Tom Holland closes in on 30 years with the YMCATom Holland was born to YMCA work, or pretty close to it. Holland, who has been at the helm of the Hudson YMCA since before there was a building, will mark 30 years with the organization in June.
By: Jon Echternacht, Hudson Star-Observer
Tom Holland was born to YMCA work, or pretty close to it.
Holland, who has been at the helm of the Hudson YMCA since before there was a building, will mark 30 years with the organization in June.
But as far back as he can remember, he was hanging out at the YMCA because his father was the director.
“I can remember my mother taking me to swimming lessons at the Y when I was very young,” said Holland, 55, during a conversation in his Hudson office. “I was always hanging around the Y as I grew up and I had every job there was at the Y.”
Holland spent the first eight years of his life in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where his father directed the YMCA, then moved on to the Y in Fond du Lac, where he graduated from Goodrich High School in 1978.
After a short stint at Carroll College in Waukesha, he attended North Central Bible College in Minneapolis and earned a bachelor’s degree in humanities. He hadn’t yet heard the calling to follow in his father’s footsteps as a YMCA director.
“My first job was with youth at a church in Bloomington, Minn.,” he said. “But I didn’t like the preaching part — the pulpit.”
With a background and upbringing around the Y, he turned to what he knew best and in 1980 signed on at the YMCA in Wausau.
In 1992, Holland came to Hudson where there was a YMCA committee but no building.
“We used the abandoned roller rink for classes and the senior center, and other locations in town,” he said.
Holland began a two-year fundraising campaign. With the help of the Andersen foundation, $4.2 million was raised through private individuals and businesses. “Andersen contributed one-third,” Holland said.
The ground-breaking ceremony took place in December 1993 at current location at 2211 Vine St.
On May 12, 1995, an open house and grand opening celebration was held at the new building. “It was 4,200 square feet for $4.2 million, $100 a square foot for the pool and everything,” Holland said, which looks like a pretty good deal by today’s standards.
A souvenir program from the grand opening said 800 individuals and businesses contributed to the building fund and listed their names in a center section.
In 1997 the building was expanded in the back to increase the size of the locker rooms and wellness area and add a pre-school, Holland said.
Holland estimated there were about 6,000 members when the new Y opened and currently between 8,000 and 9,000 members use the facility. “This is the busiest Y I have ever seen,” he said.
When asked to reflect on the biggest change in the organization since he came on board, he said, “I think the YMCA has become more sophisticated. It used to be more like a church. Today it is much more of a business.”
“We are a membership-based organization,” Holland said. “Most of our revenue comes from membership fees. But if you can’t afford a membership there is Y Partners that helps cover the cost.”
He said about 10 percent of the current membership is being helped by Y Partners.
Holland doesn’t intend to be leaving the organization anytime soon. “You can retire at 55,” he said. “But I’m not interested in stopping. I’ll keep working until I’m 60. I was fortunate to discover where I belong.”
Holland and his wife, Charlene, have raised four children in Hudson including Cassie, 28, a 2000 graduate of Hudson High School, Peter, 25, HHS 2003, Cayla, 22, HHS 2006 and Jack, currently a junior at HHS.