David Elsen Celebrating 30 Years at the YMCA

For three decades, David Elsen has been an integral part of the YMCA of Central Kentucky, dedicating his career - and much of his personal time, too - to the community's betterment. Through his service to the YMCA, he has impacted countless individuals who have crossed his path as employees, Y members, board members, Lexington leaders, and community members. As he transitions from District Vice President of the High Street YMCA into a new role in philanthropy, David reflects on the many steps of the journey: milestones, challenges, and moments of making a difference.

Pride in Team and Impact:
When asked about his proudest achievement, David without a doubt said the incredible staff and volunteers he's collaborated with over the years. Their commitment to the YMCA's mission has been the driving force behind community-enhancing programs, leaving a lasting mark on Central Kentucky.

Guidance for the Future:
To those starting their careers at the YMCA, David's advice echoes the core values of the organization: focus on the mission, strive to assist others, and persist through challenges. He believes that dedication and a focus on community needs are the pillars of success for both individuals and the Y as a whole.

Reflecting on the Journey:
Looking back, David acknowledges the vast reach of the YMCA globally and expresses a wish for more international involvement. He cherishes the moments when individuals approach him, acknowledging the pivotal role he played during critical junctures in their lives, a testament to his impact and humility.

Defining Moments:
One standout initiative, 'Activate America,' spearheaded by David, reshaped Lexington by addressing the community's need for better biking infrastructure. This endeavor not only transformed the city but also showcased the power of collaborative efforts, cementing the YMCA's role in creating a healthier environment for generations.

Legacy and Challenges:
David's hope for his legacy is simple - to be remembered as someone who tried and made a difference. He reflects on the challenges faced during financially unstable times at the YMCA, emphasizing the importance of perseverance and small steps toward progress, which eventually led to the stable position the organization holds today.

Lessons Learned and Relationships Formed:
Through ups and downs, David learned the value of faith and perseverance. He holds dear the relationships forged with dedicated staff and volunteers, all of whom have contributed significantly to the YMCA's success.

Envisioning the Future:
David foresees a bright future for the YMCA by emphasizing the organization's commitment to identifying community needs, appointing capable individuals to address them, and staying true to the YMCA's mission.

On a Personal Note:
Beyond the Y, David is known for his love for the Kentucky Wildcats, early mornings, yoga, beach vibes, fishing, and adventurous pizza choices - pineapple with jalapeños. He's also always ready with a good story and a word of encouragement.

David's 30-year journey stands as a testament to the YMCA's core values of dedication, community service, and the transformative power of collective effort. As he embarks on a new role, his legacy of making a difference continues to inspire both the YMCA and its community.

Elsen staff spotlight | YMCA of Central KY