The YMCA’s Hall of Fame

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DEAR SUN SPOTS: I’ve seen the promotions for the YMCA’s upcoming annual Hall of Fame inductees. I recognize only one of the four new members, Roger Childs. He was an accomplished athlete in the 1950s era, as I recall, and might have worked at the Y in some capacity after that. Who are these newest members of the HOF and what accomplishments have they achieved to gain such an honor? Is it a sports Hall of Fame or a fundraising gala that recognizes employees and other contributors? Having spent much of my youth at the Y, I’m pleased to see that it’s still serving our local communities.

— Michael, Auburn

ANSWER: Because of the unfortunate flooding incident at Y last month, the Hall of Fame ceremony has been postponed. According to YMCA Chief Executive Officer Steve Wallace, the Hall of Fame was started in 2015 to recognize the people who have made the Y what it is today. The HOF is not for big donors or purely longtime board members or staff. Inductees have to do something really special to be honored. The criteria states that all inductees will have made contributions to the YMCA that are “extraordinary and tangible.” These individuals, who may be living or deceased, represent inspirational leadership and dedication to the Y’s mission and the broader movement, touching thousands of lives.

Inductees into the HOF may be current or former volunteers, staff, board members, ambassadors, advocates, and, in truly remarkable cases, philanthropic supporters whose contributions have led to the development or significant expansion of services. Unless recommended by the HOF Selection Committee and approved by the board of directors, no more than four inductees are named in a given year. In the interest of maintaining the highest standard of excellence, there are no predetermined minimum number of inductees per year, so some years there may not be anyone inducted into the HOF.

This isn’t a fundraising gala, although sometimes people donate in honor of an inductee. Nor is it a sports hall of fame. This HOF recognizes people who have dedicated themselves to the Y’s cause-driven mission of mentoring children, helping people get healthier, supporting youth development and have made a noticeable impact in the lives of families in the greater Auburn-Lewiston area. For example, Pauline Bourgoin was inducted to the inaugural HOF in 2015. In her 67 years as a swim instructor at the Y — she started teaching at the Y in 1950— she taught more than 25,000 children how to swim. Penny Woodard, HOF 2016, was a great athlete, but that isn’t why he was selected. He took his athletic ability further to help start the Biddy Basketball program and served on the Y’s board and other committees for nearly 40 years. He also started the Y’s golf tournament, which has raised more than $250,000 for scholarships.

The 2017 honorees are of the same caliber. Steve isn’t telling who has been selected, but we’re all invited to the ceremony to celebrate what the Y has accomplished in the greater Androscoggin County throughout its nearly 150-year history. It’s free and open to the public. He also encourages readers to come to the Y if they want more information. He can be contacted at 795-4095 or swallace@alymca.org

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