What a wonderful time of the year!  As we all are busy ringing our sleigh bells, our camp alumni managed to gather at our annual Volunteer Recognition & Alumni Celebration.  The meal is hard to pass up but we all came together for the hugs.  This camp family works hard, gives much, and shares a quality in relationship with one another that endures a life-time and in many cases, generations.

As Executive Director, Mary Helen Franko reminds, “Many hands make light work.”  Below is the detailing of volunteers recognized for work done in 2015.   Merry Christmas to all and to all a good …

Award: Lizabeth Lorane Gratton Award IMG_3722e

The award was established in honor of a beloved daughter whose life was cut short by actions of a drunk driver.  In her memory, the Gratton family has established both an enduring fund to support leadership development through the Counselor-In-Training program and a scholarship for a nominated camper.  Olivia Ribble demonstrates leadership in her school, extracurricular, and volunteer activities.  She has been attending camp since she was 9 years old and claims camp has played an integral part in developing her as a leader.

Award: Outstanding Fundraiser

The Outstanding Fundraiser of the Year may not be the award anyone aspires to win.  The hard fought effort of raising money requires a level of grit most of us don’t really want to offer in our volunteer efforts.  It’s not glamorous and with the constant possibility of rejection, it can be hard to keep the reason for the efforts in perspective.  But, Fundraisers provide very real solutions for very real issues.  Money smooths the way.  At camp, funds are raised through our Annual Campaign, Golf Classic, Endowed giving, and for an around building or equipment needs.  Mike Lish has been front and center on all these fund-seeking endeavors.  Always willing to share his story, Mike has embraced a “we might as well ask” attitude to advocate for his beloved camp family.  Thank you, Mike, your leadership – your grit – helps camp keep our promise.

Award: Volunteer of the Year

The H. Grady Spruce Volunteer of the Year award recognizes an individual who exemplifies exceptional leadership and encompasses the mission of YMCA Camp Grady Spruce.  One thing that is absolutely true about the camp culture is that we know how to just get it done.  Chad Huffhines, you go!  Chad, your enthusiasm embracing a new era for camp pumps life.  Your “get-it-done”, “we can do this” attitude has us all excited.  You have single handedly sought out funding for the new hammock colony that will be a unique and cherished center of community for our developing teens.  What an exciting legacy you have brought to life for our campers for generations to come!

Award: Hall of Fame

The Hall of Fame award recognizes an individual who has demonstrated a lifetime of commitment to the mission of YMCA Camp Grady Spruce.  Today, we honor a man who loved camp.  A man who gave selflessly of his time and treasure to promote a strong future for today’s youth.  Rick Cofer, Sr. was our friend, our family.  Rick passed away this winter.  His son, Rick Junior – also a camp alumni – was present to honor his father by receiving this recognition.IMG_3731e

Receiving the Silver Star Awards, those who work behind the scenes offering the muscle it takes to make CGS excellent.

Bruce Cheatham:  Bruce has been a driving force behind the Bricks and Mortar Building Committee keeping all involved on task.  He has been a true leader as he has facilitated discussion, encouraged ideas, and molded a dream into a very real plan.

Mitchell Green:  Mitchell has led a team of committed volunteers to elevate the experience any guest of camp might have.  He has worked tirelessly to bring progressions to the summer camp activities, a welcoming presence in all areas of camp and has worked himself as a hands-on advocate for all things camp.  Mitchell has been a catalyst in evolving camp and we are grateful.

Tina Schramme & Gene Schramme:  The heart of camp – our Why – is always your priority focus.  Tina, you have helped pioneer the way to a new error for our camp.  Your leadership corralling passionate ideas, forming plans and driving change has been no small task.  Gene, you have lent insight, heart and physical labor.  Each of you have individually impacted the forward progress of our cause and together, shared a voice toward our purpose and our progress.  Thank you for your conviction, thank you for your leadership.

Bill Hinds:  Bill is wrapping up his second year as Board Chair and has attended more meetings, participated in more conference calls, and owned the progress of some very large initiatives in his leadership.  We want to recognize Bill today for his commitment to launch a future capital campaign.  Through vision talk, program impact plans, architectural drawings, and re-drawings, Bill has demonstrated the level of persistence required to move such a heavy load forward.


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