Jack Schuett is glad to be back in Northwest Ohio. Not only is the location close to home and family, but it’s within commuting distance of The University of Michigan and its champion Men’s Lacrosse team.
Schuett joined the Findlay YMCA as Director of Operations in March. With the YMCA organization since 1999, he has worked at locations in Michigan and, most recently, at a campus Y at Washington State University. Originally from Redford, Michigan, he loves being close to his family and his “extended family” at U of M where he is the public ad-dress announcer for the Wolverines three-time MCLA National Championship lacrosse team.
“I grew up in the Detroit suburbs. I love Findlay and its proximity to my hometown and other cities like Toledo and Columbus,” says Schuett.
Announcing the message
For his extensive work in lacrosse, both the MCLA and US Lacrosse organizations have nicknamed Jack simply, “the voice” for his passion and dedication to the sport. Findlay-area residents may soon dub him “the positive voice” of the Y and its programs.
“I want to get the message out to the community about what our local YMCA really does,” adds Schuett. “We’re often thought of as just a gym, or place to swim or play basketball. I want everyone to know about how we address community needs like our Feed a Child program working with Washington School, or the fact that we now operate Riverside Park Pool in the summer months along with summer day camps.”
Another message “the voice” wants to convey to organizations and businesses in the area is his eagerness to collaborate on delivering programs and services. “We’re really open to collaboration here,” he says. “The Y organization can provide resources and experience. Also, we can act fast when it’s necessary.”
A true family member
Schuett considers himself a member of the YMCA family. Growing up in a single-parent household, he was able to join the Farmington Family YMCA through the “access program,” where memberships are provided to income-eligible individuals and families. He began volunteering with the Y at age 12 and held part-time positions through high school.
After graduating from Central Michigan University, he was hired as Youth Director and remained in Michigan for two years.
“I wanted to see some other parts of the country, so I accepted the position of Senior Director at the YMCA in Tacoma, Washington,” he explains. “My focus there was on membership, association initiatives and marketing.”
While serving as CEO of the campus’ YMCA at Washington State University, he heard about a position open in Findlay. Seeing the opportunity to get back to a larger community Y and to be closer to Michigan, he applied and ultimately was hired as the Findlay YMCA’s Director of Operations.
“I was also really impressed by the Findlay Y’s facilities and Russ Gartner’s (Findlay YMCA’s CEO) plan for this organization,” says Schuett.
A real community focus
Remembering the influence of the YMCA on his own childhood and adolescence, Schuett is pleased the Findlay Y has conducted a focus group of area youth to see what type of activities and programs they would like. Members of the group indicated a distinct interest in arts programming, possibly including both performing and visual arts.
As it has in the past, the Y will continue to research the needs of all age groups in the community. Seniors make up a large part of the Y’s membership and are eager for exercise and special interest programs and classes.
“Special interest groups are really taking off at YMCAs around the country,” Schuett says. “Things like cooking and film clubs have become very popular.”
As for improving the health of the community, Schuett cites the Y’s interest in diabetes education and the youth obesity epidemic. He’d also like to strengthen the organization’s volunteer program and expand the YMCA Leaders Club for teens.
Passion and avocation
Jack got his start in sports announcing as a freshman at Redford Union High School, working with volleyball, soccer and basketball. While a student at Central Michigan University, he announced a few sports for CMU and also sent his resume to The University of Michigan and Michigan State University. He began announcing U of M’s lacrosse games in 2004 and got his “big break” from head coach John Paul.
“John Paul was president of the MCLA and recommended that I announce for the MCLA championships in St. Louis,” Schuett recalls. “It snowballed after that.“
Snowballed is probably the right description, as Jack has since announced the 2005 Women’s World Cup in Annapolis, Maryland and the 2006 Men’s Championships in Canada. His talent is not limited to lacrosse — he’s also struck a deal with the Toledo Mudhens and will announce several games this season.
In a recent interview published on mgobluelacrosse.com, Schuett described his favorite part of announcing as “feeding off the energy of the crowd.” Looks like he’s storing that energy and unleashing it on the Findlay Y, its staff and
members. It’s got all the makings of a winning season!
For more information on the Findlay YMCA and The Y STRONG Annual Giving Campaign, visit www.findlayymca.com.