History of the
Kettle Moraine YMCA

Yesterday, today and tomorrow.

The Kettle Moraine YMCA started as an idea to better the lives of kids, families and individuals living in the West Bend community. In an empty office with a telephone in the middle of the floor in downtown West Bend our first executive director began developing programs that were initially held throughout the community. Swimming lessons were taught in back yard pools and at the pool at the Holiday Inn; YMCA Indian Guides, Maidens, and Princesses met in homes throughout the area; and youth football, basketball and gymnastics were held at local schools.

It wasn't until 9 years after the conception of the Kettle Moraine YMCA, was there an actual Y building! Now, over 45 years later Y programming takes place in three facilities, four child care sites and numerous community schools!


The Kettle Moraine YMCA receives its charter as a branch of the Metropolitan Milwaukee YMCA. On May 23, the Board of Directors hires the first Executive Director, John S. Murray "Jack".


West Park Property site is purchased for the future site of a Day Care facility and main Y office.


The Kettle Moraine YMCA Day Care facility is built on the West Park Property site. The original office moves from Hickory Street into the community's first Child Care facility. Kettle Moraine YMCA  officially separates from the Milwaukee YMCA, becoming it's own Independent Association.


Two acres of land are purchased from the school district and six acres from Trinity Lutheran for a total of twelve acres at the West Washington property site.


The Board of Directors embarks on an ambitious fund raising campaign to build a full facility.


In October, the Kettle Moraine YMCA opens its doors to a full facility YMCA, featuring a gymnasium, pool, locker rooms, multipurpose room and five racquetball courts.


The Kettle Moraine YMCA began to offer child care for kids after school as well as a summer Day Camp.


Endowment Development program is established for future sustainability of the Kettle Moraine YMCA.


Child Care Center on Hwy Z, in collaboration with Cedar Community opens.


The Board of Directors embarks on the second capital campaign.


In June, a 25,000 square foot addition is officially opened featuring a second gymnasium, running track, warm water pool, whirlpool, conference room, offices and weight area.


With over 6,000 members and a jump in membership of 65% over the previous 5 years, the Board of Directors determined that yet another building campaign needed to be implemented.


In the fall, the third building addition opens featuring a third gymnasium, aerobics studio, expanded weight room and circuit center, and special needs locker room.


Jack Murray announces his retirement and the Board of Directors begin a national search for Kettle Moraine YMCA's second Executive Director.


Jack Murray retires after 29 years of leadership at the Kettle Moraine YMCA and on January 14, Jon T. Lange is installed as the second Executive Director.


The original Day Care center at 1113 West Washington moves its operation in partnership with Our Saviors Lutheran Church.


With membership over 8,000 and a jump of 35% increase over the previous seven years it was determined that a fourth building expansion was needed.


The new addition opened in February and featured the Becker Center-a youth activity area; the Ziegler Family Lobby; The Kate Hafeman Studio; the M & I Community Meeting Room; an expanded circuit weight room.

Discussion surrounding the alarming statistics from the Center of Disease Control(CDC) in relation to the national epidemic of obesity and the associated health risks related to this problem in the United States prompted the board to research methods to best address this issue. The downtown development of River Shores, the former West Bend Company site provided another location, dedicated to better assist the new/stop-starter/beginner exerciser/or health seeker learn the behavioral skills required to make a lifestyle change.


In November, the River Shores site opened its doors as a second program site dedicated to helping people develop exercise as a habit sustainable for the rest of their lives. River Shores would be a first-of-a-kind in the nation facility used as a test site for Activate America program initiatives set forth by the YMCA of the USA. The 15,000 square foot facility features a Spirit Mind Body studio, a Wellness Studio, three coaching rooms, beginner friendly cardio and strength equipment, massage and healing suite.

YMCA Kids Connection, an after school child care program opens at 1111 West Washington, coming back to the YMCA full circle.


In September, the YMCA Kids Connection Before and After School program opens at Decorah School as an off site offering.

The Family Center of Washington County partners with the Kettle Moraine YMCA. With common missions the partnership was a good fit and with a renovation to the original Day Care site the family center moves to 1113 West Washington Street.


In November, Jon Lange accepts a position with the Metropolitan Milwaukee YMCA. The Board begins a national search for a new Executive Director.


In March, Rob Johnson is installed as the third Executive Director of the Kettle Moraine YMCA.

The Child Care Program returns home to the original Day Care site at 1113 West Washington Street now called the Discovery Center. The Family Center relocated to 1517 Lang Street.


In May, the Kettle Moraine YMCA celebrated 40 years of strengthening the community.

The Y saw the need for a larger parking lot and after purchasing houses on Cedar Street for a number of years, five houses were torn down to make room for an additional 104 parking spaces.

The Kettle Moraine YMCA envisions the final opportunity to expand at its West Washington location with a Family Adventure Pool.


After School Child Care programming is offered to Wayne and Farmington Schools for days that there is early release from school.

In September, the Kettle Moraine YMCA launches LIVESTRONG at the YMCA. This twelve-week, small group program is designed for adult cancer survivors. The program fulfills the important need of supporting the increasing number of cancer survivors who find themselves in the transitional period between completing their cancer treatment and the shift to feeling physically and emotionally strong enough to attempt to return to their normal life or their "new normal". The program is conducted outside of medical facilities to emphasize that LIVESTRONG at the YMCA is about health, not disease.


Thanks in part to a generous donation from Margaret (Peg) Ziegler the Family Adventure Pool becomes a reality! The innovative aquatic addition provides an affordable, convenient, year-around play area for families. As membership is now exceeding 11,000 members, the new pool will help accomodate new families.


In October, in response to a nationwide epidemic, the Kettle Moraine YMCA launches the YMCA's Diabetes Prevention Program. This program, based on research by the National Institutes of Health and part of the National Diabetes Prevention Program led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is a proven, community-based disease prevention resource that provides those with pre-diabetes the support they need to adopt healthy behaviors to make a lifestyle change.


With membership now reaching 12,000 members, the Y is expanding quickly and serving just under 25,000 people in programs annually.


On October 15th, the Kettle Moraine YMCA acquires Feith Family Ozaukee YMCA from the YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee.


After a year of community listening sessions with members and the community, and a SEER Analytic Survey to our membership base, we were able to address the #1 identified need, which was renovating the adult locker rooms on the lower level. With the generous donation of over $850,000 from 6 families, the Y was able to complete the renovation from April-September. In October 2015 the Membership has grown to serving over 20,000 members between the three branches, while now serving over 45,000 people in programs in 2015.


KMYMCA History and Timeline West Bend, Ozaukee, Port Washington
West Bend's YMCA History
History and Timeline of the Kettle Moraine YMCA West Bend
Kettle Moraine YMCA History