22 Aug 2014
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Ready for Takeoff: Boys & Girls Club's Bob DeAngelo

The Boys & Girls Club Greenwich Executive Director Bob DeAngelo talks about his decision to leave the helm of the organization he's led for 16 years.

Ready for Takeoff: Boys & Girls Club's Bob DeAngelo

Bob DeAngelo has been the face and force of the Boys & Girls Club Greenwich for 16 years.

Most of the facilities upgrades and expansion and after-school and camp programs for Greenwich's youngsters and teens were initiated during DeAngelo's tenure. So it was rather surprising for many when DeAngelo announced his resignation last week.

DeAngelo said, "I truly love this place. I have met some spectacular people. I've seen progress...I've witnessed the transformation of kids—that has been spectacular."

He added, "There's a saying that when you help kids, what they give back to you is more than what you give them."

The 57-year-old DeAngelo said he achieved the two goals he had when he was hired at the club's executive director and now he wants to address the wanderlust in his heart.

"I've always been a wanderlust guy. I flew for the Navy for six years. Lived in Munich. I want to see new places and meet new people," DeAngelo said of his decision to leave the Horseneck Lane facility in May. He said he doesn't "have anything lined up. It's (Greenwich) a small community ... I wanted to announce my decision before I started" looking for a job.

"I love pedaling, I love the outdoors...maybe I'll do something with cycling," he added.

"I want to pick up with more speed, I want to push the throttles up," said DeAngelo, referencing his flying background. His love for flying is evident by the model airplanes and jets that decorate his office.

DeAngelo, who attended club programs as a child, said he is proud of the goals he accomplished. "I wanted to weave it (the club) tightly with the community and it is ... and number two was to fix a tired, old building. That was the weak link in the chain — the pool was falling apart, the heating system didn't work. I feel pretty confident that I got those goals."

Indeed, during his tenure the facility added an ice rink, the pool was replaced and it continues to add programs to nurture kids with study programs, athletics and the arts after school, on weekends and during the summer.

"I've seen a lot of kids make great strides. We help kids get on a good trail," DeAngelo said. "I've got three kids of my own. They were on the hockey and swim teams and I like to think my own kids are on a pretty good path because of being here. They got to see the magic here and be a part of it," DeAngelo explained.

Walking through the building, DeAngelo drops by the pool. "This is my pool ... It's my pool," said DeAngelo in his signature enthusiastic voice."

When the pool was rebuilt several years ago, supporters decided it should be named the Robert M. DeAngelo pool. "In 1980, I was in a very bad sailing accident in the Chesepeake Bay. I wouldn't be alive and wouldn't have been able to save the life (of his sailing partner) if I hadn't had the aquatics lessons here," DeAngelo explained.

Well after he leaves, DeAngelo said, "I think the club will remain a cherished part of the community and only grow stronger. There is more need now in the community. There are more kids coming. We'll make more great moments for kids."

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