New aquatics team at Waynesboro Family YMCA ready to make big splash
Michael Sullivan, when interviewing for the aquatic director job at the Waynesboro Family YMCA, mentioned casually that he likes to tinker with cars.
That bit of information pretty much sealed the deal for YMCA Executive Director Jeff Fife.
“It’s an odd thing, but when he popped up saying he liked to fix cars, I was like, perfect, that’s a great fit, because this pool is going to break, and we’re going to need a lot of fixing creative troubleshooting under the hood,” said Fife, who has been at his post since 2004.
Sullivan is one of two new team members at the Waynesboro Y. Olivia Watts is also new on board as program coordinator for aquatics and sports, with plans to tap into her experience as a college cheerleader to add cheer and tumbling camps to the YMCA’s youth programming schedule in the coming months.
“We’ve also discussed cross country and more indoor soccer and things. Just trying to get everybody involved and have a program that everyone can do here is the main goal, somewhere where everyone can fit,” Watts said.
Both Watts and Sullivan have backgrounds in aquatics and lifeguarding. Sullivan was most recently at ACAC in Charlottesville, and was drawn to the Y in Waynesboro “because it is a family-oriented nonprofit, and it just seemed like a really friendly place, a place where I felt like I could fit in.”
Watts, whose father, Chris Watts, is the long-time football coach at Liberty High School in Bedford, was similarly looking for a family, team-oriented atmosphere.
“They just made me feel so like at home, like they were already, in my first interview, they were like, if you have to live with one of us, we’ll host you here. They were just all super friendly. I really liked the vibe here in Waynesboro,” Watts said.
The duo has been tasked with hitting the ground running – maybe more appropriate to their jobs, to make a big splash.
“I love what they’ve been able to do in this short period of time,” Fife said. “We threw them in the deep end, excuse the metaphor right out of the gate. I mean, you’ve just got to jump right in with both feet. And I’ve been impressed with both of their energy and dedication so far.
“The reality is, for our employees, we’ve got 58 employees here, and we are always encouraging the professional growth of our employees, and not just trying to make the kids we serve their best selves, but trying to give that opportunity for our members and our employees to be their best selves as well. I’ve just been really pleased to see what they’ve done out of the gate,” Fife said.
Story by Chris Graham