Cause Driven Leader of the Month:
September 2019 | Gymnastics Instructors & Coaches
Congratulations to the Gymnastics Instructors and Coaches. The Gymnastics program has experienced a lot of growth over the last year, and the instructors and coaches are a big reason why! The instructors and coaches are always demonstrating great passion for the sport and have great ideas to make classes or practices fun! They work together very well and are willing to learn new drills to help our gymnasts advance their skills.
A big thank you for all the hard work and time.
August 2019 | Kay Vande Slunt
Kay is a strong asset to the Membership Department at the Y and we are very proud to select her as the Cause Driven Leader of the Month. Kay is always on time, reliable, and responsible in her role as Membership Specialist. She has taken on more shifts to help our department, sometimes even working double shifts with an extremely positive attitude and demeanor. She is empathetic and caring in her approach with members, and she works very hard to get to know and engage our members as well. Kay also left during the cold months to venture to a warmer area in the US, but she didn’t forget about the Y or the friends she made here as she returned in full form to our staff upon moving back to WI for the warm months. Congratulate Kay the next time she greets you with a smile as you enter the Y!
July 2019 | Kalli Behling
Kalli has been an amazing part of the Aquatics staff! Between picking up as many shifts as she possibly can as a guard and swim instructor, she has also been teaching private lessons and aquatic aerobic classes. She is always willing to help and has a positive attitude while doing it. Kalli has been an instrumental part of the Y family and team not only this past month, but for as long as she has been here.
June 2019 | Lisa Walljasper
Lisa has been working for the Fond du Lac Family YMCA since August of 2007 as a Preschool Enrichment Instructor. Lisa is kind and caring and dedicated to everything that she does. Being a part of the Y is important to Lisa and she cares about her department and the YMCA. Lisa connects well to members, parents, and the children. She is creative and puts a lot of thought into her classes. She truly cares about the kids and strives to make each class special for them. Lisa loves what she does and it shows.
Lisa is always willing to help out. When she sees something needs to be done or a class needs to be filled, she takes initiative to do so. This past spring when a fellow co-worker was out for medical reasons, Lisa stepped up without hesitation and took over her classes for the entire session. This last year she also took over the planning of the Child Watch Birthday parties and she has done an amazing job at that as well. Lisa also works occasionally as a Child Watch Attendant.
Lisa displays all the Y’s core values, and is an all-around great person. We are lucky to have her!
Congratulations Lisa and thank you for the amazing job you do!
May 2019 | Ethan Ellis
Ethan Ellis has been a member of the Aquatics Department for a little over 2 years. From the beginning, Ethan always asked what he could do to help out and is very quick to respond whenever help is needed.
Not only does Ethan work as a lifeguard, he helps with swimming lessons and with the before school summer program. Ethan is a phenomenal swim instructor and is able to teach all levels of stages, from our beginners to intermediate. He is very quick to gain the trust of the kids he works with and helps them to feel comfortable in the water. Kids in his class are seen laughing and having an amazing time. It is truly a joy watching Ethan teach swim lessons and interact with the kids, helping them learn such a valuable life skill.
Ethan is very quick to make a connection with members and is diligent at his job to make sure the pools stay safe and fun. He is knowledgeable about any questions that our members may ask and even makes sure to ask members how their day is going. Ethan has always been very reliable about working his shifts and even helping out his fellow co-workers to make sure they get their shifts covered. He is an incredibly caring and dedicated Y employee. Ethan thank you for all of your hard-work here at the Y and congratulations!
April 2019 | Y Leadership Team & Staff
I would like to take this opportunity to recognize and say THANK YOU to ALL of our Y leaders & staff. As you know, our Y was affected by the recent “excess water” that occurred in our community in March. The Y’s lower level took on a lot of water, and the sub-basement completely filled up. Watching this happen to our Y wasn’t easy, especially just 10 short years since the last time we experienced a similar situation.
However, in true YMCA fashion, our entire team stepped up to the plate immediately. Our Property Director, Rick Cullen, and his team were instrumental in preventing much more water damage, and continued to be heavily involved in our recovery efforts. Jennie Mildebrandt, Jen Memmel and Sam Gudex went right to work on developing a scheduling plan to accommodate as many of our classes & programs as they could, finding alternate locations. Our coordinators, Ericka Kramer, Barb Seidel, Sherry Ferraro, and Tyler Behling and their staff were all willing to compromise and accommodate each other’s programs.
Kristel Lougher, Julie Kemnitz, Amanda Bodden, MaryAnn Schwark and Ben Giles all spent several hours helping either evacuate members that day, and/or finding other ways to help put pieces back together over the next several weeks. Our front desk and membership teams were instrumental in ensuring our members were alerted to the alternate schedules and locations. Our Child Care team, led by Sandi Harlan and Nicole Burroughs, stepped up in a BIG way, ensuring the safety of our Child Care children by helping get them evacuate safely on that day. Since that time, they have been extremely patient and willing to help, by using locker rooms as rest rooms for our children, until our sewage pumps are fully repaired.
It has been an amazing TEAM effort and I am truly grateful for all of the support throughout these past few weeks. There are so many others to thank as well, and I would be remise if I didn’t say thank you to Mike Hierl, our Board President, and Chris Badtke, from CD Smith, who also sits on our Board. They have been with us every step of the way, alongside our Y team, helping us to get through these recovery weeks.
In appreciation, J.J. Raflik, Executive Director/CEO
March 2019 | Richard Putz
We are happy to recognize Dick Putz as our Cause Driven Leader of the Month. Dick has been an important part of the Fond du La Family YMCA team since 1995. His Building Supervisor responsibilities take him throughout the facility, setting up for programs, giving tours to prospective members, and just recognizing and taking care of things to assure that our members have a good experience each time they visit. Dick takes pride in member engagement, greeting members, checking in on their needs, and reaching out to those who may not have been in for a while. He is a great asset to not only the department but the entire YMCA. Thank you for all that you do for the Y!
February 2019 | Haleigh Kaiser
Congratulations to Haleigh Kaiser, our Cause Driven Leader of the Month. With a typical smile on her face, Haleigh brings a bright, energetic personality to our Wellness Department. While pursuing her Bachelor’s Degree in Wellness at the University of Wisconsin Steven’s Point, Haleigh got her start at the Stevens Point Area YMCA. She has a passion for the field of wellness with an emphasis on helping individuals on the path to healthier lifestyle management.
Haleigh’s responsibilities include an active role in the planning and execution of our Cardiac Rehab Phase 3 program and Healthy Living Physician Referral program. She has been an integral part of our wellness staff development. Haleigh is also certified in and instructs POUND® small group classes.
With an ambitious career focus, Haleigh is currently working with Moraine Park Technical College as a Wellness Coordinator, and has begun an online Master’s Degree in Health and Wellness Management. Many thanks, Haleigh, for bringing your positive energy and professionalism to our Wellness team.
January 2019 | Laurie Schmitt
Congratulations to Laurie on being named Cause Driven Leader of the month. Laurie does an outstanding job in the Child Care Center. She is an assistant teacher in our 2 and 4 year old room. She always comes in with a smile on her face and ready to work. She incorporates the Y’s four core values of caring, honesty, respect and responsibility in her work and life.
Laurie consistently displays joy and dedication in everything she does, always willing to help out wherever and whenever needed. She loves to shape the minds of the little people in her care and always works to ensure the safety of all of the children. Thank you Laurie for all you do in the Child Care field and at the center. Your hard work and dedication does not go unnoticed.
December 2018 | Travis Hoida
Travis Hoida has only been with us since June and he's already creating quite an impact on so many of our members here. From FitPath appointments, Personal Training clients, Foam Rolling classes, to TRX and noon Interval classes, he's making an incredible mark on our goal to change as many lives as possible. Travis stands out as consistently exceeding our department expectations, and truly works as a team player. He has a very diverse group of clients he personally trains and is always showing professionalism and passion for all he does. It's an honor to have him on the Personal Training team! Thank you Travis for all of your amazing work here at the Y.
November 2018 | Justin Disterhaft
Justin Disterhaft has been with the YMCA for a little over 2 ½ years. Every time Justin walks through the door he has a smile on his face and an attitude which helps him connect with YMCA members and staff.
Justin has been wonderful teaching swim lessons over the last couple of years. He easily connects with children to help them feel safe in the water, while also learning the proper techniques and skills necessary to be able to swim. He is always keeping his class interactive and coming up with fun games for the kids to play in the water to help them work on their skills. Justin has taught all levels of swim stages and can easily adjust from teaching kids as young as 3 years old and also working with the high schoolers in the Home School program.
He also is phenomenal with our YMCA members who use the pool to swim laps, do water aerobics, and also relax in the hot tub. He has come on a first name basis with quite a few of our members and makes a point to talk with them and see how their life is going outside of the Y. Justin has been reliable and always tries to pick up extra shifts to make sure the pool is covered. Justin embodies the YMCA’s values and has been an absolute joy to work with. Congratulations Justin and thank you for all of your hard work and dedication!
October 2018 | Bethany Durie
Bethany has been working here for a little over a year. She has been an asset to the YMCA since day one. Her kind and caring attitude and dedication shows in everything she does.
Bethany loves what she does, and jumped right in on day one, making friends and connecting with the children and parents. She is creative and artsy. She is always interacting and playing with the kids; whether it is coming up with a cute craft or game, or gathering all the kids to sing songs. No matter what it is, you will see her playing with the kids.
Bethany has also put her artistic abilities to use in the room by helping with the bulletin & white boards in the room too!
She takes initiative when she sees something needs to be done, and goes above and beyond in all she does. She is dependable, knowledgeable, and never hesitates to pick up a shift, or offer assistance when needed. She has also recently become a Preschool Enrichment Instructor, and has done an amazing job at that as well!
She has all the Y’s core values, and is all around a great person. We are lucky to have her!
Congratulations Bethany and thank you for the amazing job you do!
September 2018 | Cris Fritsch
Cris is starting her 30th year at the Y. She is one of the reasons our gymnastics program has grown and experienced success over the years. Her passion and love for the sport is shown daily as she teaches and encourages gymnasts of all ages. Cris is very committed to the program. She is a loyal coach who has inspired numerous athletes over her 30 years at the Fond du Lac Family YMCA. Cris’ experiences and knowledge of the sport of gymnastics make her an exceptional head coach.
Cris has been a great asset and resource throughout the onboarding of our new Gymnastics Coordinator. She is very supportive and excited to see the gymnastics program grow and evolve. We are very fortunate to have Cris as part of the Y staff and family. Thank you Cris!
August 2018 | Kim Thorsen
Although relatively new to our organization, Kim has jumped in and taken carege of many responsibilities. She offers a diverse background in fitness. Kim's roles include certified personal training, wellness center staff and lifestyle coach. She is an instructor who teaches small group interval class, Bootcamp, low intensity weights and balance fitness.
Kim offers an energetic, positive attitude and is always exploring new fitness trends through continuing education. She has a passion for nutrition. Kim is a devoted mother of three. Her children include her sons Cameron (22), and Jakob (13), and her daughter Kailey (11).
We are grateful to have Kim on board with all of her talents, not to mention her quick wit and great sense of humor. We look forward to her growth and application as she settles into her role at the Fond du Lac Family YMCA. Watch for her new Strong by Zumba class coming this fall. Our hats off to Kim!
---Ericka Kramer and MJ Neumann
July 2018 | Maisy Jungwirth
Maisy does an awesome job in the child care center. She is the lead teacher in our Wrap Around room. Maisy always comes to work with a smile on her face and is dependable and very friendly. She incorporates the Y's four core values into her every day teachings.
The child care center would not be the same without Maisy's sens of humor and outlook on life. She consistently displays joy, humor and dedication in everything she does. Maisy loves to help shape the minds of the little people in her care and always works to ensure the safety of all the children.
Maisy is very knowledgeable, has her 2 year degree in early childhood from MPTC, and is continuing her education to receive her 4 year degree. Thank you Maisy for all you do in the child care field and at the center. Your hard work and dedication does not go unnoticed.
--Sandi Harlan, Child Care Director
June 2018 | Natalie Hall
Caring, honesty, respect, and responsibility; Natalie Hall is a reflection of all core values at the Y. I would also add to that list of values - humble and strong. In spite of the often difficult life challenges and obstacles, Natalie always pulls through with a smile and keeps moving forward. Her faith is irrefutable.
The Wellness Center would not be the same without Natalie. Knowing her sense of humor, she appreciates the fact that she is considered “part” of the facility. The joy and peace of mind she receives from her daily exercise routine is admired by many. When things get tough, some turn to negative lifestyle alternatives. Natalie turns to exercise.
It has truly been a pleasure getting to know Natalie over the past couple of years. I admire her strength and tenacity. She never fails to amaze me. Thank you for your many years of dedication, professionalism, and kindness.
---MJ Neumann, Healthy Living Director
May 2018 | Carrie Maser
As Group Exercise Coordinator, I have been blessed with an amazing team of instructors. Each and every one of them work hard to deliver the best classes possible for their participants. Every now and then, however, there is an individual who happens to go the extra mile. For me, that individual is Carrie Maser. She has been so driven and has so much passion for what she does. Her efforts during “My Y Week” did not go unnoticed! The tasty power balls that she makes for every launch event have become one of the highlights!! Carrie is always willing to sub for a class, team-teach or step up to the plate wherever help is needed. Thank you, Carrie, for your passion, efforts and enthusiasm!
--Barb Seidel, Group Fitness Coordinator
April 2018 | Glenn Eichstedt
“Coach!” is how we know Glenn here at the Y. Coach Glenn has been a staple in our basketball programs since 2012. When basketball sessions are wrapping up and the surveys come rolling in, there is one glaring theme when it comes to what parents have to say…
“Instructor was incredibly patient considering all circumstances. He was great with the kids and skill levels/attention spans…I couldn't do that!” “The coaching was excellent.” “Instructor was great with the kids.”
“Excellent coach engagement. Well run, worthwhile program!” “Great coaching. Very well run.”
“Likes how the coach emphasized paying attention. Was good at getting the kids attention and keeping it.”
“Strong fundamentals, great leadership and program execution.”
Coach Glenn has over 40 years of experience coaching basketball and has brought a very high quality to these programs. We are extremely blessed to have such a knowledgeable, passionate, caring, and professional role model leading our children as they are developing. As if Coach Glenn’s basketball expertise is not enough, he has a ton of experience coaching golf as well. He will be teaching our golf program and two golf camps this summer!
We would like to acknowledge Glenn Eichstedt for the fantastic example he has given us, as we come together to further the mission of the Fond du Lac Family YMCA by putting Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all.
March 2018 | Alize Ortize
Alize Ortiz began working at the Y in June 2016. She has been an asset to the YMCA and the Child Watch department since day one. Her caring attitude and dedication shows in everything she does. Alize loves what she does in Child Watch, and deeply cares for all the children. She will do anything to ensure the safety of the children. She knows how to handle unforeseeable circumstances and is professional when dealing with tough situations.
Alize is dependable, knowledgeable, and possesses great communication skills. She is personable with everyone who knows her and connects well with all the parents who are using Child Watch. She interacts with the kids, and goes above and beyond to help with anything that needs to be done; especially cleaning and organizing! She also never hesitates to offer her assistance or to pick up a shift if needed. Alize possesses all the Y’s core values, and is all around a great person. We are lucky to have her! Thank you Alize for the amazing job you do here!! What you do for us does not go unnoticed!
- Sherry Ferraro, Family Enrichment Coordinator
February 2018 | Kathy Jurgensmier
It is with great pleasure that we select Kathy as our cause driven leader of the month. Kathy is dependable, knowledgeable, and quick on her feet. She is not only a great worker, but also a great member. Kathy connects with everyone – we regularly see and hear her engaging most members young and old by name! She even knows what most members do for their workouts! Kathy rarely makes mistakes while completely business at the desk. She is also very professional when handling conflict or tough situations. On top of all of that, she sets a great example for how to keep a clean culture. Kathy is a strong yet welcoming presence at night – we are lucky to have her!
- Ben Giles, Member Engagement Director
January 2018 | Geralyn Hall
We are pleased to recognize Geralyn Hall as our Cause Driven Leader of the Month. She takes great pride in the care of the outdoor areas of the facility with mowing, landscape maintenance, and cleaning. You will also see her throughout the facility performing various maintenance tasks that contribute to our Clean Culture Program. While most are still indoors and out of the elements, Geri may be cleaning snow in the wee hours of the morning to provide our members with clean walks for the 5:00am opening. Thank you for all you do and for being an important part of the YMCA team.
- Rick Cullen, Property Director
December 2017 | Peggy Morgan
Peggy Morgan began working here in February 2017, but even before that she was a LIVESTRONG participant. Her wonderful traits were noticed before she ever became a YMCA employee. Since day one, she has been an asset to the YMCA and the Child Watch department. Her caring attitude and dedication shows in everything she does.
Peggy loves what she does in Child Watch, and deeply cares for all the children like they were her own. She has great communication skills and has established good relationships with the parents that are utilizing Child Watch. She is always going above and beyond to help with anything that needs to be done. When asked to do something or to pick up an extra shift, she never hesitates to say yes and to offer her assistance. Most recently, she offered to help clean and wash everything in the room after we had a lice incident. She spent several extra hours after her shift to assist. She also did an amazing job being our liaison for the Annual Campaign, and volunteered her time during MY Y WEEK to help with LIVESTRONG.
She possesses all the Y’s core values, and we are lucky to have her! Thank you Peggy for the amazing job you do here! What you do for us does not go unnoticed!
- Sherry Ferraro, Family Enrichment Coordinator and Jennie Mildebrant, Aquatics and Family Director
November 2017 | Julie Kemnitz
The Y’s core values of honesty, caring, responsibility and respect are essential traits for a Payroll Specialist and Julie Kemnitz absolutely role models all 4 values every day. Julie started working at the Y in March 2016, and from the very beginning, her personal commitment to high standards and careful attention to detail is evident in everything she does. But more than that, Julie cares about our employees and is committed to ensuring that all employees receive their pay accurately and on time. She also takes the time to answer any questions staff may have about the confusing world of compensation.
In addition to Julie’s dedication to Human Resources, she also supports Kate Mueller in Finance. Julie has been incredibly helpful as a backup to Kate in ensuring day to day business is done accurately. Julie’s organization skills and professionalism are evident in every area of her work, whether it be checking over front desk business in Kate’s absence, or providing necessary documentation to get payroll information into accounting. If there is any issue that comes up, Julie always takes the lead on solving the problem efficiently.
Thank you, Julie, for being a cause driven leader at our Y. Your extra effort, dedication, and insights are all extremely valuable to the successful undertakings of this organization. We are beyond lucky to have you!
- Kristel Lougher, Director of Leadership Development (HR)
October 2017 | Julie Garb
We are pleased to recognize Julie Garb as our Cause Driven Leader of the Month. Julie has been an important member of our Property Department team for the past three years. She always comes to work with a positive attitude and is always ready to assist a member or co-worker. Much of her work is done behind the scenes cleaning offices, meeting rooms, and program spaces. The quality and high standards of her work contribute to maintaining the Clean Culture in the facility. Thank you for all you do and for being an important part of our YMCA team.
- Jamie Gulbrand, Facilities Coordinator
September 2017 | Emma Rieder
We are pleased to announce that Emma Rieder is our Cause Driven Leader of the Month for September. Emma brings an energetic dynamic to our Welcome Center. She connects with members young and old with a welcoming smile and engaging conversation; she knows our Daxko software front and back; and she goes above and beyond to help our Y and members. She even keeps high engaging energy levels at 5:00 am! We’re very lucky to have someone so positive and reliable, and we’re sad to see her return to school in the fall.
- Ben Giles, Member Engagement Coordinator
August 2017 | Ashley Robinson
It is with great pleasure that the Child Care Center announces Ashley Robinson as Cause Driven Leader of the month. The center is very fortunate to have Ashley as a teacher in child care since 2008. She is here bright and early every morning at 6:30 to open the center. She cares very deeply for the children in her care and is respectful to the parents and takes their concerns to heart. Ashley just finished her child care credential classes, earning her the right to be sole lead teacher in any classroom. Ashley runs her classroom with steady guidelines and an attitude for fun.
Thank you Ashley for being such a great teacher!
- Sandi Harlan, Child Care Director
July 2017 | Barbara Bennin
We are pleased to recognize Barb Bennin as our Cause Driven Leader of the Month. Barb has been an important member of our Property Department team since 2012. She is one of those employees whose majority of work is done behind the scenes, cleaning classrooms, offices, and program spaces after members and staff have left for the day. She takes great pride in maintaining her assigned areas to the highest standards of cleanliness and her areas are the model of Clean Culture in this facility. Thank you for all you do and for being an important part of the YMCA team.
- Rick Cullen, Property Director
June 2017 | Jeff Lurvey
We are happy to recognize Jeff Lurvey as our Cause Driven Leader of the Month. Jeff has been a strong part of our Property Department team since 2012. At any time you may see him around many areas of the Y, taking care of the landscaping outdoors, performing maintenance tasks, and taking pride in maintaining a Clean Culture in the facility by performing various custodial tasks. He is always willing to step up and fill in when we need him and willing to go above and beyond without being asked. Jeff is great about recognizing what needs to be done and taking care of those things on his own. He has been very reliable and a great asset to not only the department but the entire YMCA. Thank you Jeff for all that you do for the Y.
- Rick Cullen, Property Director
May 2017 | Linda Fucik
Linda Fucik is such a welcoming and dependable worker at the membership desk. She continually goes above and beyond to meet member needs while holding herself and the member services desk to a high standard. She engages new members and ensures they feel welcome and comfortable, even walking new Healthy Living Exercise Program participants up to the Life Management Center to meet their wellness coach. She has taken on new responsibilities with a “go getter” attitude, and completes memberships and registrations with perfection. We are very blessed to have someone with such a great work ethic, attention to detail and a positive demeanor at the desk.
- Ben Giles, Member Engagement Coordinator
April 2017 | Cannon Lock
Cannon Lock is a fantastic lifeguard, swim instructor and all around great person to have at the Y. He always has a smile on his face, is willing to help out wherever and whenever he is needed and has a great attitude while he is at work. Cannon is a great role model both for the kids that he teaches as well as his coworkers because he is always positive and displaying the core values of the Y no matter what he is doing. Thank you Cannon for all that you do to make the pool and Y a better place!
- Jennie Mildebrandt, Aquatics and Family Director
March 2017 | Jordan Winkelman
Jordan has been a consistent face in the pool which is very rare in the aquatics area, but such a nice change of pace. He is here every day of the week Monday through Friday and is so great when it comes to dealing with members of all ages as well as making sure the swimming lessons during the day are guarded and covered. He’s a quiet leader and is so reliable and responsible; he just goes about his work and gets the job done.
Jordan has played a vital role in making sure the schedule is filled and the job during the day gets done so Jason and I can devote our time to getting other things done. He promotes healthy living by also taking time to exercise here at the Y so members not only see him working, they see him taking care of himself as well, even after working a full shift! Thanks for all of your hard work and dedication to the Y, Jordan!
- Jennie Mildebrandt, Aquatics and Family Director
Febraury 2017 | Josh Mathwig
In the midst of the constant activity in our Life Management Center, or encouraging the Live Strong Cancer survivors at biweekly meetings, you will find Josh, motivating and guiding members on the road to a healthier life. Josh emulates having courage of your convictions and the strength within yourself to do anything.
We could apply all the descriptive words such as reliability, dependability, exceeds expectations, or fully competent, but that would miss the mark when describing Josh. A day does not go by that we are not inspired by his tenacity. With the obstacles he faces day in and day out, there is never so much as a complaint or negative attitude. He raises the bar for professional behavior for us all.
We’ve come to realize some individuals offer special lessons that remind us to appreciate and make the best of everyday. Thanks Josh for the example you set for your peers and the true application of our YMCA core values.
- Ali Harasha, Fitness Coordinator and MJ Neumann, Healthy Living Director
December 2016 | Keith Amundson
Without Keith, we could not do business at the Fond du Lac Family YMCA. Keith is the backbone of our business office, and this has never been more apparent than when we upgraded to our new software program this past November. Our staff was involved in training many weeks prior to launch, and Keith was heavily involved in making sure that transition was as smooth as possible. His responsibilities revolve around the billing of our members, and making sure we are doing this accurately.
It takes a very detailed, trusting and responsible person to do what Keith does. He worked extra hard through our software transition, and continues to do so as we learn and work through the many changes and details our new system bring (our apologies to his wife!). Keith is always thinking ahead, investigates as needed, communicates to our members with respect, and helps our Welcome Center and membership staff in finding answers and resolutions for our members. His dedication to our team is outstanding, and we especially appreciate his great sense of humor, which makes working with Keith even better! Thanks for all you do, Keith!
- Jen Memmel, Director of Membership Development
November 2016 | Jenny Leisses
Every once in a while you are lucky to find an employee who comes in every day and does her job. The Child Care Center is blessed to have just such a teacher, Jenny Leisses. She has been a teacher since April of 2015 and found her home in our toddler room. You can tell how much she cares about each child by watching her play on the floor just reading the children stories, rocking the baby dolls or just singing some silly songs. She never raises her voice or even sounds frustrated. No matter how chaotic the room may become, Jenny just keeps her calm voice and moves to wherever she is needed. Jenny is respectful to the parents and always listens to their ideas and concerns. Jenny is an amazing teacher and is a blessing to the center. Thank youk, Jenny, for being such a great teacher!
--Shelli Dekker and Sandi Harlan, Child Care Center Directors
October 2016 | Angie Feltz
It is with great excitement that we announce Angie Feltz in Member Services as Cause Driven Leader of the Month. Angie arrives promptly at 4:17 am to open up the building, turn on lights, set out the paper, make coffee, turn on the front desk computers, send out the daily communication for all the YMCA staff and greets the dedicated morning YMCA members by name. She does all of this while most of us are sleeping in our bed.
Angie is so much more than a list of tasks she completes at the front desk. Angie brings with her a level of dedication and commitment that is hard to match. It is very fitting we nominate Angie as we celebrate RESPONSIBILITY as our Y "Value of the Month." Without her strong value of responsibility, the front desk would not run efficiently in the morning hours. She always arrives on time, never misses a day of work and will volunteer to pick up other morning shifts. She is extremely valued by her peers for her level of dependability and strong work ethic but also, the smile she brings with her dedication.
Angie, thank you for your commitment to the YMCA and always honoring our values and leading by example.
- Lainie Van Deraa, Welcome Center Coordinator and Jen Memmel, Director of Membership Development
September 2016 | Theresa Gerner and Cris Fritch
We are proud to recognize both Theresa Gerner and Cris Fritch as our Cause Driven Leaders of the Month. They have both done an amazing job in the Gymnastics department in the absence of a Gymnastics Coordinator, and we could not be more thankful for their efforts. Theresa was hired in March of 2016 as our Gymnastics Administrator. In that time, Theresa has increased the level of communication among every participant in the gymnastics program (both at the team and progressive levels). She has helped to re-structure the registration process for our team level girls. In a very short time, she has become an invaluable member of our team and has become the go-to person for all of the “behind the scenes” tasks. Equally as important to our recent success in Gymnastics is the lead that Cris has taken in regards to coaching, team practices and progressive level classes. As a coach for over 25 years in our program, Cris has been able to use her expertise to make sure the gymnasts continue to have a positive experience in our program. The gymnasts all appreciate her dedication and the staff all love working under her guidance. Cris has filled in to coach classes on several occasions and was extremely helpful in setting up the fall session of programs. We are proud of the work being done. Thank you Theresa and Cris for all that you do.
August 2016 | Jarrod Hart
Jarrod Hart is one of the aquatics staff that really has really stuck out as being an exceptional employee. He is completely dedicated to his job here at the Y as well as setting a great example of being healthy and using the Y to stay fit and healthy. This summer, Jarrod began teaching swimming lessons as well as lifeguarding and the kids loved him. He is always willing to step up and fill in when we need him and willing to go above and beyond without being asked. Jarrod is great about recognizing what needs to be done or helping out new staff and just takes care of it on his own. He has been very reliable and a great asset to the pool area and does a wonderful job keeping everyone in the pool safe but has a good time doing it. Thank you Jarrod for all that you do not only for the pool but the entire Y!
- Jennie Mildebrandt, Aquatics and Family Director
July 2016 | Laura Giles
Laura, has recently been promoted to Membership Specialist II within our Membership Department. Laura is the "team Leader" at the Welcome Center desk during her morning and afternoon shift. She sets the example of customer service, has a deep understanding of policy and procedures within our department and helps educate the team when questions arise. She meets weekly with management to give a deeper understanding of concerns in our membership department and helps communicate resolutions to these challenges.
But Laura is so much more than a list of very important tasks she completes in membership. Laura is most celebrated because of the passion and joy she brings to her role at the Fond du Lac Family YMCA. It is very fitting we recognize Laura Giles as we celebrate KINDNESS as our Y "Value of the Month." Laura has a gift of cultivating long lasting and meaningful relationships with long time YMCA members and making new members feel welcome. Her kindness and caring way makes the YMCA feel like a family, whether you are a member, staff or both! Laura, thank you for all you do... but more importantly, thank you for your kindness and the passion you bring to the YMCA!
- Lainie Van Deraa, Welcome Center Coordinator
June 2016 | Jason Winkelman
Jason Winkelman is the Aquatics Supervisor, but his title doesn't even begin to explain what he does at the Y. Jason does a fantastic job keeping the pool schedules up to date and helping out with anything and everything pool related. He also has taken the leadership role on Y5210 Field Trips and regular field trips that come to the Y. You can find Jason anywhere in the building at any given time, always willing to help and do whatever is needed to help keep the Y a fun and safe place for everyone. He also sets an example for both members and staff to follow with his commitment to working out and being healthy, and he builds great member relationships this way. Jason is not only a hard worker and fantastic role model for the kids he works with, he is the kind of leader who shows all of the values we talk about here at the Y in everything he does. Thank you for all of your hard work Jason!
--Jennie Mildebrandt, Aquatics and Family Director
May 2016 | Joan Cavil
Joan Cavil joined the child care team in August of 2012 as our 4K Instructional Assistant. I have always known that Joan was a team player because she attends the monthly staff meeting, shares her ideas, works hard every day and comes into work with a smile. She brings in wonderful treats for the teachers and keeps me on my toes. This past year the center has been through some tough times. Recently we mentioned that Sandi and I would be working in some rooms because we are short teachers—Joan offered to come in early to help. Joan truly lives by the Y’s core values and supports the Y through the campaign and volunteering her time. The Y softball team found out that she is a darn good cheerleader too! The center and Y are truly blessed to have Joan as a part of the “family.”
- Shelli Dekker, Child Care Director
April 2016 | Carol Vlach
What better timing to announce Carol Vlach as the Employee of the Month, than her 1 year anniversary at the YMCA? Carol was hired in May 2015 as a Personal Trainer. Since then she has joined the Life Management Center staff, taught Homeschool Phy Ed and so much more. Carol has been such a blessing to work with. She is very intelligent, dedicated, dependable, friendly and cooperative. Carol's passion for fitness and a healthy lifestyle is both motivating and contagious to those around her. She has built her own clientele simply by being present and upholding the YMCA core values. Thanks for all your hard work, it is noticed and appreciated. We can't wait to watch you become even more successful!
- Ali Harasha, Sports and Fitness Coordinator
March 2016 | Chris Lohse
It is with great pleasure I get to announce Chris Lohse as Employee of the Month. Chris is our “rock” at the Welcome Center desk. She is dependable, flexible and knowledgeable in an ever changing environment. Chris is such a strong component of our team at the front desk. I was approached by her peers requesting to nominate her for Employee of the Month. There is not a higher compliment than to be recognized by your coworkers. Chris is the first to make coffee, pick up the phone and resolve problems. Chris really leads by example and upholds the core values at the YMCA! She is responsible, caring, honest and shows respect to each member and her coworkers. Not only is she an incredible employee, but she is an active YMCA member. She is the definition of a healthy body, mind and spirit. Thank you for sharing and upholding the YMCA mission on a daily basis and continuing to help the YMCA become a wonderful place to work, play and seek health. Chris, thank you for all that you do! If you see Chris at the Welcome Center desk, taking a class or helping her team, please thank her for all she does to make the Y a better place!
- Lainie Van Deraa, Welcome Center Coordinator
February 2016 | Don Millage
We know as a staff we will dearly miss working with Don day in and day out. Working at the Y you get to know everyone’s extended family and become closely connected with everything going on in their lives. During Don’s time at the Y we grieved with him as he first lost his father in 2003, and then again when he lost his mother several years later. We got to watch with joy as his wife Barb retired from Marian University only to ask her to become involved at the Y as a volunteer. We watched Don and Barb’s son Mike get engaged, attended the wedding, and several years after that got to watch Don and Barb become grandparents several times over. From the beginning to the end of Don’s employment with the Y, he shared his entire life with us. Don gave the best he had to the Y with no regrets, and the community is at a better place because of it. He knows how to analyze things and work a spreadsheet, but more importantly Don figured out how to make a difference for others. Eventually we all will ride off into the sunset and be able to look back and ask ourselves, “Did I live a good life, did I do good for others, did I make a difference the way the Lord would have expected me to make a difference? Can I rest my heading knowing that the world is a better place because of the things I contributed to it?” In Don’s case the answer is simple. Yes you did.
January 2016 | Kendra Seidel
It is with great pleasure and pride that I am able to nominate my daughter, Kendra Seidel, as employee of the month. She really has been going the extra distance for the Y and its members! Recently she took it upon herself to organize and line up all of the Team GRIT classes for the Fond du Lac Fusion Volleyball Club program.
In a very short time Kendra has become one of my highest trained instructors here at the Y. She first started training in GRIT because of her great coaching ability, and then followed up with becoming certified in BODYPUMP and BODYATTACK. Getting trained in these programs wasn't enough for her. She completed her Advanced Instructor Module (AIM 1) training in both BODYPUMP and BODYATTACK. Her love for BODYPUMP has given her the desire to one day be a trainer, so she also did her AIM 2 in BODYPUMP.
Our Y launched two new Les Mills programs, BODYCOMBAT and RPM during Celebration Saturday. When I told Kendra that I needed instructors to train for those programs, she was hesitant but said she would do it. She fell in love with both and is now trained in them! Her devotion to the YMCA, and passion for instructing, has made her an extremely valued employee. I truly could not have pulled off Celebration Saturday without her help. Kendra is an absolute blessing to me as an employee as well as a daughter!
- Barb Seidel, Group Exercise Coordinator
November 2015 | MaryAnn Schwark
MaryAnn Schwark is a “behind the scenes” worker that we don’t see a lot, but the work she does is invaluable for some of our programs! She makes sure everything is ready to go and set up for birthday parties to run, she is the main teacher for our Red Cross certified Babysitting class, and took the lead in creating our Stay Home Alone class that we now offer and has become very popular. It takes a very organized, positive, and patient person to make sure these programs run smoothly and MaryAnn is all of these and more. We appreciate all of the work that she does to make these classes successful and her hard work and time put in does not go unnoticed. Thank you, MaryAnn!
October 2015 | Aly Uttendorfer
Aly Uttendorfer is the prime example of who we want representing our Fond du Lac Family YMCA. Aly is a very hard worker both as an employee and also as a member. On any given day you might find Aly lifeguarding, teaching swimming lessons, taking a fitness class, or working out. She is kind-hearted and is always willing to help out whenever she can, doing whatever is needed. Her positive attitude and infectious smile light up the room whenever she walks in. If you see Aly around the Y, please help us in recognizing her for all that she does for the Y and for setting a great example of what a great work ethic, hard work and determination look like!
September 2015 | Kimberly Grainger
Many of you may not have met Kimberly Grainger but she is a little ray of sunshine in the child care center whose favorite color is black. Kimberly started at the center in October of 2010 and shortly after enrolled at MPTC’s two year associate degree in Early Childhood Education. Working full time and going to school was not the easy way but Kimberly worked hard and graduated in May of 2015. Although Kimberly learned a lot in school she is a natural teacher. Kimberly is not afraid to think outside the box (sometimes WAY outside) and the children love the fun she brings to the classroom. The dramatic play area is always a fun place for children to play, but in Kimberly’s classroom it gets transformed into a superhero cave, haunted house, spaceship, neighborhood of community workers or a bear cave. She listens to the children and what they are interested in and creates a lesson plan to enhance their play. In August, Kimberly wanted to get the classroom families together outside of the center. She planned a wonderful day of bowling at Ledgeview Lanes on a Saturday. This was a great way to allow parents to meet and get to know one another. Many families asked when they could do it again. Kimberly also understands and models the Y’s four core values daily. She cares about the children in her classroom. She talks to the children and parents with respect and honesty. Kimberly is also the one responsible for closing the center at night. We rest easier at night knowing the center is in such good hands at the end of the night. Thank you Kimberly, for sharing your talents with the Center.
August 2015 | Sarah Behnke
Sarah Behnke, Membership Specialist II and YMCA Diabetes Prevention Program Lifestyle Coach, is full of positive and motivating energy. Meeting Sarah and talking with her leaves you feeling like you can accomplish anything you set your mind to. Sarah demonstrates a clear passion for healthy lifestyle as well as a strong drive to assist others in achieving their health related goals. Sarah listens more than she speaks in order to build strong relationships with members and her class participants. Her positive attitude and smile on her face at all times make her approachable and an invaluable asset to the YMCA. Sarah’s positive outlook and deep faith are key attributes of who she is, and why she fits in so well at the Y. Sarah is amazing at engaging with others and is often times found sharing her life experiences as well as inquiring about our members own experiences, making personal connections and building relationships. This is why Sarah fits so well in her roles as a Membership Specialist II and Diabetes Prevention Program instructor. Sarah is also involved in helping plan our Spiritual Enrichment seminars, as a member of our Spiritual committee. Sarah truly represents our Y mission of “putting Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all.” Thank you Sarah!
July 2015 | Keith Amundson
Keith Amundson, business office representative, is employee of the month. Keith is a “rock” in the business department at the Y, having diligently and accurately performed his duties for the past 8 years. There is an old song that goes “you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone (to London)”. Keith was gone on a 3 week trip-of-a-lifetime during much of July. We appreciated the pre-work he did before the trip (beginning months before he left) including all of the preparation he did in anticipation of others trying to do his duties while he was gone. He extensively documented all of his processes. His role is critical in the accurate maintaining of membership records and the collection of monthly bank drafts as members pay for their Y memberships. Even upon his return, Keith appreciated the work that was done by others in his absence. He has an excellent demeanor and works very well with all other employees. Keith is truly committed to do great work for the YMCA. THANKS KEITH! WE SINCERELY APPRECIATE YOU!!
June 2015 | Entire Aquatics Staff
We want to recognize the entire Aquatics staff for their amazing work during the Kiwanis Learn to Swim Program! In this, the 89th consecutive year of the program, we served over 550 kids! During this important program, we are able to teach basic water safety to kids who may not have any other opportunities to learn these skills.
One parent was quoted as saying “I was impressed at how much my children were able to learn in just four days. I think my oldest child has been doing this program for at least four or five years and while it has been worthwhile every year, it does seem to be better organized, from the signage when you walk in, cones for which group you are in, to online registration." Another parent stated, "Excellent program, which I plan to enroll him in now on a yearly basis. Very much appreciate this opportunity being offered and the hard work that must have been put into it to organize it.”
A HUGE thank you to Jennie, Jason, Camille, all the instructors, all the lifeguards and especially, Fond du Lac Noon Kiwanis, who helped make this program run so smoothly. Job well done!!
May 2015 | Angie Feltz, Membership Services
Angie Feltz is our Welcome Center staff member who our members are welcomed by, if they are “early morning exercisers,” bright and early at 5 AM. She opens the Y, prepares hot and fresh coffee, and welcomes our morning members with a smile. Our openers are counted on to make sure the Y is ready for our members to start their day. Angie is here before the sun rises, not something we would all be willing to do. Her dependability, dedication to the Y, and upbeat personality make her a huge asset to our Welcome Center. Angie is a team player, willing to help her team members by picking up additional shifts as needed to help cover our front desk. Angie goes out of her way to help members and guests, and is great at following up with questions and concerns they may have. Angie believes in the mission of the Y, and practices the Y’s core values of caring, honesty, respect and responsibility in her everyday life.
April 2015 | Jerry Berger and Becky Wightman, Group Fitness Instructors and Personal Trainers
Jerry Berger and Becky Wightman have gone above and beyond on many occasions to make their classes the best they can be for Y members. Their St. Patrick's Day celebration is an event loved by all who attend! Our members look forward to it each year. They both have raised their level of expertise by continued, extensive training, to deliver the best classes possible for Y members.
Jerry and Becky’s tremendous support during “My Y Week", raising funds through the Fitness Fundraising Frenzy for the Annual Campaign, far exceeded expectations. Their Kickboxing class accounted for half of the funds raised towards the group exercise fundraising competition, earning them a class banner and bragging rights for the year. Barb Seidel, Group Exercise Coordinator, states, “Our entire fitness department is blessed to have them as part of our team! They both have brought so much to the Fond du Lac Family YMCA.”
March 2015 | Susan Crout, Child Care
Susan Crout has been working for the Y Child Care Center since December of 2011. She is amazing with our littlest members. She cares for our infants in a loving and caring manner by talking to them about what they are doing whether it is changing a diaper, eating lunch or just playing on the floor. Susan seems to know exactly what each baby needs and is able to encourage them to tackle each milestone during their first year of life.
Most recently Susan has had some creative ways to make the infant and toddler areas bigger by rearranging furniture. She is also always ready to get the babies into the pool. One day we thought we could take the babies swimming but ratios didn’t work out. Instead, Miss Susan covered the floor with towels and put two large plastic bins in the classroom and made her own little pool and the babies had a blast.
The center has been working very hard to become a Breastfeeding Friendly Center. Susan has written a welcome letter and a packet of information to make sure all of our new infant parents know that we are here to support their needs. She has reached out to the three new mothers who’s babies will be joining the infant room within the next few weeks to make the transition as easy as possible. Last week I noticed that there was a baby swing in the classroom. The children in the classroom have all outgrown the baby swing. But Susan wrapped a stuffed animal in a blanket and placed it in the swing so our crawling and walking infants could get used to having a “new friend” in the classroom.
These are just a few of the ways Susan Crout demonstrates on a daily basis the Y core values. The Y is blessed to have her.
February 2015 | Corby Graf, Aquatics
Corby joined the Y staff in November and went all-in from day one. He picked up the Splash Cats aerobics class that runs every day; he lifeguards during the day and has helped out with swimming lessons when needed. He also volunteered as a coach of a youth basketball team this winter for the Y's Sports Coordinator, John Cetnar.
Corby’s passion for being healthy and exercising shows in every aspect of his life, whether he’s working, working out, or coaching. He always has a smile on his face and does an excellent job of helping members and representing the core values of the YMCA. Thank you for all you contribute and do to help make the Y a more welcoming and better place for everyone!
January 2015 | Christine Bader, Membership Specialist
On a recent Saturday morning a member became dizzy while in a locker room. A concerned member went to the Welcome Center desk to alert our staff. Christine Bader, a Membership Specialist here at our Y and who is also an LPN at Aurora, went into the locker room. At that time the members' pulse was good. A short time later the member went into apparent cardiac arrest.
911 was called and the AED was taken to the site. Christine Bader took charge of the situation and administered AED and CPR while being assisted by Y staff members, Jeff Barnes and Jean Rusch, and a member who is a first responder.
This wonderful team effort definitely saved a life. The member is getting stronger and the family has been told that a full recovery can be expected. Please keep this member and their family in your prayers as well as a special prayer of thanks for our prepared Y staff that was able to react so quickly and appropriately on this Saturday.
It was Christine's quick action, leadership and training that helped save the life of our member that day. We are thankful to have her on staff, and especially grateful she was here working that day.