Nathan Wiebe has been unveiled as the new Executive Director of the Swift Current Community Youth Initiative.
A press conference was held at The Center on Monday to announce the change, with Wiebe replacing Jim Magee who was The Centre’s inaugural Executive Director since it opened in 2010. Magee stepped down as the Executive Director but will be staying on as a councillor until February 2018. He and his wife Donna will then retire in Waldheim where they will be closer to family.
“We have appreciated greatly the contribution that Jim has made. He has been here since The Center was opened and is a big part of what has gone 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,” explained Swift Current Community Youth Initiative Board Chairman Roland Falk.
“This type of transition allows us to provide continuity and consistency so that kids continue to have the programming which they may not otherwise have access to, as well as keeping The Center a safe place for them to come and interact with their friends,” Falk added. “So while we will miss Jim, we wish him well and thank him for his work. At the same time we are excited about Nathan’s leadership as Executive Director, and Kenton taking on the Programming role.”
The leadership transition will see Wiebe moving up from his duties as Program Director, while Kenton Unruh will be moving up from his position as Assistant Program Director to take over Wiebe’s Program Director responsibilities.
“It’s definitely an honour to have the confidence of the board and the confidence of Jim to step into this role and fill his shoes,” Wiebe said. “They’re mighty big shoes to fill, but I’ll do my best to continue with things he’s built up since day one.”
“Jim has been an incredible mentor,” Weibe noted. “He, along side the board and countless people have built The Center to what it is today. Things have grown here obviously. A lot has to do with the impact he’s had on this place. He’s done an incredible job and we really just appreciate him and all he’s done for us.”
“The legacy that has been left on The Center and the SCCYI is a foundation that not only creates a safe and fun place for youth in our community, but it’s a place where people have come to every day for encouragement in many shapes and forms. And this is something we will do our best to nurture and to foster as a staff.”
Wiebe graduated from Briercrest College with a BA in Psychology and joined the staff back in June 2014 as Program Director. While additional administration duties have been added to his responsibilities during the transition, Wiebe will also now be dealing with different organizations and businesses in the community to continue their strong relationships.
“We’ve been really fortunate to have the support we do,” Wiebe said. “We have so many businesses that simply ask ‘what do you need?’ Plus there are volunteers too who are asking to be told when they can help.”
“I want to continue to build relationships with different partners in our community and just stay on top of building what we’ve already established, and making sure that we do continue to create those ground-breaking programs for youth. And that youth continue to want to come to The Center.”
“Putting games and fun aside, but making sure that youth find the help that they need in our community, if they need it. That people are in place that they’re able to talk with, build relationships with, and work through tough times to get back on the right track. Just find the support needed for the kids that need it. And make sure that The Center most importantly stays a safe and fun place for kids to come.”
Magee admitted that it will be difficult to fully step aside early next year to complete the transition out of the position.
“There’s mixed emotions for sure,” Magee said. “It’s such a joy to be here. There’s never a day I thought ‘oh, I’ve got to go to work today.’ I loved coming to work. And I had great staff and tremendous support from the board.”
He noted that working with youth, and seeing many return to lend a hand, is a rewarding part of the job.
“And just to see the growth from some of the kids. We’ve had kids that were in Grade 6 or 7 when they came initially, and now they’re going to the College or they’re older, and they’re coming back and volunteering. So it’s nice to see that cycle where they’re paying it forward as well because it shows how much they appreciated the volunteers being there for them.”
Magee noted the Swift Current Community Youth Initiative would never have become a reality without the efforts of the congregation at the East Side Church of God.
“I give a lot of credit to Kevin Snyder who saw the vision of this with East Side Church of God, and that church that actually purchased the building and they paid it off in five years.”
Magee said it has been a smooth transition period, and he is excited for the future of The Center.
“It feels good to know that it’s being left in really good hands too.”