(Herald-Times (Bloomington, IN) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) March 25--Roberta Kelzer admits having mixed emotions about stepping down as CEO of the Monroe County YMCA, a decision that will go into effect June 30.
"This was not an easy decision," said Kelzer, who's served as the Y's executive director for the past 15 years. "It's something that Tom (her husband) and I started to consider in recent months. I do know the YMCA has given me far more than I could ever give back."
Kelzer, 55, said the primary reason she's giving up her position is to spend more time with her husband and their three children -- Sarah Bassett, 26; Hannah Kelzer, 24; and Jake Kelzer, 20 -- all of whom live in Bloomington. Jake is a redshirt freshman on the IU baseball team.
"Our priority has always been family," she said. "But I couldn't leave the Y without knowing we have a strong foundation of staff and volunteers in place, and that the Y is heading in a positive direction. I care about this Y, and I think this is the best time to make this transition."
She said she's giving a three-month notice so the board will have time to find a new CEO.
YMCA Association board member Ron Remak praised Kelzer for possessing a wealth of positive energy, vision and leadership ability.
"But she also has a real passion for reaching out into the community with a consistent focus on the end users -- the families and children who use the Y," he said. "Everyone feels comfortable with Roberta and knows where her heart is. There are many things that will be her legacy, but I think the collaborative programs she's helped lead at the Y will be near the top of the list."
Former YMCA board president David Sabbaugh agreed, saying, "She's done a great job informing our community what we do at the Y, how we promote healthy lifestyles and build family ties and a sense of community."
Remak said Kelzer has also exhibited strong fiscal responsibility, coupled with fiscal transparency.
Kem Hawkins, president of the YMCA Association board, called Kelzer a "great lady" who's been instrumental in the membership and program growth at the Southeast Y and the creation of the Northwest Y -- overseeing such projects as the gymnastics center, new Southeast Y swimming pool, partnership with IU Health and Center for Children and Families.
"She truly has had an impressive tenure," Hawkins said.
Kelzer has a 28-year history at the YMCA, beginning as a part-time camp counselor before becoming camp director, youth director, associate executive director and executive director.
She said she is not pursuing another job. Instead, she plans to increase her social activities and her volunteer involvement with community organizations and projects. She will also resume some long-forgotten hobbies, such as gardening and biking.
Kelzer said she will play more tennis and do more exercising at the Y. She will cease teaching her arthritis aquatics class when she resigns as CEO, but after a while, hopes to return to the Y to teach that class.
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