January 25, 2021

Change coming to Southern Prairie

Yesterday, board members of Southern Prairie YMCA announced they have accepted the resignation of its CEO and director, Dana Dodge, effective July 3.

“Please join the board in thanking Dana for her friendship, leadership and commitment to the SPYMCA and best wishes for the future,” they shared in a post on the organization’s Facebook page.

Dodge, who had worked as a fitness instructor and health coach at SPYMCA filled in as interim director in July 2017 after the resignation of Keith Worland May 2017. She took over the role of CEO/executive director Jan. 1, 2018.

Dodge, who was not available for comment, has accepted employment with another organization.

“It is with regret, that the Board of Directors has accepted her resignation and wishes her success in the new job and the best in life going forward,” the board posted.

In a new executive director, board president Jim Nelson said the board is looking for someone with a four-year degree and a combination of experience in personnel, business and finance management, but applicants will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

“It would be nice if they had experience if they had experience running a Y or another organization like this,” said Nelson. “Dana had a strong background in [health and fitness] ... that would be a plus.”

Aside from filling the executive director position, Jim Nelson, SPYMCA board president, said the board is actively looking to fill a number of positions, including directors of facilities, aquatics, youth and fitness.

Nelson said the greatest challenge for the income executive director will be getting the facility fully staffed and up and running after it was closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


Nelson said the pool will remained closed until a facilities or aquatics director is hired. The former facilities director, Mike Richardson, who was the only certified pool operator, has resigned.

“He was right at retirement anyway, but with the coronavirus/COVID-19 situation, he didn’t want to put himself or his wife at risk. Once we opened back up, he decided it was time to retire.”

Nelson said, in order to operate the pool, the SPYMCA needs a certified pool operator.

“And there’s only one person in the town of Creston that’s certified in that, and that’s Mark Huff (parks and recreation director, City of Creston).”

Nelson said classes to become a certified pool operator are offered annually in February, so even if a facility or aquatics director is hired, they couldn’t become certified right away. However, he believes Huff has agreed to help.

“If we can find an aquatics director, who can kind of take on training on testing the water and ... operating the pool, he’d be willing to help out until we get someone willing to get that CPO certification,” said Nelson.


As of July 1, the facility will be renamed the Southern Prairie Family Fitness Center and its hours will be 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to noon Saturday, and closed Sunday.

Along with its new name, the board will also begin Phase 2 of its reopening strategy, which includes the following:

• Members 14 and older will be permitted

• Use of racquet ball area and basket ball on the east side of the gym

• Day passes and guest passes

• Childcare as needed (call in advance)

• Personal training

Use of locker rooms, towel service, pool, rentals or parties, and outside equipment or toys will not be permitted. The board also asks individuals to not come to the facility if they are experiencing the following: fever, cough, shortness of breath, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle aches and pains, headache, sore throat or have new lost of taste or smell.

For more information, contact Southern Prairie YMCA at 641-782-9622 and follow their Facebook page for updates.