SOMERS — The Kenosha YMCA marked a strong year of growth in the community on Wednesday, hosting its annual luncheon at the UW-Parkside ballroom.

The event showcased several Y-Award recipients and featured local businessman and longtime Kenoshan John Wavro, who was honored as board member emeritus.

Wavro’s involvement with the YMCA spans 70 years and counting. It started with swim lessons as a young boy at the downtown Y, countless days of handball, racquetball, and basketball as an adult, and nearly 20 years of board leadership.

Organization officials said Wavro’s passion for youth services and the Kenosha community are consistently felt through his leadership and his financial support for the Y.

During his time on the board he served in multiple officer positions, including that of chairman.

“I did it for the kids and families of Kenosha, and I am proud that I helped lead the organization during the building of the Callahan Family YMCA and the Miracle Field,” Wavro said.

Serving Kenosha for nearly 90 years, YMCA officials reflected on the past year during the luncheon and remarked on the organization’s strong local growth.

That growth was attributed to the continuation of the city-supported Kenosha Parks programs at Hobbs and Roosevelt parks, after-school programs at six Kenosha Unified schools, the continuation of achievement gap programming at Frank Elementary, increased Safety Around Water program participants, and an increase in corporate sponsorship programs and individual donations.

“I am encouraged by the staff, volunteers and donors who have helped us reach more people through Y programming and membership each day,” said Executive Director Cindy Altergott. “The Y is a place where the community can come together, whether that be in our facility or through our satellite programs.

“I think now, more than ever, we need to seek what connects us as a community and not focus on the differences. The Y provides that opportunity for all,” she said.

The Kenosha YMCA supports families and children by caring for nearly 400 kids each day in licensed before- and after-school programs and has more than 30,000 community members improving their health through membership and programming.

Scholarships are available to children and families that need assistance.

The annual luncheon also kicked off the “Y, For a Better US” annual campaign.