Boys and Girls Club breaks ground on future Ripon site

On Tuesday, April 30th members of the Ripon community, local government officials, donors, and Boys & Girls Club of the Tri-County Area staff and board members gathered to break ground on their future Ripon site of nearly 40,000 sq. ft.

After nine years of exploring the possibility of establishing a local Club in Ripon, the Lyke family led the fundraising efforts by donating seed money to get the ball rolling. Mary Lyke, Board of Directors, said, “For the past three years, we’ve worked hard to raise money. I’m proud to say the Lyke family made the first gift to provide seed money to kick off our fundraising efforts.”

Starting a campaign in a new community can seem challenging at first. “When you come to a new community you don’t know what type of support you’re going to get and how you’ll be received,” Jason Presto, CEO of the Boys & Girls Club of the Tri-Couty Area said. “Very quickly Rob, Cathy, and Candie [Webster] put that worry to rest. They were all in and believed wholeheartedly in the Club and what it would mean to the community that they love.” The Webster family has been loyal supporters of the Club and is funding 10% of this project, at $1.3 million. Rob Webster, former owner of Webster’s Marketplace, explained “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to change the trajectory of lives of Ripon’s children, now and for generations to come.”

While there are so many other individuals, families, companies, non-profit groups that have helped support the organization, getting it to where it is today, Tom and Carol Joseph have been instrumental by providing substantial funding to the Ripon Boys & Girls Club.

Tom and Carol Joseph addressed the crowd, “People have no idea the impact this Club is going to have on this community,” Tom Joseph said. “You’re getting so much more than a place for kids to go.” The two-story building will not only provide licensed childcare, a full-size gymnasium, teen employment center, skill trades workshop, and a commercial kitchen, but youth will have access to basic needs programs, education classes, warm meals, supportive friends, and most importantly a safe place to call home.

The Josephs also thanked Ed Wabiszewski, who donated $1 million to allow the Club to maintain the original vision of the building, on behalf of his wife of more than 55 years, the late Mary Wabiszewski. In addition, Ed Wabiszewski, celebrated his 92nd birthday with the Club at the groundbreaking. Youth gathered to present him with a birthday cake and card while singing him happy birthday.

Jason Presto, the CEO of the Boys & Girls Club of the Tri-County Area, thanked everyone who was involved in the campaign and gave some closing remarks. “Thank you to anyone who has had a hand in getting us here today, we sincerely appreciate making this dream a reality. It wasn’t easy; it certainly wasn’t fast, but nothing worthwhile ever is. I have no doubt that the effort and resources committed to this vision will pay incredible dividends for the youth, residents, and the community for generations to come.”

The Ripon site is scheduled to open in the summer of 2025. If you’d like to support the Club in its efforts to close the campaign, please visit

The Ripon site will become the third site operating under the Boys & Girls Club of the Tri-County Area, joining a standalone site in Berlin and a school site in Green Lake. For more information regarding the project of the Club, visit