The YMCA of Centre County Stompers:  

"Caring," "Responsibility," "Respect," "Honesty"

Created by YMCA  program students in collaboration with Mel Forkner Lesher, Chris Bittner, Nancy Vicere and Marisa Vicere 

Born: April 12, 2016

Communities are known for fostering a sense of belonging, cooperation, and collaboration—all of which help to create a healthy atmosphere filled with acceptance, appreciation and companionship. Strong communities offer courage, hope and harmony and often play a vital role in forming a support system for an individual.

TThrough a series of activities and discussions, participants explored the importance of community and how to be a better community member.   They also considered ways to support one another to build communities that promote mental, emotional and physical well-being.

The YMCA of Centre County created four youth-size stompers named after the YMCA character development values: “Respect,” “Caring,” “Honesty,” and “Responsibility.” These four stompers were created by over 222 children throughout Centre County.

This project was supported in part by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.


Be accountable for my choices of behavior, actions and promises.

A Video By:

Chris Wahlmark



The Process Behind The

Stompers Project




Be nice to others

Create something beautiful

Do the right thing

Encourage others

Forgive mistakes

Give compliments
Help someone in need
Include everyone

Join good causes

Kindness to all
Make a new friend
Never brag
Open the door for someone
Please and thank you
Quite when others talk
Respect others and self
Take turns
Write a letter
eXpect nothing
You're awesome!
Zero bullying

Members of the YMCA came together to discuss issues around our mental and emotional well-being, the benefits of community, and ways we can support one another through life.

Messages of hope and support were written on deconstructed sneaker parts to remind us what our communities have done for us and how we can be a better community member.

The pictures to the left provide a look at some of our discussions, activities and decorated pieces.  Students participated in the game "Me Too," learned about ways to help in their community, and used art as a form of and relaxation. 

The four youth-size Stompers were unveiled on April 12, 20156 at the YMCA Annual Dinner.

Heather Heckman

Jaron Cunrod

Keirsten Gibson

and the countless staff who participated

Chris Wahlmark, our videographer

Our Discussions:

What Community

Means To Me:

We asked participants what "community" means to them. Here are a few of their responses:

  • A safe place for me to belong
  • People and animals together
  • A neighborhood
  • Friends and family to love me
  • That I'll have food on my table
  • The YMCA is a community!  I love it!
  • That I have people to call when I'm in need​

Demonstrate a sincere concern for others and for their needs and well-being.

Ways to get involved

Participants discussed ways they could get involved in the community.  We were impressed with the ideas they came up with! Below are just a few.

  • Volunteer
  • Pick up trash
  • Plant a tree
  • Help someone in need
  • Donate old toys / clothes
  • ​Shop locally
  • Share with someone less fortunate
  • ​Meet new people
  • Do more things with the YMCA
  • ​Become a teen leader



Demonstrate reliability and trustworthiness through actions that are keeping with my stated positions and beliefs. Tell the truth.

 Treat others the way I want to be treated. Value the worth of every person, including myself.

A Big Thank You:

Our Artists:

Chris Bittner

Mel Forkner Lesher

Marisa Vicere

Nancy Vicere

THE YMCA Character

Development Values:

The YMCA of Centre County Stompers were made possible through the generous support of YMCA of Centre County members and Doug Zimmer. This project was also supported in part by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.

Special Thanks To:

Scott Mitchell

Marty Bradley

Adrienne Krasowitz

Thersa Mast

Jamie SanFilippo

Josh Cone

Kayla Scheibe