Meet the New Guy at the Y
For the YMCA's new executive director, it's a little like coming home.
The South Oakland YMCA has a new man at the helm. Kyle Anderson transferred from a Houston Y in November to take over as the new executive director at the Royal Oak facility.
The transition should be a smooth one. In fact, it will be a little like coming home.
While it's clear Anderson is from Texas – his classic southern drawl and a space heater next to his desk give him away – his wife is from the area and the couple is looking forward to setting up roots in Michigan with their three young (6, 4, and 2) sons.
Anderson started his career with the YMCA in Houston 11 years ago. He then transferred to Michigan where he worked at the Macomb branch in Mt. Clemens and the Lakeshore branch in St. Clair Shores before returning to back to Houston to be a Y director there.
Anderson joked that when the couple lived in Michigan, the state set records for snowfall, and when they lived in the Lone Star State they endured droughts and record-breaking heat. After multiple days of 100 degree heat and humidity in Houston, he welcomed the get a chance to return to the area, he said. The opening was created when director Lynne Wilcox took a resource director position with the YMCA in Florida.
"The move back to Michigan has been very easy for my wife," Anderson said. "And, I enjoyed my time here."
Investing in the community
Anderson wants everyone in the community to get to know the Y and use the facility.
"Our goal is to be the best part of your day," he said.
He's looking forward to learning what the community wants and needs.
"I want to throw a bunch of stuff out there to see what sticks," he said.
One of the things Anderson wants to do is remodel the facility, which is more than 60 years old. He's familiar with the City of Royal Oak's Parks & Recreation Master Plan and has read what residents say they want, including an outdoor swimming pool or a splash pad.
"We can't promise anything, but rather we are exploring," he said. "We want to be a one-stop shop that meets all your family's needs."
Something for everyone
While Anderson admits the facility may be a bit dated, there is always something new at the Y.
"We're always getting a little bit better and updating," he said.
From pre-natal classes to kids camps to family Zumba to Silver Sneakers, there is something for everyone – from womb to tomb, he said.
To make sure programs are adequately funded, the Y will kick off its Strong Kids Campaign on Feb. 5 with a goal of raising $80,000. All of the money raised stays in the community helping people, Anderson said.
"We're more than a gym and swim. Our investment in the community is growing."
Texan gets a warm welcome
For the time being, Anderson and his family are renting in St. Clair Shores.
"We're looking to see where we end up," he said.
While being close to the lake is appealing, so are the "excellent" restaurants of Royal Oak, he said.
"Royal Oak has a little of everything. I know my boys are going to love the train ride at Starr Jaycee and the Royal Oak Nature Society does tremendous work here," he said. "And, you can go downtown and just about anything you can possibly think to do is all right there. Lots of people tell me when they get home from work they love to walk downtown. And, Royal Oak is becoming a cycling town, too."
Anderson has received a warm welcome from Mayor Jim Ellison and the Royal Oak Chamber of Commerce and is looking forward to partnering with the city at events such as the Dream Cruise and Arts, Beats & Eats.
Why the Y?
If you haven't been to the South Oakland YMCA in a while, consider taking a Why the Y tour. The next one is scheduled Feb. 7 from 8-9 a.m. A light meal and an overview of the Y's involvement in the community will be provided.
The Power of the Y luncheon, to be held on Apr. 18 from noon to 1 p.m., is another opportunity to learn more about the programs and mission of the YMCA.
The YMCA serves Royal Oak, Ferndale, Berkley, Huntington Woods, Pleasant Ridge, Oak Park, Clawson and Hazel Park.
The hours of operation are 5 a.m.-10:30 p.m. Monday through Friday; 7 a.m. - 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
To learn more visit: ymcadetroit.org/south-oakland.