October 31, 2017
Tony Janca is the Vice President of Operations for the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago and the Sr. Executive Director of the Foglia Y. He has been at our helm for almost three years and has been an instrument of change and growth for our center. Tony is a firm believer in teamwork, collaboration, perseverance, work ethic, and accountability. His leadership is recognized throughout the Association, as is his passion for living the Y Mission. He leads by example, and loves getting to know our members. A glimpse of Tony’s background speaks volumes as to why the YMCA is the perfect fit for him.
Growing up in a small house in Calumet Park, he was one of four children raised by two parents who believed in hard work and being kind to others. He had fun playing with friends in the street from sun up to sundown in a neighborhood that was very diverse and where race and nationality played no role, they were just kids being kids. With very little means, he learned to appreciate everything that was given to him. One of his strongest life lessons was begging his dad (repeatedly) for suede Puma gym shoes for his 7th grade basketball team. After constant whining, his father finally took him to the store and as his father knelt down to put his new shoe on his foot, Tony noticed a hole in the bottom of his Dad’s shoe through a reflection in the mirror. Whining for a NEW pair of shoes while his father had a hole in one of his own was a game changer. They left the store without new shoes and Tony refused to ask for anything new from that point forward. He recognized his father’s sacrifices for his family. Tony lost his mom at an early age to heart disease and a battle with addiction. He understands, first hand, the private struggles families face, and wanted to make a difference in the world. After graduating from Eisenhower High School in Blue Island, IL in 1983, Tony joined the Air Force and attended basic training in San Antonio Texas.
He entered the Air Force as a recreation and wellness specialist with a Division called MWR, which stands for Morale, Welfare and Recreation. He was stationed at George AFB in Victorville, CA, Elmendorf AFB in Anchorage AK, and Pease AFB in Portsmouth New Hampshire. He feels very fortunate to have had the opportunity to travel throughout the world and he loved the structure and comradery the Air Force brought. While serving in the Air Force, he attended night college classes at the University of Alaska-Anchorage, University of New Hampshire, Harper College and finally UIC where he completed his Undergraduate and Graduate degrees. After six years of active duty, he served in the Air National Guard for three years and Air Force Reserve for three years. Besides his proud service to his country, Tony was accomplished in powerlifting, bodybuilding and karate. For 12 years, he competed all over the country as a lifetime-drug free powerlifter winning two national championships, winning a Mr. Anchorage bodybuilding title, and an Illinois State Karate title in Kihon (forms) and Kata (sparring).
In 1989, Tony met his wife Kathy in a Bally’s Chicago Health Club where he was Personal Trainer. They were married three years later and have two children Mitchell (21) and Lauren (19). They currently reside in Arlington Heights and enjoy an active lifestyle. Tony has participated in local Spartan races with his son Mitchell, trying to show that the “old man” still has it. He enjoys “Bike the Drive” with his daughter Lauren annually. He loves to play golf, and prides himself as a mastered yoga enthusiast. He plays as hard as he works.
We are very fortunate to have Tony leading the Foglia team, and helping us be the best we can be and live the Y Mission. Thank you Tony, for your passion and dedication.