The long legacy of the YMCA can only be preserved through good planning and quality guidance, which often comes from its board members. Recently taking up the mantle to join the La Porte County Family YMCA top-notch board are a few new members who are ready to see the organization continue providing quality programming within the community.
Each new board member has a unique experience with the YMCA but also understands the tremendous value the La Porte County Family YMCA adds to the community. We spoke with each new board member to find out what the YMCA means to them and how they’re hoping to further its legacy during their term.
Anetra Jones - Chief Nursing Officer at La Porte Hospital and Starke Hospital
Anetra Jones became involved with her local YMCA when her children were young. Through summer camps and youth programs, the family was introduced to the many benefits of the YMCA and decided to become members.
“The Y is a great way to stay healthy, engage in the community, and to be able to provide services for the youth in the community,” she said. “It’s also a great family activity.”
Jones appreciates all of the options the La Porte County Family YMCA has to offer.
“I enjoy the ability to go into the Y and have options; you can get on a treadmill, swim, or participate in classes,” Jones said. “There’s also a great sense of community. You have the chance to visit and spend time with others if you want.”
As a healthcare professional, Jones recognizes the unique opportunities the La Porte County Family YMCA can offer people of all ages.
“The Y is a great way for seniors to be active, be in a safe place, have some companionship, and have the ability to get out and stay healthy,” she said.
Jones is looking forward to her time on the board to expand programming for both the youth and senior community members, as well as being a part of the team to hopefully expand the YMCA with a new facility. It’s Jones’ way of giving back to her local community.
“I think that the Y makes a difference in the community, particularly for children and youth, and I want to be a part of that, I want to help,” she said.
Chad Ginther - Owner and Agent and Michiana Insurance
Chad Ginther has a long history with the YMCA. As a young boy, he would come to the Y to play basketball with his friends and even played on many of the youth leagues. And he’s hoping to give his daughter those same warm memories of going to the Y.
“I always enjoyed the Y growing up,” he said. “It was always a safe place, a place I could meet with my friends, play and hang out. It was that one constant growing up and it was a good environment to be in. Now that I have a daughter, I want her to be more involved with the activities,” he said.
Ginther eventually went on to coach a middle school team.
“One of my favorite memories is coaching basketball for the middle school teams. I really enjoyed seeing the kids grow and have a good time. I enjoyed teaching them fundamentals and teamwork,” he said. “It was a neat experience.”
As someone who knows just what the YMCA can offer to kids and families, Ginther is looking forward to his term as a board member as a way to give back to his community.
“I’m glad to be back in my hometown and glad to give back and be a bigger part of the community,” Ginther said.
Matthew Cook - Senior Human Resources Manager at 1st Source Bank
As a young boy, Matthew Cook came to the Y to play basketball. Those memories of playing and connecting with other youth and community members encouraged Cook to take on a board member role when he was approached.
“I had a great experience with the YMCA when I moved to La Porte and I felt like the YMCA really helped welcome me to the community. I want to do my part to give back and continue the great work that the YMCA does,” he said.
From his past days spent participating in YMCA sports and activities, Cook sees the excellent work the YMCA does for local youth.
“I believe in and enjoy our mission for youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility. I think we have a wonderful team of staff and volunteers who are committed to that mission,” he said.
Like others, Cook has seen how the La Porte County Family YMCA can provide more than just a place to work out for the whole community.
He is looking forward to being part of the La Porte County Family YMCA team and is especially excited for Tour de La Porte.
“I'm really looking forward to continuing the good work done through the Tour de La Porte and helping make an impact for such a good cause,” he said.
Mike Riehle - President of Chamber Services at La Porte Economic Advancement Partnership
Mike Riehle has been part of the local YMCA since he was young. During a time when there weren’t many options for youth sports leagues, he fondly recalls being part of the various youth leagues at the YMCA and knows what the Y’s programs can offer today’s youth.
“The Y gave me a chance to meet other kids in the community and build new relationships,” he said. “There’s a lot of youth who don’t have a place to go and can go to the Y and play basketball, swim, just let off some steam.”
Having also watched his children grow up being part of the YMCA, Riehle appreciates the family atmosphere the Y encourages.
“The Y is much more than a workout facility,” he said. “It’s a family gathering spot. It brings people to a central location and helps foster family values through activities and classes that you won’t find anywhere else.”
Riehle is a returning member who, after more than six years sitting on the La Porte County Family YMCA board, had stepped away for a couple of years. But he is excited to return and get to work.
“We’ve gone through some transition, and I’m looking forward to working with Laurie [Halaska], the new CEO. There’s a lot of changes going on, we’re looking into expanding and building a new facility here in La Porte. It’s a great time to be part of that process and hopefully bring that to fruition. It would be a great landmark opportunity for the community.”
He is also looking forward to using his time on the board to help provide and encourage even more options for maintaining health for the community.
“I’m looking forward to partnering with local health care facilities and trying to bring in programs that are more preventive in terms of chronic illness and other such things,” Riehle said. “I feel that our local health care facilities are anxious to be a part of that process as well.”
The new board members are joining an excellent team of board members that includes:
Dr. Charles Hagenow
For more information about the La Porte County Family YMCA, visit their website: https://www.lpymca.org/