Cynthia Patterson and Bobby Gonzales speak at the Salem YMCA’s Signature Event on Friday, March 4, at the Salem Convention Center. (Mary Louise VanNatta/Special to Salem Reporter)

After postponing the event due to Covid concerns, the Salem Family YMCA held its first Signature Event on March 4. 

Over 425 attendees dressed in semi-formal attire. Resource Development Director Jessica Otjen said the event raised over $124,000. She added that sum didn’t include donations from 12 sponsors, 36 table sponsors, and over 50 in-kind donors.

The Salem Y has been changing lives in Salem since 1892. For over 125 years, they have provided fitness, education, care, and activities for children and adults. The center’s new $30.4 million is scheduled to open in July. The 51,000-square-foot building will be on the corner of Northeast Court and Cottage Streets. 

The lobby of the Salem Convention Center was full of energy with silent auction tables and beverages. Server Gerrilyn Scotti poured beer donated by Parallel 45. Board Member Vanessa Nordyke pointed out one auction item she was watching. 

YMCA Executive Director Tim Sinatra drafted his brother Mike Sinatra to guard three Super Bowl rings earned by Ryan Allen. Allen was born in Salem and attended West Salem High School. He has been in the NFL since 2013, spending his first six seasons with the New England Patriots.

Allen was a featured speaker at the dinner, sharing the challenges and exhilaration of playing football in front of thousands of people.  

Tim Sinatra reminded us “the time is now” to help the Salem Family YMCA. He talked about the Y’s legacy and how the Salem Y is the oldest one in the West Coast. Unbeknownst to many, Father’s Day was invented by the Y.  

Dinner was followed with a dynamic oral auction presented by Board Member Soraida Cross. Christopher Best, attorney at The Gatti Law Firm, won the first auction item that included a bottle of champagne and treats for his table. Table host and event sponsor Pam Woodcock of Geneva Financial and guests were the envy of everyone as they sipped Dom Perignon.  

Cynthia Patterson and her son Bobby Gonzalez gave examples of how the Y supported them. Bobby received a scholarship to Camp Greider and “was able to enjoy being a kid.” They were followed with a paddle raise to pledge funds for the nonprofit. 

The Y will hold a Good Friday Prayer Breakfast at the Salem Convention Center on April 15.

Mike Sinatra guards Ryan Allen’s Super Bowl rings at the Salem YMCA’s Signature Event on Friday, March 4, at the Salem Convention Center. (Mary Louise VanNatta/Special to Salem Reporter)

Soraida Cross kicks off the auction at the Salem YMCA’s Signature Event on Friday, March 4, at the Salem Convention Center. (Mary Louise VanNatta/Special to Salem Reporter)

Steven Broncheau and his son Anthony at the Salem YMCA’s Signature Event on Friday, March 4, at the Salem Convention Center. (Mary Louise VanNatta/Special to Salem Reporter)

Treva and David Gambs at the Salem YMCA’s Signature Event on Friday, March 4, at the Salem Convention Center. (Mary Louise VanNatta/Special to Salem Reporter)

Vanessa Nordyke at the Salem YMCA’s Signature Event on Friday, March 4, at the Salem Convention Center. (Mary Louise VanNatta/Special to Salem Reporter)

Vintage signs and other items on display at the Salem YMCA’s Signature Event on Friday, March 4, at the Salem Convention Center. (Mary Louise VanNatta/Special to Salem Reporter)

Tim Sinatra, Paige Clarkson, and Jodie Bureta at the Salem YMCA’s Signature Event on Friday, March 4, at the Salem Convention Center. (Mary Louise VanNatta/Special to Salem Reporter)

Rory McManus, Dan Moore, and Ryan Allen attend the Salem YMCA’s Signature Event on Friday, March 4, at the Salem Convention Center. (Mary Louise VanNatta/Special to Salem Reporter)

The Geneva Financial table enjoys Dom Perignon, an auction item purchased by Christopher Best at Salem YMCA’s Signature Event on Friday, March 4, at the Salem Convention Center. (Mary Louise VanNatta/Special to Salem Reporter)

Vintage signs on display at the Salem YMCA’s Signature Event on Friday, March 4, at the Salem Convention Center. (Mary Louise VanNatta/Special to Salem Reporter)

About the YMCA: By bringing together people from different backgrounds, perspectives, and generations, the Y’s goal is to improve overall health and well-being, ignite youth empowerment and demonstrate the importance of connections in and across 10,000 communities nationwide. The Salem Y originally opened in 1892 but quickly grew and needed expansion, moving to Court Street in 1951. The Y has continually provided for the youth of Salem, from childcare to basic health and fitness programs. Check out the construction live feed here.

Mary Louise VanNatta is a Salem public relations professional writing a regular column for Salem Reporter. Tell her about your upcoming event at [email protected] or follow her on Facebook.