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More than 430 guests came together late last month to learn how the Tampa Y is making more possible across Hillsborough and East Pasco counties. The Regions Community Impact Dinner is an annual event that brings awareness to the Tampa Y’s efforts to help kids and families, promote the health and well-being of the Tampa community, and help and give back to our neighbors in need.

This year’s event recognized Hillsborough County Commissioner Ken Hagan who received the 2014 Community Impact Award for his dedication and positive impact on Tampa Bay area residents. “I’ve lived in Hillsborough County for all my life and I’ve seen first-hand the life-changing work the Y offers,” said Commissioner Hagan during his acceptance speech. “The Y does so much more than you might think and it’s an honor to partner with a cause-driven charity committed to not only change lives in the Tampa Bay community—but save lives through its drowning prevention and chronic disease prevention programs.”

Former Tampa Y Governance Board Chair D. Scott Luttrell was honored with the 2014 Order of the Red Triangle Award for making lasting and valuable contributions to the Tampa Y. Fourteen Volunteers of the Year were also recognized by each YMCA branch among the crowd full of fellow volunteers, community leaders, elected officials, Y members and friends of the Y. Many thanks to Rod Carter, morning anchor for WFLA-TV News Channel 8, for serving as emcee of the event.


> D. Scott Luttrell - Order of the Red Triangle Video

> Meilla Testimonial Video

> Joy Testimonial Video

> View Event Photos


Cutline (top): Tampa Y President & CEO Tom Looby (left) presented D. Scott Luttrell with the 2014 Red Triangle Award.

Cutline (bottom) Each YMCA branch recognized its 2014 Volunteer of the Year at the Regions Community Impact Dinner.


You're invited to help kick-start a healthy summer, which is a critical out-of-school time for kids. On Saturday, April 26th, the Tampa YMCA is holding a free community event to inspire more kids to keep their minds and bodies active. YMCA’s Healthy Kids Day®, the Y’s national initiative to improve families’ health and well-being, features fun and educational activities, such as a bounce house obstacle course, fitness demonstrations, arts & crafts, water safety tips, healthy snacks, sports giveaways and more to motivate and teach families how to develop a healthy routine at home.  

Research shows without access to out-of-school physical and learning activities, kids fall behind academically. Kids also gain weight twice as fast during summer than the school year. One in three U.S. children is obese. This statistic, coupled with the fact that once summer hits, children will be more idle, demonstrates why it’s important to help families develop healthy habits now. In celebration of Healthy Kids Day, the Y offers the following tips to help families develop healthy habits:

High Five the Fruits and Veggies– Make sure kids get at least five servings a day, the minimum number nutritionists recommend to maintain healthy childhood development.

Foster an Early and Ongoing Passion for Books– Read to and with your kids. Help children read at every age and every stage of their development.

Team Up for Athletic Events – Set a family goal of great health by teaming up for community or charity events like races, walks, fun runs, bike rides, etc.

Volunteer Together – Find a cause that matters to the kids. Open their eyes to a world beyond themselves and the rich rewards that come from making a difference.

Lead By Example– Be a good role model – kids can be influenced by seeing how hard their parents work at home or on the job, and how rewarding that experience is.

The Tampa Y’s Healthy Kids Day takes place at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park on 600 N. Ashley Drive from 10am-1pm on Saturday, April 26th. During the free event, local mascots will battle it out in the 2014 Mascot Dance Challenge. Previous participants include: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Captain Fear, Tampa Bay Lightning’s Thunderbug, Tampa Bay Rays’ Raymond, Clearwater Threshers’ Phinley, Tampa Yankees’ Blue, Plato the Publix dinosaur, Chuck E. Cheese, Chick-fil-A Cow, Sparky the Fire Dog, Y Guy and Y Gal.

We hope to see you there! YMCA’s Healthy Kids Day is supported by our local community partners, Publix and Tampa Bay Parenting Magazine, which are committed to encouraging kids to lead a healthy lifestyle.


Cutline: Kids enjoyed several types of fun activities during last year’s Healthy Kids Day.

Betty Gravett says she has struggled with her weight all her life. "I never was one to go on fad diets, because I knew what it took to lose weight and that was to make a lifestyle change to my eating habits and to bring exercise into my life,” shares Betty.

At age 56, Betty says she finally took doctor’s orders and began her journey to better health with the North Brandon Family YMCA. She started with water aerobics last spring. “I loved the classes and from then on, I became a regular of all the water classes.” Betty didn’t stop there. She enrolled in LIVESTRONG® at the YMCA and then in the Y Diabetes Prevention Program. “This program is an excellent program that teaches you the right kinds of foods to eat to prevent diabetes,” says Betty. “It teaches you to keep track of your fat grams which, in turn, results in weight loss, which was a big plus for me.”

Today, Betty says she’s on the right track and credits the Y. “With the success of my new lifestyle, eating habits and exercise schedule I have lost 100 pounds,” shares Betty. “I still have a long way to go before my journey ends, but with the encouragement of everyone at the Y, I know I can make it!”

If you have been diagnosed with prediabetes, or believe you may be at risk for developing the disease, the Tampa Y’s Diabetes Prevention Program (YDPP) can help you develop a healthier lifestyle and work with you to reduce the risks this condition can pose to your health. Qualifying Medicare recipients may now participate in YDPP at no cost through grant funding. Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 813.922.2808 to see if you qualify.

Cutline (From L to R): Helen Berger, Sandy Acevedo, Betty Gravett, Heather Gale and Diana Niles

When many of us get ready for work, dine with a co-worker or speak on the phone with a professional, we often take for granted what we consider “basic knowledge.” Somewhere along the way, most of us learned how to dress professionally or use proper manners in the workplace. For many lower-income families, such etiquette training may be hard to come by.


The Y is hoping to change that through outreach events in underserved communities. In late January, more than 100 community members showed up for the first annual Sulphur Springs Y’s Etiquette Workshop. Board members and USF students volunteered their time to teach elementary students and their families how to tie business ties, meet and greet others, dress appropriately for occasions, practice phone etiquette and other manners. Families also had the chance to practice meal etiquette while they enjoyed a delicious three-course dinner.


“We were pleasantly surprised by the large turnout and plan to make this an annual event as we strive to positively impact youth and families in one of Tampa’s most vulnerable communities,” shares Senior Program Director Lakema Massey. If you’re interested in volunteering or learning more about the Y’s programs in Sulphur Springs, call 813-924-4207.


Cutline: More than 100 community members attended a Sulphur Springs Y Etiquette Workshop.


More than 120 teens from the Tampa YMCA's Youth In Government (YIG) took charge in Tallahassee last month. They participated in the Florida State Assembly which is a mock, youth government. For four days, the teens sat in the same chamber seats that senators and representatives use. They experienced the steps necessary to pass and debate laws and also campaigned for different statewide positions in YIG, including State Governor.


“The program trains nearly 3,000 students statewide on how to be civic-minded citizens. It teaches students how to interact with their government effectively in ways that affect change,” explains outgoing YIG State Governor Seth Reid. “Students learn the process of lawmaking, the judicial system, our executive branch, and how lobbyists can affect the government. It’s a wonderful program which truly does train leaders for tomorrow - leaders this world needs.”

Some of the bills that the previous YIG participants have debated have been adopted by the Florida State Government. If you're interested in learning more about YIG or Teen Leaders, stop by your local Y.


Cutline: More than 120 teens from the Tampa Youth In Government delegation participated in the Florida State Assembly, including teens from the South Tampa Y, Campo Y, New Tampa Y and Plant City Y.

Its been a remarkable journey for two groups from the New Tampa Family YMCA. The Ys adaptive group participated in the I Will Inspire 5K for its 3rd year last month. “Usually they complete the one-mile run. However, this year, after months of Saturday practices at the Y; they all crossed the 5K finish line,” shares Adaptive Coordinator Kass Pilczuk. “Everyone finished - all ahead of me - with great pride. Finishing was fantastic for each participant; loving all the cheers as they approached the finish line.”


Y staff Bobby Puckett and Robyn Stawski also led a 5K training group in partnership with Westcoast Brace & Limb, which sent its patients to train at the Y and generously funded each of their entry fees for the race.


Proceeds from the I Will Inspire 5K go to Support our Troops, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping enhance the lives of local military members. The Tampa Y values diversity and inclusion and offer various adaptive programs and services for those facing mental or physical challenges. Stop by your local Y to see what adaptive programs are available in your neighborhood.


Cutline: Two adaptive groups from the New Tampa Y participated in the I WILL Inspire 5K.


Longtime Y supporters, David and Liz Kennedy,are true community heroes. They were honored as such by the Tampa Bay Lightning during its February 8th game. The Kennedys, who received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation’s Community Heroes program, donated the money to various charities, including $10,000 to the South Tampa Y’s capital campaign.


We are truly blessed to be one of the Kennedy’s charities of choice. For more than 40 years, the Kennedy family has consistently shown an undying commitment to give back to their community with their generous support, leadership and involvement with the Tampa Metropolitan Area YMCA. David is a longtime Governance Board member, former board chair and has been heavily involved in our capital campaign efforts for nearly thirty years; including helping build the South Tampa Y. “Actually David grew up in the Tampa Y. He learned how to swim here and has always been involved and loyal to the Y,” says wife, Liz, who helped build the Y’s Neighborhood of Promise in Sulphur Springs, which led to the Community Learning Center at Sulphur Springs Elementary and Layla’s House, an early childhood learning center. “Her work over the last 30-40 years has been directed toward children and making the community a better place for all of them, especially those who are not as fortunate as us,” shares son Jay, who along with his sisters, follows in his parents’ footsteps as a leading philanthropist and volunteer in the community. Jay is currently working to secure funding for the South Tampa Y’s new family aquatics complex.


Again, many thanks to the Kennedys for so generously giving their time, energy and financial support to the Y!


From L to R:Y champions, David and Liz Kennedy, Tampa Y COO Adam Klutts, South Tampa Y Capital Campaign Chair Jay Kennedy.


Earlier this month, the Tampa Y and University of South Florida Athletics came together to host the second annual Naismith Award Banquet. At the event, eight of the Y’s finest volunteer basketball coaches were honored for their commitment to the skill and character development of youth. This year, the Association honored its first female Naismith Award recipient, Carmyn Samuel from the New Tampa Y.


“As we grow our basketball program through instructional, recreational and competitive divisions, we will continue to impact and change lives,” says Director of Basketball Operations Gary Brokaw. “Our challenge to better the lives of the children and families we serve is greatly enhanced and made possible through the generous support of our volunteer coaches.”


The Tampa Y would like to congratulate the following 2014 award recipients:


·       Coach Marcus Parker from the Bob Sierra Y

·       Coach Corey Hoch from the North Brandon Y

·       Coach Brian Pollock from the Campo Y

·       Coach Kevin Barrett from the East Pasco Y

·       Coach Andrew Shein from the South Tampa Y

·       Coach Carmyn Samuel from the New Tampa Y

·       Coach Dave Kuczer from the Northwest Hillsborough Y

·       Coach Angel Baez from the Plant City Y


As a Charity Navigator 4-star charity, the Tampa YMCA relies heavily on the support of volunteers to help coach sports teams, plan events, raise funds, and handle hundreds of other key responsibilities. If you’re interested in giving back in a significant way to your community, go to and check out our volunteer tab.


Cutline: The 2014 Naismith Award Banquet recognized Tampa Y’s finest basketball coaches on February 8th.


What an exciting start to the New Year for the Tampa Y! Late last month, we broke ground for phase one of the outdoor amenities for The Family Y at Big Bend Road. Nearly 100 guests, including county commissioners, state representatives and other community leaders, attended the groundbreaking ceremony inside Vance Vogel Park in Gibsonton.


“It's exciting to see an organization like the Y come into our community. Having raised my children in youth sports programs, I know the importance of kids having the opportunities to be involved in character-building programs and learning life skills. This will be a huge asset to our entire community,” said Tony DiMare, co-chair of the Y’s SouthShore Leadership Council.


Under a joint-use lease agreement between Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners and the Tampa YMCA, phase one of the project includes five multi-purpose athletic fields, a covered basketball court, playground and picnic pavilion. “We especially want to thank Hillsborough County and its Honorable Board of County Commissioners for making this phase one groundbreaking possible through their generosity and commitment to the residents of Southern Hillsborough County,” said Tampa Y Governance Board Chair Brett Couch. “We sincerely appreciate the county’s contribution of land and funds to make this project happen.”


The Tampa Y anticipates phase one of The Family Y at Big Bend Road to be completed by the end of this year, offering youth and adult sports and summer day camp. Future phases include a water park and 30,000-square-foot starter family facility. The entire facility is expected to be complete in the next three to five years, depending upon capital fundraising efforts.


Cutline: Hillsborough County Commissioners, SouthShore Leadership Council members and Tampa Y Governance Board members joined Y leaders in turning the dirt for The Family Y at Big Bend Road.

Dozens of kids spent a December weekend improving their basketball skills and knowledge during a special holiday basketball clinic at the Campo Family YMCA. “The clinic gives the players the opportunity to receive more in-depth training and practice on their skills,” says Sports Director Kaliegh Hincman. “We plan to host a clinic in between each season.”

DriveTime Auto generously sponsored the event for 25 kids ranging in ages 9 to 14. Not only did DriveTime sponsor new shirts, drinks and food for the event, their team also volunteered to coach the kids along with Y volunteer basketball coaches. "DriveTime is an organization that promotes healthy lifestyles for our employees and those around us,” says General Manager Kristopher Lucas. “We believe in supporting our community. With the YMCA sharing these values, it was an easy choice to support the YMCA and their holiday basketball clinic."

DriveTime Auto also purchased nearly 150 new basketballs for the entire Tampa Y Association and presented the Association with a $6,000 check. Many thanks to DriveTime for supporting the Tampa Y and our youth sports programs.

Cutline:DriveTime Auto sponsored a special holiday basketball clinic at the Campo Family YMCA.

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Our Mission HeadlineThe Tampa Metropolitan Area YMCA, a charitable association dedicated to building strong kids, strong families, and strong communities, puts Judeo-Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind, and body for all.