While increasing membership is one goal for Dana Dodge as new executive director of the YMCA, she said it is also important for Southern Prairie YMCA to work harder to fulfill its mission to serve the community.
“It’s our mission to go out and serve the communities, so we really need to look at that,” Dodge said, “and just make sure that we’re out there and providing the services and providing the support that the community needs to grow and to prosper.”
Dodge, who had been serving as interim director since July, officially dropped the interim tag on Jan. 1.
Southern Prairie YMCA had been operating without a full-time director since Kieth Worland resigned in May 2017.
“We’re hoping to find someone who has some good administrative skill and find someone with, hopefully, some good ties to our community,” SPYMCA Board Member Arnold “Skip” Kenyon said at the time of Worland’s resignation.
Dodge said she envisions new equipment at the YMCA and a better overall experience for members.
“I want members to come in and be happy with the facility,” said Dodge. “We’re getting some new weight room equipment, which is a needed plus because I think we’ve had that universal equipment since [the YMCA] opened in 1995. So, we’re getting there. It’s just going to take a little bit of time.
“We’re working on building the pool. We hired Missy [Wernli] in November as our aquatics director. She’s going to be getting certified to teach swimming lessons. We’re going to get her and Callie Baker certified to do life guard training. So, we’re kind of getting the pool back up and running again. Since last March, when a bunch of aquatic people left, it has been suffering a little bit.”
Dodge began her career at the YMCA as a fitness instructor teaching a 5:30 a..m. kick boxing class.
“Back in 2013 I decided to get my personal training certification through A.C.E.,” Dodge said. “It was one of those things where I called them and, at the time, they didn’t have a job for me, but by March of 2013 they had some fitness instructor positions, so I applied for that. I figured if nothing else, it would help me to pass my test.”
She said she enjoys the medical component of fitness, and along with teaching and working as a personal trainer, she is also certified in medical exercise, fitness nutrition and orthopedic specialty training.
“My role right now is to run the organization, make sure everything is running properly, make sure we’re following our Y mission of healthy development, youth development, social responsibility and healthy living,” Dodge said.
As executive director, Dodge has a full plate, but she still likes to teach and believes that members enjoy seeing her outside the office and working out with them.