Community Members Working to Bring YMCA Programming to Custer County

BROKEN BOW—For more than a year local members of the Broken Bow community have been working toward obtaining a charter from the YMCA of the Prairie in order to bring a program director to the area to oversee programming events for youth and adults.

Veronica Schmidt is working with the Custer Economic Development Corporation (CEDC) and other individuals to bring the charter to the area to promote recreation and wellness opportunities. Schmidt and the team are awaiting a response from the YMCA of the Prairie—which serves south-central Nebraska—regarding a charter.

“Right now we are looking to hear back from the Y of the Prairie board to see if we can use their charter to develop a branch in Broken Bow and bring the YMCA brand to Broken Bow to help increase our wellness opportunities for youth and adults,” Schmidt told KCNI/KBBN in a December 2019 interview.

When asked about a YMCA building, Schmidt said the programming is the main focus at this time rather than a physical structure.

“At this point we are just interested in how we get that programming here? How do we show the value to the community of the coordination that a program director can bring along with the YMCA brand and all that it entails?” Schmidt said.

During the summer of 2018, Rural Futures Institute (RFI) interns Leanne Gamet and Jessica Weeder were assigned to Broken Bow where they worked with the CEDC Executive Director Andrew Ambriz to conduct research about the feasibility of a YMCA in Broken Bow.

Below is a summary from the RFI website describing a portion of Gamet and Weeder’s accomplishments during their internship:

“In assisting the community in identifying the feasibility of a YMCA in Broken Bow, the interns conducted extensive research, hosted community discussions and tours to help determine the desire for both wellness and childcare opportunities that the YMCA provides. They conducted a feasibility study using interviews and a survey, and coordinated a meeting with CEO of the Kearney YMCA to discuss the possibility of a connection with their organization.”

Ambriz added, “Since then, we’ve worked to find the right fit by exploring all our branch options including Kearney, Grand Island, and eventually landing with YMCA of the Prairie in Holdrege.”

On February 6 Ambriz told KCNI/KBBN the agreement to use the YMCA charter is still in progress and a decision could be a couple months away. As of the first of the year, the Holdrege YMCA has formed a committee to further consider developing a Broken Bow branch and is currently researching the numbers, administrative costs, etc.

In addition, the Broken Bow City Council voted unanimously to support a Custer County YMCA during the November 12, 2019 city council meeting.