Our staff is dedicated to our mission: To put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all.
We are committed to strengthening community – the community of Grand Island and Hall County and the communities that have developed within our walls. From our child care families to our senior chair yoga classmates, from swim team members to boot campers, our community supports, helps, and encourages each other. Our staff is committed to helping each person achieve their health, wellness, recreation, or child care needs. We welcome everyone to become part of the Grand Island YMCA community.
With the Grand Island Y since 2003
I hold an MSE in Clinical Exercise Physiology from Wayne State College – NE. I am certified in BODYPUMP®, BODYATTACK®, BODYVIVE®, BODYFLOW®, CXWORX® and the LES MILLS GRIT SERIES®. I am also SilverSneakers, TRX and NSCA CPT Certified and am a trainer for the Y of the USA in Pilates and Foundations of Group Exercise, as well as Faculty for P.O.O.L. I have been in the fitness industry for since 1994. I served as Senior Program Director for the Grand Island YMCA from 2003 through 2013 and have since served as the Community Outreach Coordinator as well as a fitness instructor and personal trainer.
With the Y: I grew up coming to the Grand Island YMCA. When I was in elementary school I participated in several of the learner league sports and programs. When I was 9 we received flyers at school for the Bill Seymour Races (now the State Fair Races). I begged my parents to let me run the 1 mile kids fun run. Competing in that race was the beginning of my passion for running and health and wellness. I then ran Cross Country and Track at the University of South Dakota. During my time at USD I completed an internship at the Grand Island YMCA for one of my courses. During my internship, I knew being part of the Y could be my dream job some day!
Qualifications: I graduated from the University of South Dakota with a Bachelor’s Degree in Kinesiology and Sport Management with a minor in Coaching.
Hobbies and Interests: I love to run and am part of the post-collegiate Lincoln Running Company team. You can also find me coaching the Grand Island Senior High Cross Country team. When I am not running or coaching, I enjoy spending time with my husband and my dogs, reading a book, or spending time outdoors.
Favorite Book: Anything by Bob Goff or a good sappy love story.
Quote: “Stop being afraid of what could go wrong, and start being excited about what could go right.” -Tony Robbins
Experience: I was a temporary recreation director in Minden, Nebraska, where I was able to develop tournaments for the town. I was also part of two other YMCAs (Holdrege and Kearney) where I helped with fitness and youth programs.
Qualifications: I graduated from the University of Nebraska Kearney. I have a passion to help kids reach their full potential.
Hobbies: I enjoy lifting, sports (watching and playing), playing cards, and watching movies
Movies: The Dark Knight, Shazam!, Tommy Boy, War Wagon and Rio Bravo
Books: Captain Nobody
Quotes: “Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway.” – John Wayne
“I won’t be wronged. I won’t be insulted. I won’t be laid a hand on. I don’t do these things to other people and I require the same from them.” – John Wayne
“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.
With the Y since 2014. I also brought my kids to the Y for swim lessons and youth sports.
Experience: Before becoming the Facility Director in early 2020, I was a part-time custodian at the Y. I have also worked at the Nebraska Veteran’s Home when it was in Grand Island, then as a custodian at Dodge Elementary School. I also have experience working in supply inventory at St. Francis Medical Center and for CNH. I like to stay busy so I usually had a part-time job in addition to the full time jobs mentioned. All these jobs gave me the experience and knowledge that I’m using now at the Y.
Qualifications: I believe in getting the job done right the first time. I believe a clean facility with things getting fixed in a timely way makes members happy and making members happy is the most important part of this job. Throughout the years I have taken OSHA, safety, and chemical use training.
Hobbies and Interests: I love the outdoors, especially near water. I like to garden, spend time with my grandkids and I like to cook.
Book: The Shack
Quote verse: We have the power to shape lives within our families, our communities, our churches, and our friends. – Dawn Camp
With the Y Since 1999
Experience: I started as a part-time secretary, then became a full-time secretary, Arts & Humanities & Active Older Adult Coordinator, and then Communication Coordinator before becoming Marketing Director in 2013.
Qualifications: Some of my YMCA Certifications include Active Older Adult Program Director, Membership by Design, Starting & Improving Arts Programs, Writer’s Voice, Group Work, and Introduction to Volunteerism
Hobbies & Interests: Spending time with my three kids and six grandkids, family history, writing, quilting, gardening
Movies, Books and Favorite Authors: Almost any British movie or TV show; Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit; Kent Haruf, Willa Cather, Jane Austen, T.S. Eliot
With the Y since 2002
Experience: I started my involvement with the Grand Island YMCA in 2002 when I started working in Child Watch. In 2003 I became Child Watch Coordinator. I worked as assistant summer camp director in 2004. I became the Business Desk Manager in 2013.
Qualifications: I’m a mother of two teenage girls. Enough Said!
Hobbies: I enjoy reading, fishing, archery, and painting
Favorite Authors: Dan Brown, Amanda Hocking, Suzanne Collins
Sonya has been a member of the Grand Island YMCA for over 30 years. She started working in the child watch area and supervised the evening program. She discovered a passion for water fitness and started teaching deep and shallow cardio classes in the pool in 1995. She is a lifeguard,certified water fitness instructor and has now added Human Resources to her resume. Sonya and Dale have been avid racquetball players, coached soccer, and raised 3 kids who were also lifeguards.
Experience & Qualifications: I have a Bachelor’s degree in Physical Education and a Master’s degree in Exercise Science. I taught Sports Management and Personal Health for 13 years at Eastern Connecticut State University. I was also a middle school track coach for 7-8 years. My certifications include ACE Group Fitness, ACE Personal Training, ACE Fitness Nutrition Specialist, and ACE Health Coach. I also have a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) certificate, and certificates in water aerobics and several Les Mills certifications. I have worked with athletes from pre-Olympics to Senior Olympics as well as special needs kids.
Hobbies: When I’m not teaching or coaching, I love to crochet, specifically amigurumi, a Japanese form of crochet. I also love to bake bread, Christmas candy, and trying new recipes.
Y Philosophy: If you work at the Y, you’re not coming to work AT the Y, you are coming to worth WITH the Y. You don’t just walk in, teach a class and walk out. You’re here to help people.
Quote: Do what you can with what you’ve got.
My life at the YMCA began at an early age. Since I enjoyed all types of sports starting in grade school, my parents enrolled me in swimming lessons at the Y. Immediately, I knew I wanted to pursue my love of sports, and take advantage of all the youth sports offered at the Y. I followed my love of organized team sports by being on the track team, volleyball team and girls softball team.
I qualified as a freshman in college to start in the position of short stop in the Women’s College World Series and also qualified to attend the National Junior Olympics. My love of sports and competition all began as a young girl at the YMCA. Thank you Grand Island YMCA.
My husband Steve and I have been life-long residents of Grand Island. I followed my heart and love to work in the senior health care industry. I worked numerous years as a hospice service coordinator, senior health care marketing director and health and wellness director as of late. Steve was the Parks & Recreation Director in Grand Island for 33 years.
Steve and I love to travel and spent 4 years in Mexico. It was a great experience to live in another country and learn so much about how other people live their lives. Our Mexico home enabled us to meet people from all over the world who also wanted to experience life in another country.
It is my true honor and pleasure to be back at the YMCA where it all began for me.
Desiree Noel joined the Grand Island YMCA as a certified personal trainer in the summer of 2022. She will be offering one-on-one training with scheduled appointments. This winter, Des will be finishing her Certified Nutrition Coach program and will be offering those services as well.
Des is interested in bringing group health courses including nutrition, body re-composition programs, group strength classes, and many new and exciting things.
Des has been a Registered Nurse for almost 10 years working in Emergency medicine, surgery, and most recently, neurology. Des is married with three young boys at home.