Joe McHaney moves to job from Pioneer

by: Photo by Tony Ahern - Kids Club of Jefferson County Board President Tim Gassner, left, talks with Joe McHaney, who was recently hired as the Kids Club executive director. McHaney is phasing out as the Madras Pioneer sports editor, and will begin duties at the Kids Club when school starts.

   The Kids Club of Jefferson County will have a new leader when it opens its doors after school starts.
   Joe McHaney is the new executive director of the club. McHaney, 32, takes over from Kristin Viscaino, who had been the director for four years. Viscaino resigned her position in July for employment in the physical training field.
   The Kids Club is a private organization providing after-school and summer programs for Jefferson County youths. Its clubhouse is at the Westside Building, via a no-cost lease from the 509-J school district. Last year, about 350 kids were members and approximately 150 attended, on average, each day after school.
   The Kids Club provides an array of activities, including homework help, leadership training, physical fitness and sports activities, and meals programs. Kids can join for a nominal annual fee. Most of the organization's budget come from donations from individuals and businesses, fundraisers, contributions from local government entities plus grants. The Bean Foundation of Madras has been very integral to the Kids Club's success, having donated $60,000 per year over a five-year period, a period ending after December.
   "I'm very excited for this opportunity and the challenges of being the Kids Club executive director," said McHaney. "The Kids Club is a vital organization to our community, and I'm very proud to be involved."
   In August, McHaney was hired by the board of directors of the Jefferson County Youth Organization -- formed in 2007 with the sole purpose of operating the Kids Club -- over a lengthy list of applicants, five of whom were interviewed. The JCYO (currently consisting of eight board members) focuses on overall policy-setting for the club, along with fundraising and the club's financial stability.
   Day-to-day operations of the organization are handled by the executive director, who is also tasked with grant-seeking and fundraising responsibilities.
   "I'm excited about working with Joe," said Tim Gassner, president of the board. "Joe has a lot of enthusiasm for the club and I'm looking forward to seeing how he can build upon the success that we have had."
   McHaney has been employed at the Madras Pioneer newspaper as sports editor for the past four years. Along with award-winning sports reporting, McHaney covered business news and often shot news and feature photography. He's also been a Jefferson County Little League coach.
   "I'm going to really miss the sport scene in Jefferson County," said McHaney. "The people involved have been so supportive, and I've thoroughly enjoyed my time as sports editor."
   McHaney starts at the Kids Club in September, and will be finishing his time at the newspaper by mid-September.
   "Joe has done an excellent job for us and has set a high bar for our sports coverage," said Tony Ahern, publisher of the Pioneer, and also a member of the JCYO board. "He's a hard worker, very dedicated. He'll serve the Kids Club and the community well."
   McHaney graduated from Condon High School in 1997, and from Eastern Oregon University with an English degree in 2002. He's also been working toward obtaining an accounting degree from Eastern. He spent five years at the East Oregonian in Pendleton as a sports editor, and also worked in the mortgage and airline industries.
   "I feel very fortunate to be the next executive director, and I'm looking forward to building upon the solid foundation already in place."
   Joe has a daughter, Rylee, 2. His parents, Mike and Tammy McHaney, have lived in Madras since 1998.
   Gassner also took time to praise outgoing director Viscaino, who has been invaluable in the transition, and will remain on the club's board.
   "I would like to thank Kristin for the outstanding job she did," said Gassner. "We couldn't have been successful as an independent and locally controlled organization without her leadership at the club as well as her dedication to building the framework for the organization. The service that she helped to provide to the youth of our community was invaluable."
   Viscaino joined the board shortly after her resignation as executive director, and is eager to stay involved with the organization.
   "I'm excited to see to growth Joe can bring to the club," said Viscaino.
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