YMCA’s Duck Race Brings Community Together to Impact Local Families

by The Village Green
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From the Metropolitan YMCA of the Oranges:

The beloved South Mountain YMCA Duck Race returned to Maplewood on Memorial Day, raising $18,632 for local children and families through duck sponsorships, ticket and T-shirt sales, prize and individual donations.

This year’s sold-out event began with race participants, decked out in duck-themed clothing and accessories, marching with the community in the town’s Memorial Day Parade before the race kicked off at Memorial Park. A total of 3,500 rubber ducks were released down the river, grouped into five heats. Maplewood resident Erin Scherzer, voted by YMCA leaders as Mayor for the Day, had the honor of being interviewed by Mayor Dafis and dropping the ceremonious first duck to get the races underway.

South Mountain YMCA District Executive Director James Goodger with Trustees of MEND. From left, Chesney Blue; A. Jabbar Abdi; Robin Peacock, Executive Director of MEND; Goodger; Rick Wessler; and Claire Sinclair. (Credit Joy Yagid)

“The Duck Race is a highlight of the Y’s calendar year, celebrating the power of community while also raising funds to support local families and youth so they can access the support and services they need to thrive,” said James Goodger, District Executive Director at the South Mountain YMCA. “Thank you to the amazing Y staff team, Board of Managers, sponsors, prize donors, all the volunteers, township officials, and friends of the Y. Together we impacted many lives in one day.”

The annual Duck Race brings staff, volunteers, township leaders, businesses and community organizations together for a fun family experience and great cause. Proceeds go toward the Y’s financial assistance program, which helps make Y programs like child care and summer camp affordable for families with extenuating circumstances. In 2021 alone, the South Mountain Y awarded over $346,000 in direct financial assistance, with 1 in 12 children in summer camps receiving assistance.

Maplewood Township Committee Members Frank McGehee; Jamaine Cripe; Nancy Adams; South Mountain YMCA Executive Director James Goodger; Ally Scherzer, Mayor for a Day; Maplewood Mayor Dean Dafis and Deputy Mayor Vic DeLuca. (credit Joy Yagid)

Funds raised will also support children in local group homes through a partnership with Youth Consultancy Services, and local nonprofit MEND Hunger Relief Network, which will receive 20 percent of proceeds as the recipient of the Ellie Gianni Community Impact Grant.

Duck Race sponsors included Keller Williams Mid-Town Direct, Maplewood Rotary, Metro YMCA of the Oranges, Sonny’s Indian Kitchen, The Local Yarn Store, CODA Kitchen & Bar, The Fox & Falcon, ReMerch, Lumie Salon, Lyn Your Face, Maplewood Country Club, MAPSO BookFest, Mission Driven Consulting, N&K Prime Marketplace, SOMEA, Alma Victor, Best in Class Education, Bethany Joseph Elder Care Consulting, Carter Smile, Chaise Fitness, CKO Kickboxing, Dr. Gerry Gonsalves DMD, Dyanna Moon Properties, Eventage, Gianni Family Fund, Joy Yagid Photography, Little Apple Arts, Maker + Muse, Maplewood Mercentile, Maplewood Tire Center, Marigold LifeWorks, Miris Moreno LLC, Mona Lisa Framing, Ramas Climate, Roman Gourmet, Sonny’s Bagels, South Orange Downtown, St. James Gate, The Able baker, The Sprague Family, The Urban Cyclery Shop, The Zollman Family, Victory Hair Salon, Anthony Garubo Salon, Bass Family Chiropractic, PC, Bunchers True Value Hardware, Deirdre McGarrigle, DJ Mike Levitt, Good Crowd Events, Jackie & Sons, Jeffrey H Goldsmith, Esq., Julie Erickson-Career & Executive Coach, Lotus Petals, Maplewood Bike Shop, Nelson’s Automotive, Pickett’s Village Bar, Regina Wukich, Rubies Duties, Shelley Slafkes, NJ Jackals, Sue Blodgett Coldwell Banker, Sew Leana, Swimquest – Milburn, and The Meaghers of Maplewood.

For more information about the Duck Race, visit www.metroymcas.org/south-mountain-ymca/duck-race/.


Established in 1885, the Metropolitan YMCA of the Oranges invests in its diverse communities to promote wellness, safety and quality of life for children, adults and seniors. Its seven branches in East Orange, Livingston, Maplewood, Hackensack, Hardyston, Stillwater and Wayne are committed to nurturing the potential of kids, promoting healthy living and fostering a sense of social responsibility through an array of programs. Some 35,000 people belong to the Metro Y, which awards more than $2.8 million annually in direct and indirect financial assistance.










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