First woman director takes the reins at Bath YMCA

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BATH — Sabrina Murphy, the new executive director of the Bath Area Family YMCA, is also the first woman to lead the institution in its 154-year history.

Murphy, who replaces Phil Krummel, was hired by the YMCA in 2001 as the associate executive director and later became operations director.

Krummel headed the YMCA for 12 years and has taken the new role of director of advancement.

Murphy joined the YMCA staff around the same time that the institution was making the transition from Summer Street to a new building on Centre Street.

“During my interview, I actually got a tour of this facility, and it just had beams for a structure,” Murphy said Monday. “So I had to go up a ladder in my interview suit to go to the second floor. I was here long enough to understand what a huge transition it was, to go from the old Y that was just so difficult to keep together, to this beautiful, huge, state-of-the-art facility.”

Murphy was involved in the hiring and training of new staff and managing the YMCA’s growth, which has experienced a 300 percent increase in membership. The budget of the child-care department alone is now about the size of the old Y’s budget, and staff has more than doubled.

“The thing that originally got me most excited to come here to this Y was just that the community was so ready for this new place,” Murphy said. “I wanted to be a part of it.”

She said she had been ready for a while to move into an executive director position at a YMCA, and had hoped this would be the YMCA where it happened.

“I’m very committed and connected to this place,” Murphy said.

Prior to Bath, Murphy worked at the Boothbay Region YMCA and at the Northern York County Family YMCA in Biddeford, serving there as senior program director and then associate executive director.

Initially a high school teacher, Murphy was also an editor of “Perspective,” a national magazine geared toward YMCA professionals. She is also a nationally certified YMCA senior director.

Murphy noted that the Bath YMCA is mission-driven and charitable.

“In these difficult economic times, it takes a lot more to meet that mission,” she said. “We have this really strong group of staff and volunteers who have just dedicated themselves to get to where we need to be.”

The Y’s leadership is also seeking to make the institution more efficient. Murphy said she continues to develop a “green initiative” that will serve as the cornerstone of the YMCA’s next capital development phase. One significant means of energy savings that has already been achieved was the installation of pool covers, which reduce heat loss.

The ability to have a community impact is what Murphy said has kept her in the YMCA realm for 20 years.

“In a given week at this Y, we will be serving 150 children in child care,” she said. “We will have swim lessons, we will have quality swim teams and gymnastics teams, we will have very involved community adult fitness classes and active older adult programming. And it’s not just a fitness component, or a recreational place. As an organization, we reach beyond, to improving healthy lifestyles, to the whole spirit, mind and body concept. … Who wouldn’t want to do that for a living?”

Alex Lear can be reached at 373-9060 ext. 113 or

Sidebar Elements

Sabrina Murphy took over this week as executive director of the Bath Area Family YMCA, the first woman to hold the position in the institution’s 154-year history.

A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.