Year in Review: Annual Meeting Comments

Y Logo Background
2019-2020 Year in Review
Annual Meeting Comments from CEO Tom Beerntsen


Good afternoon and thank you for joining us for our 2020 Annual Meeting of the Door County YMCA.  In a normal year the Annual Meeting is a time to look back at the year just completed, share the successes we enjoyed and visit about the challenges we faced.  This past year was unlike any in our thirty two year history of the YMCA in Door County.  

As you may know, our YMCA has a fiscal year which ends on May 31st of each year.  This past fiscal year, as we entered our tenth month of the year in March, the Y was enjoying its best year on record.  Membership reached an all-time high of more than 9,000 members, program participation was strong and we were ahead of budget and headed toward our seventh consecutive year of operating with a balanced budget.

And then the COVID – 19 pandemic arrived in Door County and our Y closed its doors on March 18th for the remainder of our fiscal year.  Our staff went from about 280 full and part time employees to less than 20.  The good news is that we have now begun to recall staff, reopened our program center doors and are beginning to serve our members as we bring our facilities slowly back to life.  The bad news is the impact of the pandemic will have an effect on our operations well into this New Year of operations and beyond.  Sadly the road to what we now recognize as a “new normal” will be challenging and in many ways painful as we recreate our YMCA operations to recognize the realities of less income and higher expenses.

But let me assure you that it is not all gloom and doom.  In fact it is quite the contrary.  We entered this time of challenge with a large membership, passionate donors, a skilled and able staff and volunteer teams and a vibrant program.  So while we are at the beginning stages of re-establishing our program and rebuilding our membership, we should not forget to celebrate the successes we did enjoy this past year because it this reality of a strong YMCA program which will allow us to succeed in the future.

Our mid-year record membership is something we should all celebrate.  We passed 9,000 members late last year for first time in our history.  9,000 members means that about one third of the residents of our county were members of the YMCA.  This is exceptional and unusual market penetration.  As you would expect we have a large senior membership.  Across our branches about 44% of our membership is members 60 years of age and above.  It is also noteworthy that we have maintained our promise to the community to serve all without regard to financial ability.  In March of this year we had about 1,200 members who enjoyed the Y through our fee assistance Membership For All Program.  Looking forward we cannot lose our focus on serving all as we now live in a community where unemployment has risen and individuals and families will need the YMCA now more than ever before.

I would be remiss if I did not mention the wonderful success we enjoyed in our Annual Campaign efforts.  Each year we work to raise in excess of $500,000 to insure that no one is denied Y services because of an inability to pay.  I am pleased to report that, in the midst of COVID – 19 pandemic, we met and exceeded our goal of $525, 000.  This is an impressive result and is a reflection of how valued our Y program is to the community and speaks volumes about our donors who understand that Door County needs a strong YMCA.

So I do not forget, I must mention the special contribution that Ryan Hoernke has made the past three years as the chairman of our Board.  It has been a pleasure to work with Ryan and support his leadership of the YMCA board and program.  Ryan has been committed, passionate and focused.  Beyond that, his family is a wonderful example of a Y family.  They participate regularly and volunteer often.  You should know we have been blessed to have Ryan as our leader and benefited from his leadership and example.

I want to also thank our Board of Directors for their service and leadership this past year.  Your Board makes decisions every month which shape our Y program and these good volunteers deserve our appreciation.

And while we are talking about great people, I want to mention the talented folks who work full and part time for the Y.  We are so fortunate to have a staff which is skilled and able and appreciates the importance of what the Y does each day to change the lives of individuals and families.  It is a pleasure to work with a staff team which shows up every morning knowing that by the end of the day they will have made a positive difference in the lives of the members and guests who use and enjoy our Y facilities every day. 

I should also mention the status of our work to improve the Sturgeon Bay facility.  While we have not formally announced a campaign to modestly expand and refresh the Sturgeon Bay program center, as we did the Northern Door branch in Fish Creek three years ago, we did begin work this past year to improve the our original 1997 facility.  Planning for these improvements began well in advance of any knowledge of the arrival of the pandemic earlier this year.  The objectives of the project continue to be to: expand the wellness center to provide more space for equipment, expand the women’s locker room, increase the locker area for families and folks with special needs and provide more lobby and social spaces for our growing membership, particularly our senior members.  

Interestingly, all of these improvements would speak to the expectations of our members now as we look at a new way of doing business in areas which have more space and are designed to be cleaned more easily.  While current circumstances have caused us to pause in our planning and fund raising efforts, we will not lose our focus on the importance of these improvements.

Looking forward we face uncertain times in our operations.  We know that membership and program participation will be down, through no fault of our own, and expenses will be up as we work to meet the expectation of our members and guests for greater attention to cleanliness.  Until there is a widely accepted vaccine for the COVID – 19 virus, people will be hesitant and concerned about returning to anything which resembles normal.  And even then the need for social distancing and cleanliness will be a commonly accepted expectation in our program centers.

While there seems to be much uncertainty in our daily lives, the good news is that at the YMCA we continue to be certain that:

  • There has never been a greater need for a mission driven, values based organization, like the YMCA, than there is today.  The core values of the Y, Caring, Honesty, Respect and Responsibility, have never been more relevant and important
  • We will continue to be welcoming to all without regard to financial ability
  • We will continue to be focused on the importance of healthy lifestyles, and
  • We will not lose track of the importance of maintaining a place where individuals of all ages find friends and remain socially engaged.


I continue to be proud to work with your YMCA and a great group of staff and Board members.  I hope that you are pleased with the YMCA program and will find time in your schedule use, enjoy and support the Door County YMCA.  

Tom Beerntsen, CEO - Door County YMCA



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