Steve Kastner

Steve Kastner will take up leadership of the Boys and Girls Club of the Sandhills on July 1 after stepping down as president and CEO of Trinity Health Senior Communities.

When he decided last fall to retire after more than 35 years as a senior care executive, Steve Kastner did not imagine he’d find his next role at the Boys and Girls Club of the Sandhills.

Kastner has called Southern Pines home since he was named St. Joseph of the Pines’ CEO in 2014. He was promoted to president and CEO of Trinity Health Senior Communities just two years later. Trinity, St. Joseph’s Michigan-based parent company, manages more than 50 senior living communities in six states.

Kastner knew that he wanted to stay closer to Moore County after his official retirement at the end of this month. Soon after Fallon Brewington announced her move from the Boys and Girls Club to a vice president’s office at Sandhills Community College, Kastner learned about the opening.

“I really thought I would spend some time contemplating the next step in my career, but this kind of came up and surprised me,” he said.

“We viewed this as a community we wanted to spend the rest of our lives in, and really for me what better way to give back to the community later in my career than helping the Boys and Girls Club continue to be a successful leader in this community?”

Since it opened its after-school and summer programs in 1998, the Boys and Girls Club of the Sandhills has become the county’s largest youth organization. Its educational activities and nominal membership fee offer a safe, supervised setting to children who might not otherwise have one outside of school hours.

Kastner briefly served on the club’s board of directors, and was also involved with Moore County Community Foundation and other nonprofits during his time at St. Joseph of the Pines.

He will start as the Boys and Girls’ Club CEO on July 1.

“We’re absolutely thrilled that Steve wanted to do this. He’s committed long-term to working at the club. He really wanted this job very badly for all the right reasons,” said Jane Deaton, who served on the Boys and Girls’ Club’s board search committee and previously served on the board at St. Joseph’s.

“I think he’s really ready to do something to connect with the community and he’s passionate about mission. That’s one of the reasons we hired him at St. Joseph’s: that’s what motivates him. He really believes in what we do and I think he's going to be great.”

The club is headquartered off Morganton Road in Southern Pines, where it runs the Baxter Teen Center. Currently, it serves elementary school students in two auxiliary sites opened in the last year: in its Logan-Blake Unit in Pinehurst and at the Moore Montessori charter school in Southern Pines. The club performed extensive renovations on the Pinehurst building, which was previously a furniture store.

“We’re in the middle of a capital campaign and I think he will be very effective in reaching out to members of the community,” Deaton said.

That campaign has raised just over half of its $2.9 million goal. The club is also planning for growth: a fourth location at Sandhills Community College, and boosting enrollment across its sites to the 1,000 or so students it served before the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s getting the word back out again that we’re open, we’re a safe place to be, we want to provide opportunities for these kids in our sites because we have good leaders, good locations and buildings,” said Kastner.

Kastner has been involved with Big Brothers/Big Sisters organizations in other communities, and he’d learned enough about the Boys and Girls Club from friends and other business leaders to develop an appreciation for what it does.

“What drew me to it was really the mission of the organization and the impact they have on saving kids’ lives,” he said. “Basically that’s what they’re doing, and that really resonated with me.”

While the club works on growing to serve all of the children in southern Moore County that can benefit from its programs, Kastner said that adding employees at the sites to work with them directly will be another critical challenge.

“With the labor challenges that we’re faced with and being able to find qualified staff with all the competition out there, I think our top priority is making sure we’re hiring the best and brightest talent for our organization to come work with our kids.”

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