Heritage Club Spotlight: Bob Dixon

Building a Bigger Picture with Bob Dixon

“If it’s important, it needs to be supported.”

Bob was never a Y member until he moved to Berkeley on a sabbatical in the early 1990s, two blocks away from the Berkeley YMCA. He took a temporary position in the YMCA administration, thinking it would be a part-time job—only to find himself still there 17 years later, helping set up camps and programs!

“The more I was at the Y working with our different programs, the more I saw what was meaningful to me.”

Bob has seen firsthand how the Y’s programs and camps have positively affected kids’ lives, from preparing for college to developing hands-on leadership skills through youth and government. To him, the beauty of the Y is that it continues to be here for everyone and helps everyone, thanks to dedicated staff, volunteers, and especially teachers. He spoke of Grace Keachie “who taught swimming to judges, to people who've been our mayor, gone to the state assembly, gone to prison, wandered away and come back,” for whom “Grace’s Pool” at the Berkeley Y is now named. “You might go to a class, but you know that there's so much more—it's a bigger picture than just working out.”

Looking ahead, Bob hopes that the Y can continue to adapt and evolve to meet the changing needs of the local communities it serves. A proponent of embracing change, he notes that “if things are changing, it’s because they need to change... that’s where the future is going to be.”  

"I think if you believe in an organization and it's possible to support it in any way, you should." 

Bob dixon at his desk reading