Bebensee Named YMCA Branch Executive Director

Holdrege resident Brett Bebensee has been selected as the new Executive Branch Director of the Don Sjogren Community YMCA.

The YMCA will host Coffee AM on Friday, November 5, from 9:30-10:30 a.m. to invite the public and members to meet the new director.

Bebensee is a Hildreth native and has management experience in retail, most recently as the store manager at Marshall’s in Kearney. He began his new position at the YMCA in Holdrege on Nov. 1.

“I wanted to work at the Y because I love how community involvement is a huge part of the YMCA’s foundation,” Bebensee said. “My family and I have a membership at the Y and have always loved going there for various activities. I want to help continue and possibly bring new additions to further support the communities the Y serves.”

The Don Sjogren Community YMCA is one of three branches that is part of the YMCA of the Prairie Association. YMCA of the Prairie CEO Riley Gruntorad said he is impressed with Bebensee’s management skills, his enthusiastic and high energy level, his willingness to learn and adapt, his values, and his team mentality.

“I think he will be great at engaging staff and members,” Gruntorad said. “He will be someone who will be out and about in the community and help brighten our culture in the Y and the relationships and partnerships in our community.”

Bebensee graduated from Wilcox-Hildreth High School and then earned a bachelor’s degree in English with a minor in popular culture and an emphasis in writing at the University of Nebraska at Kearney. He is currently working toward a master’s degree in English with an emphasis in writing.

He started working at Target in Kearney when he was 16 and worked his way up to assistant manager. After 11 years with Target, he went to work for Shopko in Holdrege to be closer to his family. He served as the Shopko store manager for two-and-a-half years until the store closed. He’s managed the Marshall’s store in Kearney for the past three years.

Bebensee said his leadership skills will be one of the biggest assets he brings to the YMCA.

“I started my first leadership position at Target when I was 19 years old,” Bebensee said. “I have continued to develop my leadership skills while working at ShopKo and Marshall’s. I have taken many leadership classes through my previous employers and have helped develop more than 20 employees either to the next level or to be experts in their roles. I view my leadership as an ever-evolving aspect of myself and will not stop pushing myself to be a better leader for my team and members.”

Other skills he brings to the Y are his communication and people skills.

“Studying the humanities has taught me that to be an effective communicator, you have to connect with the people,” he said. “My English classes and a lot of the books I have read taught me a lot about communication and connecting. A reader can make a great leader.”

Bebensee and his wife, Ashley, have been married for nine years and are parents to two young boys, Oliver, 5; and Samuel, 2.

Outside of work, Bebensee enjoys spending as much time as possible with his family. He is a movie buff and enjoys movie date nights with his wife or playing with the boys on the trampoline or swing set, kicking a ball around or playing video games together.

“Brett and his energy are going to help the Don Sjogren Community YMCA grow in all areas,” Gruntorad said. “There is a bright future ahead for Brett, his team and the Y.”

The YMCA is dedicated to strengthening the community through programs focused on youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. For more information, visit

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