September 5, 2023


La Porte – In a joint statement from the La Porte County Family YMCA Board of Directors and CEO, Laurie A. Halaska, an announcement was made that shared Halaska is stepping down from her position, effective September 9th.

Halaska reflects on her time at the La Porte County Family YMCA, stating “ I have been honored to be a representative for our La Porte County YMCA. My passion for the Y’s mission combined with the legacy and support of our Y has made the past five years a true gift” Halaska Stated. “This was a very difficult decision for me; however, I have other pursuits which require my commitment and I believe it is good timing for the organization to bring in a change of leadership as the Y looks toward the future.”

“I will continue to assist in any way that I can to move the organization forward and will work to help those who continue to serve our YMCA’s 114-year mission. I am truly blessed to have witnessed the many lives that have been positively impacted by the work of our YMCA. Most importantly to me, I’m truly honored to have had the opportunity to serve alongside our Y staff, who are truly dedicated to the Y’s Mission, are second to none.”

Dawn Zigler, YMCA Board President, stated “From my volunteer perspective and the fact that I have worked with Laurie for the past five years, Laurie has truly embraced the core values of our YMCA: honesty, caring, respect and responsibility. I credit Laurie for advancing the work of the YMCA in many significant ways during her time with the Y.”

Halaska is credited with growing the organization’s membership by 20% in the last 5 years, as members of our community seek a path to a healthier lifestyle. Most near and dear to her heart, Halaska reflects on the brand-new programs that were launched under her leadership.

“Last year, we started the Free Swim-Lesson Program, which provides fourth grade students the unique opportunity to receive formal swim lessons and water safety instruction at the Y. In our lakefront communities, we identified this as a critical need to reduce youth drownings and build confidence in our children” stated Halaska. What made the program even more unique was that each student received a free swimsuit, goggles, towel, and swim bag. The overall goal being to remove any barriers that may prohibit these students from the physical and social benefits that the program provides. The program has now been expanded to serve schools in both La Porte and Michigan City, with further expansion planned.

Most recently, the La Porte County Family YMCA expanded its 11-week Summer Day Camp to serve Michigan City residents at our Elston Branch. “Through this program, like all the others we offer, we impact the lives of dozens of children and families who may not have the financial resources to provide their child with a safe, wholesome experience outside the home. All of our programs, from wellness, sports, camp, aquatics, or special events have grown exponentially and have impacted hundreds of lives throughout La Porte County which is all attributed to the hard work of our YMCA team” said Halaska.

That’s quite a legacy to leave behind, and as the YMCA looks toward the future, they will fondly look back at the foundation that Halaska helped build.

Zigler noted, “We are utilizing the support of the YMCA’s national office to assist in conducting a national search for our next CEO. To provide ample time to vet potential candidates, we have engaged an interim director that will serve in Laurie’s absence until a new CEO has been secured.”