What do you do again? Is that a real job? Where are you again? These are definitely the question I get asked the most since I started here at the YMCA! The short answer is I’m the Youth and Family Director. Yes, recreation is a real career job, and I live in a cool town called Gothenburg! But the long answer is this:
Hi, my name is Micah Waskowiak, and I’m the Youth and Family Director at the Gothenburg YMCA. I’ve been working in the field of recreation for about 8 years: 3 years with the City of Omaha as a Recreation Programmer, 4 ½ years at Comeca Camp and Retreat Center as the Program Director and Outreach Director, and now going on 5 months here at the Y. So that adds up to just about 8 years! Wow, have they flown by!
I grew up in Omaha in a family of 9, with both my parents and 4 other brothers, and 2 sisters! We played, fought, and fixed a ton of things together. One way to describe my family is terribly late but incredibly helpful when you need help or hands, and I would say that is still true today! I was shown tons of different life skills by my parents and siblings like how to administer first aid, fix broken windows, and how to not fall off a roof!
I also learned valuable skills in Boy Scouts where I eventually received the title Eagle Scout along with all my brothers! I learned and grew in my recreation foundation from UNK’s Recreation Major Program. There I was taught, shown, and led to what it means to be a strong leader and a team player. I credit my professors for allowing us to take risks, make plenty of mistakes, and walk alongside us when it came to programs we ran or goals we worked to accomplish!
I’ve also had the incredible opportunity to coach cross country and track for Cozad. I’ve coached XC for 4 years now and I coached track for 1 and a few weeks due to covid. The biggest thing I’ve learned so far is how to be a genuine friend and mentor. Working with middle school and high school athletes, they have shown me that we all are dealing with something and we all don’t walk the same paths in life! It’s shown me that just listening, really listening is a worthwhile trait we should all work a little harder on.
Lastly, my wife Stephanie. I met Steph in high school when I was a senior and we learned the valuable skills of communication, conflict resolution, and staff/ child insubordination. We have moved from high school, college, back home, long distance, married, and now in our home here in Gothenburg wonderfully married. Of course, we are still practicing and learning as we continue to grow, and we are excited to welcome a little boy here this winter!
All of that to say ….. what I do here is listen to the stories of people who come to the Y to find their why. I communicate with as many people as I possibly can to let them know all the incredible things the Gothenburg YMCA is doing through community involvement, school activities, and relationships built. When we do that, we fulfill the promise that the Y has built as a foundation: To put Christian principles into practice through programs that build a healthy spirit, mind, and body for all.
From our sports leagues, afterschool program, fitness classes, senior events, and 5Ks, we offer something for EVERYBODY, and if you don’t think we do, TELL US and we will either create something or direct you to somebody who does! Because the Y is Community!