Joey Belanger has been named the Olympic Peninsula YMCA’s vice president of operations and YMCA of Sequim branch executive. (Olympic Peninsula YMCA)

Joey Belanger has been named the Olympic Peninsula YMCA’s vice president of operations and YMCA of Sequim branch executive. (Olympic Peninsula YMCA)

YMCA names new Sequim branch executive

SEQUIM — The Olympic Peninsula YMCA has welcomed new leadership and said happy trails to a Sequim-based executive.

Joey Belanger was named the organization’s vice president of operations on March 1 as well as YMCA of Sequim branch executive.

Belanger succeeds Gail Sumpter, who is retiring from the YMCA after many years of service.

Belanger, who will officially start today, has more than 17 years of YMCA leadership experience in program and branch leadership roles. Most recently he served as the district executive director overseeing operations in a five-county service area, including three YMCA branches.

YMCA representatives said he is “dedicated as a servant-leader that emphasizes building relationships with his teams and has a real passion for board and staff development.”

Growing up in Southwest Florida, Belanger began his YMCA journey as a participant and then staff person in YMCA sports and summer camps. He worked as sports director for the Fort Myers YMCA.

“It is my honor to serve in the Y movement and be part of an organization that continues to make such a huge impact on the community,” Belanger said.

In 2016, he worked with the United Way and the school districts in Hendry and Glades counties to begin the first before- and after-school programs for areas of Southwest Florida that had a dire need for services.

From there, Belanger partnered with city and county officials in Hendry County to provide summer camps and swim lessons at a subsidized rate that made it affordable for all.

Over the years, he has helped form partnerships with several other nonprofits to create a greater impact, including Boys & Girls Club, Alliance for the Arts, Our Mother’s Home, the Sheriff’s Youth Activities League and others.

During his career at YMCA of Southwest Florida, Belanger was recognized as the Philanthropy and Strategic Plan Implementation Champion for his association. In 2020, he was recognized as Outstanding Director of the Year by the Chapter 27 YMCA Professional Network. However, one of his proudest achievements was being awarded Nonprofit of the Year by SWFL, Inc. in 2023 for the work and recovery efforts made by Belanger and his team following the aftermath of Hurricane Ian.

Belanger met his wife, Mallory, at the YMCA in 2015, and they are raising their now 2-year-old son, David, as a “Y kid.” Outside of the YMCA, he enjoys hiking and biking with his family, browsing local record stores and being a novice golfer.

“My family and I have dreamed about having the opportunity to move from Florida to the Pacific Northwest for many years now,” Belanger said. “We are beyond excited for that dream to become a reality and join the Olympic Peninsula YMCA family.”

Sumpter retires

Sumpter is a long-time YMCA staff member and former Sequim Aquatic Recreation Center (SARC) staff member who was the YMCA’s aquatics coordinator and safety officer for many years before stepping into the executive role in 2020. She was the aquatics manager at SARC at the time it closed in 2015 and assisted with the transition to YMCA management of the facility.

Sumpter’s leadership was instrumental at the YMCA of Sequim branch during the COVID-19 pandemic, YMCA representatives said. She’s spearheaded several programs over the years, from lifeguard certification training courses and CPR courses for the public to a teen hiking program called Find Your Trail and summer and school break camps for children.

Sumpter said she is excited to have more time exploring the outdoors, kayaking and traveling.

“It’s been an honor to serve at the Y for so many years,” she said in a press release. “I know the staff and branch will be in good hands as Joey transitions into his new roles.”

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Michael Dashiell is the editor of the Sequim Gazette of the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which also is composed of other newspapers Peninsula News and Forks Forum. Reach him at editor@sequimgazette.com.

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