Familiar face returns to lead local ‘Y’

This past month has been a very busy one at the Cross Timbers Family YMCA in Flower Mound, where a new executive director was appointed, a volunteer received a prestigious award, and their annual campaign to raise money for the non-profit has been underway.

The new Cross Timbers YMCA executive director is well known around town, as he has been a part of the Flower Mound community since 1987 and has even worked at the local Y before.

Jason Walter said he remembers driving down Morris Rd. when it was a two lane black top surrounded by pastures.  Things have changed, and Walter is ready to meet the current challenges at the Y.

A graduate of Marcus High School and the University of North Texas, he began working at what was then the Greater Lewisville YMCA in the summer of 1995, spending the next 12 years in various roles there, leading child care, sports, family and membership programs. Even when Walter left the local YMCA, he was still a part of the Y family. 

“I left the Greater Lewisville YMCA in the spring of 2007 to become the Executive Director of the Garland YMCA in Garland, TX where I have been commuting to the last four years.  Now I am back in the community my family and I call home and we could not be more excited about this opportunity,” Walter said.

“The Cross Timbers YMCA plays an important role in serving the Flower Mound, Lewisville, Highland Village and other surrounding communities and I get to see lives impacted by what we do everyday.”

As for the future, Walter said he envisions the local Y being the center of the community. “I want it to be a place where everyone feels welcome and a place where the needs of our community can be met.  We can do this through our own programs and by partnering with other local businesses and organizations.     Everyday we are nurturing youth development, energizing healthy living and inspiring social responsibility.  I am so proud to work for an organization with such a rich history that is positively impacting people daily.  Stop by and check out the great things we have going on.  We have something for everyone,” Walter said. He and his wife have two children, 5 year old Avery and one year old Blake.

Membership and Wellness Director Karen Thornhill is excited about Walter being chosen as the new executive director, “Jason has grown up in this community, his extended family is here, and his kids go to school here. Jason is eager to hit the ground running and let our community know the Y is here and what can the Y do for our community,” she said.

Just as excitement surrounds Walter returning to the local Y, members and staff are pleased that David Johnson has been awarded the Sam Winstead Volunteer of the Year Award which is presented to a volunteer at each branch who has committed significant time and energy to a program or to the perpetuation of the YMCA in their community. Johnson, a business banker at Regions Bank in Flower Mound and his wife Leigh Ann have lived in Flower Mound for the past 15 years, and they have two children, Mitchell and Lauren.

His love of the YMCA stems back to his childhood in suburban Chicago when he was an Indian Guide, a program that provided high quality time with his dad. Then as a young father here in Flower Mound, Johnson said he turned to Indian Guides for quality time with his own kids.

Now, he is the chairman of the volunteer board for the Cross Timbers YMCA.

“I am a Y volunteer because I am passionate about people, giving back to the community and living out my Christian values. The Cross Timbers YMCA does so much to draw the community in. Receiving the “Volunteer of the Year” award from the Cross Timbers YMCA is significant to me because of what it represents. It is recognition for giving of oneself. It is humbling to receive the award and is an example to all our fundraisers that our hard work does pay off in many ways.  We will receive awards here or in the hereafter,” Johnson said.

Raising money for the Cross Timber’s Annual Partners campaign is fundamental to how successful Cross Timbers is in giving back to our surrounding communities, and Johnson has spent countless hours raising money for the Y.

“The funds raised in our Partners Campaign stay right here in our YMCA for us to use for scholarships for local families. After performing a needs assessment, we use this money to help a young mother with child care or cancer survivors get into an exercise program or a struggling family get their child into soccer, basketball, swim lessons or even an Indian Guide campout.  That’s why I volunteer.”

Another reason he volunteers is because his family has also been a recipient of help from the Y. “Several years ago, while in “Y” Guides, I lost my job. My wife and I did everything we could to cut back. In an effort to keep things as normal as possible for my kids, I really wanted to take them on the Winter Adventure Guides campout to Camp Grady Spruce. With a lump in my throat, I came to the Y to register for the campout and discovered there was a scholarship to help me pay for my kids’ campout that year. At that moment, I truly understood the meaning of the Partner’s Campaign.” 

Bill Cadman, sports director at the local Y, said he is pleased Johnson was selected for the award.

“To me he is a very steadying influence-never too high and more importantly never too low,” Cadman said.

Director of Business and Member Services Deanna Burt also agrees with the choice. “David has definitely brought a sense of urgency and professional leadership to the Board of Management. He truly has the Y in his heart and serves to the greatest benefit of the Y,” she added.

For 2011, the Y needs to raise $122,000 to be able to provide scholarships and assistance to local families that need help paying for swimming lessons, day camp, sports programs and more.

To date, campaigners have raised 79% of that amount, leaving another $25,545 to reach goal.

The Cross Timbers Family YMCA is located at 2021 Cross Timbers Rd. in Flower Mound. For more information on the 2011 Partners Campaign or programs at the Y, call 972-539-9622 or visit www.crosstimbersymca.org.

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