CEO of Northern Rock Co. YMCA builds partners to serve kids

JANESVILLE, Wis. (WMTV)-- A new CEO of the YMCA of Northern Rock County makes community partners to serve students of all ages.

The YMCA of Northern Rock County in downtown Janesville.

Four months into her full-time position as CEO, Angie Bolson said she has assessed where the YMCA is and where it needs to be. She described her vision for the non-profit as one with greater transparency, visibility and focus on youth development.

“It’s one thing for the Y to be in the community,” Bolson said. “My goal is that this Y starts to shape this community. For me, it’s serving the most vulnerable. It’s serving kids that, in my mind, need us the most."

Bolson stepped into her role after questions about her predecessor’s leadership led to his departure. The public scandal also resulted in the Janesville school district pulling its pre-K or “P4J” program out of the YMCA location for the current school year.

“In order to protect the quality and integrity of the experience for the children, we felt it was important to discontinue our relationship with the Y at that time,” superintendent Steve Pophal said.

Under Bolson’s leadership, Pophal was asked to join the board. Bolson said he is the first Janesville superintendent to join the board in the Y’s history.

“The Y’s mission and the district’s mission are tightly aligned,” Pophal said. “Both of our organizations are interested in giving kids a safe well-supervised, fun environment to be in when they’re outside of school hours.”

He added that he and Bolson immediately “hit it off.” He said, “We both care deeply about kids. We both are committed to this community."

According to Pophal, plans are to bring the pre-K program back to the YMCA next school year.

Older kids like Lukas Kelly, who visits the YMCA at least once a week, described a better facility as one with an extra vending machine, another basketball gym and even a football stadium.