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Kishwaukee YMCA celebrates 50 years on Bethany

SYCAMORE – Mark Cerny loves to listen to his music when he swims in the Olympic-style pool at the Kishwaukee Family YMCA, and he’s just one of the thousands of members of the facility celebrating its 50th year on Bethany Road.

Cerny, 68, has lived in DeKalb since 1965 and been a member of the YMCA for 11 of those years. The facility is just what he needs it to be.

“I enjoy swimming in their Olympic pool,” he said as he sat in his swim trunks with his feet dangling in the water, ready to dive in to swim laps.

Mark Spiegelhoff, CEO of the Kishwaukee Family YMCA, is planning on a variety of events throughout the next year to celebrate members like Cerny and the community who have made the Kishwaukee Family YMCA’s 50 years on Bethany Road special.

“Our end goal at the YMCA is to encourage people to become a member,” he said, adding that the YMCA gets community members more involved in programs and to donate their time and volunteer.

He said the big month is September, which is not only the same month the YMCA opened, but it’s when the facility has its big community fundraising event.

“The big focus will be the impact this building has had over the last 50 years on area residents,” Spiegelhoff said.

The celebrations will carry over into next year. The Kishwaukee YMCA is giving away 50 two-week passes Jan. 1, 2021 to commemorate its 50th anniversary.

Spiegelhoff said one of the events throughout 2020 is a “Flash Day,’ event in February where the first 50 non-members who come to the YMCA on that day will get into the facility for free. Spiegelhoff wouldn’t say which day.

Later in the spring, the staff will hide 50 Easter eggs – which would have things such as a water bottle, or a workout towel – inside the building. He said another place where he worked did that as well and he said it was really fun.

“Those darn teenagers, they’re the ones who go after those things with a vengeance,” he said with a laugh.

Spiegelhoff said the staff will take a group photo of 50 people somewhere in the building and then post it on social media in May. During the summer, the YMCA will invite its members and the community to donate $50 for a specific improvement project.

Spiegelhoff said the facility has a major role throughout the Sycamore and DeKalb area.

“The YMCA is an organization that is one of those … anchor institutions in the community,” Spiegelhoff said. “People look for it. People use it, and it’s part of the fabric of the community.”

Cerny said if not for the Kishwaukee Family YMCA, he’d go to another gym, either one around town or at Northern Illinois University. But he prefers keeping fit at the YMCA, so he does that instead.

“I enjoy working out on their equipment,” he said on days he’s not swimming. “I alternate between the two.”

Cerny also mentioned the new workout equipment, which includes new treadmills, stair-climbing machines, strength-training equipment, free weights, and how it’s brand new.

“It’s nice to get in an exercise routine,” Cerny said. “It’s a bit of a social thing, you see familiar faces. It’s good to get exercise, especially in our climate.”

Spiegelhoff said the community would look a lot different without a YMCA.

“We’re proud of our ability to have such high impact over these last 50 years with so many different residents,” he said. “Of course, we’re also excited about the next 50 years as well.”

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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