PHILIPSBURG — A new program director has been at the Moshannon Valley YMCA for almost a month now. Brockway native Chris Calliari’s first day on the job was June 10 and he’s excited about what he can offer to his job and to the community.
Calliari said he attended the Indiana University of Pennsylvania and received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in sports science/exercise science. He did strength and conditioning and then went back for cardiovascular studies. After holding a couple jobs — including interning at Penn Highlands DuBois in the cardiac department and working in Pittsburgh — the opportunity to work at the Mo Valley YMCA presented itself.
Calliari also played baseball at IUP and said he has known Branch Manager Mel Curtis since he was about 12 years old — once playing baseball with Curtis’ son.
“I very much enjoy it so far,” Calliari said. “I’m trying to meet as many people as I can.”
Calliari said he’d like to do programs on the fitness/sports side, but also is very open to doing new programs. He said he’s thankful that Curtis lets him be himself.
“He’s not restricting me,” Calliari said. “He lets me have my opinion and answers all of my questions and he’s someone that I can learn a lot from. And he wants me to take this position and mesh it with my persona, which I think will be very good here in the long run.”
To coincide with Calliari’s background, programs that have been implemented include a Happy Hearts on Tuesdays and Thursdays for those that currently have/had any cardiac and pulmonary diseases and baseball/softball hitting camps. Another thing that the YMCA will do is a “Toilet Paper Bowl” on Aug. 1 that’s a hygiene drive that collects items that children/teenagers may not have access to.
Calliari said he’s looking forward to making an impact in the Philipsburg community and its surrounding areas, referencing a mentor of his from his hometown in Peter Varischetti.
“He had a big impact on my life and I worked for him for about four years while I was in college,” Calliari said of Varischetti. “That’s how I want to be — I want to be a positive influence on the community.”
In less than a month’s time, Calliari said he’s enjoyed working under Curtis and learning all that he can.
“Everybody has been very nice and open to listening to my ideas and in helping me whenever I need it,” Calliari said. “Not just here (at the YMCA), but everyone in the community. I feel very welcomed here. It’s a nice family-based place to be.”