October-November 2014 Riverfront Y-Notes


October 2014 Riverfront Y-Notes


The Park Post September 2014


August-September 2014 Riverfront Y-Notes


Fall 2014 Concussion Camp


Akron Area YMCA Branches to host Summa Center for Sports Health FREE Concussion Seminars
Get a “Heads-Up” on Concussion Information
A concussion, a complex process affecting the brain, is induced by traumatic biochemical forces. It can be caused by a direct blow to the head, face or neck, or a blow elsewhere on the body which transmits force to the head.
“It’s more than just the collision,” says Hollie Kozak, M.Ed., AT, manager of Summa Center for Sports Health. “It’s the fact that the head is jarred or twisted and the brain gets bounced around.”
During the past 15 years, studies and research into concussions has greatly increased, according to James Goff, D.O., a Summa sports medicine specialist. And, he says, the medical community has only scratched the surface.
“There is still a lot about concussions that we don’t know,” Dr. Goff points out. “Research going on today will change the way we take care of concussions during the next 10 to 15 years.
Summa Center for Sports Health is taking a multi-prong approach with education and wants to empower parents, coaches, teachers and the community to be more aware about concussions and what they can do to keep student-athletes safe.
  • Education for Scholastic Coaches
  • Education for Teachers and Counselors
  • Education for Youth Sports Parents and Coaches
For more information and to read the full article, as well as read a story about a local athlete’s struggle with a concussion, visit Summa’s Concussion Central.
Summa will provide FREE Concussion Camps for parents and coaches at three area YMCAs.
  •  Wadsworth YMCA – September 23 at 7:00 p.m. (330) 334 9622
  •  University Park YMCA – October 1 at 6:00 p.m. (330) 434 9622
  •  Lake Anna YMCA – October 14 at 6:15 p.m. (330) 745 9622
All parents registering will receive a voucher for their child to be baseline tested with the Axon Concussion System. For more information, click here.

Second Biennial Regional YMCA Legislative Breakfast Impact!


Second Biennial Regional YMCA Legislative Breakfast Impact!

Akron, Ohio — On Wednesday, August 13, 2014, City, county, state and federal officials along with regional YMCA CEOs and Senior Executives representing Stark, Summit, Medina, Portage, and Wayne counties gathered at YMCA Camp Y-Noah for the second biennial Regional YMCA Legislative Breakfast.
Over 80 people attended and listened to the impact the Y is making on families and in the communities it serves. Mike and Mandi Cramer shared their life-altering story of when Mike suffered a heart attack in 2011 and the Y was there to encourage them both in their challenging road to recovery.
“Our Y membership is invaluable! We still put one foot in front of the other but now we are optimistic about our future,” said Mandi Cramer. “Thanks to God and the Y, our possibilities are limitless.”
Mayor Sara Drew, via video, shared her daughter, Lindsay’s story of growth and independence while at the Akron Rotary Camp for Children with Special Needs, which is operated by the Akron Area YMCA. The daily camp bus rides to and from Stow gave Lindsay a sense of independence and she participated in activities her parents never imagined she would like kayaking, boating, hiking and swimming in a big lake instead of a pool.
State Representative Anthony DeVitis as well as Senator Larry Obhof and State Representative Kirk Schuring also shared their own experiences at the Y.
"YMCAs are uniquely positioned to bring about meaningful, lasting change to the communities we serve. Y's across the U.S. identify and meet the community's most pressing needs in the areas of youth development, healthy living and social responsibility, said Jeff Kline, First Vice-Chair of the Akron Area YMCA Board of Trustees. “The Regional YMCA Legislative breakfast provides an opportunity for leaders to hear first-hand the impact of the Y as a charitable organization strengthening the communities we serve.”
The following elected officials attended:  Ohio Senators Larry Obhof and Tom Sawyer; Ohio House of Representatives Anthony DeVitis, Christina Hagan, Zack Milkovich, Kirk Schuring, Vernon Sykes and Andrew Thompson; Summit County Executive Russ Pry; Bob Genet, Summit County Deputy Director, Community & Economic Development; Summit County Council members Tim Crawford, Sandra Kurt, Paula Prentice, Bill Roemer and Ilene Shapiro; Stark County Commissioners Tom Bernabel and Richard Regula; Gerard Neugebauer, Councilman, City of Green; Mayor Pat Fallot, City of Louisville; Mayor David Held, City of North Canton; Mayor Bill Judge, City of Barberton; Mayor Robin Laubaugh, City of Wadsworth; Pat Winkhart, Bethlehem Village Council; Steve Tharp, Brewster Village Council; Sarah Lowry from US Senator Sherrod Brown’s Office; and, Thomas Queen from US Representative Jim Renacci’s Office.

August 2014 Riverfront Y-Notes


July 2014 Riverfront Y-Notes


July 2014 University Park Newsletter


Check out the May 2014 University Park YMCA Newsletter.
New Wellness Director, Pool Maintenance, Summer Hours and more!

May 2014 University Park Newsletter


Check out the May 2014 University Park YMCA Newsletter.
June Golf Outing, Summer Session Registration, SilverSneakers® news and more!

Green Y-Lights


Stay up to date!

Make sure to pick up the latest copy of our newsletter, the Green YLights! In it, you'll find all the information about what's happening at your YMCA.
If you have any comments about the newsletter, or suggestions for a story you'd love to read, please contact Paul Thompson @ 

Akron Area YMCA Names New Vice President & COO


Akron Area YMCA Names New Vice President & COO

Jill Kolesar takes the reins as Chief Operations Officer for Akron Area YMCA

For Immediate Release

October 10, 2013Akron, OH — Akron Area YMCA President and CEO Doug Kohl recently announced the promotion of Jill Kolesar to Vice President and Chief Operating Officer effective December 1, 2013. Kolesar, who is currently the Group Vice President and Executive Director of the Riverfront YMCA, will be stepping in to the role led by current COO Larry Griffin, who will be retiring November 29.

"Jill is a five-tool player," Kohl said. "She works well with staff and volunteers, understands all aspects of Y operations and has been effective at fundraising. We're sad to see Larry go, but are extremely grateful for everything he's helped to accomplish for our association. We're happy to have Jill step in to this position and look forward to her helping our organization become even more effective in our cause."

"I'm very excited to be stepping in to the role that Mr. Griffin has championed so well," Kolesar said. "I look forward to continuing his work to further our mission and impact in the Akron community."

"My career with the Akron Area YMCA has been immeasurably meaningful," Griffin said. "It's such a rewarding experience to be part of a cause that truly makes the lives of others more healthy, connected, and secure. I look forward to working with Jill during this transition. She's been a valuable contributor and brings a great deal of leadership and experience to our association."


Griffin has served as COO since 2006 and has held numerous leadership roles throughout his 35 years with the Akron Area YMCA, including Executive Director of YMCA Camp Y-Noah, Director of Development, and Executive Director of the Riverfront YMCA and Canal Square YMCA.

Griffin plans to spend more time with his wife Diane, volunteer as Lieutenant Governor for Kiwanis and treasurer for the Downtown Akron Kiwanis Foundation, teach snowboarding and start a consulting business helping nonprofit organizations.

Kolesar's previous positions include Executive Director of the Nordonia Hills YMCA, Associate Director of the former Canal Square YMCA and Association Membership Director. She served as a volunteer at the Riverfront YMCA, which led to a part-time membership position. She is the immediate past President of the Cuyahoga Falls Rotary Club and serves on the Cuyahoga Falls Schools Strategic Planning Committee.

"I walk by faith and believe we must seize each and every day," Kolesar said. "It's my opportunity to leave the world a little brighter."

Nordonia Hills YMCA Community Garden Survey


During this time of Thanksgiving, the Nordonia Hills YMCA would like to thank the community for supporting Y programs and services throughout the year. We are especially grateful to all our donors for supporting our Partners With Youth scholarship campaign, which provides financial assistance to those unable to pay full prices for membership and programs.
The Y is a cause-driven organization dedicated to making a difference in the lives of kids, teens, adults and families. We are actively researching the feasibility of creating a community garden on our 30 acres, located at 8761 Shepard Road in Macedonia, OH. You have a voice in determining if this project moves forward by clicking on the link below to complete a garden interest survey.

For more information about the proposed garden project, contact Lisa Gillota at or call 330-467-8366 x2.



Memberships At New University Park Y Booming


The great progress the University Park YMCA has made, has been featured on! Read Akron Beacon Journal writer Jim Carney's article on all that's been accomplished so far here.
The initial goal was 2,400 membership units by the end of 2011. As of the end of February, the University Park facility had 3,510 membership units, which includes individual members and families and about 800 units from Summa Health System. The number represents more than 7,000 adults and children. By contrast, the Canal Square YMCA had 800 membership units when it closed.
The new building is a “giant, diverse melting pot,” said Doug Kohl, Akron Area Y president and chief executive. “It is as diverse an organization as you ever are going to see.”

Friday @ 5 a boost for University Park YMCA


On Friday, February 3, 2012 the University Park YMCA along with event sponsor Dr. Geraldine McDonald Carter, Ph.D., LLC hosted the 17th Annual Friday@5 Silent & Oral Auction event at the Portage Country Club in Akron.
Friday@5 participants enjoyed a delicious “grazing” dinner, dessert buffet, beverages and an evening of bidding fun with auction items such as African Safari Adventure, Hilton Head and Orlando condos, a hot air balloon ride, Akron Aeros Loge and much more!
The event has grown over the years as patrons and sponsors recognize the impact they are having on the many kids, teens, adults and families that look to the Y for encouragement, support and opportunities to learn, grow and thrive. This year 213 people attended and total of $34,100 was raised to benefit the Akron Area YMCA’s Partners With Youth Annual Giving Campaign.

Running for Rotary


Running for Rotary

Anna Thorniley, a senior at Slippery Rock University, kicked off her quest to run 1,000 miles and raise $10,000 in honor of the children at Akron Rotary Camp for Children with Special Needs on Saturday, June 11, 2011.

Running for Rotary was featured in Record Publishing, Akron Beacon Journal and Leader Publications.

Donations and funds raised for Anna's Running for Rotary initiative will give kids the opportunity to experience a week at camp! Way to go Anna! 

Make A Splash Program Makes News


Make A Splash founder Andrew Appleby was joined by two-time Olympic gold medalist and former Firestone High School Graduate Mark Gangloff on Sunday, May 8 to teach a group of kids swimming lessons. The swim lessons took place at the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Natatorium at the University Park YMCA and was featured on, Sports Ink, WEWS, MSNBC, WTVD and the Akron Beacon Journal! A special thanks to Andrew for being so passionate about our swimming program and Mark Gangloff for making time for the kids! We look forward to helping more kids in our Make A Splash program!

Teen Leaders Clean-Up Barberton


For the second year in a row, the Teen Leaders Club, Y staff and volunteers came together to help strengthen the community by participating in the 31st Annual Clean-Up Barberton Day! As a group, the teen leaders, Y staff and volunteers met at the Lake Anna YMCA and then headed off to their assigned locations: Downtown Barberton and Lake Anna. We look forward to helping out the Barberton community next year! 

Friday@5 in Beacon Journal & West Side Leader


Going once! Going twice! Sold! University Park and the Akron Area YMCA held their 16th Annual Friday@5 Silent & Oral Auction event at the Portage Country Club to benefit the Partners With Youth Annual Giving Campaign. In 2010, Partners With Youth provided memberships to more than 4,300 kids, teen and families. This year, the Akron Area YMCA hopes to exceed that number through generous donations and continue to provide more youth and families with a Y experience where they can learn, grow and thrive! 

Battle of the Bands


On Saturday, March 5, the Akron Area YMCA and Ripper Owens Tap House called upon all music lovers, young and old, to battle it out at the Cuyahoga Falls High School Auditorium in Cuyahoga Falls. Of the 12 bands who played, six youth bands and six adult bands, the panel of guest judges named Red Letter as the winner of the youth category and Lystrata as the winners in the adult category. As always, we enjoy rockin' out with our local youth and adult bands! 

Teen Leaders Homecoming and Prom Clothing Drive


The Teen Leaders Club gave teenage girls the opportunity to experience homecoming or prom by clothing donations of formal dresses, accessories, jewelry, shoes and other offerings. Over 300 dresses were collected for local teen girls and their good deed was featured in the Akron Beacon Journal,, the Barberton Herald and The Suburbanite!

University Park YMCA Progress Featured on


University Park has been featured on! With the grand opening just around the corner, we're on the home stretch to unlocking potential in the downtown Akron community. Read Akron Beacon Journal writer Jim Carney's feature on the final developments here.

Click here to view photos of our dedication to providing an exciting, new location to support youth development, build healthy lifestyles and increase social responsibility in Y members and the community.

Akron Area YMCA staff receives training in the exciting MindUP curriculum


On August 28, 50 Akron Area YMCA staff received training in the exciting MindUP curriculum—an innovative program for youth development and education. This gives our staff a unique advantage in helping our children and teens realize their potential. Developed by The Hawn Foundation in California, MindUP is proven to boost awareness, increase optimism, encourage different viewpoints and build wellness in children. We look forward to helping kids build knowledge and have fun in the process!

Canal Square INSYDE Chapter 1


The First INSYDE

Here is the first of our updates on Canal Square Y programs as we prepare our transition to the new University Park YMCA, opening in 2011. Although we will not have Summer Day Camps at Canal Square Y this summer, we encourage families to stay active and explore summer camps and programs at all our Akron Area YMCA branches. We are all working together to help you through this transition.

Serving families and the community since 1931, the Canal Square YMCA was the first Akron Area YMCA branch. Developed from the Christian heritage on which the YMCA was founded, we are proud to transition our mission driven programs to the new University Park YMCA. Celebrate with us as we begin a new chapter for our YMCA!

ChildWatch Update


Nordonia Hills YMCA

Child Watch will be available starting in November for those who sign up in advance.

Must purchase a child watch pass. 8 passes for $15! 


Jackson Teens Saddle Up


Jackson Teens Saddle Up for Camp Y-Noah

Camp Y-Noah's Teen Saddle Club members made a trip to Big Dee's Tack Shop to round up supplies needed by the horses and stables. The teens sponsored several fundraising events earlier in the year to raise the money.

Click Here to Read the Green Suburbanite Article

Heritage Herald Newsletter V3 I1


Featured Article: Hearts Heard by the Heritage Club
As a Heritage Club Member you know you’re making a difference. You see how your support benefi ts families with mission-driven programs. You hear that your gifts send kids to camp. You feel the impact that your generosity has left on those around you. You believe in the YMCA mission and value it for each of your own reasons. Thank you for choosing to strengthen the YMCA and make it possible to share it with those that may not otherwise have the opportunity.

Download the Complete Newsletter >>

Nordonia Hills Newsletter


Have you always wondered why you are the last to hear about the exciting things going on at the Y? Well wonder no more, sign up today to join the Nordonia Hills Newsletter and get monthly updates on all the latest classes, program offerings, member events and more! Sign up today and be a part of something special!

Heritage Herald Newsletter V2 I1


Featured Article: How Will You Be Remembered?
For decades, The Akron Area YMCA has successfully dedicated time and energy to teach children the importance of family values, friendship and partaking in the community. By contributing to the YMCA mission, you as well are tutoring these children towards a better future. Your gifts will be remembered through their smiles and laughter as you watch them grow into successful and caring individuals.

Download the Complete Newsletter >>

Heritage Herald Newsletter V1 I3


Featured Article: Heritage Club Dinner 2006
More than 70 Heritage Club members gathered at Camp Y-Noah for the 28th Annual Heritage Club dinner. Among the attendees were many former campers and camp staff who enjoyed sharing their favorite camp stories and experiences. The evening was marked with many great reunions and memories, plus a camp tour and delicious cuisine.

Download the Complete Newsletter >>

Heritage Herald Newsletter V1 I2


Featured Article: The Endowment for Christian Emphasis
The Akron Area YMCA Foundation continues to make a difference through “named funds” like the Bucey Fund, established by Wiley, Jr., Randolph and Richard Bucey in memory of their parents, Wiley and Mary Bucey. The Bucey sons grew up in the shadow of the Akron Area YMCA and are deeply rooted in the community of the YMCA for its emphasis on character, integrity and Christian principles.

Download the Complete Newsletter >>

Heritage Herald Newsletter V1 I1


Featured Article: Securing the Future of the Akron Area YMCA
Members of the Heritage Club support the YMCA and preserve its value-based programs by making a planned gift to the Akron Area YMCA Endowment Foundation. Donations can be made in a variety of ways including a bequest in your will, creation of a charitable trust or a gift annuity. Most importantly, gifts can be structured to provide financial security for donors and their heirs while maximizing the impact for the YMCA.

Download the Complete Newsletter >>

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YMCA Mission: To put Christian principles into practice through programs that build a healthy spirit, mind and body for all.