The executive director and CEO of the Missoula Family YMCA will leave in early August to lead another Y in Wisconsin.
Jon Lange was born and grew up in Wisconsin, working for YMCA organizations in the state before coming to Missoula’s in June 2011. After Aug. 7, he will head back to his home state to the the YMCA at Pabst Farms, which includes branches in Oconomowoc and Watertown.
At the start of July, Lange married his longtime Wisconsin girlfriend, who he has been with since a year before coming to Missoula.
“This is a nice opportunity to start our life together,” he said.
He said that most of all, he will miss the people of Missoula and the close proximity to places to get outside and enjoy nature.
“Everything boils back down to the people I met and worked with,” Lange said. “I think it’s safe to say that anything less than getting married to Julia would have me staying here.”
He said he is proud of the fact that, through its fundraising efforts, the Missoula YMCA has been able to provide services to everyone.
“I think that this YMCA really held up its family program and its promise that nobody gets turned away,” Lange said. “You don’t get into the Y business unless you love people.”
Wolf Ametsbichler, president of the board of directors at the Missoula YMCA, said the board was going to meet soon to start the process of a nationwide executive search and determine an interim leader for the Y.
“The search process on average takes between three and five months, so we need to have an interim person in the mean time,” Ametsbichler said.
He said Lange has done a great job with the Missoula YMCA, from increased contributions to its annual campaign fundraising to mentoring the other members of the leadership team and staff.
“We’ve expanded child care to the point where we’re the largest child care provider in Missoula,” Ametsbichler said. “It’s about families and youth development and social responsibility.”
In looking for a new leader, he said the Y will want someone with a solid track record who knows how to lead a young staff and has experience in building community relationships.
“We’re thinking down the road for a capital campaign to expand the scope of the Y,” Ametsbichler said.
While he said plans haven’t been made for what form that would take, the YMCA needs to be looking at the changing demographics for Missoula.
“The western part of town is growing significantly and we don’t have capacity there,” he said.