Meet New YMCA Executive Director Sonya Crider

new YMCA coming Fall 2022

Sonya “Coach” Crider has returned to her second hometown of Orlando to serve as the Executive Director of the Leonard & Marjorie Williams Family YMCA. 

Crider prides herself in leaving a community better than how she found it, making the workplace a family environment, and bringing diversity, equity, and inclusion to the forefront. 

While obtaining her Bachelor of Arts and Sciences in Biological Sciences at Northern Illinois University near her hometown of Chicago, Crider developed her historic collegiate career, then spent several years in Europe and South America playing professional basketball. 

Following an unforeseeable medical injury that ended her basketball career, Crider made good use of her recovery time by obtaining a Master of Science in Sport Management. Orlando provided a new start in corporate roles with the Orlando Magic, Walt Disney World, and Universal Orlando Resorts. She also coached girls basketball with the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU). ​​​​​​​

Crider then decided to become a full–time teacher and coach to ensure that the girls on that AAU team would be given the best opportunity for a college scholarship. Before and during the beginning of her career with the Y, Crider would also become an integral member of the Orange County Public Schools Minority Leadership Consortium, thwarting practices that would give 85% of all out-of-school suspensions and expulsions to children of color (15% of the student population). 

Throughout her YMCA career, Crider has served as the Senior Program Director of the Gateway Region YMCA (O’Fallon Park rec Complex) in St. Louis, Mo, Executive Director of the Emerson Family YMCA in Ferguson, Mo, and Executive Director of the Downtown Seattle YMCA. In each of these roles, Crider connected with community leaders to support the Y’s mission to grow athletic and outreach programs for local communities and guided her staff to strive to become the heartbeat of each community they served. 

Crider credits her parents and grandparents for all her community involvement. When asked, she states that her greatest accomplishment is her daughter Ashley, who personifies all the better parts of her personality. 

We are proud to welcome Sonya “Coach” Crider back to Central Florida and our Y family!


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Written by Staff Writer

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