YMCA members concerned after recent leadership change
The Grand Traverse Bay YMCA announced last Friday that their CEO Tom Van Deinse was no longer going to be working for the organization.
No explanation was given for the leadership change, and many YMCA members are concerned about the future of the Y.
Many members said the Van Deinse family, who teach both gymnastics and tennis, is the reason they are members at Y, and with Tom no longer there, they're worried those programs won't be as strong.
â??They make the difference, they make the Y what it is,â?? said Wendy Harvey.
Harvey has been a member at the Y for several years, and said she was concerned the minute she heard the news that Tom was longer the CEO.
â??The new building will be awesome, it will be great, but that's not what was keeping us there,â?? said Harvey. â??What was keeping us there was the family.â??
The YMCA currently has around 1,000 members, and board members said to be successful at the new Y, they will need to have at least 2,300 members, but many current members are debating staying since Tom is no longer there.
â??To get rid of the person that has brought them this far, and to do it just before the grand opening makes absolutely no sense,â?? said Chris Gerling, YMCA member.
And he said the Van Deinse family has helped his kids mature and grow.
â??This is a man that has devoted his life to providing for the membership, especially for the kids, and I just don't see them bringing in somebody of his stature,â?? said Gerling.
Members are trying to get answers and they hope to hold a meeting with the board to understand why Tom is no longer there.
â??I think they want the pool and some other things to be the main driver, but I don't think you can change what the members feel,â?? said Harvey. â??And what they feel is gymnastics and tennis, and that's what keeps us there.â??
YMCA board president Lynn said personnel issues are confidential when asked why Tom no longer works there.
The new $12 million YMCA building is still under construction off Silver Lake Road. The opening date has been pushed back several times, it's now expected to be finished by late fall.