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Retiree Profile: John Green
Looking back at his 38-year career at the Y, John is proud of his work for a Movement that brings people together. Now retired, he continues to volunteer for the Y.
Tell us about your YMCA career

I was a Y-brat when I was a kid. The Y was the place where my dad would drop me off in the morning on his way to work (he worked across the street). At noon, I’d head over to the Boys Club for the afternoon.

The first time I traveled out of the country was with the Junior Hi-Y club: Our baseball team scheduled games in Mexico. On that trip, we actually slept in tents on the beach!

I played football in college, and back then my plan was to become a defensive line coach after graduation. One summer, I worked for the Pasadena YMCA Boys Department (as it was known back then). That evolved into a full-time job after college when the YMCA General Director offered me the position of Program Director in 1972. And 38 years later, I retired from the YMCA.

Along the way, I worked for YMCAs in Pasadena, Seattle (where I met my current wife), and Washington, D.C. (actually Arlington, Virginia, managing two facilities, one white and one black). Would you believe that I was interviewed by a group of twelve people for the Arlington job? Two boards needed to approve my hiring.

After working in Arlington, I moved to Philadelphia (Chester, PA), and then back home to Los Angeles for 17 years, ending as a District VP.

My last job was Resource Director for the YMCA of the USA, covering YMCAs in Southern California, Arizona, and Hawaii. In that job I traveled quite a bit over nine years. One morning I woke up, and honestly, I did not remember where I was, so I decided it was time to retire.

As I think back on my 38-year YMCA career, what’s really special about the Y is it’s all about bringing people together.

How was the transition to retirement?

I don’t remember too much about my first day of retirement, except this: I needed to get up as my wife went off to work (she retired nine months later). Then it was up to me to plan dinner. At first, I found the days to be almost too quiet, as compared to working in a YMCA. No phones ringing. No meetings back-to-back.

It didn’t take me long to adapt and now I do what I want to do, when I want to do it, and I don’t worry about finances. I’ve been involved for some time as a volunteer for YMCA Alumni and serve as VP for the West Region. I also volunteer for the YMCA of the USA mentor program for CEOs.

My wife and I travel locally and across the U.S.

Tell us about the process of saving for retirement

Honestly, I couldn’t afford to save early in my career. But in the last ten years of my career I did save for my retirement.

Most of my friends are Y people and we’re all doing well financially. We can’t believe it, but it’s true. And on the first of every month, bam! The deposit shows up in my bank account. Nothing to worry about!

If you could give one piece of advice to current
YMCA staff about saving and planning for retirement,
what would it be?

Get into the Fund as soon as you can and add to your retirement savings whenever you can!

Start saving today! Open a 403(b) Smart Account.