Y program director Doiron going to Carolina

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 10, 2000

Phillip Doiron, the YMCA’s program director, sits at his desk after packing up his office last week. He has taken a job at the YMCA in Hartsville, S.C.(The Vicksburg Post/WILL HORTMAN)

Phillip Doiron has always followed his heart.

As a law student at Ole Miss, he sensed he was in the wrong place.

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“Not that there was anything wrong with law school,” Doiron said. “But I wanted to work around people especially children.”

Being a self-proclaimed “YMCA brat” growing up, Doiron figured the natural thing was to go back to his roots. But at first, it was not to be.

When he first applied for a job at the YMCA in Vicksburg, he was turned down, so he took a job at the Vicksburg Country Club.

“That’s where I met my wife,” the 31-year-old Doiron said. “If I had gotten that (YMCA) job, I wouldn’t have met Kara.”

Doiron didn’t stay long at the country club and the next time he applied at the Y, he was hired.

Now, six years later, the ever-smiling Doiron, a lifelong Vicksburg resident, will move into a supervisory role at the Y in Hartsville, S.C., a small town near Columbia.

“The experiences I have had here are priceless, but this was a chance to better myself,” said Doiron, the director of programs.

At the South Carolina facility, Doiron will oversee the programs’ coordinator and have more of an executive-type role.

When he told the YMCA board of his intentions to leave, he did leave the door open.

“I told them that I would be honored to even be considered if the director’s position ever opened,” Doiron said. His last day is Friday.

That doesn’t mean he wants in immediately. As with most people he comes in contact with, Doiron became close with Herb Wilkerson, the current YMCA director. The feeling was mutual.

“He is such a valuable member of our staff,” Wilkerson said. “It is with both pride and deep regret that we lose him.”

An admitted Y-brat, Doiron grew up taking swimming lessons and then assisting the Y throughout high school.

Doiron’s main task was to oversee several programs, but he fell in love with the summer camps at Warner-Tulley on U.S. 61 South.

“That’s my baby,” he said.

In the six years Doiron has overseen Warner-Tulley, it has seen increases in campers every year, topping out at more than 400 this summer.

“He’s just a good guy to be around,” said Alvin Stimage, who has worked for the Y for 12 years and has known Doiron since elementary school.

“He will always bring out the fun in people, make them want to explode.”

But just as soon as the subject of his role in the growth of the camp is brought up, Doiron quickly shifts the accolades to those around him. That’s just his nature.

“If you keep a good staff, good things are going to happen,” said Doiron, who has had a close assistant since he started. His sister, Danielle, has been with him every step of the way at Warner-Tulley. “She has meant more to me than I could ever say and I will always be in debt to her,” he said.

One thing that Doiron will not get to see is the completion of the new YMCA on East Clay Street. But he said it will be in good hands and the YMCA in Vicksburg is as strong as ever. Co-workers say replacing him will be nearly impossible.

“Nobody can replace him,” Stimage said. “There’s only one Phillip.”