December 2013 Posted in Community
Silver Falls YMCA team members are Brandon Lemon, Jill Rivoli, Moniqa Keisling and Elizabeth Sjolander.
By Kristine Thomas
From being an archeologist at the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park to working on a ranch in Montana to most recently being the regional manager of SMART, Start Making a Reader Today, for six counties in Oregon, Jill Rivoli has a varied work background.
“I always choose jobs where I am making a difference in peoples’ lives,” Rivoli said. “It is important to me at the end of each day to know that I’m making a positive impact in someone’s life.”
That’s why the 1987 graduate of Silverton High School was thrilled to be asked by the Silver Falls YMCA board of directors to become its executive director.
“This opportunity in Silverton is a perfect storm of getting to use so many aspects of my personality,” she said. “It is essential for me to be passionate about how I am spending my time and who I’m spending it with. I like to bring people into organizations who are positive, have great ideas and are able to implement those ideas effectively and with a collaborative spirit.”
Since starting in October, Rivoli has organized a team of talented people to help her achieve the goal of making the Silver Falls YMCA a place for everyone to find something they enjoy – whether it’s a knitting or fitness class.
“My ideas for the YMCA are to provide opportunities to our community to enhance social responsibility, healthy living, and help our youth develop into great people. The driving force is simple… to strengthen our community in any way I can,” Rivoli, 44, said.
She earned her bachelor’s degree from Portland State University and her master’s degree from the University of Idaho. She decided to return to Silverton so she could be closer to family and friends about three years ago when she took the job with SMART.
“I loved working for SMART and what SMART does but I was working in several counties,” she said. “I wanted a job where I could work in my community. I love fixing things and making them better and there are some things that need fixing here.”
From updating the website to offering programs for all ages, Rivoli has her “to do” list. Along with a strong work ethic, she prides herself on her organizational skills. She also knows to accomplish any task takes a great team.
If you stop by the Y office, you are likely to meet Moniqa Keisling; gymnastics and cheer coordinator; Elizabeth Sjolander, fitness instructor and office staff; Angelica Esquire, office staff; and Brandon Lemon, sports director.
Gregarioius, Rivoli jokes with Lemon if it is OK to let people know who his grandfather is. A little shy, Lemon says yes, his grandfather is Meadowlark Lemon, known as “The Crown Prince of Basketball,” a member of the Harlem Globetrotters for 26 seasons.
Brandon Lemon played football and basketball for three years at Linfield College and a year at Willamette University. He was working at the Kroc Center before recently taking the job at the Silver Falls YMCA. He’s excited to work with the youth in the community.
Because the website is yet current, Rivoli encourages people to stop by the Silver Falls YMCA office, 421 S. Water St. The office is open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.
“One thing we are working on is letting people know what we are doing, how to find out about our classes and how to sign up,” she said.
“We are expanding our offerings at the pool, with our youth sports programs, with group fitness, and I want to hear from the community what they would like to see added,” Rivoli said.
“The YMCA in Silverton has had a great youth sports program but there is so much more we can offer. I’d like to work with local businesses and organizations to see where we can help.”
Butte Creek Principal and Silver Falls YMCA board member Kevin Palmer said the board felt Rivoli was the best fit for the immediate and long-term success of the Silver Falls YMCA.
“Jill is a Silverton person, growing up here, school district here, now living here. She has connections in town that will mean a lot to the perception and growth of our branch in many different ways,” Palmer said.
“Her wide range of work and leadership experience in many nonprofit and for profit organizations has developed the leadership, organizational skills and fundraising background that will allow her to build relationships not only with families, but also the Silverton business and services leaders that are so important to a successful YMCA.”
Palmer said the Silver Falls YMCA board is confident in Rivoli’s abilities to take the organization into the future.
“We’re already seeing big, positive changes, and she’s only been on the job since Oct. 7,” Palmer said.
Since taking the job, Rivoli said she has met with community members who are concerned about what’s happening with the YMCA. Listening, Rivoli makes sure to emphasis the Y is not being taken over by Salem and that she wants to create a place where people of all ages – from preschoolers to seniors – want to participate.
“As everyone knows, we have gone through some big shifts in leadership lately,” Rivoli said. “We were a bit slow getting basketball up and running this fall and are playing with Salem teams to increase the number of teams in our league. Starting in January we will still play against other YMCA branches but will have more home games. By organizing some of our sports with the three other YMCA branches in our area we are increasing the resources available to us and hoping to lower some of the costs associated with running these programs.”
Open to ideas and eager to provide programs the community wants, Rivoli encourages people to stop by, share ideas and learn what’s happening.
“I want people to know that I care about our community and am dedicating myself to listening to the needs of our families and to providing affordable offerings to reach many ages and varieties of interests,” she said.