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Advocate Editorial Board opinion: Strong vision leads to positive changes at YMCA

By By the Advocate Editorial Board
May 8, 2014 at 12:08 a.m.


What makes someone a great leader? It could be a person's charisma or his or her ability to inspire others. But those qualities are nothing without a strong vision for the future.

The YMCA of the Golden Crescent has found that in Chris Seilkop, the chief executive officer of Victoria's YMCA. Seilkop has been a part of the Golden Crescent team since the fall of 2011, and in that time, he has worked to improve the facilities and the programs offered in Victoria to better serve the community.

Seilkop's story is one of overcoming adversity from an early age. When he was 7, his right leg was amputated below the knee after an accident with a lawnmower. But instead of letting that injury limit him, he continued to play, compete and keep pace with his friends, eventually becoming a volleyball player on the U.S. Paralympic team. That drive and determination can still be seen in how he is working to transform and improve the YMCA of the Golden Crescent, which includes the Victoria YMCA and the Calhoun County YMCA.

Before Seilkop came, the Victoria YMCA was struggling to meet its financial needs, Bob Coen, chairman of the board of directors of YMCA of the Golden Crescent, said in a previous article. Under Seilkop's leadership, the YMCA has begun to make a major turnaround. Instead of struggling, the facility is looking toward a renovation. In addition, the Victoria YMCA has recently created a plan with the city of Victoria to partner on building a new public pool that will feature water slides, a covered portion, lap lanes and more.

The YMCA has a history of working to provide services for the community, and Seilkop has taken that to heart in his leadership. We've seen the positive effects manifest through the success of the YMCA as well as in the expansion of its programs. The youth basketball program has grown from 90 to 260 participants, and the number of after-school sites has grown from nine to 14.

We applaud Seilkop for his ongoing efforts to bring positive change to the Victoria YMCA and the YMCA of the Golden Crescent. His work has created an amazing shift in the past few years, and we can only imagine what great things will come over the years under his passionate, vision-driven leadership. We look forward to seeing his plans come to fruition.

Thank you for everything you do. We hope Victoria and the Crossroads will have many more years to partner with you.

This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.

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