By Linda Shaw
Orthman Community YMCA
I began my journey with the YMCA in June 2010. I had decided to take a break from my full-time job with Dawson/Gosper County CASA. I took a walk in downtown Lexington and stopped at the insurance company where I had recently been employed part-time. To my delight, I met the nicest young lady who greeted me and explained she was there to start the YMCA in Lexington.
We visited for a while, and she suggested I complete a job application. That was the farthest thing from my mind at that time as I was working 40 hours a week with the CASA program and part-time at the Coffee Cottage as a barista. I did complete an application not thinking I would ever hear back. That next week, I interviewed and wondered where I would fit in if they did decide to hire me.
I interviewed with Jeff (Morgan) and Katie (Bonhoff). We had a great time sharing and laughing. It was just fun, not intimidating like previous interviews. Then, they called to offer me the position at the front desk, and I could open and leave in time for my full-time job. I agreed I would give it a try. Thirteen years later, I am still opening the Y in the wee hours and leaving for my full-time job.
I have said all of this to let everyone know it was one of the best decisions I have made in my life. I LOVE MY JOB!! I so enjoy meeting new people. I have made so many new friends of all ages. We are also blessed with great staff and co-workers. We have become like one big family. Some of the regular members call me if they are not coming in or going on vacation because they know I would be checking to see why they were not at the Y today.
We have celebrated birthdays, anniversaries, happy times, and sad times. In 2012, I was promoted to Program Director for the Dawson/Gosper County CASA Program and so many asked, “Will you give up your jobs at the Y and Coffee Cottage?” NO WAY! When you work in my field where you are constantly advocating for abused/neglected children, I need to find balance. That balance comes to me through the Y where I get to greet members and exercise and socialize with so many people that I would probably never have met.
The Orthman Community YMCA has met so many needs for me and made me a better person both physically and mentally. I have been allowed to share my talent of card-making by creating all the employee birthday cards, I try to make them for each person to make them feel special. It has been an extra blessing to be able to recruit heartfelt quality volunteers by sharing stories of the different needs in our area. Many people think it doesn’t happen here. I have found the people in Lexington care and want to help but are not aware of all of the needs here. There is no doubt in my mind that God has put me in this position by leading me to an office and opening another door.
Thank you for the opportunity to serve!
I am and have been truly blessed.