Valley of the Sun YMCA President and CEO George Scobas officially announced today that he will be retiring as of April 15, 2014. Scobas began his career as a Youth Director and Ski Instructor at the YMCA in Cheyenne, Wyoming back in 1974. His retirement closes the chapter on a more than 40 year story of service to the YMCA that illustrates his lasting legacy of positively impacting the lives of those in the communities he served.
Scobas began his work with the Valley of the Sun YMCA in 1999, when he was hired as COO. In 2009 he was named President/CEO. During his nearly 15 years in the Valley, he has worked tirelessly to raise awareness of social service programs provided by the YMCA. Many of the services now available are a result of Scobas’ hard work and ability to create successful community and corporate partnerships. One initiative he is most proud of is his work with Jerry Colangelo, Cotton Fitzsimmons, Tom Ambrose and Jim Pittman, developing the Jr. Suns/Jr. Mercury program that now serves more than 23,000 youth each year.
Throughout his career, Scobas has faced obstacles and moved forward with what some might say were challenging initiatives. While supervising all suburban and inner-city YMCA branches in the Chicago area, he created intervention programs, hiring gang members to work the street and build relationships with the community. He worked with housing projects in some of the city’s most crime-ridden neighborhoods to help families get medication and food. Scobas was also instrumental in spearheading a movement while in Topeka, Kansas that eventually led to passing legislation and setting a national precedent for tax status of all YMCAs nationally.
“I’ve never shied away from challenges and I really enjoy getting my hands dirty, said Scobas. “Growing relationships and connecting to others gives me a strong sense of accomplishment. I’m proud of all that I’ve accomplished over the last 40 years, especially all the positive impact I’ve had and the connections I’ve made here in the Valley.”
Additional career accomplishments here in the Valley include developing the i-LEARN program, for students who struggle in traditional high schools, medical and dental clinics for uninsured children, bringing the
Y-Diabetes Prevention Program to all Valley of the Sun locations and establishing an extensive partnership with Arizona State University that included a multi-million dollar renovation, new parking lot and back entrance to the Lincoln Family Downtown YMCA. He was instrumental in getting the first Olympic-sized pool at the Southwest Valley Family YMCA, where many Olympians train.
Scobas has been recognized nationally as one of the top YMCA leaders in developing community partnerships that create not only buildings, but result in the building of a stronger community. His work with developers and builders to create a successful facility in Copper Basin is well documented and he is responsible for partnerships with Paradise Valley Community College, the Desert Foothills Community Foundation and A.T. Still University in Mesa. Scobas also developed and helped to improve the Flagstaff YMCA over an eight year period and created a partnership that ultimately resulted in the Legacy Foundation Chris-Town YMCA Medical and Dental Clinic for uninsured children.
Scobas’ impact can be felt within the YMCA and outside the walls of the branches as well. He developed the YMCA Miracle League in Maryvale, providing sports programs involving youth with disabilities. He established corporate wellness partnerships with Maricopa County, SRP and the City of Phoenix as well as a partnership with Freeport McMoRan in which the YMCA operates its health and wellness services, including its corporate fitness facility. He established a working relationship with the City of El Mirage for the soon to be built Northwest Valley Family YMCA and Scobas began conversations with the City of Casa Grande regarding collaborations and anticipated recreation centers.
“George’s contributions to the community are unmatched, said Janice Burnett, Valley of the Sun Metro Board of Directors Chairperson. His leadership and involvement will be greatly missed, but he is leaving our organization in a position to continue to deeply impact the communities in which we serve. We wouldn’t be where we are today without his vision and expertise.”
Scobas plans to remain active in the community but will take some time to relax with his wife Mary, his daughter Brigette and son Peter.