GUILDERLAND Ryan Venter believes most people don’t really know everything the Guilderland YMCA has to offer, but as its new executive director he wants to tell them.
“I see it as a great opportunity and a great place to make a difference in the community,” Venter said of his new position. “I have met a lot of great people. We have a lot of dedicated staff and volunteers within the community that really contribute to the positive atmosphere that we have at the Guilderland Y.”
Venter started settling in to his new job in mid August. He said one of his chief goals is to disrupt the view that the YMCA is simply a workout facility.
“We are more than a fitness center and a pool,” Venter said. “We do a lot of programming with seniors. We do a lot of things in the community. We have programs for youth and other kinds of training opportunities for the community to take advantage of.”
He said people have met lifelong friends through the YMCA, whether through one of the book clubs or fitness classes.
The Guilderland YMCA also operates the organization’s Adventure Camp, formerly known as Camp Nassau, which is located off Route 155. The location is host to unique recreational activities, such as a rock wall for climbing.
“That’s a popular programming option for youth in the area,” Venter said.
The Guilderland Y offers various group fitness and healthy living programs, but some are targeted to certain individual needs like the Circle of Camps that is a program for families that have a child with a life threatening illness.
“We might take them on different programs or day trips,” he said.
Venter graduated from Bethlehem Central High School in 1999 and then Boston College in 2003. He returned to the Capital District and served as the director of athletics and recreation at the Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences since 2005 until recently joining the Capital District YMCA.