Y’s new leader sees growth potential for organization

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 20 April 2015 at 12:00 am

Photos by Tom Rivers – Shauna Parkinson is the new executive director of the Orleans County YMCA, which is based at the former Medina Armory on Pearl Street. She officially starts the job on May 4.

MEDINA – The Orleans County YMCA’s new executive director likes the small town setting in the Y that is based at the former Medina Armory.

Shauna Parkinson said the community can expect top-notch programs, staff and equipment at the local Y.

She has been part of the Y in Western New York since she began volunteering in 1999 at a camp in Wyoming County. She then worked part-time at the Y before being hired full-time in 2004. She has been the senior program director for the Southtowns YMCA.

“I wanted something smaller with a more intimate setting,” she said about the choice to work in Orleans County.

She is pleased to join the Orleans County Y, which has just completed $570,000 in renovations and improvements to the historic Armory building. The capital improvement project makes the building more handicapped accessible, energy efficient and much more appealing and accommodating to its members, said Dean Bellack, one of the board members.

Shauna Parkinson meets with Jessica Leno at the new reception desk at the Orleans County YMCA. There is also a new women’s changing room and bathroom in the main foyer.

The improvements include a new side ramp and entrance to the building on Pearl Street. The gym floor has been resurfaced. The racquetball courts were taken out, which freed up space for a new lobby area near the side entrance. A new exercise room also was created.

The Y has added heat and air-conditioning units. The 86 windows in the building also were scraped, primed and painted.

A unisex bathroom has been added on the main floor as well as numerous signage.

Parkinson said the improvements are a sign the community supports the Y.

“It’s a great opportunity to work with a community that is committed to the Y, with a dedicated board and staff,” she said.

The changes at the Y are intended to make the historic building more comfortable.

Parkinson officially begins her work in Medina on May 4. She plans to develop and expand health and wellness programs, perhaps through collaborations with other organizations in the community.

Bellack said Parkinson is a good hire for the Y.

“She has tremendous Y experience and she smiles and has enthusiasm,” he said. “She knows everything we’re doing and can do it right off the bat.”