Thursday, 13 July 2017 04:11

The Center in Swift Current appoints new executive director

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Nathan Wiebe, the new executive director at The Centre, speaks during the announcement in Swift Current, July 10. Nathan Wiebe, the new executive director at The Centre, speaks during the announcement in Swift Current, July 10.

There is a new face behind the desk of the executive director at the Swift Current Community Youth Initiative (SCCYI), but he will be familiar to regular visitors to The Center in downtown Swift Current.


Nathan Wiebe, who worked as program director at the SCCYI since May 2014, was appointed as the organization’s new executive director on July 1.
The change is a result of the decision by Jim Magee, who was The Center’s executive director since 2010, to retire.
He will still continue to provide counselling at The Center until the end of February 2018, when he and his wife will move to Waldheim.
The SCCYI board also decided to appoint Kenton Unruh as the new program director. He has been working and volunteering at The Center since 2012 and he was the assistant program director before these changes were made.
The official announcement of the new SCCYI leadership structure took place during a media briefing at The Center, July 10.
“As a board this is a time for mixed emotions for us.,” SCCYI Board Chair Roland Falk said. “We have appreciated greatly the contribution that Jim has made. He had been here since the Center was opened and is a big part of what’s going on here. His presence, advice and leadership will be missed. At the same time, because of the kind of leader he is, he has been instrumental in working over the past year of transitioning the leadership of executive director to Nathan, which also has changed Kenton’s role.”
Falk noted this transition will ensure continuity and consistency for the organization and for the youth who are participating in the programs and activities at The Center.
“So while we will miss Jim, we wish him well and thank him for his work,” he said. “At the same time, we are excited about Nathan’s leadership as executive director and Kenton taking on the programming role.”
The leadership transition already started a year ago, with Wiebe and Unruh gradually taking on more responsibilities related to their new positions.
“I feel very blessed to be a part of this organization,” Wiebe said. “It’s not hard to get to work with a group of incredible people like we get to come to work every day with here.”
He graduated with a degree in psychology from Briercrest College.
During his time as program director at The Center he expanded the programming to include an after school meal, tutoring, guitar lessons, an art initiative, and a coffee shop that provides employment opportunities for youth.
“Being program director was a great learning experience for myself,” he said. “I guess I’m going to have to be a little bit more serious, stop wearing ball caps and play less ping pong. However, I’m honoured to be the one to fill these incredibly large shoes that Jim has put down for us. The Center does not function off one single person. Jim has established a team environment with our staff and board, and we’ll continue to make sure that we all work together to make sure we rely on God’s guidance for us and to make sure we all continue to be grateful to work with the youth in our community.”
Wiebe said The Center will continue to use the solid foundation created by Magee to provide a safe and fun environment for youth in Swift Current. He credited Magee for being a mentor to the staff at The Center.
“He’s done an incredible job and we’re really just appreciate him and all he’s done for us,” Wiebe said. “The legacy that has been left on The Center and the SCCYI is a foundation that not only creates a safe place for youth in our community, but it’s a place where people have come every day for encouragement in many shapes and forms, and this is something we’ll do our best to nurture and to foster as a staff.”
Magee will leave The Center with mixed emotions, but he also looks forward to the next chapter in his life.
“Obviously I love what I do and I loved the opportunity to be here and it’s a great team and board to work with,” he said. “At the same time I’m excited for the opportunity to do something different and retire, be closer to my kids and my grandkids and spend some time with them, but it’s just been a joy to come to work every day.”
He has many highlights from his seven years as executive director at The Center. One is the support of the community for the SCCYI and another is the impact of The Center on young people, who first came there as teenagers to participate in programming and then returned when they were older to volunteer.
“It shows the impact that they had when they were kids here and how much they appreciated the volunteers and now they’re giving back,” he said. “So that is really rewarding to see that.”
He holds a master’s degree in counselling and his role as a counsellor at The Center was another highlight.
“I love counselling,” he said. “I love working with families and being able to be a part of helping mend some families and relationships is always a highlight.”

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Matthew Liebenberg

Reporter/Photographer

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