Boys & Girls Club of the Tri-County Area will be 2024 Founders’ Day recipient

The Boys & Girls Club of the Tri-County Area will be the 2024 recipient of Ripon College’s Founders’ Day Award. The formal presentation of the award will be at the 159th Commencement ceremony May 12. Jason Presto, an alumnus of the Ripon College Class of 2004 and CEO of the Boys and Girls Club of the Tri-County Area, will accept the award on behalf of the organization.

The Founders’ Day Award honors an individual or organization in the greater Ripon community who exemplifies the ideals of the founders of Ripon College and who has contributed above and beyond to the mission of the school.

The Boys & Girls Club of the Tri-County Area works to improve the lives of children and families through youth development services and family outreach support. Celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2022, it began in Berlin and has expanded to a Green Lake site and now will expand again with a Ripon site.

In Ripon, a Summer Pilot Program started in 2021 and a partnership with Ripon College began. Construction on the Ripon site is expected to start this spring on the site of the former Republican House in downtown Ripon.

“Ripon College is proud to work with the club in a strong campus/community partnership,” says Ripon College President Victoria N. Folse. “The new site in Ripon will ensure that youths of all ages will have a safe, accessible and dynamic gathering place to guide and enrich their lives. At the same time, work with the club will offer fulfilling service opportunities and job experiences for college students and members of the Ripon College Community.”

The Department of Educational Studies has built a strong working relationship with the Boys & Girls Club over the last few years, says Director of Teacher Education Jean Rigden. The College has partnered for the last two years to provide internship opportunities to education students during the summer to give them hands-on experience as future teachers.

“It’s a win-win situation that provides the Ripon Community with quality child care and programming for older students while allowing the college students opportunities to work and live on campus,” Rigden says. “This partnership will only be strengthened when the new site is open as it will be so close to campus that our students won’t have to have transportation to work at the club during the school year.”

Presto calls receiving the award “Surreal. Serendipitous. Poetic. Young people don’t know, in the moment, that their life is ‘different’ or more ‘difficult’ than other kids; I certainly didn’t. Young people need someone to take the ceiling off of their expectations and challenge them to dream. Ripon College did that for me. Now, the Boys & Girls Club has the chance to do that very same thing for hundreds of young people in the Ripon community.”

He adds, “We couldn’t be more blessed to have this opportunity of the new Ripon site in front of us. While we recognize the incredible responsibility that lies ahead, we are committed and driven to help every child in this community reach their full potential as productive, caring and responsible adults. Thank you for seeing the value in what we’re doing and for the continued partnership in pursuit of a better community.”

Folse says the Boys & Girls Club of the Tri-County Area reflects a solid investment in the community and its youths of all age levels. “It will enhance the vibrancy of the greater community, and it will continue to create synergies between the College and the Boys & Girls Club — benefiting people from throughout the Ripon area and augmenting the student experience for Ripon College students,” she says.

Ripon College was officially founded Jan. 29, 1851. Each year the College celebrates the anniversary of its founding by honoring a community partner with the Founders’ Day Award.

Recent recipients include: Peter E. Stone of Fond du Lac, chairman of the board of National Exchange Bank and Trust (NEBAT) and chairman of the private Stone Family Foundation, 2023; Jeanne Lyke, a Ripon pediatrician, 2022; The Fond du Lac County Health Department, who employees stepped up significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic, 2021; and Maria Dietrich, then the interim executive and artistic director of the Green Lake Festival of Music and a retired adjunct instructor of piano at Ripon College, 2020.

Visit for a complete list of past recipients.

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