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Queens Chronicle

New Y chief ‘in love with its mission’

Jen Silvers promises to be service-oriented in Flushing

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Posted: Thursday, July 17, 2014 10:30 am

The Flushing YMCA has a new executive director who has promised to improve services to members, while encouraging other area residents to join.

Jen Silvers, who has 12 years of experience working for the Y in the South, replaces William Nelson. Silvers’ last position was as executive director of the Jacksonville, Fla. YMCA.

“I think one of the biggest changes people will notice will be the overall member experience,” she said. “We will be focusing on customer service and making sure that members are receiving the absolute best service and experience that we can provide. ... Our members will feel a difference when they walk into the branch.”

The Flushing Y, located at 138-46 Northern Blvd., has an $8 million budget and 3,600 members, many of whom are part of family member=ships, so Silvers estimates it’s more like 6,000 people.

“The Y is their place,” she said, “but we want people to know that we are also a charity and that we are so much more than a place for people to work out and swim. We truly are making a difference in our community.”

Silvers added that no one is ever turned away and that the facility’s residence offers temporary transitional housing for two city agencies.

The residence has 127 rooms and Silvers says for out-of-towners, it’s the best deal in town. Rooms start at $65 a night. “We are close to public transportation, great restaurants and Manhattan,” she said.

This summer, up to 50 students from China are also living at the Y while doing internships in the city.

The Flushing Y provides early childhood education, afterschool programs and a project for new immigrants. It also sponsors sports for youth, ballet and gym classes and has what Silvers calls “state-of-the-art workout equipment.”

A native of Washington, DC, Silvers was an avid soccer player and attended the University of Kansas. She was a reporter for TV stations in Topeka, Kan. and Lynchburg, Va., before working for the Lynchburg Y.

“People ask me why I went from broadcasting to the Y and the answer is I did a story on the Lynchburg Y and fell in love with it and the Y’s mission,” she said. “I like it that we serve people from infancy to over 100 years old.”

Silvers received her master’s degree from Lynchburg College and went on to work at Ys in Tampa and other areas in Florida.

She enjoys running and has completed two marathons, among other races, and is excited about competing in this fall’s New York City Marathon.

When not working, the new director spends time with her two dogs, Tully, a golden retriever, and Tucker, a golden doodle.

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