PORTAGE - The chief executive officer of the Portage Township YMCA has resigned. The organization says Amber Alexander has stepped down "for personal reasons." The YMCA's branch manager, Cassie Cayetano, will oversee the day-to-day operations until a permanent successor is named.

The Portage Township YMCA Board of Directors says it will soon begin a search for a new CEO. Board President Andrea Starling says the board is "wholly confident" in Cayetano's ability to lead the YMCA during the transition.

"The board is grateful for Amber’s contributions to the YMCA and wishes her the best in her future endeavors," Starling said in a news release. "While we seek out someone to fulfill the role of CEO of the Portage YMCA, the branch will continue to operate ‘business as usual.'"

Alexander's resignation was made effective August 9, just two days before the YMCA closed its toddler and full-time child care programs. Our partners at The Times of Northwest Indiana report the decision to close the programs came after a child was left unattended on the playground last summer.

In a statement to the publication, Alexander said the results of a community survey suggested "child care was not identified as a top community need, and market analysis shows that Portage is saturated with child care services." Starling added, following the playground incident, the organization was placed on probation and, despite making improvements, was "unable to rebound from the financial ramifications of that."

The YMCA says, as it approaches its 40th anniversary later this month, the board of directors is working toward streamlining its building operations and staff responsibilities. Specifically, the branch is looking to develop its membership and create innovative fundraising initiatives. 

"Our anniversary gives us opportunity to reflect on our past and present impact on the community," Starling said. "We look forward to hearing from our members and the community as we move toward an even brighter future for the Portage Y."