Ribas to retire from Boys & Girls Club

Jack Ribas, executive director of the Boys & Girls Club for the past 34 years, has announced his retirement, effective Dec. 12.

Ribas has been a youth service professional since September 1971, when he started his career as program director of the then-Community Center Boys Club. In 1975, he was hired as the unit director of the North End Boys Club in Bridgeport and in 1977 was promoted to director of operations for the four-unit Bridgeport organization.

In February of 1978, Ribas was hired as the executive director of the Community Center Boys Club and immediately began changing the organizational structure into its present form. Within the first three years, the Boys Club merged with the community center becoming the Community Center Boys Club.

In 1980, girls were added as full-time members, and the name was changed to the Boys & Girls Club of the Lower Naugatuck Valley. The club grew from 420 members in 1978 to more than 2,300 in 2011, and the budget also grew from $72,000 to $1,720,000 in that same time period.

"It's been a great ride," Ribas said. "I never thought I would be doing this my whole life. I have had the opportunity to work with the best Board of Directors ever, hard-working community people giving of their time, talent and treasure to make our community a better place for our children.

"We have built two new state-of-the-art clubhouses for our kids at a cost of over $10 million, all raised by our volunteer board from people and businesses in the Valley," he said. "I have been blessed to have a great staff of hard working, dedicated people, with a genuine concern for all our kids. Thousands of children have passed through our doors and have become better citizens, better students, and better people for having been here. I can't tell you how many alumni have stopped back here 20 years later and have told me how the club saved their life. It's a tremendous feeling to know you have truly helped someone, especially those children going through difficult times."

"Jack will truly be missed," said Susan DeLeon, board president. "He has been the heart and soul of this organization. Jack has done such a great job for so many years, and we all know how difficult it will be to replace him, but the club and all its award-winning programs will go on."

The board is in the middle of its succession planning, and the position and information have been posted at BGC-LNV.org. Candidate review will begin the first week of September.

For more information about the job listing, club programs or summer camp, visit the website or call 203-924-7462.