This week we chat with George Sorensen, director of the Brandon Family YMCA. Sorensen grew up in Neptune Beach near Jacksonville and played football and ran track while attending the University of North Florida. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in communications, then became coordinator of the Yates Family YMCA in downtown Jacksonville before eventually moving here in 2005. It is here that he met his wife, Ashley, who heads the Northwest Hillsborough Family YMCA on Waters Avenue.
I have been with the Tampa YMCA association since August of 2005. My Tampa career began at the South Tampa Family YMCA , then I was interim executive director of the Bob Gilbertson Central City Family YMCA for 10 months before becoming the executive director of the Brandon Family YMCA in April of 2009. I am coming up on my fourth anniversary in Brandon and glad to be making an impact on the lives of those we serve each day.
At the Y, we offer so much more than just a gym and swim. We are really focused on strengthening the foundations of our community by nurturing the potential of every child and teen; improving our community members' health and well-being; and giving back and providing support to our neighbors. To stay relevant the Brandon YMCA is focused on being the cornerstone in the community where families have a safe, affordable place to raise a family and be healthy, where active older adults can feel welcome, be connected and remain healthy, where children and teens are involved in enrichment programs aimed at stimulating the spirit, mind and body, where volunteers come to make a difference in lives and so much more.
Last February the Brandon Y expanded our wellness center, added more youth activity space and remodeled the dance center. As a result, we have received very positive feedback and an increase in the number of members and participants we are able to serve in these three areas. The remodeling, coupled with additional programming, have really given us the ability to impact the lives of more members and program participants over the last 12 months.
That is a really great question because it really depends on the type of membership and time of the year. In our youth development areas our learn-to-swim programs, basketball, gymnastics and our summer camps are very popular for the family. On the healthy living side of the Brandon Y the variety of group exercise classes, year-round swimming and the newly expanded wellness center are very popular. That said, many more families, active older adults and individuals are taking advantage of all the amenities the Brandon Y as to offer!
I will mix it up between the treadmill and elliptical. I also enjoy riding my bike outside!