[by Phyllis Shaikun]
This year the Jewish Community Center’s annual Arthur S. Kling Memorial Award, which traditionally recognizes either a member of the JCC staff, a dedicated JCC Board member or an active volunteer, will go to worthy recipients in two of those categories during the Jewish Community of Louisville’s Annual Meeting scheduled for later this summer. Dotty Battoe, director of sports and wellness, and Doug Gordon, long-time JCC Board member, will be the honorees.
Battoe says she was “surprised and honored” when former JCC President Marshall Kahn told her she was selected as a recipient. “I am humbled and grateful to be nominated and recognized by my friends and co-workers for this distinguished award,” she said. “I look forward to this opportunity to further my education and pursue my certification as a wellness coach.”
Since her graduation from the University of Louisville in 1996, Battoe has been involved in the health and wellness industry. She had worked at Ladies Workout Express and Premier Fitness prior to coming to the JCC in 2006 as group fitness instructor. The following year she was promoted to fitness director and assumed her current position in 2008.
Although Battoe has earned a number of health-related certifications from respected organizations such as the American Council on Exercise and the Aerobic and Fitness Association of America, her introduction into the world of fitness was almost accidental. A music major in college with dreams of becoming a conductor, Battoe sought out an exercise program to help her shed unwanted pounds gained after her first pregnancy. She eventually became a personal trainer, was involved in group fitness and her career evolved.
She still plays the piano and viola and is pleased that her children, Nick, Lexy and Logan, are involved in music and theater.
Battou is proud that her department provides services for between 700 and 1,000 “scan-ins” a week and offers more than 75 free fitness classes for members of all ages (including designated times for teen work-outs).
She reports the Center is on the leading edge of the national JCC movement’s goal to transition from fitness to a Total Wellness platform and to push for more programs that promote full family involvement. She recently returned from the Jewish Community Centers of America Biennium, where she heard about these and other trends.
As sports and wellness director, Battoe’s responsibilities include overseeing a total staff of well over 100. She had not worked for a not-for-profit organization before coming to the JCC and is pleased with the broader age range among participants and is impressed with the feeling of community at the Center she had not found elsewhere. It has been a mutually beneficial relationship.
Being involved in the JCC is something Doug Gordon seems to have been born into. His grandfather, mother and aunt have served as presidents of the organization, his father has taken an active role, and he and his siblings learned leadership and social skills growing up at the Center.
Gordon has served the JCC Board as vice president, and co-chaired the Yahad Kadima effort that guided the merger between the Jewish Community Federation and the Center to form the Jewish Community of Louisville (JCL). Now a JCL vice president, he also co-chaired the JCL Search Committee that hired Stu Silberman as the new CEO. He figures he has spent 15-20 hours a week over several months helping the fledgling organization find its footing.
The founder and owner of Douglas Gordon Insurance Services, he was quite surprised when Marshall Kahn called to say everyone on the Kling Award selection committee felt he should be a recipient of this year’s honor.
“I put in lots of time,” he says, “and feel passionate about instituting change at the Center that will allow it to be around for another 125 years. However, I never anticipated or expected to be recognized for my service.” Gordon feels he is a member of the current generation carrying on the work of the leaders who preceded him. He believes it is equally important to recognize them for their vision, their passion and their desire to make a difference.
Since his relationship with the Center began when he was a child growing up there, Gordon feels strongly that, next to our religious institutions, the JCC is the primary source for Jewish experiences. He is concerned that perhaps some day our synagogues and temples might be the only places where kids can have contact with their Jewish heritage.
If I had my wish, he muses, I would institute a platform for leadership with a set agenda of four or five things to do and then do them. They would include tackling financial issues, programming, administration and forging cooperative relationships between the community agencies and our synagogues and temples.
“It would be my hope,” he added, “that every dues-paying member of a synagogue or temple would be a member of the JCC. This is an agency for the entire Jewish community and it needs the financial support and engagement of every one of us.”