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Mecklenburg YMCA hires new CEO

South Boston News
Michael DeNise
SoVaNow.com / March 20, 2013
The Mecklenburg County YMCA has a new CEO — 28-year-old Michael DeNise, who comes to Clarksville and Chase City from the YMCA in Farmville.

With the Southside Virginia Family YMCA in Farmville, DeNise oversaw facilities, youth programs including child care, Kids Night Out, karate, tumbling, and summer camp, and the aquatics program. He also was a member of the Y’s strategic planning team.

All this experience, as well as training in fundraising through the Indiana School of Philanthropy, was developed during his five-year stint in Farmville.

He said the Mecklenburg County YMCA has “potential that is yet to be realized.” DeNise also likes the fact that there is a “high sense of community pride” at both Mecklenburg Y branches, in Chase City and Clarksville.

DeNise says he was looking for a new challenge when the CEO position opened up with the Mecklenburg County YMCA. DeNise said he is excited about the opportunity to take the organization through “growing stages.” He is forecasting successful expansion of the YMCA because of the dedication of its members.

DeNise said he is familiar with the recent failed merger effort by the Mecklenburg County and the Halifax County YMCAs. However, he intentionally has not spoken to Halifax County YMCA director Marcus Hargrave about his experiences in Mecklenburg County, wanting instead to reach his own conclusions.

He also said he is not ready to discuss new programming or specific changes that he would like the Mecklenburg Y to undergo, aside from educating the community about the mission of the Y and its impact on the community.

“I plan to talk to the members and others in the community before making any changes or additions to the programs,” DeNise said.

The success of the Farmville Y was not dependent on how many programs it offered, DeNise said, but the quality of those programs. One thing he hopes to implement at the YMCA is a committee similar to one he had in place in Farmville, “the fun committee.” Its function is to look at every event and program with an eye toward making it better, and more fun.

As he transitions into this new job, DeNise said, “I want everyone to know about me that no matter whether you have good news or bad, I have an open door. I am here to serve, so call or stop by.”

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