Sculpture Helps "Y" Celebrate its 100th
October 3, 2010 — Source: Naperville Sun — Author: David Sharos
A century of service speaks highly for any group or individual, and the Heritage YMCA took a well-deserved bow Sunday as it unveiled a new sculpture as well as its recently constructed “Century Plaza” in recognition of 100 years of service in the Naperville area.
A variety of family activities began at 1 p.m. at the Fry Family YMCA, followed by a formal dedication, recognition, and unveiling ceremony at 2 p.m.
As a crowd of more than 150 people gathered outside the building, music speakers cranked out the Village People’s hit “Y.M.C.A.” Eventually, a group of committee members and YMCA officials pulled the tarp off the new statue, which depicts four children spelling out the YMCA letters. The bronze sculpture weighs 1,500 pounds and measures 11 feet long, 3 feet wide and 7 feet high.
Dee Dee McDevitt, director of marketing and customer service for the YMCA, said planning for the plaza area began in July after the sculpture arrived in Naperville via an open trailer on July 20.
“The sculpture was a vision of Colorado artist Jane DeDecker, and it reflects her understanding of what the YMCA has done and will continue to do for children and families,” McDevitt said. “We received it in late July, and it immediately went into storage at Prager Moving and Storage here in Naperville. An honorary committee consisting of volunteers with a rich YMCA history and staff began working immediately on developing a vision and plan for the creation of the plaza now located at the Fry Family YMCA.”
Committee chairman Bill Mitchell was the first speaker Sunday before the unveiling, and he said he was thrilled to see the statue finally on display.
“There is another statue just like this in Colorado, and it’s a piece of art that reflects the history of what has happened here,” Mitchell said. “The fact that it consists of four kids and there are such expressions of joy on their faces — it almost makes you want to move yourself when you look at it.”
Mitchell was followed by Brand Bobosky, chairman of the Century Walk Corporation in Naperville. Bobosky praised the YMCA for the way “it has fulfilled its mission here in Naperville” and expressed confidence it would continue to do so during the next 100 years.
“Anytime there is a group or organization that lasts this long — that really says something,” he said. “Having this statue dedicated here sends a good message to the community. The mission of the ‘Y’ lives, and people get it. The population here is wonderful; and given that this is Naperville, the chance of something enduring like it has here is probably more likely than it might have been somewhere else. This is the 36th dedication we’ve had now in Naperville.”
McDevitt said the cost of the sculpture was $80,000 and that those who donated $1,000 or more to defray the expense would receive small bronze replicas of it. Tom Beerntsen, president of the Heritage Y, said the construction of the plaza where the statue will be on display was “a tribute to the city” and the wonderful relationship it continues to have with the YMCA.
“The city has consistently been supportive, and we are proud of the 17,000 members we have here in the area,” he said. “We are looking forward to a year’s worth of community celebrations hosted by the Heritage YMCA in 2011.”
One such event will be a ribbon cutting, which will take place on March 26, 2011, at the Kroehler Family YMCA. That day will mark the formal dedication of that structure, which took place 100 years ago on that date.