By SHERIDAN ROY
The Southington-Cheshire Community YMCA recognized several members, volunteers and staff members who made day-to-day operations run smoothly during a member appreciation picnic and hall of fame induction ceremony at YMCA Camp Sloper on July 25.
Camp Sloper photographer Terri Connellan, aquatics director Barbara Glaude, and Bethany and Pat Rosin were all inducted into the YMCA hall of fame. The most frequent “Y-er,” Nicholas Leadbeater, volunteer of the year Paul Sirois, and the late George Moore were all honored for their commitment to the YMCA.
“This is one of my favorite events of the year,” said SCCYMCA CEO Mark Pooler. “We have the opportunity to recognize our YMCA members—everyone from our adult and older population down to our kids.”
Nominations of people are accepted for the hall of fame each year, explained outdoor center director Justin Hubeny.
“Current members, staff or alumni can nominate people—pretty much anyone who has made an impact here,” said Hubeny. “This is a special day for us to honor many great people at the YMCA and Camp Sloper who make the YMCA what it is today.”
Hall of fame inductees were called up one by one to be recognized in front of scores of current and past YMCA members, alumni and staff.
Glaude has been involved with the YMCA for 38 years and has been the aquatics director for 19. She started working at Camp Sloper at age 16.
“Helping keep people safe is my job, and water is one of those things where safety becomes extremely important,” said Glaude. She is responsible for training staff on water safety. “Looking back at my time here, one of the people who comes to mind is the former YMCA director Doug McLeod. He hired me, and changed my life forever.”
Connellan has been the official photographer at Camp Sloper for 21 years, snapping photos of every camper who comes through.
“I’m used to being the picture lady, not the center of attention,” she said with a laugh. “Being inducted into the hall of fame means everything to me. Camp Sloper has been so special to me for so many years. I am so humbled and honored.”
Bethany and Pat Rosin were recognized together. Pooler introduced them as “a camp romance with a fairy tale ending.” The two met at Camp Sloper, formed a relationship, have since married and now have two young children who both attend Camp Sloper. The couple even had their engagement photos done at Camp Sloper.
“Being here tonight, I’m just looking back on all the time I spent here so fondly,” said Bethany. “It’s exciting to be part of the Sloper legacy.”
Pat said sitting in the McLeod Pavilion brought back many memories of staff training, events and more from his years of service to the YMCA. Now, Bethany and Pat are reliving their Sloper experiences through their two children—one of which has already declared he wants to be a camp counselor one day.
“It’s fun to hear their perspectives of camp and to see the experience through their eyes,” said Bethany.
The most frequent “Y-er,” a chemistry professor at the University of Connecticut, has already visited the YMCA over 340 times in 2019. Leadbeater typically visits the facility twice a day to use the treadmill or elliptical.
“I really enjoy my time at the YMCA. We live in a world full of distractions,” Leadbeater said. “When I go there and workout, I can just put my phone away and think. And, it’s nice to be around other people.”
Though he could not make it, volunteer of the year Paul Sirois was acknowledged as the volunteer of the year. Southington YMCA director Jay Jaronko talked about Sirois’ involvement with the Pickleball team. As a “thank you,” when Sirois returns from vacation, the Pickleball court will have freshly painted lines.
The YMCA staff also acknowledged the late George Moore. When he passed away, he left a generous endowment gift, which enabled the YMCA to renovate the lobby and create a larger space to welcome members to sit and catch up with friends.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Sheridan Roy, email her at SRoy@SouthingtonObserver.com.