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Annual Butler County Family YMCA meeting focuses on children, tenured staff

David Hilliard, president and CEO of Butler YMCA, speaks during the 2024 YMCA Annual Meeting at The Atrium on Tuesday, May 14. Morgan Phillips/Butler Eagle

FRANKLIN TWP — There was much for the Butler County Family YMCA to celebrate during it’s annual meeting on Tuesday, May 14. Last year the nonprofit saw a net revenue of $17,307, had 115 volunteers serve 1,660 hours and had more than 17,000 individuals visit between both of its facilities.

However, there was one measurement David Hilliard, president and CEO, said was among the more impressive feats of 2023.

“Last year 1,282 of the most valuable, precious children were placed in our care,” Hilliard said. “That is an awesome accomplishment that we do not take lightly.”

The Butler County Family YMCA held its annual meeting at the Atrium. Members from both the Butler YMCA and the Rose E. Schneider Family YMCA, located in Cranberry Township, along with representatives from ARMCO Park in Slippery Rock Township were present for the yearly event.

The group touted its 2023 accomplishments, awarded tenured employees, recognized incoming and outgoing board members and set goals for the future of the organization while reflecting on this year’s theme of celebrating the YMCA’s emphasis on child care.

“There a deep sense of responsibility and care for each and every one of the children we’re privileged to serve,” Hilliard said. “There is something sacred about caring for our littlest Y members.”

One of the YMCA’s major 2023 accomplishment was the opening of the Rose E. Schneider Family YMCA child care center for children ages 6 weeks to 5 years old last summer.

Rep. Stephenie Scialabba, R-12th, who was welcomed as one of the new incoming board members for the Rose E. Schneider Family YMCA, knows first hand what it’s like to be in need of child care. Her child is currently enrolled in the YMCA’s day care facility.

“The YMCA is all about community and faith and building a strong community based on faith,” she said. “There is no substitute for parents, but the YMCA staff is close to family.”

Highlighting the staff service awards were Michelle “Mickey” Stewart, group exercise coordinator and Hilliard.

Sandra Ihlenfeld, executive director of the Butler YMCA and lifelong friend of Stewart, spoke to her character and willingness to help whenever she could.

“If you got sick, if you ran out of gas, if something happened, we would get a message to Mickey and then she’d come. She would drop everything,” Ihlenfeld said. “And even with all the time she’s covered us in 30 years, she’s still doing it.”

Hilliard, who started as an intern for the YMCA, was recognized for his 30 years of service for the Butler County Family YMCA.

“Dave’s had about every position there is a the YMCA,” said Tony Shakely, chief volunteer officer. “He lives and breaths it. He loves the Y. It’s not just a job for him. It’s life.”

The committee welcomed incoming board members for the Rose E. Schneider Family YMCA: Jody Grady, Phil Schmeltzer and Scialabba.

The night would not be complete without a bittersweet moment, as the group celebrated the upcoming retirement of Ihlenfeld.

Heidi Nicholls Bowser, director of membership and healthy living at Butler YMCA, spoke of Ihlenfeld’s impact at the Butler YMCA and how, under her tutelage, she was able to guide the organization into an economically viable organization.

“I know a lot of people set goals, but I don’t know a lot of people who know how to take actions,” Bowser said. “Sandy does.”

After her standing ovation, Ihlenfeld addressed the group, highlighting the organizations growth and the bright future that lies ahead for the YMCA.

“I always thought of myself as a placeholder,” she said. “And I think the YMCA is going to be in great hands.”

The 2024 YMCA Annual Meeting was held at The Atrium where the YMCA's child care programs were highlighted on Tuesday, May 14. Morgan Phillips/Butler Eagle
Michelle Stewart reacts to be awarded for her 35 years of service at the Butler YMCA during the 2024 YMCA Annual Meeting at The Atrium on Tuesday, May 14. Morgan Phillips/Butler Eagle
Sandy Ihlenfeld, right, Executive Director at Butler YMCA, is congratulated by Maggie Beall-Orosz during the 2024 YMCA Annual Meeting at The Atrium on Tuesday, May 14. Morgan Phillips/Butler Eagle
David Hilliard, president and CEO of Butler YMCA, reacts to being congratulated on his 30 years of service award during the 2024 YMCA Annual Meeting at The Atrium on Tuesday, May 14. Morgan Phillips/Butler Eagle
Sandy Ihlenfeld, Executive Director at Butler YMCA, left, and Michelle Stewart hug after being honored during the 2024 YMCA Annual Meeting at The Atrium on Tuesday, May 14. Morgan Phillips/Butler Eagle
Heidi Bowser, Director of Membership and Healthy Living at the Butler YMCA, speaks during the 2024 YMCA Annual Meeting at The Atrium on Tuesday, May 14. Morgan Phillips/Butler Eagle

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