Julie Czochara has lived in major cities on both sides of the United States, and now she’s living in the middle of the country in a small rural town tackling the challenge of beginning programs and operations at the new YMCA at Gothenburg Health.
She started her YMCA career six years ago at the YMCA Buffalo Niagara as the business and sales coordinator for YMCA Camp Weona.
“I loved what I did, and I loved the difference I was seeing in the lives of not just the kids that I worked with but their families as well,” Julie said of her first experience working at a YMCA. “It is the most gratifying work I have ever done. My gift is serving and holding true to my Christian faith and values. The YMCA is the avenue that God has given me to do that.”
Julie, who hails from Buffalo, NY, has also lived in San Jose, Calif., and has owned and operated two businesses – a janitorial service and a Polish food business. She has also worked as a training manager for Big & Tall men’s clothing stores and in the printing industry. In 2011, she discovered the YMCA, and she was hooked.
She had previously enjoyed volunteering at church vacation Bible schools, Sunday school and taking kids camping. When an opportunity opened at the YMCA six years ago, her sister encouraged her to apply.
“It was just a fit right from the beginning,” Julie said. “From there, my career with the YMCA flourished.”
Julie began her position in Gothenburg in January and has hit the ground running as she starts new programs while waiting for the construction of the new YMCA at Gothenburg health building, which is scheduled to be completed a year from now. The Y has assumed operations of the Gothenburg swimming pool and the youth baseball/softball program. Julie and her assistant, Issac Egenberger, have planned other fun programs, such a Tour de Gothenburg biking event, kids fishing classes and much more. Membership sales began April 1 in Gothenburg.
Another part of her role is to help the community understand what it means to have a YMCA.
“My challenge is to be sensitive to the needs of the community and to help them to understand the huge positive impact that the YMCA will have on their community,” Julie said.
She said Gothenburg residents are “some of the most extraordinary wonderful people I have ever met. The amount of volunteers that are in this small community, it is nothing less than amazing!”
When she’s not working, Julie said she loves to sing worship songs and hopes to find the time to start playing her guitar again. She has been married to her husband, Greg, for 18 years and has one daughter, Malissa.
“My husband and I are best friends and enjoy spending time with each other whether it is taking a walk, touring a new part of Nebraska or just sitting home watching a movie,” she said.
“Swimming is also one of my very favorite things to do.”
For nine years, she and Greg operated a business called Keeping Traditions, a company that manufactured Pierogi, a type of Polish food. She hopes to share her Pierogi-making expertise in a future class at the YMCA at Gothenburg Health.