We’re proud of every single one of our members at YMCA Scarborough, but here are a couple of stories from some of the people who benefit from the services we provide…
For Craig Sweeney-Chisholm, teenage years helping out on the theatre’s light and sound system at the YMCA inspired a career that his seen him travel all over the country doing a job he loves.
It was helping out on a production of Aladdin that first set Craig on a path that would eventually bring him to the prestigious post he holds today.
“I was given loads of encouragement and help and they let me look after the lighting for the show. Well, for a young lad to do something like that, it was amazing,” he says. “When everyone started applauding the hairs stood on the back of my neck and I remember thinking ‘wow’, I’m really a part of something here.”
Years volunteering with sound, lighting and stage management followed, then after a period of study and looking at other options, Craig was back at the YMCA – this time in the post of Sports Co-ordinator and Assistant Theatre Manager.
After a period with P & L Sound and Lighting and as Assistant Technician at the Scarborough Spa, he joined QDOS Entertainment and is now their Head Electrician.
He has responsibility for running the electrics at all the QDOS productions, up and down the country and on board luxury ocean liners.
“Scarborough YMCA is where it all started for me and if it wasn’t for the YMCA, I wouldn’t be where I am,” Craig says. “They helped me in so many ways. Being part of the YMCA gave me a great basic knowledge, experience of working with lots of different people, from different backgrounds and age groups and gave me the confidence and drive to set out into the theatre world and pursue what I wanted to do. I cannot praise the place highly enough – Scarborough has a little gem in the YMCA.
“The people were so friendly and welcoming and everyone got the chance to try things – which is and always has been its ethos – and long may it remain so.”
Craig’s wife Nicky also has strong links to the YMCA, having been its Productions Director from 2003-2006, before taking on a local franchise for Stagecoach Theatre Arts and more recently delivering Zumba sessions at the YMCA.
“Scarborough YMCA is wonderful,” she says. “It is all about focusing on the young people and giving them opportunities that they might not otherwise have had. I loved working at Scarborough YMCA and it was a very rewarding time.”
Jack and Nicole Wheeler
For eight-year-old Jack Wheeler and his mum Nicole, Scarborough YMCA has become a way of life.
Jack has been coming to the YMCA for over four years and has been seen in everything from Oliver! to Bare Necessities, Matilda, Beauty and the Beast and Mary Poppins. Many will remember him as Jack in Jack and Jill and the duckling Beakie in Honk! Jr.
He loves it and mum Nicole says it has done wonders for his confidence and his circle of friends.
“Where else could Jack go where he would make friends with children of all ages, like he has here?” she says. “When he first came he was a shy little boy, now he’s doing great.”
It’s part of a family tradition, as Nicole herself used to come to the YMCA as a child in the 1990s and starred in shows like Forward to the Past, Pinocchio and Annie – where she played Annie.
“It’s great for the children,” she says. “They get such a lot from it, it’s just like being part of a big family. I always loved my time with YMCA and I’m thrilled that Jack is too!”
“It’s a tribute to the YMCA that it can do great things for children and also for adults too!”