The C.W. Avery Family YMCA is celebrating its 15th Anniversary on Wallin Drive in 2021! To commemorate this milestone, we are sharing the story of fantastic Y members each month. Today we shine the spotlight on Kathy and Ron Kazmar. Kathy and Ron were charter members Number 1 and Number 2 and have been instrumental in the Y’s development, opening, and expansion for more than two decades.
“When I think about 15 years ago and opening the doors, I remember just sitting and enjoying watching people come in. After 10 years of planning, it was just neat to see people,” Kathy said.
Kathy, who taught in Plainfield for 27 years, said her Y journey began in 1995 at a fortuitous lunch meeting with former Greater Joliet Area YMCA CEO Tami Sender.
“I consider Tami to be my YMCA mentor. She asked if I would help try to build a Y in Plainfield and really sparked my passion for the Y,” Kathy said.
Kathy joined Avery’s advisory council in 1999 and played an integral role in fundraising for the new building which opened in 2006.
“I’m very proud of the fact that Ron and I are Charter Members Number 1 and Number 2 and that both of us are still active to this day,” she said.
Ron, a former board president of Plainfield School District 202, said he is most proud of being able to establish a partnership with the YMCA’s Kid Zone program and see the overall impact of the YMCA’s youth development initiatives.
“We’re a relatively young community with a lot of young families and I think the Y serves an instrumental purpose in helping those families,” he said. “Kid Zone has been a fantastic program. It has a huge beneficial impact on young people. The same goes for summer camp. Whether it’s learning to swim or doing activities that instill discipline and encourage teamwork, the kids are able to socialize in a safe environment.”
When it comes to daily activities, Kathy enjoys swimming laps a few days each week while Ron enjoys his workouts in the Y’s newly renovated wellness center.
“The big thing about the Y is that it accepts everybody,” Ron said. “It provides an environment where people don’t feel intimidated or feel like they need to be super athletes to come here and work out. You see people of all ages and groups.”
Kathy gave credit to the YMCA staff team for creating a welcoming environment.
“I’ve gotten close to a lot of the people working on the ground and from day one the staff that we have put into this building have been exceptional. They have never failed us as members. They work so hard,” she said.
She also said she continues to feel the rewards of being a member of the Y community.
“I have spent a lot of time here and I really feel like it’s the best business in town. There’s no doubt about it in my mind. I hope I can spend another 25 years here,” she said.
We would like to thank Kathy and Ron for their incredible support over the last 15 years. We look forward to making a positive impact on members of our community through 2021 and beyond!