Spirit Mind and Body

Block Number: 87

By Ginger Todd

On Tuesday, June 7, 2011, Block #87 on the McDowell Quilt Trail was installed at 2:00 p.m. at the Maxwell M. Corpening Jr. YMCA. The theme of the 6’ x 6’ Block is “Spirit, Mind and Body.”

It was in England, during the Industrial Revolution, June 6, 1844, that the first Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) was founded by Sir George Williams in London. The organization’s goal was to put Christian principals into practice by creating youth development, healthy living conditions and social responsibilities. December 29, 1851, the first YMCA opened in Boston, Massachusetts, founded by Captain Thomas Valentine Sullivan, a missionary and American seaman. The influence of the London YMCA had encouraged him to provide a “home away from home” for the young sailors on shore leave. Later the YMCA of the United States formally adopted its core values, and women were admitted to the programs through the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) at the end of World War II.

Today the YMCA is a federated organization, both local and national, in voluntary association with programs open to all, regardless of faith, social class, age, or gender. Strong importance is placed on the values of caring, honesty, respect and responsibility. To help remember these, each of the core values has a color that is connected to it: red for caring, blue for honesty, green for responsibility, and yellow for respect. Geneva, Switzerland is the World Alliance of YMCA’s Headquarters.

Recently, after two years of research, the national nonprofit organization developed a new logo to replace the one in place since 1967, the sixth since its inception. Having a fresh, new contemporary look, the updated multiple color option scheme with its softer lines, creates a warmer, friendlier and inviting logo. The colors reflect the diversity of the community it serves. The bold new logo, changed for the first time in 43 years, symbolizes the YMCA’s commitment to personal and social progress. The logo still includes the letters YMCA, although it is called by its nickname, the “Y.”

Max Corpening, Sr., a native of McDowell County, successful in journalism and banking, founded our local YMCA. He wanted to create in his home county a living memorial to his son who was killed during World War II. In March 2003, the doors were opened at 348 Grace Corpening Drive, and a dream was fulfilled. The Maxwell M. Corpening Jr. Memorial YMCA now celebrates its eighth year of “building strong kids, strong families and strong communities.”

The quilt block named “Sprit, Mind and Body,” installed by Mike Lucas and YMCA employee Scott Morgan, is centered between the two playgrounds to the right of the entrance. Executive Director Tim Blenco states that the idea of a block has been in the works for about a year and a half. The decision to host a quilt block is a good way to support the community and the McDowell Quilt Trail, as well as add a colorful welcoming entrance to the wellness center.

The original YMCA colors were black and red; those being the only colors newspapers could print way back when. With the new color chart options, it was exciting to create the new “Y” block design. The block, painted by Mike Lucas, Kathy Brendle, and Jan Zimmerman, retains a quilt-like pattern, with the ever present symbol of the “Y” represented by an inverted triangle, which represents the constant precarious balance of the three points - spirit, mind and body; a reminder that all three of these are equally important, and if one is out of sync the other two will be also.

“Spirit, Mind and Body” is centered with two inverted triangles, one inside the other, and a black one surrounded by a deep red, while nine red and purple, and orange and yellow studs alternately edge the triangles on a yellow circular background. Next are three concentric circles in two shades of blue and black, representing the oneness of the universe. Petal points then fan out in aqua, jade, dark green, and gray on a yellow background. The vibrant hues and texture in this large block truly manifest the YMCA’s new logo and exciting color chart.

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