Efforts continue to complete the new Westlake Village YMCA, but funding for the $35-million project is still about $5 million short. The 65,000-square-foot Westlake Y sits on an 18-acre hilltop at Thousand Oaks Boulevard and Lindero Canyon Road. It will have a full-court gymnasium, lap pool, warm-water therapy pool, interactive learning center, community rooms and a cafe.The building’s exterior is complete, and construction of the interior is expected to get underway when final funds are available.
The Shumways and the Valentine Foundation were instrumental in helping the Triunfo Y raise almost $2 million in the last several months, according to YMCA officials.
When Becky Rutherford was 14 she left an abusive father and stepmother in Missouri in 1928 and took a train to Redlands, Calif., hoping to reconnect with her mother. When she arrived she found that her mother would be unable to care for her, so Becky found work as an au pair.
Later she met Bruce Valentine, whom she married in 1941. He served in the military in World War II and after the war became a stockbroker in New York. After his death in 1986, Becky Valentine moved to Thousand Oaks. She established a foundation to leave a lasting legacy to organizations that shaped her husband’s success, specifically Redlands University and the YMCA.
She died Jan. 5, 2017, at the age of 102.
According to Jerry Meador, chair of the Valentine Foundation, the organization’s board chose to donate to the Triunfo Y building campaign because board members were “impressed with the programs the Y plans to offer in the new facility for families and active older adults.”
“Lots of kids that the Y serves have issues like Becky with family,” Meador said. “We were surprised that so many families in the greater Conejo Valley were participating in some form of relief, especially as it relates to their children—subsidized lunch or after-school care. The Y helps fill in those gaps. It’s a safe place to go for kids after school. It helps family units stay together. It will be a great place for seniors. The Y is an important part of this community, and she wanted to be a part of that.”
He said Becky Valentine appreciated how the Y shaped her husband.
“Mr.ValentinewasaYcamp counselor,” Meador said. “As Becky described it, ‘This experience helped him step out and find his own path and build his character into the man he became, a successful professional and a good husband.’”
Jeff and Vicki Shumway
The Y camp counselor experience was also important to longtime Westlake resident Jeff Shumway, president of Olde Thompson, a spice and seasoning company. He and his father were involved in Indian Guides, now Adventure Guides. Beginning at age 10, Jeff Shumway spent summers at Y camps in the San Bernardino Mountains through the Westside YMCA.
On summer breaks from the University of Colorado, he returned to camp as a counselor. One year he was assigned a camper who needed special care.
“One of my campers needed kidney dialysis every other day. He was 10 years old and it was his first time ever being away from home. I would take him to the nurse’s office and sit with him for several hours while he received his dialysis. It made a lasting impression on me, realizing what his daily life was really like,” he said.
Shumway and his wife, Vicki, have three children, two daughters and a son, who attended Agoura High School. The Shumways’ children were all involved in Adventure Guides, and their daughters participated in the Y’s Youth and Government program.
Jeff Shumway is co-chairing the final phase to complete the Triunfo YMCA building with Agoura resident Jason Amoroso, vice president of acquisitions and legal affairs with the Amoroso Companies, a real estate investment firm.
Shumway said the Y will provide a service to residents.
“I think the hardest thing is to get people to understand the real needs of the community and what the Y offers in support. People think we are an affluent community. It’s hard out there. A lot of people need help keeping their families together. We learn through our day camps that some parents don’t even have the means to properly feed their families. It’s happening right here in our community, and the Y is working to make it better,” he said.
The Y will provide community outreach programming and financial assistance to ensure the new facility is accessible to everyone.
For more information about the new Triunfo YMCA and to find out how to donate, go to www.sevymca.org/triunfo.