Southington YMCA's new executive director is a familiar face

Published on Thursday, 31 January 2019 19:42


SOUTHINGTON – The Southington-Cheshire Community YMCA has hired Jay Jaronko as the new Southington Branch Executive Director.

Mark Pooler, CEO of the local Y, said that Jaronko, who will begin his position Feb. 25, is “no stranger to the YMCA family.” He began his career at the Southington YMCA as a camp staff member at YMCA Camp Sloper in 2004. He then became the Youth Program Director in 2007 and was the Outdoor Center Program Director from 2011 to 2013. Pooler said Jaronko has spent the last six years developing his leadership skills at the Westport-Weston YMCA, where he was the senior program director.

“I could not be more happy to welcome Jay home to the Southington Community YMCA,” said Pooler. “He brings a ton of Y experience and enthusiasm, he is a great leader and excels in relationship building, leading teams, problem solving and is a strong advocate for youth and teens. We are excited to tap into what Jay has learned in Westport and I believe he is the right leader to bring our Y to the next level.”

Pooler added that Jaronko is a Southington native, a graduate of Southington High School, and graduated from UConn with a degree in history in 2007. Jaronko currently lives in Newtown with his wife Tina and their son Thomas who turns 3 years old in February.

Jaronko said that he is excited for the opportunity and to return to his hometown.

“Southington is a special community, and I’m honored to, once again, be a part of it,” he said. “I’m looking forward to learning how the YMCA and the town have changed over the last six years. It feels like I’m coming home. I’m looking forward to reconnecting with old friends and making some new ones.”

Jaronko said that his goal as executive director is to not only help build membership, but also determine how to “better serve families of all kinds and make them really want to be at the Y.”

“In Westport, we built a new facility,” he said. “For us, it was an opportunity to really break down what it is we do and why we are doing it. It was a very valuable experience and taught me the importance of reflection. Instead of just doing the same things we’d always done, we had to think about what new things we could offer.”

Jaronko’s professional YMCA involvement includes serving as a past youth and teen day camp chair, a member of the YMCA Professional Network, and a past treasurer, vice chair and chair of the CT YMCA Network. He is expected to complete his certification with the Executive Preparatory Institute in May 2019.

Jaronko’s community involvement has included being a member of Westport Sunrise Rotary, serving on the membership and program committee for the Newtown Community Center, being vice president of the board for Westport Police Athletic League Basketball, serving on the Westport Weston Wilton Hands for Life planning committee and being a part of the “Team Brent/St. Baldrick Head Shaving Event” planning committee.

“Team Bent and St. Baldrick raise money for pediatric cancer research,” explained Jaronko. “The head shaving event is one of St. Baldrick’s signature events. Hundreds of people come to the Y and line up to get their heads shaved, raising money and awareness. In the five years that the Westport Y held the event, it raised $500,000.”

In his personal life, Jaronko enjoys spending time with his wife and son at the pool, library or park. He runs three to five miles almost every day. His favorite sports teams are the New York Yankees, the New York Giants and UConn Basketball. He is currently reading the Game of Thrones series and Ron Chernow’s Alexander Hamilton biography.

Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or

Posted in The Bristol Press, Southington Herald on Thursday, 31 January 2019 19:42. Updated: Thursday, 31 January 2019 19:44.