JAMESTOWN – Longtime Jamestown Area YMCA CEO Mark Eckendorf will be retiring.
A source told WNYNewsNow Saturday morning that Eckendorf’s retirement will be effective Jun. 1.
The source also provided WNYNewsNow with a letter that Eckendorf, who became CEO in 1986, wrote to the organization’s board. The letter is dated today, Feb. 9.
George Panebianco is the Chairman of the Board.
The letter reads as follows:
Dear George, Board and Trustee Members,
I am writing to inform you of my decision to retire effective June 1, 2019.
I have been beyond blessed to work for the YMCA for over 40 years. It isn’t everyone that can say they have loved their job when they look back on their career, but I can. It has been more than a job to me it was a lifestyle, a calling.
My YMCA career started as a lifeguard in the 70s at the Glenwood YMCA in Erie, Pa. Soon after finishing college, I became the Youth Director at the Eastside YMCA in Erie. From there, I had five very memorable years as the Youth Director at the Lake County Ohio YMCA.
I joined the staff at the Jamestown YMCA in 1984 as the Youth/Family and Camp Onyahsa Director. Shortly after that, I became the YMCA Senior Program/Camp Onyahsa Director. In 1986, I was promoted to the YMCA Executive Director/CEO. During my tenure, I have experienced budget growth from $350,000 to over $4 million. I have observed our facilities expand from one Y and a camp to multiple facilities serving thousands of people over the years. The main acquisitions being the Lakewood YMCA, Eastside YMCA, YMCA Heritage House Child Care Center and establishing the Fourth Street Housing Handicapped Housing. The Capital Campaign in Jamestown and the major renovations and improvements that followed was a true highlight. I also look fondly on developing the second floor into a Teen Center and creating the Y Express on the first floor.
I have worked with so many amazing Board Members who have given unselfishly of their time and talents. They are a true inspiration to me.
I have been blessed with amazing staff. Working with and guiding staff was always one of the highlights of my career.
I have enjoyed the years spent with the members and especially the kids. I hope to have made even a small difference in their lives. Working with the kids was where I started my Y career and even as a CEO, it was still what was most important to me.
I still plan to be around every day to workout. I can’t wait until I can come in on June 2nd and complain about a broken machine or dirt on the carpet. That will be fun!
Seriously, I will be here to always help the Y if needed but certainly won’t get in the way.
WNYNewsNow reached Eckendorf for comment Saturday morning, but he declined comment at this time. We will continue to provide updates as the story progresses.