Local YMCA Chapter Names New Executive Director
David Lawton was recently became the Executive Director of the Hyde Park YMCA, which serves Milton and other neighboring communities.
Milton’s local branch of the YMCA, which is located at 1137 River Street, Hyde Park, has a new face in the helm in an experienced Executive Director, who is dedicated to providing the best services to all residents within the facility’s service area.
On June 4, David Lawton became the newest Executive Director of the Hyde Park YMCA. Lawton comes to the area after 16 years of running the Franklin County Family YMCA in Rocky Mount, Virginia.
The transition from Virginia to Massachusetts is not as large as one would expect as Lawton’s family is from New Bedford and he attended UMass Dartmouth for college.
“It really was more of a coming home,” Lawton said of his return to New England. “It’s a very comfortable move for me.”
After working in Boston for a short time following graduation, Lawton was offered a “dream job” to run the same YMCA summer camp he attended as a child in Richmond, Virginia. During his return south, Lawton served as the Executive Director for the YMCA of Greater Richmond.
Lawton is now focused on immersing himself in the service area of the Hyde Park Y, which includes Milton, Hyde Park, Jamaica Plain, Mattapan, Roslindale and Greater Boston.
He will bring a dedication to the YMCA principles of “youth development, healthy living and social responsibility” to the local chapter, which has served the area for 116 years.
Lawton said he looks at the Hyde Park YMCA’s service area in one, three and five mile radiuses. The one-mile radius is a more urban area with a greater population of immigrants. Just outside of that are families who have set roots in the area for generations. The range of diversity provides a unique set of circumstances for the organization.
“It’s inherent on the Hyde Park Y to have something for people no matter what,” said Lawton.
While Lawton’s first month on the job has been spent in the YMCA-owned Constitution Inn in Boston, he plans to settle in the Hyde Park Y’s service area.
“It’s important to understand the community by living in it,” said Lawton.
By being in the community, both as a resident and a resource, Lawton hopes to cater to the needs of all stakeholders. Lawton also explained the importance of avoiding just providing the traditional YMCA services.
“We have to listen before we speak,” Lawton said.
This philosophy of understanding the community before applying resources in manifested in Lawton’s day-to-day job, which he says is mostly spent outside the walls of the YMCA.
Lawton is currently meeting with residents who are involved in both the Hyde Park YMCA and other community groups. From there, the new Executive Director plans to network with other organizations, which have not always worked with the Y.
“We need to be in a position to make smart decisions to serve people,” said Lawton of meeting with religious, community and other local organizations.
Outside of understanding need, there is the challenge of funding. Running a non-profit, Lawton is extremely aware that the allocation of funds to one program or group of people, means resources taken from another area.
“We take very seriously that it’s an expectation of out donors that we are smart with the resources,” Lawton said.
While Lawton has to balance many groups in programming, he comes into a favorable situation with the Hyde Park YMCA building.
The current building was built in 1921, and until the extensive renovations of 2010, the finite funds were more likely to be spent on upkeep than people.
“The building was gutted down to the walls so everything here is a year and a half old,” said Lawton.
While the pool in the same size as the previous one, it has been completely redone. The facility also offers several health and wellness rooms with various cardio, free weights and lifting equipment. There is also a teen area, complete with a compute lab.
The situation provides an opportunity for the new director to focus entirely on “youth development, healthy living and social responsibility” right here at home.