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YMCA to honor influential director
Times photo: Brenda Steurer Reid Stangel sits with Y We Care children Laney Widmer, left, Ty Christen, Arjun Kaza and Dayne Garwell. Stangel received the Monroe Morning Optimists 2008-2009 Educator of the year award in October. The YMCA is holding an open house Dec. 4 for Stangel, who retires from the YMCA executive director position Dec. 31.
MONROE - Green County Family YMCA will host an open house Friday to honor long-time Executive Director Reid Stangel.

Stangel, who will retire at the end of the year, took the helm in 1986.

The open house will take place from 3:30 to 6 p.m.

The YMCA has changed a lot since Stangel began, thanks in part to his fundraising skills, which have helped progress the expansion of the organization's facility and its programs.

But Stangel has also been recognized for his life-long educational contributions to the community.

Monroe Morning Optimist then-president Dave Hardy awarded Stangel the 2008-2009 Educator of the Year award on Oct. 8 at a breakfast meeting.

"Reid Stangel has been a fixture in Monroe for the past 23 years. We are the smallest community in Wisconsin to have a YMCA, and Reid has been the only director most of us have known," Hardy said.

The award is usually given to a local teacher or someone associated with area schools, but Hardy said he decided to go a different route last fall.

At the award ceremony, Hardy identified Stangel as having taught thousands of kids, and some of their parents, many valuable lessons of life.

"Some of these lessons are very obvious, like sportsmanship, teamwork and physical fitness. But there are also lessons involving personal responsibility, volunteerism, respect for others, and having a first job," Hardy said.

As a member of the YMCA and a past member of its board, Hardy said he noted a very under-rated skill that Stangel possesses - cooperation.

"That skill is exemplified in a couple of different ways," he said. "First, by how the school district, Park and Rec. and the YMCA work together to provide great resources and opportunities for our youth. And then, there is how Reid works with the business people and service clubs in the area."

Hardy said he has seen the development of many programs and the growth of others, including swimming, gymnastics, wresting, soccer, tackle football, and a new fitness center, through the work of the YMCA staff and volunteers.

"When I see our local high school basketball teams at the state tournament, I can remember seeing almost all those kids in the Y's basketball program at some stage of their life," Stangel said.

Stangel's retirement is effective Dec. 31, 2009. The board convened a selection committee to seek a replacement to fill the executive director position.

Stangel will be helping the YMCA during the transition after he retires, YMCA board member Greg Gogin said

During Stangel's tenure, the YMCA raised over $3 million to fund capital projects and building maintenance. The organization also added five acres of land and has undergone three expansions. Technology has grown each step, adding a financial need to the budget. In the past 23 years the budget has grown from $270,000 to $1.175 million.

Stangel gives much of the credit for the YMCA's success to the community.

"When looking back at my 32 year career in the YMCA (nine in Stevens Point and twenty-three in Monroe), I feel privileged to have served and worked with so many wonderful and dedicated individuals, families, and children. I feel personally indebted to all who have donated their time, talent, and treasure to the YMCA," he said.