ARLINGTON – When Lyanne Rolf was going to classes at Arlington High School in the mid-1990s, she spent time after class at the Arlington Boys and Girls Club working as a program assistant playing with the youngsters in the game room and gym.
Play time is over.
After a stint as program director for the Edmonds Boys and Girls Club and a career change into the world of mortgage loans, Rolf on Sept. 11 was named the new unit director at the Arlington club.
“Honestly, it feels like this is my dream job,” she said. “It has always been where I have wanted to be.”
Rolf succeeds the man who first hired her as an outgoing young high school girl, Bill Kinney. Kinney, who guided the club through many major improvements, is still working for the organization at the county level, with retirement inching closer for the only director the current club has known since it opened in 1992. Rolf will oversee a 15-member staff, and day-to-day operations that include finances, attendance and maintenance. “My biggest focus is connecting our club with the community,” she added.
Rolf describes herself as energetic – so truth be told, play time is never really over. She’s community-focused, an organizer, planner, and she loves to be busy.
Her calendar could become a lot busier since she is running for the Arlington School Board. She is challenging Marc Rosson for the District No. 5 open seat vacated by longtime board member Bob McClure. With Rolf’s regular interaction with club kids, and Youth Services director for the Arlington Rotary and a near 40-strong Rotary Interact Club for teens, she believes she has the time and experience to serve on the board. She chose to run because she wants to lend her voice to ensure that all options are open to students once they leave high school – along tracks other than college. “The schools are shifting toward helping kids prepare for whatever the next step in their life is outside of high school – whether that be a trade, college, community college or going right into the workforce. I want to see the schools identify and tap into that potential as early as possible, then put them on that route,” she said.
Rolf also advocates for more parent involvement. Her daughter is a fourth-generation sophomore at Arlington, and she and her husband have hosted foreign exchange students for the past 10 school terms.
Rolf is also an Arlington Smokey Point Chamber of Commerce board member and active member of the Arlington Runners Club.
Rolf said she is an ideas person that puts them into action, too. She is hoping to bring a father-daughter dance to the club, and increase before- and after-school care capacity to reduce already long waiting lists. She also wants to incorporate technical and arts programs, as well as the Boys and Girls Club’s national program, Inspire Her, that instills confidence and leadership skills in young girls.
She is also looking at charging up the robotics program to get it going again, with help from Arlington’s young robotics leaders. And she is looking forward to continuing to grow the club’s already huge athletic program.
She said the club is a community asset that has a lot to offer. “The Teen Center is state of the art, providing a great, safe place for kids to come and hang out,” Rolf said. She added that the extra gym-and-a-half is “definitely going to give us the ability to do more onsite sports and competitions.”