SOUTHINGTON - The last day of 2018 was also John Myersâ€™ last day as the executive director of the Southington-Cheshire Community YMCA, with Myers handing the reins over to Mark Pooler after 30 years.
Myers thanked all who have supported him during his tenure as director Monday.
â€śMark Pooler is taking over and has a wonderful vision to add to the foundation of our Yâ€™s work,â€ť he said. â€śI wish you the very best for continued success and great health. Keep smiling.â€ť
Myers announced his plans to retire in October 2017. He moved to Southington 30 years ago and had been associated for seven years with the Berlin-Kensington YMCA before that.
â€śMy wife and I are both in great health and we just decided that it was time to move on to the next chapter in our lives,â€ť said Myers.
Myers had â€śnothing but positive thingsâ€ť to say about the â€śworld-class staffâ€ť he has worked alongside.
â€śThey are passionate and compassionate and they do everything they can to help people reach their greatest potential,â€ť he said. â€śThey are an upbeat group and to come in every day to an abundance of laughter was always something that I will cherish. Iâ€™m going to miss the thousands of connections Iâ€™ve built with staff members and community leaders.â€ť
Myers cited one of his biggest accomplishments as â€śalways being at the table when it comes to community issues and youth development programs.â€ť
The YMCA has often partnered with STEPS, a group dedicated to the prevention of substance abuse in youth.
â€śWe have always been there to talk to others, fill the needs of the community and to grow to meet their demands,â€ť he said. â€śWe have also benefited from being a part of a very generous community, which has given us millions of dollars in support of these efforts. Iâ€™m proud to have lived in a community where we could raise our two children, who are now in college. It takes a village and we were very blessed to have them grow up under so many watchful eyes.â€ť
Last April, Myers received the Southington All-Star Award at the United Way of Southingtonâ€™s annual dinner. He also received the Compass Award at the YMCAâ€™S Forever in Blue Jeans Gala in November.
Shannon Eterginio, community development director for the Y, said Myers received the latter award because the Board of Directors believes Myers and his family â€śembody everything the Y strives for: respect, caring and fun.â€ť
It was announced in November that Pooler would succeed Myers. He has been with the local Y for 31 years, serving as director of operations for the past three. He has worked in youth development, sports, child care and camp programming.
In 1996, he became the Yâ€™s youth program director and, in 2000, he was promoted to outdoor center director for YMCA Camp Sloper.
â€śThis YMCA has a rich history of cause-driven and values based leadership and I hope to continue that tradition,â€ť said Pooler. â€śOur YMCA plays an instrumental role in strengthening the foundation of our communities and we are blessed to have so many great volunteers, staff, donors, members and community partners to help us fulfill our mission. I am humbled and honored to serve as the next leader of this great organization.â€ť
Pooler said he will â€ścontinue to recruit, train, develop, motivate and appreciate our dedicated staff members so that we will produce high-end results for our members and guests.â€ť
â€śI will focus on growing our community partnerships to assist with addressing critical community needs,â€ť said Pooler. â€śI will also work on cultivating a larger pool of engaged and committed volunteers at the program, committee and board levels in Southington, Cheshire and YMCA Camp Sloper. I will focus on sustaining and expanding our fundraising efforts so we can continue our great work in helping those in need or in time of crisis.â€ť
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or firstname.lastname@example.org.