The Alfred Campanelli YMCA in Schaumburg has taken over management of the four branches of the Elgin-based Prairie Valley Family YMCA, the first step toward a full merger within the next two years.
Gary Bublitz, president and CEO of the Campanelli Y, informed the Friends of the Campanelli Y of the change late last week. The move means the Prairie Valley Y's four branches — the Taylor Family Branch in Elgin, locations in Gilberts and St. Charles, and the Camp Edwards branch in East Troy, Wis. — are under the management of the Campanelli Y.
“At this point, we're hoping that the only changes will be positive,” Bublitz said Monday.
The move is consistent with YMCA of the USA's recommendations for smaller Ys to join together to create greater efficiencies and provide a wider array of services, he added.
Though the economy has played a part in the desire to seek such efficiencies, Bublitz said there are other organizational reasons, as well.
Brad McDermott, spokesman for the YMCA of the USA, said sharing resources is encouraged for Ys of all sizes if it can result in serving their communities better. This can either be through a full merger as is happening between Schaumburg and Elgin or simply by sharing back office space or promotional material, he said.
“In recent years we've seen about five mergers a year,” McDermott said. “Large Ys have done it too. It's a local decision and it may not be the right course for every Y.”
The Schaumburg and Elgin organizations together have more than 9,000 members and about 300 full-time and part-time employees. Bublitz said he didn't expect the number of employees would or could shrink significantly apart from upper management — such as his becoming the sole CEO.
In the months ahead, the boards of both Ys will be working together on reducing debt and overhead while continuing to provide high-quality programs to the communities they serve, Bublitz said.
The Prairie Valley Y, formerly the Elgin Y, opened in 1866, according to its website.
In his email to Campanelli Y supporters, Bublitz noted the prior connection between the two merging YMCAs. The Elgin Y created the Twinbrook Y in Schaumburg in 1968. This branch became independent in 1983 and changed its name to Campanelli in 2000, Bublitz wrote.
Bublitz said Monday that the prior relationship between the two Ys should contribute to a harmonious merger. The two suburban YMCA boards felt no pressure from above when they began exploring the possibility of a merger almost two years ago, he added.
Though individual Ys aren't called franchises, that term probably is as close as any to describing the organizational relationship between them and the YMCA of the USA, Bublitz said.
As the merger takes effect, the two Ys probably will adopt a single overall name that both communities can support. But individual branches will still have their own names, so the Schaumburg Y will probably continue to be known as the Campanelli branch no matter what the Y's parent name becomes, Bublitz said.
It's also possible YMCAs across the region may continue to band together in different ways in the future, but the current merger will be work enough for the next two years, he added.Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.