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YMCA of Greater Charlotte
YMCA of Greater Charlotte
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Andy Calhoun first experienced the power of the Y as a 10-year-old camper at YMCA Camp Cheerio. Fifty-five years after that seminal summer, he receives the YMCA of Greater Charlotte's highest honor – recognition of a life devoted to the Y, and to the cause of strengthening community.

A native of Thomasville, North Carolina, Andy has served since 2000 as President and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Charlotte, helping inspire unprecedented growth: some 300,000 people served each year; an annual budget of $80 million; annual and seasonal staff totaling 4,700; and more than 400 branch and corporate board members. Andy has presided over that growth with a singular blend of vision and warmth, making time in his day to meet with the region's top leaders but also to encourage and share a hug with colleagues who work and lead in every facet of the Y's mosaic.

More than shepherding the Y's growth, Andy has touched countless lives by helping establish a variety of new programs and branches, many of them connecting with families and communities in greatest need. Among his team's proudest accomplishments is the commitment to providing one kind of YMCA for every community and expanding resident camp.

Team is the operative word. “The power is in the ‘we',” Andy says. “I truly believe that's what has made this very unique YMCA great.”

Andy began his YMCA of Greater Charlotte career in 1972 – 44 years ago – as Assistant Youth Director at the Central YMCA (now the Dowd YMCA). He held a number of roles before becoming Chief Operating Officer in 1994. In March 2000, he succeeded his friend and mentor, the late Harry Brace, as President and Chief Executive Officer. He begins his next Y role in April, serving as Senior Vice President, Large YMCA Resources, with YMCA of the USA. As if all that isn't enough to fill his heart and soul with the Y, he and his wife, JoAnn, met while working at the Central YMCA. They have two children, A.J., 23, and Katey, 22, who spent much of their childhood at the Y.

What brought Andy to YMCA Camp Cheerio that fateful summer of 1960 when his Y journey began?

Andy's father, Odell, had died from a heart attack when he was only four. His mother, Lola, was searching for a positive influence for Andy and his sister, Anne Kaye Hale. It was there, as a Y camp counselor, where Andy learned what it means to be shaped and supported by something bigger than yourself.

“The Y enriches and transforms lives as it did for me,” Andy says, 55 years later. “It really does. It builds community in all aspects of the word.”

Learn more about Andy's 16 years of YMCA impact >>