Women’s Self Defense

Enjoy a relaxed atmosphere as you learn the basic aspects of self-defense. This class will focus on mental preparation such as situational awareness and positive mental attitude, and will include instruction on personal self-defense techniques such as arm bars, punching, kicking, and throwing. The instructor, Rachel McVey, spent eight years with the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office and is currently working as an Animal Control Officer. She has been teaching women’s self-defense since 2003, including four semesters at Frederick Community College.

When asked about their favorite aspect of the class, past participants said:

  • Repetition of movements and corrections
  • Learning how to protect myself
  • The instructor was able to instill a strong sense of self-confidence
  • Being aware of different situations

Registration is required.

May 1 and 2     6  to 8 p.m.

Rec Free Basic $10 Non $20


Callie Awards

The YWCA Gettysburg & Adams County invites the public to nominate exceptional women for the annual Callie Awards. This event is designed to acknowledge and honor the achievements of local women in various fields of service throughout Adams County.

Award categories include: business/agriculture, education, advocacy, racial justice, health/wellness/human services, community service, and young woman. Special consideration will be given to other areas of public service. A total of five awards will be given in 2019, including one that will recognize a young woman in the community.

Nominees must meet the following qualifications:
• Reside in Adams County for a minimum of five years
• Demonstrate excellence, creativity, and initiative in her field
• Demonstrate a significant level of commitment to and leadership in professional or community service
• Demonstrate a commitment to serving Adams County and improving the quality of life for others
• For the Young Woman category, nominee must be a current resident of Adams County for more than five years OR a student at HACC-Gettysburg, Gettysburg College or the Lutheran Theological Seminary.

If you have nominated someone in the past, but they were not selected, please resubmit the nomination form.

Nominations will be accepted until noon on Dec. 7, 2018. Nomination forms are available at the YWCA, 909 Fairfield Rd., Gettysburg, and online at ywcagettysburg.org.

Questions can be directed to Nancy Lilley, at nlilley@ywcagettysburg.org or 717-334-9171, ext. 115. The Callie Awards ceremony will be held March 28, 2019, at the Gettysburg Hotel.


The 2018 honorees were:

Business – Kathy Gilbert

Community Service – Bev Grazulewicz

Education – Shannon Harvey

Environmental Service – Bicky Redman

Young Woman – Alexa Groft

Nominees must:

  • Reside in Adams County for a minimum of five years
  • Demonstrate excellence, creativity, and initiative in her field
  • Demonstrate a significant level of commitment to and leadership in professional or community service
  • Demonstrate a commitment to serving Adams County and improving the quality of life for others
  • For the Young Woman category, the nominee must be a must be a current resident of Adams County for at least five years OR be a student at HACC-Gettysburg, Gettysburg College or the Lutheran Theological Seminary.

If you know someone who is committed and passionate about what they do, we encourage you to nominate them. If you have nominated someone in the past, but they were not selected, please resubmit the nomination form. All nominations must be received by noon on Friday, December 9, 2016.

Download the nomination form below:

2018 Callie Award Nomination Form

Responding to Domestic Violence

A statement from YWCA USA CEO Dara Richardson-Heron (Sept. 11, 2014):

One in four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. A recent high profile incident in the news has put the spotlight on this astounding problem, and has men and women across the country participating in important dialogue about domestic violence. The YWCA hopes that the discussions started as a result of this news story will raise awareness about the ongoing crisis of domestic violence and continue the dialogue on how we can once and for all eradicate violence against women. Simply put, gender-based violence is unacceptable, in any form and under any circumstances.

For decades, the YWCA has been on the frontlines of working to end domestic violence. The YWCA is one of the largest providers of domestic violence services in the United States with over 200 local YWCA associations in 46 states and the District of Columbia. Each year, we provide hundreds of thousands of women and families with programs and services for both survivors and perpetrators, including emergency shelter, crisis hotlines, counseling, educational programs, prevention training, support groups, and abuse intervention. The YWCA also provides domestic violence training to businesses, law enforcement, and medical personnel across the nation.

Recent events have spurred many people to more closely examine domestic violence and to ask how they can be part of the solution. We encourage them to join us, along with our fellow service providers and advocates, in our commitment to breaking the cycle of domestic violence through awareness, education and expert intervention. For more information about the YWCA’s services, please visit ywca.org.

Survivors, Inc. provides local support and resources for those who have experienced domestic violence and sexual assault.

Women Behind These Walls

Much of Civil War-era history is recorded through the eyes of men: soldiers, laborers, government officials, and others. Women tofFamilyBehind These Walls is free, self-guided walking tour of downtown Gettysburg designed to share the stories and perspectives of civilian women who lived during the Battle of Gettysburg and its aftermath. The posters along the tour are placed at locations that were significant to each woman’s life before, during, or after the battle. The tour  is a collaborative effort between the YWCA Gettysburg & Adams County and Survivors, Inc., the Association of Licensed Battlefield Guides, Gettysburg Licensed Town Guides, and For the Cause Productions, Inc.

A special thank-you to all the businesses, organizations, and homeowners who agreed to be a part of this project.

Click here for a printable tour brochure (updated Aug. 2015). You can also find brochures at the YWCA, the Destination Gettysburg office, the Gettysburg Heritage Center, and A&A Village Treasures.

#25 Catherine “Kitty” Payne Brian’s story (no placard is currently displayed at Kitty’s site; an illustration of Kitty is shown above):
I lived here (219 S. Washington St.) with my second husband, Abraham Brian. My first husband had died of a fever, leaving me with three small children. I had been a slave in Virginia but had been set free upon my master’s death. His nephew, who had inherited the farm, took exception to our freedom and sent bounty hunters after my family. They captured us and took us back to Virginia, where we spent a year in jail. My life here was not any happier as my new husband did not want the burden of my children and sent them off to live with other families. My heart was broken and I died at age 34.

Day of Transformation

A one-day event created to honor the memory of Jennifer Weaver by making a difference in the lives of women in our community. Local women who are aspiring to make a change, and could use a helping hand, are invited to choose professional clothing and accessories, receive makeovers and massages, and learn skills for interviewing and resume writing. This free event helps women in need to gain confidence and guidance.

The sixth annual Day of Transformation will be held Tuesday, April 10, from 1 to 5 p.m. 

How you can help:
Donate women’s clothing, handbags, jewelry, and accessories.
Clothing should be professional or business casual, gently used or new, clean, and on hangers.
For convenient drop off, use rear entrance to Thrift Store from E. Zerfing Alley.
Please mark your donations for “Day of Transformation”.
Hangers may be picked up at Thrift Store.
Any remaining items from the event benefit the Gettysburg Hospital Auxiliary Thrift Shop.
Donation slips will be provided for your generosity. Thank you for your support!
Donations accepted: April 2-6, Monday–Friday: 8:00 – 11:00 a.m.

            Note: this year, there is early drop off at the United Way of Adams County on 123 Buford Avenue.

For Questions Call: Nancy Lilley (717) 334-9171, ext. 115, or: nlilley@ywcagettysburg.org.

Sponsored by HACC-Gettysburg, Margaret Trew Cline Foundation, South Central Community Action Programs, Survivors, Inc., the United Way of Adams County, WellSpan, and the YWCA Gettysburg & Adams County.

Women in History Essay Contest

The annual Women in History essay and art contest is open to students in grades 6 through 8 in all Adams County public and private schools, as well as home-schooled students. The contest includes categories for essays and artwork.

PRIZES: The first, second and third place winners in each grade will be awarded cash for writing entries. Artwork will be judged separately, and there will be only one first, second, and third place winner awarded a cash prize. Each winner will receive a coupon for a 10% discount on either a junior or family membership when they join the YWCA Gettysburg & Adams County.

Click on the documents below to submit your own entry!

Cover Sheet WIH

Guidelines WIH

Congratulations to our 2018 winners! Click on each student’s name to view his or her essay.

8th grade:
1: Ally Shultz (Elizabeth Blackwell), Gettysburg Area Middle School, Teacher: Mrs. Kessel

2: Tiger Frenette (Benazir Bhutto), Gettysburg Area Middle School, Teacher: Mrs. Kessel

3: Tyler Hillson (Dorothea Lenge), St. Francis Xavier, Teacher: Mrs. Hughes

7th grade:
1: Taylor Lady (Helen Keller), Upper Adams Middle School, Teacher: Mrs. Granger

2: Elias Wertzberger (Eleanor Roosevelt), Gettysburg Area Middle School, Teacher: Mrs. Veres

3: Lily Shriner (Ruth Bader Ginsburg), St. Francis Xavier, Teacher: Mrs. Hughes

6th grade:
1: Francis LaBarbera (Elizabeth Blackwell), Gettysburg Area Middle School, Teacher: Mrs. Hassinger

2: Winter Oaster (Mia Hamm), Gettysburg Area Middle School, Teacher: Mrs. Hassinger

3: John Kloster (Susan B. Anthony), Gettysburg Area Middle School, Teacher: Mr. Snyder

1: Alaynah Collins (Eliza Schuyler Hamilton), Gettysburg Area Middle School, Teacher: Mrs. Thomas

2: Gabriella Shelleman-Wetzel (collage of many women), Gettysburg Area Middle School, Teacher: Mrs. Kessel

3: Arwen Aguilera (Frida Kahlo), Gettysburg Area Middle School, Teacher: Mrs. Kessel

LEGO Robotics Club

The LEGO Robotics Club is offered a part of the ASAP after-school program for Gettysburg elementary schools. The 6-week program provides 4th and 5th grade girls the opportunity to explore computers and robotics technology in a nurturing, girls-only environment under the guidance of Gettysburg College students.

Research suggests that programs like this are effective tools to challenge the gender divide of men and women in high paying, technology-oriented careers. Check with your child’s teacher to register your child for the Fall or Spring sessions of LEGOs.

In 2011, Gettysburg High School student Kasey Rathgeber started a LEGOs program at Gettysburg Middle School to bridge the gap between our elementary school program and STEM Savvy at Gettysburg High School.

Find out how you can support LEGOs and our other women’s empowerment programs.

Fourth and 5th grade girls at Lincoln Elementary School work with Gettysburg College students to build and program robots during the Spring 2010 LEGO program.


STEAM Savvy is an all-girls after-school club for students at Gettysburg High School. The program encourages girls to explore science, technology, engineering, arts and math fields in which women are underrepresented. Instructors and mentors also assist students with college applications, interviewing skills, and other aspects of the college search, including visits to explore schools’ science departments. If you’re a Gettysburg High School student and you’d like to get involved with STEAM Savvy, contact chemistry teacher Kristen Bechtel.

Why should we encourage girls to get involved in STEAM? Read more here!

STEAM Savvy is featured on the YWCA USA’s Fresh@YW page!

STEAM Savvy is made possible through the generous support from our Hallmark Sponsors. Find out how you can support STEAM Savvy and other women’s empowerment programs.

FingerprintingAt left, club advisor Kristen Bechtel and girls in the 2013-2014 STEM Savvy program finish a fingerprinting lab as part of their focus on forensics.




Women in STEM

The following column was written by YWCA board member Jackie Milingo and published in the Gettysburg Times August 10, 2012.

The mission statement of the YWCA includes a dedication to eliminating racism and empowering women. This mission is not only inspiring; it is a strong declaration of necessary social change.  Based on 2010 data, the U.S. Census Bureau reports that half of our country is comprised of females (2011 estimate is 50.8 percent) and approximately 63 percent self-identify as “white.”  This rough cut of gender and racial distribution naturally (perhaps naively) leads one to expect the same representation of diversity in the working/professional world, at all levels of education, at all income levels, and in various positions of power and influence. When we don’t see this diversity in action it begs the question … why not?

Take the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (collectively known as STEM), for example.  Less than 20 percent of the STEM workforce is female (in many fields this number is closer to 10 percent).  People from “non-white” racial groups, those with different levels of physical ability, and those who occupy the range of gender identity and sexual orientation make up an even smaller fraction of STEM fields at all stages of education, training, and employment. Despite the diversity of our country, all of these people are severely underrepresented in STEM. Why is this something to pay attention to? The STEM workforce houses a great deal of the knowledge and innovation required for our country to address the very modern challenges of living in a global community with limited natural resources.  Increasing diversity in the STEM workforce not only empowers those who are so woefully underrepresented in these fields, increasing their economic, social, and political potential; it also injects a much-needed breadth of experience and perspectives to positions of power and influence. This ultimately benefits us all.

The leaky pipeline into STEM fields starts early in our society. The number of girls (let alone other underrepresented groups) interested in learning about science, math, and their applications continuously decreases throughout middle school and into high school, thus creating a loss of diversity before these young people even enter college, professional programs, and the workforce. It is key to encourage and support interests in STEM during the formative years when competing social constructs, stereotypes, biases, and cultural beliefs can negatively affect a young person’s sense of identity and potential. Many of the Hallmark and Mission programs of our YWCA exist to support this cause. After-school and summer programs such as the LEGO Robotics Club and STEM Savvy Club, those that specifically target girls, provide a fun, low-stakes environment which can spark and nurture an interest that is then carried forward. Supporting diversity in STEM and the empowerment of all underrepresented groups requires the action of an entire community, and our local YWCA is a proud contributor to this effort.

Jackie Milingo is an associate professor of physics at Gettysburg College and a member of the board of directors at the YWCA Gettysburg & Adams County. Contact her at 717-337-6076.