YMCA Community Cup Competition Makes a Comeback

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – After a two-year hiatus caused by the pandemic, the YMCA of Youngstown’s Community Cup competition is back.

Julie Walker, Community Cup director, expressed her enthusiasm for the return of the program at a kickoff breakfast Wednesday at the Central Branch.

“It’s exciting and a little nerve-wracking,” she said. “I’m pumped to see everybody. There are faces [here] I haven’t seen in two years.”

The Community Cup is a series of more than a dozen athletic competitions that pits teams from local businesses, corporations and schools against each other. It will begin June 6 with the Youngstown Meltdown, a personal weight-loss challenge, followed by two weekends of competitive group events at various locations in August, and finishing Sept. 10 with more events in Mill Creek Park.

“It brings adults together to partake in different activities,” Walker said, noting that some events are craft-based and not as athletic. “There’s something for everyone and brings everyone together.”
So far, eight teams have entered: YMCA, Ohio Utilities Protection Service, Zidian Group, Juvenile Justice Center, Children Services Board, Packer Thomas, HBK CPAs, and Youth Intensive Services.

The deadline to sign up is July 1, but Walker said she’ll take late entries.

Co-chairwomen are Alex George and Chelsea Spears of WKBN, who attended the breakfast and shared a few words. Following the COVID-19 pandemic, some people may have strayed from healthy habits, and George is looking forward to the program’s resurgence.

“I hope for some of you this event is maybe some inspiration to get back into things or continue your fitness journey,” she said. “We will be here to cheer you on the whole way.”

Tom Gacse, president and CEO of the YMCA of Youngstown, also took to the podium to express his happiness for the Community Cup’s return.

The slogan this year is “For the Health of You in 2022.” Gacse said that it’s not just physical health that’s important, but also mental health, as many employees worked from home during the pandemic, secluded from in-person routines.

As society reemerges from the pandemic, “This is a great event for the organizations to get that working-family feeling” back, Gacse said.

Walker said she loves watching people connect.

“I think the Community Cup is amazing,” the program director said. She’s seen friendships forged from the networking lead to wedding invitations, she said. Even on social media she has seen some companies “intertwine” with others. “It’s really cool to see. It brings a smile to my face,” she said.

This year’s schedule of events will see a scavenger hunt in lieu of swimming. There was also a change with the Youngstown Meltdown, with weigh-in locations only at both the Youngstown and Boardman YMCAs. Based on how many people participate in the Meltdown, Walker will add more locations, she said.

Applications and paperwork are available on the YMCA website, but everything will need to be filled out and either scanned then emailed, or mailed to Walker. A full list of events can be found there, as well.

Pictured at top: Tom Gacse, president and CEO of YMCA of Youngstown, shares his excitement during the Community Cup kick-off breakfast on Wednesday.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.