Healthful Lifestyle Changes

When Wolfgang and Elizabeth Majer visit their children in Florida, they will even pack their food!

nullWolfgang, 81, and Elizabeth, 74, have finished the first nine weeks of the Diabetes Prevention Program at the Davis Family YMCA in Boardman, and they say they aren’t about to lose any momentum. Wolfgang has already reached his goal of losing 7% of his body weight, and Elizabeth is close behind. They say they have no intention of falling off track, like when their son came to visit them not too long ago.

“Our son was in town from Florida for his birthday and we partied,” says Wolfgang. “I put on three pounds after all of that.”

“If I ate one piece of birthday cake, I wanted two. So, I had two,” adds Elizabeth. “When everybody left, I was two pounds heavier and I said, ‘That’s got to quit.’ ”

As part of the Diabetes Prevention Program, the Majers have committed to living a more healthful lifestyle, which includes eating better foods and getting at least 150 minutes of physical activity each week. The goal of the program is to reduce one’s body weight by 5% to 7%, which decreases the risk for Type 2 diabetes. So far, Wolf has lost 10 pounds, and Elizabeth has lost 12, but they point out that the program is about more than just losing weight.

“It’s not a diet, where you drop the weight then go right back to what you were doing and put the weight back on,” Wolfgang says. “It’s about changing your lifestyle. We lost 10 pounds in eight weeks and that weight stays off. You do that for a year and you can lose a lot of weight just by eating the right foods, eating half the portion sizes and doing at least the minimum amount of exercise.”

Before joining the YMCA program, the Majers were both at risk for Type 2 diabetes. While they were both active when they were younger, they learned that they should have been doing more when it came to diet and exercise.

“Life catches up and 20 years go by so fast,” Wolfgang says. “All of a sudden, if you haven’t been exercising, you wish you would have been. You think, ‘If I had known about it, I would have started earlier.”

Diet and food choices were the biggest revelations for Elizabeth, she says.

“You tell yourself, ‘I don’t eat that much,’ but you actually do and you just don’t realize it,” she says. “We’ve never been a family with a lot of cookies or crackers in the house, but it isn’t just the sweets. There are so many hidden things in our food today that make you want to eat more.”

Since starting the YMCA program, Elizabeth is now careful about what she cooks with. Substituting olive oil for butter in recipes, reducing the amount of meat on their menu, eating more vegetables and omitting sweets were the obvious changes, but she was surprised to learn of some others.

“A large glass of milk isn’t necessarily good for you, unless it’s fat-free, and an eight-ounce glass of orange juice every morning is one of the worst things you can do,” she says. “This program breaks down some of those food myths that people have.”

The information can be overwhelming, so the program ensures the students are prepared, says instructor Loretta Pflug. Each student is given a CalorieKing book, which they use to research healthful alternatives to foods they enjoy. The idea is to get the class changing their behavior, which includes tracking calories, finding new ways to cook and prepare meals, plan better for restaurants and social events, and how to read labels at the grocery store.

“We also talk about avoiding temptations and the possibility of falling off track and that slippery slope,” Pflug says. “Not everybody is 100% good every day of every week, and that’s ok. I tell them that failure isn’t messing up one day; it’s messing up and never starting back.”

Pflug currently has 12 students in her class, all 55 years of age or older, and they meet once a week to discuss new ideas and share their tracking information. They must track everything that they eat and everything that they do to get credit. The first full week of class is designed to get them in the habit of tracking. From there, each student is given their intake goals based on their weight, which include limits on calories, fat and sodium.

To qualify for the program, participants must be at least 18 years of age with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 25% or more, or 22% for Asian adults. Their A1C levels, which measure blood sugar over three months, must be 5.7% to 6.4%. Fasting plasma glucose levels must be between 100 to 125 mg/dL, and two-hour plasma glucose levels must be between 140-199 mg/dL. If they do not know their blood levels, they must answer a list of questions compiled by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).

The one-year program costs $429 per person, but some insurers do qualify the program as a benefit.

The popularity of the program is increasing, and Pflug hopes to add another Monday class in the summer or the fall. She says the Majers, who are also Silver Sneakers ambassadors for the Y, have been excellent spokespeople for the class.

“They’re doing really well, they support each other and they are probably the most enthusiastic couple out of everyone in the program,” Pflug says. “They are always researching and finding information that even I’m not aware of. They’re feeling better, their energy is up and they both love the class.”

For the Majers, they use their own experiences to encourage other seniors at the YMCA to get involved in the class. They have both seen friends and relatives suffer because of diabetes, and they have seen how the Diabetes Prevention Program can help.

“It’s scary what the American public are willing to put in their bodies,” Elizabeth says. “People die left and right from preventable things. We just hope people start to take a very serious look at their lifestyle.”

Diabetes Prevention Program trainers have completed national 12-hour training and have taken classes for HIPAA and medical safety regulations.

Friendship Does a Heart and Body Good

Having a workout buddy is the best way to keep your motivation going strong, so imagine what you can accomplish when your workout buddy is your best friend.

Gabriele Houston and Deirdre Hardy have been workout buddies at the Davis Family YMCA for about a year now, and they have come to rely on each other for just about everything, from workout tips to new healthy recipes, says Houston. But the one thing that Houston gives Hardy all the credit in the world for is inspiration.

In 2010, Hardy suffered a stroke that left the upper extremities on the right side of her body paralyzed. She joined another gym to try to gain back her strength and mobility, but was not getting the results she wanted. Two years ago, Hardy joined the YMCA and signed up for its physical fitness training program. The 12-week program includes four sessions with a physical trainer, who works with you to design a workout program based on your specific needs.

“They specifically go through the machines with you and see what you’re capable of doing,” she says. “My trainer had me walk on the indoor track and introduced me to the treadmill, as well as machines for upper and lower abdominal work. I’ve lost three clothing sizes so far.”

nullHardy, who walks with the aid of a cane, says the program helped her alleviate several obstacles due to her physical situation. The program also helped her gain back her confidence in mobility, as well as social interaction, she says.

“I had a fear of falling in public places, especially in the winter months when it gets icy outside,” she says. “But I was able to walk around the indoor track. Going to the Y also made it less isolating for me because I’ve lost my driving privileges, so I can’t be as social with the outside world. The Y is very social and community-based, and the facility is beautiful. It’s like a spa.”

Since joining the YMCA, Hardy has improved her mobility and has lost 104 pounds to the day. After getting to know Hardy at Weight Watchers meetings and seeing her progress at the YMCA, Houston asked if she could join Hardy when she works out.

“She’s a great inspiration to me and everybody else,” Houston says. “I wouldn’t be where I am today without her. She was a gift from God for me.”

Houston’s father passed away after his second heart attack and her family has a history of heart disease, she says. She’s been going to a cardiologist for years, but because her body doesn’t respond to cholesterol medicine, Houston’s doctors have continually urged her to eat better and exercise more. However, Houston never wanted to join a gym and was intimidated by the culture, she says.

“When I was young I was into a lot of sports, but as I got older that slowed down to zero,” Houston says. “I had never set foot inside a gym until I met Deirdre. I was inspired by what she had accomplished and I asked her if I would be able to join her fitness group.”

Using one of Hardy’s guest passes, Houston joined her friend at the Y and got her own membership after just a few classes together. Since then, Houston has lost 27 pounds, is eating better and has dropped four clothes sizes.

When the two aren’t going grocery or clothes shopping together, they’re working out at the Davis Y two or three days a week as a team. The two motivate each other and balance each other out, Hardy says.

“Weight loss and going to the gym can be a lonely journey at times,” Hardy says. “Since we’ve been going together, we have a routine. Every week, we go to our Weight Watchers meetings, and after that we go to the Y.”

As a mental health therapist for Sharon Regional Health System in New Castle, PA, Houston says she tries to inspire others the way Hardy inspired her. Houston teaches nutrition and self-esteem classes at the hospital, and advises her students on how the two are interconnected.

“I try to be a good role model and inspire people to do good things for themselves,” Houston says. “If you exercise, you will feel better, and if you feel better, you won’t eat as much. Sometimes we use food as a mood improvement tool, but exercise can also improve your mood — it’s Mother Nature’s anti-depressant.”

For 2016, the two plan to continue improving their health. In November, they participated in the Y’s What We’re Thankful 4 Miler and 3K Walk, and their goal is to participate in their first 5K walk together in Warren in March.

“We had a good experience, so we’re going to try again,” Houston says.

Walking the Path to Good Health

Everyday, new people are walking through the doors of the YMCA with a goal. For some, it’s to increase their workout regimen or to become more engaged in the community. But for others, it’s to make a serious change in their life.At 43 years old, Rhonda McIntire needed such a change. The wife and mother of three weighed 315 pounds and couldn’t walk a mile without stopping to rest. She suffered from high blood pressure and depression, and she was pre-diabetic. She knew that only a change in lifestyle would help her lose the weight, but she wasn’t sure what that was.

One day while driving, she stopped at a local park and began to walk.

“The walk was hard. It was the middle of spring, yet it felt like one of the hottest days of the summer,” McIntire says. “I couldn’t go too far, but this was a start of something life-changing.”

She kept up with her routine, making the time to get to the park for her walks. She walked in hot and cold weather, she walked in the sunshine, the rain and the snow, driven by her commitment to improving herself. She made changes to her diet, giving up potato chips. As she stuck to her regimen, she started to see the weight come off. This motivated her even more, she says.

Losing the weight improved her health tremendously, and gave her a new attitude and confidence. She was hired for a new job at Mercy Health, but found that her work schedule made it difficult to keep up with her daily walk routine.

“I didn’t want to give up my new lifestyle and the progress I was making, so I needed to find other options outside of walking in the park,” McIntire says. “I found the YMCA. I joined and was overwhelmed by all of the options the Y had to offer.”

Before she started exercising, McIntire says she would mock those who worked out and ate healthy. Now, she was taking classes at the YMCA and adhering to a more healthful diet. Of all the classes she took, spinning inspired her to change even more. The weight continued to come off as she set new goals for herself. At 150 pounds, McIntire says she will continue spinning and hopes to spin with the road group next.

Every month, the YMCA gets about four new members who seem like they’re walking into a gym for the first time, says its membership director, Eric Buckingham. The YMCA works to create an environment that welcomes beginners and eliminates any kind of intimidation. He says Rhonda’s story is inspirational to others who are facing a similar situation, and that the YMCA’s personal trainers and instructors are ready to give them the extra help that they need.

“You have to want to commit to making the changes,” Buckingham says. “The Y is here to help with that journey.”

Still, it’s up to the individual to decide to make the change and do the work, McIntire says.

“I am here to tell you that anyone can do this, but only if you do it for yourself,” she says. “Find something you enjoy and just do it. If you fail, don’t beat yourself up too bad. We are all human. Just never stop trying and you will be successful!”

Rhonda McIntire - Before
Rhonda McIntire - After
Pilates at the Y is Making a Difference in My Life

I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis twelve years ago. I have not had any success over the years with the typical physical therapy exercises offered at rehabilitation centers. They only left me with more fatigue than normal. My main symptoms are that I no longer walk and I experience muscle weakness and fatigue.

I am new to Pilates at the Y and have almost immediately found it to be extremely valuable. I like that it is low impact and how it can easily be tailored to work around any problem, like my weaker leg. Pilates teaches you how to move correctly, with the right muscles firing at the right time. Thus it helps prevent fatigue because you aren’t using more muscles than are necessary. And if your nerves aren’t correctly sending the muscle the message, you can work the surrounding muscles to compensate.

So, thus far, in a few short months, I have already improved by going from sitting to standing with my leg muscles, rather than pulling myself up with my arms! I am standing for longer periods and have even noticed a strengthening of my core muscles! I only wish I had found Pilates and Doretta Hegg, my trainer at the YMCA, much sooner! Having a trainer experienced with neurological disorders is key to my overall success with Pilates!

~ Cyndi Gilson

Treating Arthritis through Fun, Laughter and Friends

Would you like to grow stronger, improve your balance, become limber, boost your activity levels, elevate your mood and relieve arthritis symptoms?

nullEnhanceFitness® is a proven community-based senior fitness and arthritis management program. Its purpose is to help older adults become more active, energized and empowered for independent living. EnhanceFitness has been nationally recognized by the Centers for Disease Control, the US Department of Health and Human Services, the US Administration on Aging and the National Council on Aging. The program consists of low-impact exercise classes that are safe and challenging for older adults of all fitness levels.

EnhanceFitness exercises focus on increasing cardiovascular endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility which can help reduce arthritis symptoms. A certified instructor leads classes at a pace that works for each participant.

Of all EnhanceFitness’ multiple benefits though, the one that matters most is that it’s a great time. Classes are held in a relaxed atmosphere that promotes fun, laughter, friendship and smiles. That social interaction is proven to be a vital part of senior health and well-being. So if you’re an older adult, lift your body and your spirits and join us for the EnhanceFitness experience.

EnhanceFitness will be available to older adults at the Davis Family YMCA starting August 10, 2015. Classes will be held on Mondays and Wednesdays at 2:00 pm and Fridays at 3:00 pm. Locations and times for Youngstown and Austintown will be announced later this summer!

For more information, contact Loretta Pflug at 330-480-5656 ext 236 or

Davis Family Y launches Silver Sneaker Ambassador Program

DitchsmResearch studies have consistently demonstrated the overwhelming benefits of physical and social activity on the brain, our moods, and the immune system, to name a few. To help facilitate the positive impact of this dynamic combination of physical and social activity, the Healthways Silver Sneaker Program is collaborating with the Davis Y to launch the Silver Sneaker Ambassador program.

The main duties of the Silver Sneaker Ambassador is to assist with Active Older Adult activities such as: a welcome call to new Silver Sneaker members, provide tours of the facility, maintain a dedicated bulletin board, attract new Silver Sneaker members, and assist in the coordination, planning and organizing of Y events. Proudly, the Davis Y announces its first ever Silver Sneaker Ambassadors: Jim Ditch, Kathie Barratt, Wolf Majer, and Liz Majer.

Jim shares a passion for people that fueled his 42-year career in mortgage lending and sales. During his tenure, he saw some of the extremes in the financial market, writing loans ranging between 4-20% interest rates. Now in retirement, Jim explains he works out at the Y because he “loves to eat,” since his fiancée, Roseanne, crafts amazing Italian dishes. Though he politely declines working out on the “stair monster,” his favorite exercise machine is the Adaptive Motion Trainer (AMT), a simulation of running with the feeling of weightlessness similar to walking on the moon. For hobbies, Jim especially enjoys Ballroom Dancing, and is a frequent patron of Avon Oaks. His genuine love to serve people prompted him to join the Ambassador team. “I hope I can help somebody enjoy the Y as much as I do.”

On behalf of the Davis Family Y, we offer a grateful welcome to Jim, Kathie and the Majers!
To learn more about how the Silver Sneaker Ambassador can help your Y Silver Sneaker experience, please contact Juleen Keefer, Member Services Director, at or 330-480-5652.

Why Join the LIVESTRONG® at the YMCA Program?

A cancer diagnosis can be frightening and overwhelming for an individual and his or her family. Cancer affects you physically, mentally, and spiritually. It depresses and fatigues in various ways. Treatment can be rigorous and feeling well again can take time. People that have gone through traumatic events have told me that you will never be the same. This is not necessarily a bad thing, provided that you find a way to “pick up the pieces’ and move forward with your new wisdom and the strength that comes with it.

The LIVESTRONG at the YMCA program has been a great way to start moving again after an event that makes you want to “sit down” in life. The program gave me the opportunity to personally meet others who have had cancer and shared my experiences. This has been therapeutic. The instructors have shown us a variety of ways to achieve physical wellness and I personally feel that the exercises have sped up my recovery from the effects of chemotherapy (joint pain, numbness, etc.). I have also noticed I have more energy, flexibility, strength, and even a more balanced digestive system. I believe that your mind, body and, soul work together to make you feel the way you do and that
thought, movement, and interaction are catalysts for total well-being. LIVESTRONG at the YMCA helps transition you back into a sense of physical control, making you feel more like yourself again. This is something that can be a challenge while undergoing treatment or after treatment is completed. Exercise also helps remove toxins, medications, and waste from the body, giving it a chance to renew and refresh itself. Feeling better is almost inevitable.

I am thankful that the YMCA has provided my family and I an opportunity to be a part of the LIVESTRONG at the YMCA program. I have met some wonderful people as the time flew by. I believe anyone who has experienced cancer will find real benefits to this program; I hope they will take advantage of the great opportunity.

Mary Beth Partika

Bottom row L-R: Loretta Pflug/Coach, Debbie Ringer, Susan Ausmann, Mary Beth Partika, Barb Malizia/Coach
Top row: L-R: Kathy Jacobs, Michael Puskar, Barb Greene, Denise Altman, Eva Smith, Ethel Sherman, Steve Smith. Absent from photo: David Albertini


For more information about the LIVESTRONG at the YMCA program, email or call 330-480-5656 ext 236.

YMCA Art Classes

Did you know that the YMCA offers art classes? If not, you’re not alone! Tucked away at the end of the preschool/Kids’ Zone corridor is a magical space called the Art Studio. It’s a nullplace where children and adults alike go to create. In that room, one can learn to play the guitar, speak Chinese (or Spanish or French), draw a flower, throw a pot, fuse glass, knit a scarf, and paint a masterpiece.

Modeled on the one-room-schoolhouse philosophy, classes are comprised of all skill levels. Beginners learn from more seasoned students, and the latter benefit from the fresh
perspective provided by those just starting out. Professional instructors teach and advise, but also know when to step out of the way when creative juices flow.

During the past few months, adult painting classes have been filled to the brim. It’s become such a lively, tight knit group that at thenull end of the session, they requested an outing to the gem of Youngstown, the Butler Institute of American Art. There, they learned that great art isn’t just a pretty image, but often has historical, social, and political implications. Art tells stories. In addition to a docent led tour of the permanent collection, the group saw the newly installed Van Gogh painting, and then went upstairs to view the Area Artists’ show. Museum director Lou Zona met with them afterwards, making for a great ending to an informative, fun filled afternoon.

Whether or not making art is on your bucket list, stop in the studio to check out the offerings. You might just find yourself hankering to stretch your imagination instead of your muscles!

Relationships and Recuperation

nullRelocation to a new community is a challenge. Add in a sudden health problem and the challenge becomes more onerous. This was the situation in which one Y member, Janet Becker, found herself. Having lived in Wycliffe, Ohio in the same house for fifty-five years where she raised her 3 children, moving had not been in her plans. This changed when one day she noticed her peripheral vision was impaired. She drove herself to a scheduled doctor’s appointment and upon arriving, collapsed. She was having a stroke.

Janet decided to move here to be closer to her daughter, Dr. Karen Becker, Reading and Studies Coordinator at YSU. Having been a swimmer back in Wycliffe, one of Janet’s first decisions after moving was to join the Y. She joined the Arthritis water exercise class and soon met two members with whom she became friends.

As a result of the stroke, Janet lost her ability to walk backward. She credits a technique she learned from Gwen Shipsky, one of the Y Arthritis water instructors, with acquiring the ability to walk backward again. Janet feels the Y has not only offered the opportunity to recuperate, but a friendly social connection to her new community as well.

PICKLEBALL FUN at Central and Davis Ys

What do you get when you combine badminton, tennis and Ping-Pong? These are the ingredients for the sport known as Pickleball. One version of the evolution of Pickleball began in the summer of 1965 with two families on Bainbridge Island, Washington, with a backyard badminton court. Problem was – no one could find the shuttlecock. Two dads quickly improvised with a whiffle-type ball. The kids found it difficult to hit the 3-inch ball with the lightweight rackets, so the dads made wooden rackets that resembled Ping-Pong paddles. Click HERE for the full Pickleball story.

nullAccording to NBC, Pickleball is the fastest growing sport in the country. It inspires the active older adult to get off that couch and keep-it-movin’.

Pickleball is a simple paddle game, played with a special perforated ball over a tennis type net on a badminton-sized court. The ball is served underhand, and is served diagonally to the opponent’s service zone. Points are scored by the serving side only and occur when the opponent faults. The server continues to serve, alternating service courts, until the server faults. A game is won by the first player(s) to reach eleven (11) points, and must win by a two point margin.

nullMember Services Director Juleen Keefer brought Pickleball to the Davis Y in February 2015. Keefer says, “We wanted to bring Pickleball to the Davis Y to help increase options for our active older adults to keep them coming through the doors. Pickleball benefits physical activity, coordination, and just plain fun! It can be played with two or four players, so it compliments the relational culture we’re cultivating here at Y. We’re hoping to get the word out and increase participation.”

For more information, contact Juleen Keefer at the Davis Family Y, 330-480-5652 or At the Central Y, contact Kevin Ruse at 330-744-8411 or

Areas of Focus

Family Time – Bringing families together to have fun and grow together.

Health, Well-Being & Fitness – Resources and guidance to maintain or improve physical activity, health and wellness.

Sports & Recreation – Healthy lifestyle activities that bring together people with shared athletic and recreational interests.

Group Interest – Social networks and activities that bring together people that share common passions and personal interests.

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