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A special report from our Silver Bay gathering

October 2022                View as Webpage

YMCA Alumni from New England

and McBurney-Morse Chapters

embrace nature and each other

in the Adirondacks

Hello Craig,

Can you imagine an escape to a beautiful place on a lake in the Adirondacks? it was during the third week of September when the New England Chapter and the McBurney-Morse Chapter of YMCA Alumni co-sponsored a three-day fall gathering at the Silver Bay YMCA. How wonderful it was to catch the emerging colors in the mountains and woods driving through the mountains to Silver Bay. The participants share their experiences and enthusiasm in this issue.


"After reaching the bottom of Tongue Mountain your mind begins to rest as you pass the majestic vista turn off about 100 feet directly above Lake George. Then about two miles later your phone says take a right-hand turn – the road ahead looks as if it is about wide enough for one car. One-tenth of a mile more, the road transitions as if you are traveling through a tunnel of trees. Suddenly you are greeted by the welcoming sign – you have arrived at the Silver Bay YMCA."

"There is the lake, a mere 75 yards away, as the visitor is surrounded by maintained historic buildings most constructed before 1922. Stopping at the Inn (built in 1902), you cross the very same threshold as the thousands before you had arrived for fellowship, renewal, and learning. This 100-acre campus of development on the east side of the main road is so private that it is hard to believe it passes through this 700-acre property. One of the highlights of the YMCA Alumni gathering included a walk among these historic buildings integrally linked with the history of the YMCA Movement where giants before us formed a culture of service to our communities."

Many of these buildings were built and named after a who’s who of historic YMCA leaders including:

• Luther Wishard whose vision in 1900 sought a Center to train youth workers.

• The gymnasium built in 1917 was in memory of George Fisher (International Secretary who shaped the entire physical education program for the YMCA).

• Munn Hall built in 1914 in memory of John Munn, Chair of the International YMCA Transportation (railroad) Committee.

• Edwin See memorial built in 1910 in memory of Edwin See’s work as Founder of the YMCA summer schools and General Director of the Brooklyn YMCA for 20 years.

• Morse Hall was built in 1917 in memory of Richard Morse, the first paid General Secretary of the YMCA.


The YWCA, which also conducted training and provided respite opportunities for women at SBA, recognized their mentors here as well.

• The chapel built in 1922 is in memory of Helen Hughes who not only served as a YWCA worker, but also as a member on their national board. (Her father Charles Evans Hughes served as the 11th US Chief Justice in 1930-1941.)

• Field Hall was built in 1913 in memory of the YWCA work of Francis Field.

• Brooks Pavilion, built at the end of Slim Point in 1920, was in memory of Louise Brooks whose work with the YMCA afforded some women the only vacation they ever experienced.


Such a historical legacy enables YMCA Alumni the opportunity to step back in time. In reconnecting with our roots of community service, we also can remember colleagues of our own generation who stand out as members of our Movement. How great this is.

--Mark Rutkowski and Janice A. Carthens 

A warm welcome to Silver Bay

A warm welcome on our first evening was provided by Peter Doliber, the CEO of Silver Bay since January this year, who hosted the nearly 40 attendees in his home. 

The cocktail reception was a marvelous array of appetizers and beverages, pointing to one of the many strengths in Peter’s diverse background, his prior culinary education and work experience in hotels, both business and food and beverage management. 

Peter's rich prior work experiences also include the saving of the historic Black West Broad Street YMCA in Georgia, his role of executive for the Alliance of Massachusetts YMCAs and his work with YMCA of the USA, all of which provided meaningful preparations for his current position. In his opening remarks to our YMCA Alumni group, Peter reminded us that Silver Bay is an amazing haven with a 130-year history of service so that others may serve.


"As an association, not unlike every YMCA, Silver Bay has faced times when it had to evaluate how to put its mission into action. This is one of those times! We are changing as a society – COVID, equity, economy, war, inequality - and Silver Bay is adapting to help meet the societal needs resulting from these changes. By building on its historic and vibrant past, holding to the good, acknowledging the chaff, and actively seeking to serve others, Silver Bay has never been more poised to impact the lives of others." --Peter R. Doliber 

After dinner on our first evening, we gathered for a presentation by George Painter, Volunteer Project Management Chair for the YMCA Alumni National Service Project: creating a Tiny Homes Village to help alleviate the housing insecurity on the Cheyenne River Reservation, served by the YMCA of the Seven Council Fires.

"The National Service Project is off and running with great excitement Over 75 volunteers from more than 20 states will participate this year. The four Tiny Home foundations are nearly complete, and the first walls and roof will be raised and the shell completed this first year. Life for the Lakota tribe in South Dakota can be very challenging. The volunteers of YMCA Alumni have seen that firsthand with an inspirational and eye-opening service project. Our members contributed nearly $600,00 the first year and the campaign goal to complete the project is $250,000 in 2023." (Photos below)

On the second day: inspiration and fun

On the second day of our stay, a wide range of activities were made available to our colleagues.


"The scheduled boat tours of Lake George were a very special time at Silver Bay. Our knowledgeable and affable captain and tour guide, Peter Mitchell, shared history, facts, and current issues facing the beautiful lake.

"The lake is 32 miles long and about 2.5 miles across its widest point. Its average depth is 70 feet; however, the deepest point of the lake is almost 200 feet. Many mountain streams feed into the large glacier-made lake. The YMCA Alumni passengers enjoyed a sunny and warm day to head south on the west side along 18 acres of undeveloped, state-owned forest and return to Silver Bay on the more developed east side.

"Many homes and boathouses around and on the lake shore were traditionally summer and weekend destinations, but the COVID epidemic has resulted in many being winterized and are now year-round residences. The Lake George Association works with families, property owners and local businesses to protect the lake from pollution, invasive species, and other issues. Recently, the LGA has instituted new regulations governing the construction of new homes and boathouses.


"Silver Bay YMCA’s beautiful 700-acre site is accentuated by its good fortune to sit on the shore of Lake George and to be able to offer its guests the many water-based activities and spectacular views the lake has to offer." --John Hedbavny


Another highlight of the gathering was the Easy Yoga class led both mornings (before breakfast) by New England Chapter President Karen Leslie. It was so great to stretch and wake up with Karen’s soothing voice leading the early risers through a sequence of moves and breathing exercises - a perfect way to start each day.

"The richly-wooded wilderness surrounding Silver Bay provided opportunities for guests to wander on trails at varying levels of challenge – from easy to moderate to difficult. Many of the YMCA Alumni opted to join a now retired member of the Silver Bay staff (and now YMCA Alumni member) for the 1.5-mile elevation gain of the Inspiration Point Trail. (Photo below)


"Inspiration Point hikes are all about majestic vistas leaving or recreating in us an appreciation of the natural beauty that the Creator envisioned as a respite on our journey. Silver Bay’s hike is equally rewarding. Beginning on a logging road constructed more than fifty-five years ago it reminds the explorer about the challenges log skidders encountered one hundred forty years ago when most of the Adirondacks trees and foliage were destroyed by cross-cut saws satisfying the voluminous demand for wood. 

"Other rest stops afford us an opportunity to pause noticing the maturation of a forest, beginning with the soft woods planted by the partnering of birds, squirrels, and chipmunks changing to the smaller hardwoods of oak or hardier spruce on top.


"Wrapped around this adventure is an opportunity to learn or glimpse how maple syrup (or sugar) is made – the challenge of simply collecting and boiling this early spring sap directly from the tree where 40 gallons are needed to provide the consumer with one gallon of syrup.


"Ah, the views – Eureka! The mountains of Vermont in the distant blue. Glacier stream Lake George is below where the blue waters rippled uninterrupted except by a few small islands.

"The main campus of Silver Bay even closer with buildings carefully obscured by their smaller height and darker colors blend into the wilderness as they were intended. For many this 1,000-foot elevation change not only affords an opportunity to nurture and strengthen friendships, but beckons an opportunity to recenter our lives in quiet reflection on top as reinforced in the lyrics of Daniel Berggren’s song, “Mountain air blows away all the cares that build up day to day. It lifts your spirit high makes you want to give it one more try.” 

--Mark Rutkowski               

A workshop with Silver Bay's

Chaplain Bruce Tamlyn

The YMCA Alumni members were very fortunate to have the highly regarded and well-respected Rev. Bruce Tamlyn join the group to lead an enjoyable workshop on personality styles. Bruce is the chaplain of the Silver Bay YMCA, and he is also a marriage and family therapist with his own company: Leadership for Life, LLC.


"Bruce provided a self-assessment tool from which participants were able to gain an insight into both their dominant and more passive personality traits, including being an organizer, nurturer, adventurer, and thinker.

"Bruce discussed how these traits display themselves both in a professional work environment and in one’s personal life. He talked about the challenges of blending traits when working with colleagues or living with individuals who either share similar or opposite traits.

"He wore various hats which were each labeled with one of the specific traits as examples of having to “switch hats” in life depending on your situation at the time. He pointed out the challenges of wearing one hat in an office setting and then coming home and having to “switch hats” to complement the hat that a spouse might be wearing.

"His engaging and relaxed style of presenting had everyone laughing at themselves and situations they have been in over the years either at home or in the workplace. A very enlightening and enjoyable session." --Harry Rock

We'll see you at Silver Bay next fall

Friends, we look forward to having you join us next year and we heartily thank all you who explored the Adirondacks with us this year. Watch for details in The Clippings next spring.


McBurney-Morse Chapter President:Chuck Ainsworth

New England Chapter President: Karen Leslie