Our Staff

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.

Charles Hansen
  • CEO
AJ Farrand
  • Membership Director / Personal Trainer

Qualifications: I graduated from Nebraska Wesleyan University with a Bachelors’ of Science in Athletic Training in 2016.

Experience: I have been working at the YMCA in some capacity since graduating college in 2016. I have worked as a Personal Trainer, a Wellness Coordinator, and a Health and Wellness Coordinator. Before that I spent countless hours as a student Athletic Trainer at Nebraska Wesleyan as well as being a member of the Track and Field team.

Hobbies and Interests: I love to spend time with my wife Jordan and daughter Naomi. Aside from that I love to exercise and learn about overall wellness and incorporate it into my life.

Briar Burr
  • Sports & Fitness Director

Qualifications: I have a Bachelor’s degree in sports management and exercise science with a minor in business administration from Peru State College.

Experience: Most recently, I worked as a Sports Strength & Conditioning Coach in Omaha where my clients included all ages and skills, including several professional athletes. I also worked as an intern through Power Train Sports and Fitness in Pennsylvania. This gave me experience working with all ages from kids through older folks, including professional athletes and athletes in various sports in including football, basketball, field hockey, and lacrosse.

Accomplishments: I was a four-year starter on the Peru State football team as a safety. I was a three-time Daktronics student athlete, football team captain my senior year and as a senior, I was selected the second team safety position in the north division of the HAAC. I was also on the Dean’s list 2012, 2013 and 2014.

Hobbies and Interests: l love working out and that’s what I do in my free time!

Melanie Horky
  • Aquatic Director

With the Y: Starting in first grade, I came to the Grand Island YMCA every day after school because my mom was working at the Y. When I was 4 years old, my parents saw me jump off the high diving board and dog paddle to the side. They put me in swim lessons at the YMCA. That began my love of swimming. I swam competitively for the Grand Island YMCA swim team and for Grand Island Senior High. I was able to win 3 events at the Nebraska State Swimming and Diving Championships. I was fortunate to receive a swimming scholarship to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. I was an “All Big 8 Selection” in 3 events.

Qualifications: Even though education was my field of study in college, I went into YMCA work after graduating from college. Growing up at the YMCA, it became part of my soul. I spent 12 years working in Beatrice, Nebraska, Rapid City, South Dakota, and Grand Island. I left the YMCA to try other endeavors but returned to the Grand Island YMCA in January of 2008.

Hobbies & Interests: I love the beach. My family likes to travel so usually during the winter we take a trip to a tropical destination like the Caribbean or Mexico. There is nothing better than sun, sand, and the ocean!

Favorite Quotes: “Today is a day that you never had before. Today is a day that you will never have again.” “Thank you, Lord, for thinking about me. I’m alive and doing fine.”

Jenny Pohlmeier
  • Child Care Director

Experience: I have worked with kids in some capacity since I was 15 years old.

Qualifications: Degree in Education, child care worker in emergency shelter/assessment center at Children’s Home of Lubbock.

Accomplishments: Graduated from Texas Tech University; lived in Quito, Ecuador for 1½ years as a missionary apprentice.

Hobbies and Interests: Reading; watching movies; fishing; playing with my dog, Barley Hops, and my husband; watching football (Go Broncos!); playing catch; watching most things sports related especially World Cup, NFL playoffs, and the Olympics; and, most especially, traveling

Movies: Gross Pointe Blank, Pride and Prejudice (9 hour BBC version), Trouble with the Curve, and Sliding Doors

Books: Jane Eyre (I read this every couple of years), Pride and Prejudice, Hunger Games Series, Harry Potter Series, I’ve Got Your Number

Favorite Authors: Jane Austin, Sophie Kinsella, Daniel Silva

Favorite Quotes:

“Life appears to me too short to be spent in nursing animosity or registering wrongs.”
― Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre
“Angry people are not always wise.”
― Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice
“Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.”
― Abraham Lincoln

Sarah Wade
  • Business Manager

Qualifications: I am certified in QuickBooks and have experience as a bookkeeper for my father’s solar company and also doing seasonal work for Douglas Bookkeeping.

Accomplishments: I received a 700 hour Certificate in Message Therapy from the Colorado School of Healing Arts in the fall of 2008.

Family: Outside of work, I enjoy spending time with my husband Kyle and children Vayda, Presley, and Hattie Mae. We attend Third City Christian Church where we volunteer. I also volunteer as a youth softball coach for Vayda’s softball team.

Hobbies and Interests: Always an exercise enthusiast, I pursued my dream of becoming a fitness instructor. I am a certified cycling instructor through Les Mills RPM. I am also certified in Silver Sneakers and LesMills Body Flow. I enjoy teaching these classes at the YMCA.

YMCA: In 2018 I accepted my role with the YMCA as the Business Manager. I handle accounts payable/receivable, payroll, and financial statements.

Les Rouse
  • Facility Director

With the Y: 5 years

Experience: I’ve worked as a handyman since I was a kid. In recent years I worked with my dad in the remodeling business, doing carpentry, plumbing and electrical work. I’ve also worked as a mechanic.

Hobbies and Interests: Work is my hobby, but I also like to garden and take care of Midnight, a Lab-German Shepard mix.

Mary Hollowell
  • Marketing Director

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

Teresa Sinner
  • Business Desk Manager

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

Cara Lemburg
  • Race Series Co-Director & Personal Trainer

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.

Angie Ziller
  • Race Series Co-Director

Our family joined the Y in 1997

Interests: I like to run. I run half-marathons, relay marathons and long relays like Market to Market. My sister, brother, and I like to travel to different places for races. The best race I ever ran was the St. Judes Half-Marathon in Memphis, Tennessee. St. Judes is dedicated to finding a cure for kids who have cancer. Some of the patients lined the course. It was very inspirational. My goal is to place in my age group in whatever race I run.

I like to spend time with my husband Thomas and kids Aidan, Emilie, and Isaac. I volunteer at Central Catholic and I’m on the board of the Central Nebraska Child Advocacy Center. I like to read. I am a substitute instructor for yoga.

Qualifications and Education: I have a Masters in Deaf Education. I spent 8 years as the director of Race for Grace for the Grace Foundation. In addition to running, my passions are helping people and non-profits, so working at the Y is the perfect combination.

I’m excited to be part of the Y team because of the focus on fitness and health with families, and the community. It’s great to come together for a cause.