The Glenn Carpenter Centre – A Lifelong Legacy

Imagine a place where children can be their authentic selves – safe, joyful, and immersed in nature. Glenn Carpenter envisioned this haven, which materialized as a 220-acre property at Ashburn Lake owned by the Wilson family. With a lodge, a lake, and ample space for boundless adventures, the YMCA Glenn Carpenter Centre opened its doors in the year 2000, a tribute to Glenn’s dream and legacy.

The Glenn Carpenter Centre stands as a testament to the enduring legacy of Glenn Carpenter himself, a man whose vision was to create a haven accessible to all children. His dedication to the YMCA of Southwestern New Brunswick has left an indelible mark on generations to come, thanks to the commitment of Dale and Wendy Knox.

Wendy, the daughter of Glenn Carpenter, fondly recalls her childhood intertwined with the Y, where her parents were deeply involved in service clubs and activities. From rummage sales to Christmas dinners, the Y was a cornerstone of her upbringing. As she grew older, Wendy and her family became integral to the Glenn Carpenter Centres journey.

For Dale, the YMCA represents more than just an organization; it’s a family united by a common goal of empowering individuals to succeed. He urges others to experience the Y’s inclusive community firsthand, knowing they’ll be welcomed with open arms. “You’re going to find out that it’s more than just a gym or an organization, the Y is a family and everyone wants to see you succeed and be part of your success. So, just give it a chance. And you’re going to be pleasantly surprised. The Y is for everybody,” says Dale.

Glenn was driven by a deep passion to bring the joys of camp life to underserved children. With the generous support of his brothers, who provided the necessary capital to bring his dream to light, he swiftly secured the property now recognized as the Glenn Carpenter Centre, just ten days before his passing. His determination to establish a lasting legacy culminated in the acquisition, with the Y and Dale and Wendy stepping in to fulfill Glenn’s dream. Despite challenges, they rallied support from the community, hiring staff and organizing fundraisers to breathe life into Glenn’s vision.

Reflecting on Glenn’s vision, Dale emphasizes the importance of continuity and growth. He recalls the initial challenges encountered by the Glenn Carpenter Centre, including financial hurdles and set backs, that jeopardized its future. However, the support of the Y, partnered with Dale and Wendy’s determination to honor Glenn’s memory, saw them take on the center’s management, ensuring its survival and expansion.

Dale shared, “Through efforts like the Y’s Strong Communities – campaign, that’s the way we allow anyone and everyone to participate, just as Glenn had hoped. There’re not many communities that have what we have, a facility like this, so close to their downtown core. And, it’s something that we should celebrate and continue to invest in for future generations.

The Knox’s efforts bore fruit as the Glenn Carpenter Center has flourished, becoming a hub of activity for children from all walks of life. From fundraising dinners to sleigh rides, the community rallied behind Glenn’s vision, ensuring that every child has the opportunity to experience the wonders of camp life, within our very own city.

Today, the Glenn Carpenter Center continues to thrive, welcoming nearly 1000 children each summer. Dale and Wendy are heartened by the center’s impact, witnessing former campers return as counselors, embodying Glenn’s ethos of nurturing future leaders.

Looking ahead, Dale and Wendy envision further growth, with ongoing plans for a Y After-School center and outdoor education programs. Their dedication to Glenn’s vision is unwavering, driven by a desire to provide more children with access to nature and learning opportunities.

In this monumental 170th year of impact, we are embarking on a visionary project here at the YMCA of Southwestern New Brunswick. Our goal is to raise $2 million, propelling us to expand free programming, broaden access to Child Care, and operate Youth programs across Southwestern New Brunswick. The heartbeat of this initiative revolves around the construction of a brand-new Outdoor Education Centre located at the Glenn Carpenter Centre.

Glenn Carpenter’s dream extends beyond the physical space. It’s about making today’s youth tomorrow’s leaders. The Centre allows children to immerse themselves in nature, sparking curiosity, creativity, and a profound connection to the environment. Through inclusive activities, we empower marginalized youth, kindling a passion for the outdoors. Efforts like these would not be possible without the unwavering support of community members like Dale and Wendy Knox.

As the Glenn Carpenter Center continues to thrive, Dale and Wendy’s commitment ensures that Glenn’s legacy lives on, inspiring future generations to embrace the spirit of generosity and compassion. With each child’s laughter echoing through the property, the Glenn Carpenter Center stands as a beacon of hope, a testament to the power of community and collective action.