The Ottumwa Courier

Ottumwa

December 6, 2012

YMCA celebrates 125 years, dedicates peace pole

OTTUMWA — The Ottumwa YMCA celebrated 125 years in the city on Wednesday and declared the center an International Peace Site.

“As a Y executive, there are times during your career that are really exciting to go through,” said Tom Sisler, executive director of the Y. “Stuff like this doesn’t happen all the time.”

Harold “Corky” Stevens, Kirby McDowell and Katherine Ross unveiled a peace pole at a dedication ceremony at the Y Wednesday afternoon.

There are four sides to the pole. One side is blank, something “to grow into,” Sisler said. Two sides say “May peace prevail on Earth” — one in English and one in Spanish. The final side says “May peace be in our homes and in our communities.”

“We are now registered as a peace site,” Sisler said. “We are one of more than 200,000 peace poles around the world saying just that we believe in peace. There’s no hidden agenda.”

Sisler said he hopes it becomes a “living peace pole,” a gathering place for people throughout the community to reflect.

“Isn’t this a great time when we can bring more peace into our lives?” he said. “I hope it brings some peace to Ottumwa in whatever way it’s needed. That means different things to different people.”

One “awesome” thing about the Y, Sisler said, is that wherever it’s located, it has a common mission, though each Y tailors their mission to the needs of the community.

“We are one of the railroad Ys,” Sisler said. “When people were moving west, Ys were set up on the railroads for an affordable, safe place for young men, at that time, to stay.”

On July 18, 1887, a group of men gathered in T. D. Foster’s home to begin forming the Ottumwa Y, and exactly one month later, the Ottumwa Y was chartered.

Three years later, the first Y was built at West Second and South Washington Streets. In 1902, they added a gymnasium, swimming pool and dormitories.

After a fire, the building was rebuilt in 1921 and didn’t move until 1970, when a new building was constructed at its current location, 611 Hancock St. In 1991, the Y added a new gymnasium and early childhood development center.

In 2003, the Y constructed a 2,700-square-foot fitness studio, bringing the building to its current footprint of 35,100 square feet.

“The Y is different things to different people,” said Jeff Logan, YMCA board president.

Stevens, known to everyone as “Corky,” said he grew up in the Y “years and years and years ago.”

“In the basement they had cages with the workout clothes,” Stevens said. “I worked down there for my membership, which at the time was $7.50 a year.”

He was part of the Hi-Y Club as a young man — “you had to be invited to join,” he said — which was a support group for the Y and got to plan Homecoming events.

After leaving Ottumwa to serve in the Marine Corps and go to college, he returned in 1966 to teach history and coach at Ottumwa High School.

“After I retired in 1989, I joined the Y,” he said.

He became part of the Y’s Mens Club, which helped do fundraising for the Y, especially during a time when the Y “was in dire straits,” he said.

“We weren’t sure whether it would be able to stay open or not,” he said. “But the directors now, Tom and Kathy [Sisler], have done a terrific job.”

There are now more than 22 million Y members in more than 150 countries, Sisler said. The Ottumwa Y is dedicated to youth development, healthy living and social responsibility, and this dedication gives his staff a chance to “re-dedicate themselves” to those goals.

1
Text Only
Ottumwa
  • halo-5-guardians-concept_wallpaper-1920x1080-53cf9b0098ea45ada37dc0f66bc174f5.jpg The Art of Kong

    OTTUMWA — The Mona Lisa. Whistler's Mother. Donkey Kong? Don't be so surprised, said Walter Day, that video games and the surrounding memorabilia are being considered art. The creativity and artistic vision required to create a poster, said the found

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Urbandale comes back to beat Ottumwa Midwest BOONE — Ottumwa Midwest led by seven runs in the fourth inning, but Urbandale National put together a furious comeback to steal the victory, 12-11, on Friday at the 9-10 Year Old Little League State Baseball Tournament. The top of the first saw Ottum

    July 25, 2014

  • Parks Dept. has long list of projects

    OTTUMWA — The Parks and Recreation Department has approved a list of capital improvements for the next two years that includes the installation of handicapped-accessible swings and new park bathrooms.

    July 9, 2014

  • 0710 Farmers Market Color Photo 1 -L -M Fresh food improves community

    OTTUMWA — Every summer across the Midwest, food stands pop up on gravel roads, and farmers markets are filled with a variety of home-grown products. Finding a fresh selection of healthy greens and juicy fruits isn't as hard as you might think. Accord

    July 9, 2014 2 Photos

  • 0703 OTT Heart boy photo A Heartfelt Miracle OTTUMWA — It’s funny how wishes can change so completely in just a few weeks. But laughter wasn’t the reaction of Jeff and Mary Penrod.The Ottumwa couple’s son, Brandon, was 18 years old when, in February, Mary took him to the Pella clinic to get loo

    July 2, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0703 OTT River Hills parking lot color photo -L -T River Hills expansion progresses

    OTTUMWA — Expanding River Hills Community Health Center downtown continues to be a priority with the Ottumwa City Council. Earlier this week, the council authorized city staff to survey the property, prepare a draft developers agreement as well as pr

    July 2, 2014 1 Photo

  • Street repair program begins OTTUMWA — If you think roadwork projects in the city of Ottumwa are just about complete, think again. This week, the Ottumwa City Council awarded its preventative maintenance contract for sealing cracks in asphalt and concrete pavement roads througho

    July 2, 2014

  • A new look OTTUMWA — The 300 block of East Main Street in Ottumwa will be getting a facelift. During a public hearing earlier this week, the Ottumwa City Council gave its OK to the plans and specifications to renovate 15 buildings’ storefronts in downtown Ottum

    July 2, 2014

  • City won't tolerate bad behavior

    OTTUMWA — A newly designed policy to establish standards of behavior was presented to Ottumwa City Council on Tuesday night.The new policy’s introduction on Tuesday, demands city staff and elected officials exhibit professional behavior when they int

    July 1, 2014

  • 0702 OTT library grant color photo -T -L -M Ottumwa Public Library updates genealogy room

    OTTUMWA — The Ottumwa Public Library is the recipient of a Bright Ideas Community Enrichment Fund Grant from the Ottumwa Regional Legacy Foundation. The Friends of the Ottumwa Public Library group gave $5,520 to put toward a new microfilm reader. The

    July 1, 2014 1 Photo

Obituaries
Record
Facebook
AP National