Will cherish my time in ‘Natchez’
Dear Natchez: The chapter of my life titled “Natchez” has come to an end. I have decided to move back to Jackson. My work with the YMCA will continue, but in another capacity. I’ve made a few friends and even more wonderful memories of this jewel of a town that I will cherish.
The YMCA will continue to operate here in Natchez. Our CEO and Natchez-Adams County Recreation Commission are working diligently to find a new operations director for Natchez. It was almost exactly two years to the day that I moved here. I moved here with a lot of goals and even more nerves. I maybe knew a handful of people. What I did know, was that I had a job to do. One that from the very beginning was like climbing Mt. Everest.
I was the first YMCA employee in Natchez. As operations director, my job was to oversee recreation and develop programs to help improve the quality of life for all Natchezians. I won’t go into all of the reasons why this was almost impossible for the longest time, but it was. My first year was seemingly spent working out the details of what authority the YMCA did have over recreation. That issue seems to be settled, at least for now.
My second year has been almost entirely devoted to the Natchez Adams County Aquatics Center. From making decisions about paint colors, attending multiple required trainings — think lifeguard and Certified Pool Operator, to hiring staff, to creating documents, meeting with vendors and a million different things, the pool officially opened on June 8, 2018.
Since opening we have trained over 20 lifeguards, had more than 2,500 swimmers, employed approximately 20 part time/seasonal workers, taught swimming lessons and partnered with Sunkist to start a swim team.
I am proud of what I have accomplished in Natchez. I would be remiss if I did not thank the Adams County Board of Supervisors and Natchez Mayor and Board of Alderman for their support of our mission here in Natchez.
To the members of the Natchez Adams County Recreation Commission, I wish this community knew how hard you all work to improve the lives of its citizens.
You work behind the scenes, with little acknowledgment and no glory. In the opinion of some, you don’t work quickly enough. I want those people to know that you work thoughtfully and cautiously in what you do. Ensuring that funds are spent wisely and in ways to benefit many in the community. Your support and guidance has kept me going when I felt like giving up. Tate Hobdy, Ray Brown, Ralph Daniel, John Ward Junkin, Jimmy Ware, Natalie Dunn, Moses Ard, Beatrice Collins and Willie Woods, keep doing what you are called to do.
Alice Agner is outgoing director YMCA of Natchez.