Video showcases our Citizen of the Year
Spears honored by Chamber of Commerce
John Spears thought his job at the Greater Augusta Regional Chamber of Commerce annual dinner was to help Waynesboro YMCA executive director Jeff Fife sell tickets to this Friday’s Y Spring Gala.
He was in for a surprise.
“I’m going to get somebody. I can tell you that,” said Spears, the youth-sports director at the Y, who was honored as the Chamber’s Citizen of the Year.
Spears has been a part of the Waynesboro Y family for 35 years. It started with him volunteering as a referee for youth basketball, then coaching rec-league and AAU ball. Spears now oversees all youth-sports programming year-round, and in the process has come in contact with literally thousands of Waynesboro and Augusta County residents as they’ve come up through youth sports and had children of their own to send Spears’ way. Read more
Parents replace money stolen from Y hoops program
You might have heard the bad part to this story – that somebody broke into the office of YMCA Youth Sports Director John Spears a few Sundays back and stole $550 in money that had been raised through concession sales at Y basketball games.
Now to the part of the story that will make you feel good about humanity.
“We need to recoup the money that was stolen as this was money that was collected from concession sales. We are talking about a substantial amount of money, and the loss is devastating to the Y youth sports program,” wrote Liz Cook in a letter to fellow Y basketball parents that started the drive to replacing the money that had been taken. Read more
You just assume that John Spears was always the John Spears that we all know and love – the basketball coach who knows how to get the most out of his players, the high-school and college referee who can bring a hostile gym or arena to silence or an uproar with a single whistle.
It all started because Spears got hooked on noontime basketball at the YMCA 32 years ago.
“I was working second shift at the Howard Johnson’s, and somebody told me about noon ball at the Y. I came down, and I got hooked, and the rest is history,” said Spears, the director of youth sports at the Waynesboro YMCA.
In addition to his coaching and refereeing, Spears oversees the year-round basketball program at the Y, which currently has 225 kids in leagues for children ages 5-14. Rec-league ball is the focus right now, and in the spring and summer, it’s AAU time, with the work running the age gamut, from the elementary-school set to high-school upperclassmen. Read more