As the Y looks toward an exciting year of serving our community in 2022, we are proud to announce that Guy Christensen will begin a two-year term as Chairman of the Greater Joliet Area YMCA Board of Directors this month. Christensen, who also serves on the Morris Community YMCA’s Advisory Council and is a co-chair for the Morris Y’s Capital Campaign Cabinet, has spent the last two years as the Board’s vice chairman. Christensen’s term as chairman officially began today, when he ceremoniously received the gavel from Past Chairman Nick Macris during this afternoon’s Board Meeting.
“Right down the line, from our Board to our staff, we have so many dedicated people at the Y that it’s easy to get excited about working with them all,” Christensen said.
Christensen, a Morris native, attended Morris Community High School and graduated with an engineering degree from the University of Illinois in 1972. He spent his entire 47-year professional career with Chamlin and Associates, serving as the company’s president for 20 years, and operated as a consulting engineer for several municipalities in Grundy County before retiring in 2019.
His relationship with the Y began in 2013, when he was asked to serve on the Morris Community YMCA Advisory Council, which was tasked with helping expand Y programs and services in Grundy County.
“I talked to many people around the Y, and whether they learned to swim at the Y, or took part in one of the Y’s programs as kids, it seemed like everyone had a Y story,” Christensen said. “Here I was, someone who had never seen the inside of a Y. But, once I saw what the Y could do for a community, I knew I wanted to help Morris and the surrounding communities experience that.”
Christensen said his spirit for the Y mission has grown every day and that supporting the Y has become a passion for not only himself, but his wife, Jan.
“The Y sees no barriers. Everyone has an equal footing at the Y and we help everybody. Nobody is ever turned away for the inability to pay,” he said. “It’s also an incredible place for kids to grow up. They learn to work together and accept one another.”
He also credited the Y’s adaptability as a key aspect of success even when faced with challenges like the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I’m extremely proud of how this Y has handled things during the pandemic. We’ve found new ways to communicate with people, keep them together, and provide services,” he said.
Christensen believes the strong relationships he has built with Past Chairman Nick Macris and President and CEO Katy Leclair will ensure a smooth transition into 2022 and beyond.
“I’m thankful for how gracious Katy and Nick have been. They have always done everything in their power to bring people into the Y circle, make people feel welcome, and feel like they are a part of the process,” he said. “I think we have a great long-range plan, but we know we have to accomplish things one at a time.”
Christensen sees a strong future for the association with another exciting year of YMCA Summer Day Camp on the horizon and the efforts of the Morris Community YMCA Capital Campaign in full swing.
“My goal is to keep up the high standards this Y has set and help everyone in any way that I can,” Christensen said.
On behalf of the Y, we’d like to thank Guy for his continued leadership and wish him well in his new role.