YMCA director plans youth programs, remodel

WARREN – After about three months as the new director of the YMCA of Warren, John Rolf said he is working to get more youth recreational programs offered and remodeling projects completed in 2014.

Rolf, who started in November as the CEO, said his main goals for the new year are creating more youth programming and getting young people to use the YMCA, since its purpose is to help youth have strong minds and strong bodies while becoming better citizens.

”We have not been doing as much with youth recreational programs as we have in the past due to the staffing being less. The YMCA, like others, has struggled,” Rolf said.

He said the YMCA wants to expand in that area by applying for grants to get people hired.

Rolf has also held preliminary talks with Warren Mayor Doug Franklin to get the Warren Recreation Department started since there hasn’t been a department for many years.

Rolf said children want to be involved in recreational programs.

“Everyone is excited that we want to bring the recreation department back in the walls of the YMCA. The question becomes, how do we get financing,” Rolf said.

He said it will be a challenge since it is a lot of work.

“We want to be the place to make it happen,” he said.

Rolf said projects for the year include having an enhanced youth locker room and upgraded weight room in the basement including new flooring and equipment.

Currently, there are four separate locker rooms for men, women, boys and girls.

“I have found it very encouraging to see how much the people in the community have supported in the past the YMCA and the ideas of a YMCA today, and are willing to get behind a vibrant YMCA of the future,” Rolf said.

He said a community needs to support its YMCA and its mission.

”Every community should want to have a YMCA forwarding that mission of healthy spirits and healthy body. That is who we are and what we stand for,” Rolf said.

Rolf said people can volunteer at the YMCA as swim instructors or to work the main desk check-in area. They can also consider making a donation.

Plans are also under way for a March Madness fundraiser.

He mentioned that individuals have generously provided professional services such as website design and engineering and legal assistance.

Members have raised money and helped to put up two new basketball hoops and refinish the gym floor.

Rolf replaced former interim CEO Rich Denamen, who retired in October after serving for two years.

He comes to Trumbull County from the Cleveland area, where he was the founder of Back to Basics Fitness and Wellness. Previously, he served as the general manager for the Cleveland Athletic Club.

Rolf brings more than 20 years experience in management, staff and board development, fiscal management and planning.