Visit the National YMCA Headquarters in Chicago
I arrived in Chicago at 9 a.m. this morning, dropped my bags off at the hotel and made my way over to the YMCA's national headquarters on Wacker Street. The YMCA takes up four floors of a high-rise office building. After getting off on the 14th floor, I was greeted by a large YMCA logo and a door into the lobby, which had a bronze statue of the YMCA's founder as well as photos representing the YMCA's different programs.
Arnold Collins, YMCA's media relations director, met me in the lobby and took me to a conference room, which was decorated with objects from around the world and international YMCA posters. I showed him a copy of our magazine and told him about our coverage of nonprofit fitness facilities.
The most significant news from the Y's national headquarters in terms of fitness is that the organization is searching for a new health and fitness director to replace Michael Pazzano, who had been with the Y for about 30 years. He left his post in June and has since moved on to the YMCA of New York. The national Y has not yet replaced him or his supervisor, the head of program development, who also recently resigned. The new health and fitness director will have large shoes to fill, Collins says. Pazzano served on the medical advisory board committee, and he was in charge of all programs in connnection with health and wellness.
"It's certainly an important need," Collins says, "but I'm not sure how much we're looking right now. It might be that the position above his might need to be filled first. The timeline is ASAP."
In the interim, Jim Weaton is stepping in to serve as the interim head of program development and membership.
While I was hoping to get to meet Neil Nicoll, the new YMCA president, he was out of the office this week. Collins says YMCA CEOs typically travel 200 days out of the year to visit branches and speak at YMCA events. He says the new CEO is still very new to the position, but once he is in place for a longer period of time, the YMCA will implement a strategic plan, but he wouldn't discuss the details at this time.
The show begins tomorrow, and I'm looking forward to meeting fitness professionals from YMCAs around the country. If you're from the YMCA and are at the Club Industry show, please stop by our booth, which is located in the registration area.