ELLSWORTH — Longtime Down East Family YMCA CEO Peter Farragher plans to retire on Jan. 31, 2023, the local YMCA announced Tuesday. Farragher has served the YMCA, its members and area communities for over 24 years.
During his tenure, the YMCA has grown to host programs in five buildings and support three connected, but distinct Downeast communities: Ellsworth, Blue Hill and, most recently, Bucksport. Under his guidance the Down East Family YMCA has grown annual support for services and facilities year over year, with a record-breaking annual campaign in 2021, and completed several successful capital campaigns. Among them was the 2011 capital campaign to fund the renovation of the Wiggins Center in Ellsworth and, in 2020, the full renovation of the facility’s pool to modernize air handling and infrastructure.
“Peter has such a genuine passion for the YMCA,” said Rob Shea, board president. “Through his leadership the YMCA has grown immensely and provided great experiences for countless families in our community. We wish him and his wife Nancy the very best in retirement.”
Over the years, Farragher and his staff have worked to adapt to a changing world and business needs, innovating organizational structure to maximize donor and community support. That has included partnering with the Old Town YMCA to hire a chief financial officer and director of development in shared roles for the two organizations.
Along with fitness and recreation investments and expansions, under Farragher’s leadership, the YMCA changed access to child-care and child enrichment services for the people of Ellsworth. These changes included the purchase and launch of Camp Discovery on Webb Pond in Eastbrook, a popular and well attended day camp, and the expansion of year-round childcare services in Ellsworth, in partnership with the city of Ellsworth and The Jackson Laboratory.
“It is, perhaps, the effect on the lives of so many children and families, that will reflect his legacy for years to come,” according to the press release announcing his departure.
In a letter shared with the board of directors, Farragher stated, “Timing of decisions such as this is always difficult, however our Y’s senior management team is strong, our board is absolutely incredible and most importantly, it is time that I now dedicate myself to Nancy and our future. Throughout my career, my wife has always been supportive of every aspect that the Y job demands, and it is now time to look forward to spending more time together — with places to go and things to see and as always projects to build while enjoying our retirement years.”
The Down East Family YMCA will work closely with the national YMCA office to determine next steps and launch a search for the new director over the next several months.