ebook  History of Watertown, Wisconsin


Activities planned at local ROC

Recreation & Outreach Center for Youths

321 S. Water St

213 N Third St [2009]


THE ROC was in the Water Street building from December 2003 to October 2009.


Former Empire Globe property


The Watertown Recreation and Outreach Center (ROC) for Youth, 321 S. Water St., is for high school teenagers and offers a wide variety of activities and events.


The center offers safe, free fun, is well supervised and organized, allowing for much free time when it is open Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 3 to 9 p.m. and Fridays from 3 to 10 p.m.  Offered are pool, ping pong, foosball, cable TV, board/card games, video/computer gaming and Internet surfing using the supervised and protected computers.  Experienced biblical counseling or guidance is also available if desired.


High school teens as well as seventh- and eighth-graders are invited to the ROC. Homework tutoring is available anytime.  Organized board game time is available anytime.



Planning for the ROC began in 1999 when the four Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran churches in the city - St. John's, St. Luke's, St. Mark's and Trinity - saw the need for such a youth center.  The site for the ROC was originally planned for Main Street, but that was changed when the former A to Z Farm Center building on South Water Street was offered rent free.  That building was transformed into the ROC and opened in December 2003.



06 06       A dilapidated South Water Street building will be getting a colorful face-lift next month.  In what’s being called the “piece project,” the A to Z Farm Center will be painted with murals in a mosaic style.  Sherrie Avery-King said it is referred to as the piece project because the painting will be done in various stages and the effort will bring together area artists and citizens.  The work was prompted by neighbors complaining the building was an eyesore.  However, the final project is only temporary as the structure will eventually be removed to accommodate for the expansion of the river walk.  “We were brainstorming what we could do in the meantime to help the building’s appearance,” Avery-King said.  “And since Watertown is becoming the city of murals, and we have lots of local artists, we decided to do a community art project.”    WDT


07 16       South Water Street has certainly seen more color in the past week as artists are participating in the Piece project, painting murals in a mosaic style on the former A to Z Farm Center building.  The project began last weekend and continues this week. Sherrie Avery-King, Main Street Program director, said the project was called “Piece” because of all of the artists coming together in pieces to complete the project.  Four artists, Sarah Gilbert, Eda Duesterhoeft, Michael Buchert and Gwendolyn Cohn, became the creative supervisors and were each assigned a side of the building.  Each artist drew a design and a theme. The designs were approved by Avery-King and Yvonne Duesterhoeft, marketing director of The Market.  Yvonne Duesterhoeft’s boss, Larry Mistele, owns the former A to Z building.    WDT






09 09       The placement of a youth center on South Water Street was supported by Watertown's Plan Commission despite a few objections from neighbors to the center's future home.  Originally, Watertown's four Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod churches proposed a youth Recreation and Outreach Center at 208 W. Main St. but changed location to the former A to Z farm building when the space was offered rent free.  "The reason we are moving the center is for economics," Don Bartz, ROC board chairman, said.  "This is not a typical youth center.  It's something Watertown hasn't seen before.  We're here to help the community."  ROC will serve as a place for counseling, Bible study, reading and games.    WDT


09 24       The Rev. Timothy Mueller will be installed as the director of the Watertown Recreation & Outreach Center for youths Sunday at 2 p.m. in the chapel at Luther Preparatory School.  At the event, an offering will be taken to support the ROC.  Refreshments will be served in the cafeteria following the installation.  A food shower will also be held to benefit the Mueller family. People are asked to bring nonperishable food items and drop them off at the chapel’s entry prior to the service. The community is invited to attend the installation. The ROC is expected to open at 321 S. Water St. sometime in November.   WDT




As 3 o’clock begins to roll around about a dozen of Watertown’s teenagers begin to show up and wait outside the doors of the colorfully painted Watertown Recreation and Outreach Center for Youth.  The ROC, and the many teenagers that know it as their second home, will be celebrating its one year anniversary on Saturday.  Rev. Tim Mueller, often called PT or Pastor Tim by the teens at the ROC, is the full-time director.  As soon as he arrives and opens the doors the teens run in, grab a seat on the couches and visit or find something else that grabs their attention.   WDT




The Izaak Walton League invited teens from the Watertown Recreation and Outreach Center (ROC) to join them in their yearly sprucing up of Tivoli Island.  “The island continues to be a wonderful place for people to enjoy as they are able to walk all over the island on groomed wood chip trails,” Rev. Tim Mueller, director of the ROC Youth Center, said.  “Folks can walk and enjoy nature on Tivoli Island, especially now, as many varieties of birds and baby ducks are visible and the spring flowers are in full bloom.”  Every year the Izaak Walton League cleans up and spreads new wood chips over the many trails.  WDT




Teens who visit the Watertown Recreation and Outreach Center for Youth recently learned a lesson on compassion.  ROC volunteer, Todd Morris, dressed up as a homeless man named Hank and sat outside the ROC holding a sign, “Will work for food.”  Pastor Tim Mueller watched as the teens noticed the “homeless man” and started talking about how they could help him.  “All of the teens eventually wanted to help ‘Hank’ by giving him some food and asking him to come into the ROC to warm up as it was bitterly cold outside,” Mueller said.  One of the teens gave the homeless man the blanket he had made during the ROC After-School Program.  Later “Hank” revealed himself as Morris.


03 27       ROC WOULD BE RAZED

A proposed development on South Water Street will result in a new home for a number of senior citizens, but it also means a local meeting place for teenagers will have to find a new location.  CommonBond Properties and Spectrum Development Group are currently in the process of looking to build a 54-unit senior housing complex and five town homes on the east side of South Water Street just south of the lower dam, which is the current site of the Watertown Recreation and Outreach Center for Youth.  The ROC would be razed once construction on the apartments and town homes begins.  The Rev. Timothy Mueller, director of the ROC, said he and other community members are currently looking for a new building in the city that the youth center could call its future home.


12 22       PURCHASE BLDG AT 213 N. THIRD

                ROC offer to purchase Carew Heating bldg at 213 N Third.  The ROC was forced to move out of its former home on South Water Street in October of this year because of the proposed construction of a 54-unit senior citizen complex on the same site. The ROC headquarters was razed in late October.  Because the ROC was unable to secure a permanent home at that time, the center temporarily moved into the basement of St. Mark's Parish Hall on Jones Street.     WDT




The new location of the Watertown Recreation and Outreach Center (ROC) was formally opened with an open house event June 26.  The extensively remodeled space at 213 N. Third St. offers area teens a place to gather and converse as well as an opportunity to play games and have access to Internet-equipped computers.  The center also offers after school activities and mentoring programs.  The project is the result of many hours of volunteer work and material contributions from area residents and the center's youths.   WDT



12 06       10th ANNIVERSARY

The Watertown Recreation and Outreach Center for Youth (ROC), 213 N. Third St., will celebrate its 10th anniversary with an open house Sunday, from noon until 3 p.m.


The idea for the Watertown ROC began in 1999, after four WELS churches, St. Johns, St. Luke’s, St. Mark’s and Trinity Lutheran, recognized a need for a safe and uplifting environment where local teenagers could go to have fun and develop positive relationships with other community members.


The center first opened in 2003, occupying a building on South Water Street. In 2009, it had to move out of that building to make way for the construction of an apartment complex being built on that property. The center temporarily occupied the basement of St. Mark’s Church, until finally moving to its current location in June of 2010.




It's probably not what most people would expect from a church-sponsored youth center. . . . In fact, the setting looks more like what a typical teenager might consider the perfect bedroom -- just on a larger scale.     WDTimes article of 05 31 2018.    




The Rev. Timothy Mueller, director of The ROC, left his position after 15 years of service to serve as an associate pastor at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Watertown.


The Rev. Dustin Yahnke will take over Mueller’s position until a permanent replacement can be found.  Yahnke is currently serving as an associate pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church.  Yahnke worked with Mueller in the past while starting a youth ministry at St. Luke’s in Kenosha.  Yahnke is married to his wife Jennifer and together they have six children.


The ROC is served by volunteers who lead and supervise the teens, prepare meals for them, and tutor them after school.  Members from the area WELS churches volunteer.



The ROC of Watertown will be holding a special installation service to install Staff Minister Matthew Schultz as the new director of The ROC.  After more than 15 years of The ROC’s presence in Watertown, Schultz will become the second director, succeeding the Rev. Timothy Mueller, who recently accepted a call to be an associate pastor at St. John’s in Watertown.  The installation service will be held at St. Luke’s on Sunday, June 30.


The ROC’s new director was born in West Allis in 1978 and attended Lutheran school in Waucousta, completing his elementary education locally at Trinity- St. Luke’s in 1992. He attended Northwestern Preparatory School, completing his high school education at Luther Preparatory School in 1996. He holds a bachelor of science degree in staff ministry after graduating from Martin Luther College in 2003.


Schultz served an assignment as staff minister for two years in St. Croix Falls. He has lived in Watertown for the past 14 years, working in security at ACE Hardware and driving a bus for DH Enterprises.  He and his wife, Laura, have four children — Coleton, Oliver, Henry and Stella.


The ROC, Recreational Outreach Center, is a nonprofit center that concentrates its efforts on the teenagers of the Watertown community on behalf of the four WELS congregations in Watertown.  The ROC offers all teenagers a safe place to gather to socialize and interact with other teenagers and counsel with Christian adults.  The ROC provides teenagers a positive environment for recreation, Bible study, worship, service opportunities and fellowship.  It also serves as a path for connecting teenagers to active membership with one of the WELS congregations.  The successful operation of The ROC has relied upon the generosity of the WELS congregations, individuals, businesses, grants, fundraising events, The ROC/Jerry Kastens golf outing and The ROC rummage sale.  The financial challenges of The ROC are ever-increasing and therefore donations are greatly appreciated and well-used in its mission.





Cross Reference:  YouTube video clip




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History of Watertown, Wisconsin