By JEN CARDINES
The Southington Community YMCA is holding its 88th annual meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 1 at the Aqua Turf Club in Plantsville. The social hour begins at 5:30 p.m. and dinner will be served at 6:15 p.m. Holding the theme, “Forever Young,” the night is sure to be a hit for all ages.
Executive director John Myers said that many senior members (80 years and up) will be present, highlighting the active older adults. A previous YMCA director is even traveling from Florida to attend. “It will be inter-generational,” Myers said.
The annual event is designed to share success stories from the previous year and to award pillars in the community. During the event, the YMCA will recognize its 2016 honorees based on the categories of the YMCA motto: Youth Development, Healthy Living, Social Responsibility and Youth Leadership.
The 2016 YMCA Person of the Year, Benny Cammuso, will also be honored at the meeting. The Person of the Year award is presented annually to someone that makes Southington a better place to live through their actions in the community.
Myers said “Benny spends well over 40 hours a week volunteering, primarily with Bread for Life. He’s just incredible.”
Joe Crispino has been a volunteer for over 30 years at the YMCA, and sat as Board President at one time. Myers said that he’s always been committed to the youth in town, and that’s why he received the Youth Development honor.
Lewis Educational Agriculture Farm (L.E.A.F.) is being honored Healthy Living. The historic farm brings education and healthy lifestyle practices to Southington, sustainable foods, and seasonal farmers markets.
Myers said that Farm owner Mark Ramsay is “so infused in the community” and carries a positive attitude.
The Social Responsibility honor was awarded to Ben Was Here, a nonprofit organization run by the Buckley family in memory of their son Ben, who passed away at age seven due to a severe asthma attack. The organization provides funding to schools and organizations, scholarships for graduating seniors, and funding for prescription medication coverage for asthma-related medication and research.
Each year, the YMCA gives a Youth Leadership Award to two deserving students. This year, Southington High School seniors Morgan Maccione and Catherine Kates will be honored.