New executive director for Silverdale Y wants it to be people's 'third place'

Haselwood Family YMCA Executive Director Geoff Ball points out where the facility’s fitness center will be located Oct. 8. - Kristin Okinaka/staff photo
Haselwood Family YMCA Executive Director Geoff Ball points out where the facility’s fitness center will be located Oct. 8.
— image credit: Kristin Okinaka/staff photo

For Geoff Ball, appointed executive director for the Haselwood Family YMCA in Silverdale last month, the goal is for residents to think of the facility as a home away from home.

Not only does he hope the center, currently under construction and expected to open in the summer of 2011, will be a place where residents get in shape, but build relationships, he added.

“The goal is really to have our members think of the YMCA as their third place to be,” said Ball, of Bainbridge Island, coming third after home and church, he said.

The 85,000-square-foot facility, to be the centerpiece of a community campus that may include a new library, will include a pool and gym. It will include a staff of 240. A few leadership positions may transfer from other existing YMCAs but Ball said that many of the positions will be filled with people who live in Central Kitsap.

Approximately $2.4 million will go toward the payroll annually, he said, an expansion that is bucking economic trends of downsizing and layoffs.

“In times of unemployment and economic challenges, we’re actually expanding and helping put people to work,” Ball said.

As Ball manages the investment in Silverdale, he hopes residents will do the same.

“When people choose to be invested someplace, it fosters that desire to give back,” Ball said.

Before his position with the Haselwood Family YMCA, Ball was the executive director for Camp Seymour for the YMCA of Pierce and Kitsap Counties on the Key Peninsula. He also headed the Y’s child care programs in the two counties. He started with the YMCA in 1987.

Diana Comfort, now executive director for YMCA of Pierce and Kitsap County Child Care, said in the two years she worked with Ball she learned about planning and decision-making.

“Our loss is Silverdale’s gain,” Comfort said.

Ball said the jobs are similar — he works with volunteers, develops employees and manages dollars and cents.

“The skill set is pretty much the same,” said Ball, referring to tasks of his former and new positions. “Instead of running an overnight camp, I’m thinking, ‘How many seniors will be taking water aerobics or when are we going to have pick-up basketball games in the gym?’”

The facility will cost $22 million. Although about 40 donors have raised $10.3 million, the YMCA still needs to bring in $12 million, said Ball.

“I would bet when we’re all done, we’ll be close to $14 million,” said Ball, exceeding the fundraising goal. “That’s me crossing my fingers, not looking into a crystal ball.”

The investment from the community is already starting, he said. About 500 people have already signed up for memberships, with a majority of them being Silverdale and Central Kitsap residents, Ball said. In the spring he will begin to solicit feedback from members, including their wishes for the types of programs offered and hours of operation.

Ball enjoys hiking with his wife and five children and when he can squeeze in the time, goes golfing. He’s been a Kitsap County resident for 10 years.

He foresees a lot of excitement when the center finally opens.

“People are hungry for it,” he said.

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