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CEO Of Jamestown YMCA To Retire Next June

The head of the Jamestown Area YMCA for more than 35 years will be retiring next year.

Mark Eckendorf told The Post-Journal he will be retiring in June 2022. He might be continue on in a different role following his retirement, which might be to train the new CEO or support the construction of a new YMCA facility along Harrison Street at the site of the former Watson Manufacturing Company.

“It will depend on what the need might be at that time,” he said.

Eckendorf said the YMCA board hasn’t yet put together a search committee, but a meeting has been held to start the search process.

This isn’t the first time Eckendorf has announced he will be retiring from his Y post. In February 2019, Eckendorf told The Post-Journal he would be retiring June 1, 2019. However, in February 2020 he was asked by the YMCA Board of Directors to continue on as CEO until the possible move of the Jamestown Y from Fourth Street is finalized.

Eckendorf has worked for the YMCA for more than 42 years, starting as a lifeguard at the Glenwood Y in Erie, Pa. After finishing college, he became the youth director for the East Side YMCA in Erie. From there, he spent five years as the Lake County Ohio YMCA youth director before joining the staff of the Jamestown YMCA in 1984 as the youth/family and Camp Onyahsa director. In 1986, Eckendorf was promoted to executive director/CEO of the local Y.

Eckendorf said not everyone can say they have loved their job when they look back on their career.

“The kids and making a difference,” he said about what he loves about his job. “I’m talking about the teens and young ones all the way through. And secondly the staff. Many of them have been successful here, and some have moved on to other positions. I really enjoyed seeing them grow and live a good life.”

Eckendorf said he will keep busy in retirement. He said he likes to raise labrador retrievers, which is a hobby he started while moving from Ohio to the Jamestown area.

“I have a little lab kennel I’ve always had,” he said. “I’ll probably also help out my church (Koinonia Christian Fellows) and spend time with my wife (Pam).”

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