When Jason Hagensick took the reins of the YMCA of South Palm Beach County as its new president and CEO in early July, he wasn’t exactly the new guy.
Hagensick has been with the organization since he was a kid.
“It was my first paycheck out of high school,” said Hagensick. “I would work part time on weekends. I started as volunteer basketball coach. I loved the environment. I loved the sense of purpose volunteering gave me.”
The volunteer opportunity soon turned into a career for Texas A&M University graduate, who started out folding towels and working at the front desk checking in members at the YMCA of Corpus Christi, Texas.
He moved onward becoming CEO of the YMCA of Greater Long Beach, California before serving the National YMCA leading a team that recruited CEOs for YMCA’s around the country.
Which is how he heard about the opening in South Florida.
Twenty-six years and three states later, Hagensick steps back into the role he held after serving as senior director in charge of CEO searches for the past three years.
“I missed the relationship that a YMCA professional has with the local community,” said Hagensick. “Interacting with members and working with volunteers and local community leaders to improve the quality of life in and around YMCA communities. So I pursued this position. I put my best foot forward and was fortunate enough to be selected by the committee.”
Under the umbrella of the YMCA of South Palm Beach County Hagensick will take the helm of all operations for The Peter Blum Family YMCA of Boca Raton; The Schmidt Family Y Preschool; the Volunteer Center in Boca Raton; The DeVos-Blum Family YMCA of Boynton Beach; the YMCA@901 NCCI in Boca Raton and the YMCA of South Palm Beach County’s Community Outreach Center at NCCI.
“Keep on keeping on,” he said. “I’m fortunate enough to be taking over a YMCA that is doing great work. We operate efficiently and effectively, and we have tremendous programs that we offer to the community.”
Hagensick said his short-term goal is to go from great to exceptional by expanding existing programs.
“Our goal is to improve the quality of life in South Palm Beach County, and we’ll do that by partnering with organizations with similar missions and goals.”
Hagensick points to the school district as one of these partners. He’d like to increase the number of kids participating in the Y’s bike safety and water safety programs.
“We currently provide basic Safety Around The Water programming to approximately 3,000 kids annually. I don’t want to serve 3,000; I want to serve 30,000,” said Hagensick. “Every kid should know how to ride a bike. Every kid who lives near water needs basic swimming skills. I can’t imagine any place in the country where that’s more important than South Florida. I want to be able to say that every third grader in Palm Beach County Schools has been given basic water safety skills through the YMCA.”
He would also like to see the YMCA brand reach out further.
“The next phase is to take what we do, the good programs we provide and expand the number of people we’re impacting in a positive way. We’re doing great work; we want to do more of it.”
For more information, visit the YMCA of South Palm Beach County or call, (800) 798-4531.
-by Michelle Kaplan