Leo Kofoot has spent his lifetime volunteering. A magazine article contained this quote: “The community has done a lot for us and our children. I think that as responsible citizens and adults, we have an obligation to give something back.” Leo has taken that obligation seriously and has coached young children, volunteered at YMCA camps, served as a volunteer general contractor when the public library needed by be remodeled and spearheaded the building of a YMCA facility for his county in 1999. Kofoot moved the project from dream to reality and still actively serves on many committees and serves as the YMCA Board President.
Having a safe place for children was a desperate need in Dickinson County, before the Bedell Family YMCA was built. They were in dire need of a site to unify the county’s residents and to counter-act the negative behaviors of small-town rivalries. The Bedell Family YMCA site was chosen specifically for its centralized location in the county, and each municipality was included in the building process from start to finish. The community had needed a facility of this type for many years, but the process did not move until Kofoot stepped in as President of the Board of Directors of the YMCA Camp Foster. His leadership provided the board the courage to act on the results of a community needs assessment that said the facility was needed even though the financial feasibility study said that it would be very difficult to raise the monies needed.
The Bedell Family YMCA opened in January of 2005 and has memberships of more than 3,000. This is outstanding in a county with a population of 15,000! Many volunteers coach youth sports, serve on committees and donate money to support scholarships so membership is available to everyone. Operations at the Bedell Family YMCA are funded through memberships, their annual sustaining campaign, and their endowment fund. They collaborate with a local school to provide after-school care and with another school to provide busing from the school to the YMCA.
Kofoot’s efforts to create this facility distinguish him from others because his volunteer efforts took on the hours of a full-time job for several years without a word of complaint. Kofoot assumed the responsibility for this vision for the community as well as the planning, funding, building and ultimately, the running of the center. His leadership was phenomenal and resulted in a dream becoming reality. When questions about any phase of the building project arose, he researched and reported his finding and recommendations. When the CEO position became vacant and there was a need for someone to oversee the day-to-day operations while a CEO search committee did their work, Kofoot again stepped forward. His history of volunteerism is clear and the benefits to the community are immeasurable and will be for years to come.