One of the pillars of downtown Middletown recently celebrated its 100th anniversary with a “monumental event,” said Angela Howard, executive director of the Middletown Area YMCA.
On Saturday, there was a reunion for current and former members and directors, but most of all, as a fundraiser for the Urban Youth Endowment Fund, which will help fund the Teen Leaders Club in Middletown, Howard said.
Howard said it was “very humbling” to be part of the Middletown YMCA legacy. She was joined at the party by longtime Executive Director Fred Cooper, she said. Howard joined the YMCA staff 13 years ago and was named director of the downtown YMCA almost six years ago.
The first attempt of forming a YMCA in Middletown was in 1867 when four volunteers gathered to bring the Y to the local community. But it wasn’t until 1917 that the Middletown YMCA was created when it merged with the Brotherhood Association.
In the 100 years of the organization’s existence, the YMCA has called a number of buildings home, Howard said. But for the last century the YMCA’s commitment to serving the community, particularly teens, has remained the same, she said.
Middletown Mayor Larry Mulligan, who spoke during the anniversary ceremony, called the YMCA one of the “anchors” in the community. He mentioned that two other Middletown businesses — AK Steel and the Chamber of Commerce serving Middletown, Monroe and Trenton — also are 100 years old.
“That’s powerful,” Howard said of being connected to those companies.
Howard said the YMCA has positioned itself to continue to serve the community through its diverse and expanded programs.
“We are here to serve,” Howard said.
For 50 years, Mike Scorti, 76, of Middletown, has been a member of the Middletown Area YMCA and he has served on its board. Scorti said he goes to the Y every day, for the exercise and the camaraderie.
“It’s not just a facility,” he said. “It’s a way of life. You have to take care of your body.”
Scorti said he supports the downtown YMCA since it’s located in the inner-city and said it adds to the “flavor of Middletown.”
The YMCA has played “a very big role” in the city, Mulligan said.
“It has touched a lot of lives,” the mayor said.