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New youth athletics director comes full circle

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Blake Trobaugh went to college thinking he wanted to become a businessman.

Halfway through the program, he decided that wasn’t for him.

Trobaugh eventually earned a marketing degree from Ball State University, but it’s been in nonprofit management that the Columbus native has found his calling. He began a new job July 1 as athletics director at Foundation For Youth.

“I wasn’t a guy that wanted to sit in an office all day,” Trobaugh said. “I don’t sit at my desk for more than a couple hours a day now, which I love. I’m actually out and get to witness who we’re affecting.”

Growing up, Trobaugh was one of those kids who was affected. He played Police Athletic Activities League football and FFY basketball.

“I’m a longtime supporter and have volunteered at lots of different events that they have,” Trobaugh said. “It hit close to my heart, and athletics has been a huge part of my life. The community that you gain from it is huge.”

Although he attended Columbus Christian, Trobaugh was able to play two years of high school football at Columbus East. He played basketball for Columbus Christian, graduating in 2006. While in college, Trobaugh volunteered at the YMCA in Muncie.

“I loved working with kids and loved the nonprofits,” Trobaugh said. “I love the fact that nonprofits reinvest their money back in to whatever their message is. In this case (at FFY), it’s youth. Whatever money we make from registration, it goes back into the program.”

Most recently, Trobaugh had been community director for the March of Dimes in Columbus and an AmeriCorps member with the United Way. The AmeriCorps program

got him involved in the nonprofit world.

“One of the things that we really liked about Blake is, he’s been around the nonprofit community, and he done some jobs through the United Way,” said Jen Shaver, community health and fitness director at FFY. “AmeriCorps, their focus is on volunteers, and that’s something that when you look at athletics, all of our coaches are volunteers. So that was something we felt was an asset for him to have.”

Chuck Kime, executive director of FFY, said several things made Trobaugh an attractive candidate, including his experience in volunteer management and marketing.

“He has a presence about him,” Kime said. “He inspires confidence. The way he carries himself and sets expectations, it’s somebody you want to look up to.”

Trobaugh is currently knee-deep in FFY football. Practice began Tuesday with more than 200 players.

FFY has a league manager in PAAL board member and former coach Steve Blystone and a newly-created player safety coach in Mark Umble.

“Concussions are kind of the big buzzword for football these days, so we’re making the extra effort to make sure our coaches know how to deal with that,” Trobaugh said. “Safety is my No. 1 concern in all sports.

“We’re also looking at maybe aligning ourselves with national organizations like USA Football to help us manage our leagues and manage that safety aspect,” he said. “Training coaches specifically in safety is very important to me, and that’s something that we’ve implemented this year — making all of our football coaches become USA Football certified.”

Trobaugh also wants to make FFY’s sports leagues as professional as possible.

“It shouldn’t be any different if a kid wants to play at an elementary school, or they want to play here,” Trobaugh said. “I want our communication level to be equally as high. I want there to be structure. I don’t want anyone to ever feel that they don’t know what’s going on.”

“He’s been phenomenal,” Shaver said. “He came in right when football was getting ready to start, and he has hit the ground running. He’s done a great job at getting the league organized and communicating with parents and getting the word out to the families that the season is starting. So we’ve been very happy to have him on board.”

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