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  • Karen Luttenberger Smith

Board Member Spotlight: Sandy Roberts

When The Ivy Twines Committee decided to spotlight each member of the Mohawk Board of Directors, I expected each would have some personal camper or staff experience at Mohawk. Although this is true for the majority of the members, this edition spotlights another integral Board member who did not actually attend or work at Mohawk: current Treasurer, Sandy Roberts.

It becomes clearer after each interview with a person on the Board that there have been multiple yet intersecting paths to this Board and different yet similar reasons for serving. One overriding focus and overarching goal connects all members: the continuation of a vibrant and healthy YMCA Camp Mohawk.

This focus is crystal clear in the words of Sandy Roberts: “The vision doesn’t change. It is a God-given gift and responsibility as a Board Member that each young woman become her best self and influence others to become their best selves.” This has been Sandy’s focus since she joined the Board in May 2004. She was VP in 2012 for four years, President in 2016 and 2017, and then Treasurer in 2018 to the present.

Sandy’s background makes her the perfect fit for Treasurer and for being connected with YMCA Camp Mohawk. You see, Sandy spent her career with the YMCA spending sixteen years in programming and then sixteen years as Chief Financial Officer with a brief stint as CEO at the tail end. Her first job upon graduation from Springfield College with a degree in YMCA Physical Education was with the Torrington Y where she planned to spend 3-5 years. She was hired as the Assistant Physical Director of Girls Programming. (A little tidbit for Mohawkers: Mary Coutant was on the interview committee that hired Sandy!) That 3-5 years became 35. Sandy stayed because she “loved helping kids become their best selves.” (Exactly how she sees her role for Mohawk.) Through her years with the Y, Sandy was “adopted” by Roger (and Mary) Coutant and remains a member of the family. These relationships and connections run deep.

Sandy may not have attended Mohawk as a camper BUT she did spend a few weekends at camp as a young professional and advisor to the YMCA Leaderettes Club. It was thought that some of the members of the club would have fun spending the weekend at Mohawk and earn some money for Leader’s School, so it was arranged  and Sandy did this for some four or five years. The girls slept in the infirmary and helped in the dining hall. Of course, people met, worked together, and the rest is history.  Years later, in 2004, Fran Marchand (whom Sandy met at the Torrington Y) asked Sandy if she wanted to join the Board - full circle: 1970 sleeping in the infirmary, a lifelong career with the Y, and now ensuring the continuation of Camp Mohawk.

Sandy retired a few years ago and decided she wanted to focus on three volunteer areas: Mohawk, her Church, and the program she has worked with for years: the Winchester Youth Services Bureau, which serves at-risk children all year. It is apparent speaking with Sandy that she truly lives a life of service. Born and raised in Wakefield, Massachusetts, Sandy found her way to Springfield College and then to Torrington where the Y (and ultimately Mohawk) found her. All have been very lucky.

We Mohawkers (or perhaps I just speak for myself) tend to think only those who have experienced camp get it and that may be true in part.  Sandy made me look at this presumption carefully as she described what Mohawk does for girls. Somehow, she gets it. Perhaps it was those weekends at camp, perhaps her connections and work with the Y, perhaps her positive nature particularly when it comes to her belief in service and genuine concern for young people. Whatever the reason, Sandy is a Mohawker - tried and true. She has the Mohawk spirit deep in her heart which shows through when asked about the role of camp in the future: “it will be as it always has been as it evolves: helping kids become their best selves. It is the staff and the Board’s commitment that is extraordinary.” Thanks to Sandy and the rest of the Board, there is no doubt that Mohawk will continue and remain as extraordinary as it has always been. Camp is in good hands.


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