New Central High School, Minneapolis, Minnesota - 1913

Central High School

New Central High School, Minneapolis, Minnesota - 1913


Harold Westerberg

Hi-Y was a really popular and fun activity at Central with many clubs and a variety of activities provided by the YMCA for many years.  For most Hi-Y members their Y activities started in grade school with Grade-Y and later Jr. Hi-Y at Bryant or one of the other junior high schools where students came to Central.   This was true for Harold and the Y has been an on-going life time experience - as he is still active now in 2007.

During WW II he was a Naval Aviator and flew almost 2000 hours in an airship. After the war he attended the University of Minnesota and continued his YMCA activities. He served as a leader for various Y activities at the West Central Branch as well as a counselor at Camp Ihduhapi. In 1948 Harold was charter president of the Kingsmen Y's Men's club serving the West-Central Branch YMCA. Along with 25 other Central alumni the Kingsmen became very active in providing camp scholarships for those in need in the Central area. Selling Christmas trees is a major service project and in past years they sold camp stools at Aquatennial Parades.

The Kingsmen and clubs from Washburn and Richfield eventually merged to form the Southdale Y's Men Club, Harold is still very active in that club. Today there are Y's Men's clubs in 73 countries and the movement continues to expand.

The Southdale Y's Men's Club is active with Camp Kici-Yapi and over the years hundreds of needy boys have had a camping experience because of the Y's Men and their many service projects.

The motto of Y's dom states there is only one kind of member "active" - and Harold truly reflects that term. In fact he does not agree with the term "Famous Alumni", he thinks it should be "Active Alumni". Now almost 60 years later, Harold is still very active He has held many leadership positions over the years including at the District, Regional, National and International levels.

Harold was an employee of Hennepin County for 40 years in the Department of Court Services and in the Juvenile Court, serving as a Referee for 14 years. He is very active at Normandale Lutheran Church and delivers Meals on Wheels and transports food from several sources to the VEAP foodshelf. But that is all in addition to his continuing very active involvement in Y's dom.

In 1969-1970 he served as Y's Men International President and presided over their convention held in Copenhagen, Denmark, the first time it had been held off the North American Continent. During his installation as International President in July, 1969 in Pittsburgh the landing of the astronauts on the moon occurred and in December he along with presidents of other international organizations were guests of the Tournament of Roses in Pasadena, CA. The presidents toured the building where the floats were assembled, attended a luncheon where the coaches of the competing teams, Southern California and Michigan, spoke and then had reserved seats at the parade and football game. But the highlight was attending a pre-game reception where he, and the other presidents, met and received autographs from the three astronauts who were involved in the July moon landing.

Over the many years Harold has served a variety of leadership roles in the North Central Region of Y's Men International including District Governor, Extension Director, Regional Director, Community Service Director plus several others including one very appropriate - historian. He has attended 31 North Central Regional Conventions and 12 Conventions in other regions as well as 25 International Conventions.

On the International level he has served as Club Program Chairman, Extension Director, Vice-President for Western Americas, chairman of the 1972 International Convention, Chairman of Past International Presidents' Club plus several others including current chairman of the Archives Committee of Y's Men International's collection at the Archives of the Andersen Library at the University of Minnesota.

At the 1962 Convention at Banff, Alberta, Canada he received an "Outstanding Dictrict Governor Award". In 1972, the Y's Men's clubs of Metropolitan Minneapolis honored him with the "Distinguished Y's Men Award". The Southdale YMCA Board of Management recognized Harold for his "Outstanding Commitment, Leadership and Service" for the years 1991-1994. He also received the "Service Above Self" award from the Edina Rotary Club in 2002 and in 2004 received the "Mayor's Outstanding Senior Commendation" from the city of Edina.

Contributed by John Leak, CHS 1943