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Longtime YMCA staffer takes new post

Hollister resident to head up Watsonville branch

File photo

After 10 years-plus of working for the Central Coast YMCA in a variety of positions, Robin Schnekenburger of Hollister now finds herself as executive director of the Watsonville Family YMCA.

“This is the last branch, there’s no more,” she joked, referring to her stints at four out of the five branches of the Central Coast YMCA since 2011. “I’ve always known I can take on a challenge, I knew I could do it. So when they asked me, I said yes in one day. It comes kind of easy for me because it’s youth and families, so it’s not a huge transition for me.”

As a mother of three daughters (all who have worked for the Y), and with a decade of experience running various youth and education programs at YMCAs in Hollister, Salinas, Monterey, and now Watsonville, Schnekenburger was ready to take on the position, which was offered to her in early December.

“The only hesitancy I might have had was the responsibilities of it, the day-to-day operation of managing a facility, there’s much more on my plate,” she said. “But I feel like I’ve settled in, the members have been receptive, the community is really nice and the staff is amazing. Everything is going really, really well.”

Robin Schnekenburger

Her first experience with the Y was when a friend of hers asked if one of her daughters needed a job since the Hollister Y was looking. 

“I didn’t even know we had a YMCA,” she said.

Instead, Schnekenburger decided to apply herself, got an interview with the executive director, and was hired on the spot. She started out working for the after-school program at Cerra Vista Elementary School in Hollister. 

“Being a mother, it came very easy to me,” she said.

She was then tasked by Amy Grames, now-COO of YMCA of the Monterey Peninsula, to run the ASES (After School Education and Safety) program in Salinas. ASES are programs at elementary schools throughout California that provide funds to schools and districts that work with community supporters to build alternatives for children during non-school hours.

Then in 2020, she moved to the Monterey Y, working with after-school programs with the Monterey Peninsula Unified School District. Then a year or so later, the executive director position opened up in Watsonville and Schnekenburger, with her experience and expertise, was the obvious choice to fill the position.

“From day one the experience has been great, in fact, I’ve had nothing but the best supervisors since day one,” she said. “I’ve always believed in building relationships with co-workers. All my co-workers have been great and we have a great connection.”

For information, call 831.757.4633 or visit centralcoastymca.org.