YMCA executive steps down
After more than six years working to bring an Island YMCA to fruition and provide programs for young people executive director John Clese will step down from his job and leave Martha's Vineyard.
Chuck Hughes, president of the YMCA board, announced yesterday in a press release that Mr. Clese, the Y's first full time employee, would step down as of July 1. The search for his replacement begins today.
In March Y leaders announced that construction of the 38,000-square-foot central part of the Vineyard YMCA, including the long-planned aquatic center, would begin in April. The construction schedule calls for the building to be complete and open 10 to 12 months from now, or in the spring of 2010.
Yesterday, Mr. Hughes also announced that permits for the new YMCA are in place and construction contracts with Metric Construction Corporation of Boston are signed. "Ground breaking will occur in just a couple of weeks," Mr. Hughes said, "It has taken a lot of hard work from the staff and volunteers to get to this next step of the project, and we couldn't be more excited."
Mr. Hughes told The Martha's Vineyard Times that while the news was unexpected and the timing is a bit awkward, he has nothing but praise for the job Mr. Clese has done. He said Mr. Clese wants to move to a more metropolitan environment.
"John will be greatly missed by all of us on Martha's Vineyard," said Mr. Hughes.
In a statement quoted by the Y, Mr. Clese said he looks forward to pursuing new challenges and working with a YMCA located in a larger urban environment. He said he wants to give the new executive director ten to twelve months on the job prior to the opening of the new facility in early 2010.
"The Y on Martha's Vineyard is transitioning into its next phase of development and I felt there was a natural pause just before facility construction to make a change," said Mr. Clese.
Mr. Hughes told The Martha's Vineyard Times that the national YMCA organization has resources in place to support a search for a new executive director from within its ranks.
Mr. Clese joined the organization shortly after the Martha's Vineyard Aquatics Center decided to pursue a charter designation as a YMCA. His first order of business was to create a teen center, expand after-school programming across Martha's Vineyard, and increase annual fundraising efforts, according to the press release announcing his departure. Under his tenure, programs expanded to include middle school students, seniors, and the Y's first summer camp. Although the Y has been unable to secure a location for this coming summer, Mr. Clese said the organization was looking forward to restarting camp once the new facility opened. "The loss of the camp and the reaction from parents really demonstrates how critical affordable programs are for Island children and the lack of space available to operate such large programs, we can't bring this facility online fast enough," he said.