PORT ANGELES — A new year has brought new leadership for the Olympic Peninsula YMCA.
Less than a month after YMCA of Sequim executive director Kurt Turner served his last day in that position on Jan. 10 before he headed for a YMCA job in Texas, Olympic Peninsula YMCA CEO Len Borchers announced his resignation.
Wendy Bart, most recently of the YMCA of Greater Seattle, began work as interim CEO on Feb. 3 and has been contracted for up to six months, with the possibility of the board amending the contract as needed, according to Erin Hawkins, marketing/communications coordinator for the Olympic Peninsula YMCA.
On March 11, the board will explore the potential timeline for the permanent CEO search, according to association board president Virginia O’Neil, Hawkins said.
Borchers, who worked at the YMCA since 2006 and held roles including chief financial officer, chief operating officer and finally chief executive officer since 2015, stepped down from his CEO role on Jan. 24.
“I am honored to have been a part of the YMCA and help it expand across the Peninsula,” Borchers said in a press release.
“Everyday the Y helps hundreds of people maintain and improve their health and provide a safe place for kids after school. We are all better because the YMCA is here.”
In a later interview, Borchers said he’s planning to retire.
YMCA representatives said Borchers was instrumental in the opening of the YMCA of Sequim in 2016 after the Sequim Aquatics and Recreation Center (SARC) closed in November 2015.
Borchers said taking on Sequim was a boon for the YMCA.
“Getting Sequim going, that was the biggest growth spurt we’ve ever done,” he said. “It essentially doubled the organization.”
“Len had a broad vision for the Olympic Peninsula YMCA,” association board president Virginia O’Neil said in a press release last week.
“He saw ahead to the possibilities of uniting all three YMCAs on the Olympic Peninsula into one family, and his ability to create this vision and drive it forward was commendable.”
Olympic Peninsula YMCA leaders in recent years looked to further develop its Port Townsend campus but found the timing wasn’t right, Borchers said.
“We sort of stepped back from that and left it with the city and county,” he said. “It’s going to be a while years for them to get to the next step.”
The Sequim campus, however, has potential for growth now, Borchers said.
“Sequim is nearing capacity right now; I think there is opportunity to grow that branch, particularly with teenage kids,” he said. “It’ll be up to the board to set that course.”
Borchers has ties to Sequim, coaching Sequim High School’s wrestling program from 2007-2012.
Now the Port Angeles resident is looking at completing a shop on his property, a project he could only get to on weekends, and some international travel with his wife.
Bart brings more than 30 years of experience in YMCA leadership, officials said, most recently serving as a senior vice president and chief membership and health officer from 2017-2019 at the YMCA of Greater Seattle. There, she oversaw membership and facility management for 12 full-facility branches and two overnight camps.
“Wendy is an open-minded problem solver,” O’Neil said. “I believe she has the skill-set to inspire us and help us take this organization to the next level as a team, although change is never easy.
“I think I speak for everyone in the Y family to say that we are excited.”
For more information about Olympic Peninsula YMCA, contact Hawkins at [email protected] or 360-452-9244, ext. 896.
Michael Dashiell is the editor of the Sequim Gazette of the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which also is composed of other Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News and Forks Forum. Reach him at [email protected].
Terry Ward, publisher of the Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum, serves on the Olympic Peninsula YMCA board of directors.