The Y Celebrates 60th Anniversary
February 20th, 2018
Walking up the sidewalk any given day at the Y, you will see dozens of people engaged in conversation over coffee, a game of ping-pong, or enjoying one of the daily experiments that happen in the courtyard. One thing is obvious...this is a place for fun.
The YMCA of the Foothills is celebrating 60 years of charitable service to the local Foothills’ community. In 1958, the Crescenta Canada Family YMCA began as an association of campers, club programs and community activities with several hundred participants from the La Canada and La Crescenta area. Family participation growth was rapid, and volunteers wanted to provide more for the community, so in 1963, the first permanent locations opened in the La Canada area.
As time went on, the Y opened a much needed second location in 1974 serving Sunland, Tujunga, and Sun Valley.
With each year, the breadth of volunteers, programs and activities increased, offering day care, preschool, youth leadership programs, new camps and community events, and Wellbeing classes to serve the needs of seniors, youth, and families alike.
As community needs continued to expand, so did the Y, opening a third location in La Crescenta in 2016. “The YMCA of the Foothills cares deeply about saving and changing lives, and reaching out to the most fragile of families,” said President and CEO, Tyler Wright. Today, the Y serves more than 40,000 children, teens, families, and seniors. The Y’s volunteer board is committed to providing programs and resources to help prevent children from drowning, fight childhood obesity and pre-diabetes, avert risky behavior in youth, and improve the quality of life for all adults.
And with the help of hundreds of local volunteers and donors, the Y is once again responding to the ever increasing demand for these activities with plans to improve the quality of access to programs for all members.
To find out more, contact Tyler Wright at 818-583-4731.
About the Y
The Y is one of the nation’s leading nonprofits strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Across the U.S., 2,700 Ys engage 21 million men, women and children – regardless of age, income or background – to nurture the potential of children and teens, improve the nation’s health and well-being, and provide opportunities to give back and support neighbors. Anchored in more than 10,000 communities, the Y has the long-standing relationships and physical presence not just to promise, but to deliver, lasting personal and social change.
March 16th, 2018
“Has it been an interesting experience?” asked Jack Samuelson while sitting in his Glendale office. “Oh sure!”
Jack was born in 1924 and learned to swim as a child at the Hollywood YMCA. He graduated from Occidental College in 1947 after attending Naval Officers School at Cornell University. He later served as a naval gunnery officer in World War II. After returning from the war, he and his brother Bob found success in starting their own local construction and commercial real estate development company, Samuelson Brothers. The company still thrives today under the leadership of Jack, his son Reid, his grandson Todd, and YMCA Board Member Warren Lukesh.
Jack was an early advocate of the YMCA and helped raise support for the North Hollywood YMCA’s construction in the early 50s. Their commitment to the Y continued when they moved to La Canada soon after.
“At the time, all our Y programs were run off-site and no building existed.” commented Jack. “The Baptist Church had originally purchased the piece of property where the CrescentaCanada Y sits today. We bought it from them after working with others from different faiths!” Jack with the help of other volunteers then raised $500,000 in 1960 to build the first YMCA facility in La Canada.
Faith has always been important to the Samuelsons. The Samuelson Chapel, which still exists at the YMCA, was built by Jack and Bob as a living tribute to their parents.
“I think [the Y] is an exciting dimension of Christian love and understanding,” said Samuelson. “The YMCA has an opportunity to carry that message.”
Jack and Bob’s involvement with the Y came full circle in 1996 when they donated the Samuelson Aquatic Center. Having learned to swim at their local Y as children, they’ve afforded that same opportunity for generations to come.
Jack has been instrumental in the growth of the Y from its days as an extension of the Glendale YMCA to a Y with three active facilities serving over 40,000. He has been an integral part of our Y in many ways, serving as Board Chair for 2 years, a service volunteer, and active supporter of the Y’s activities. Jack and his family are important to the legacy of the La Canada community and future generations.
YMCA of the Foothills Honors Tim MacDonald
April 16th, 2018
“I enjoyed every minute of it, said Tim MacDonald reflecting on his involvement with the YMCA of the Foothills. “We had some tremendous times.”
Tim’s involvement with both the Y and this community go way back.
“I’ve lived here for 72 years,” said Tim. “My grandmother came here in the 1920’s. I grew up here and went to Crescenta Valley High School, was the first senior class president, the auditorium was named after my uncle, and my mother was the first PTA president… I went to YMCA Camp Fox in the 1950’s.”
Then in 1973, Bob Samuelson asked Tim to join the Y Board of Directors. And that was only the beginning. Tim served on the board for 33 years, serving as president for three, and later receiving the Pat Aho Award, which honors 50 years of service to the Y and the community.
“We were the day to day and the transitions and keeping the lights on and keeping the programs going,” said Tim of his role on the board.
In addition to serving on the board, Tim was involved in the remodels, construction, and fundraisers. And his family became involved as well.
“My fourth daughter, she was very involved in Youth and Government. She took a bill up to Sacramento and got a bill passed and it was a life changing event,” said Tim. The same daughter was also part of the program now called Tribes.
“I think Youth Development is extremely important. I see the kids at the Christmas Tree Lot when I come and they greet you and talk to you. They have it down,” said Tim. “Youth and Government was marvelous and Tribes was marvelous. It’s all part of a good quality of life.”
Though he’s semi retired now, Tim’s involvement with the Y continues. He serves on the Y Building and Grounds Board of Directors, keeps up with the many friends he’s made at the Y over the years, and continues to advocate for the Y.
“I tell everybody that when realtors want to sell a house in the area to drop by the Y and see the quality of what we have in this community. It’s right here…It’s because of marvelous people who have stepped up and we’ve all had a great time doing it.”