YMCA director ready to lead

Published 12:21 am Friday, November 4, 2016

NATCHEZ — Metropolitan YMCAs of Mississippi’s Natchez director began moving downtown Monday and said she hopes to hit the ground running next week.

Alice Agner has been with the YMCA for five years and said she was looking forward to enhancing recreation in Natchez-Adams County.

“We have been brought in to make the experience better, not start it from scratch,” Agner said. “I am just looking forward to being here.

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“We are not necessarily here to move the Y forward, but to help Natchez grow. I am glad to be a part of it.”

Agner began with the YMCA as an afterschool counselor, worked in membership administration and moved into a childcare position most recently.

In the spring, Agner said the YMCA hopes to begin a youth soccer program for children ages 3 and 4. And in the summer, Agner said the pool should be finished.

“We hope to build a swim team and have public family swim time,” she said. “And the multi-purpose fields, we can use those for a variety of activities.”

The YMCA is also considering the creation of an after-school program with the public schools, and Agner said she hopes to help facilitate that as well as reaching out to other agencies.

Agner said in Jackson, the YMCA has reached out to many non-profits in efforts to help improve what they offer. Agner said she would be reaching out to the different organizations to see how the YMCA can help.

“It really just depends on what the needs are of the community,” she said. “We are flexible in what we do.”

Agner said a good thing about the YMCA is they can help people by providing assistance to folks who have trouble paying.

“It just makes you feel good, and we have done that time and time again for the community,” Agner said. “If you can’t afford membership, we offer assistance and not a lot of places have that.

“It’s good to give back and see that your work has an impact on people’s lives.”

Natchez-Adams County Recreation Commission Chair Tate Hobdy said he is excited to have a full-time representative of the YMCA living in Natchez.

“I think it will make a big impact having someone here,” he said. “I think it will make things progress much more quickly.”

Working with Agner over the past few months has been a good experience, Hobdy said.

“I think she is the right person for the job,” he said. “I have gone to visit her programs in Jackson, and they are squeaky clean and under budget. She has a great staff up there, and I think she can do the same thing in Natchez.”

While it will not be ready for a few weeks, Agner’s office will be at the Duncan Park tennis facility.

Being a part of Natchez is something Agner is looking forward to.

“I am from New Orleans, and I’ve heard all kind of great things about the festivals Natchez puts on,” Agner said. “I am just looking forward to trying to be a part of this community and becoming a Natchezian.”