Thorell, Johnson Take on New Roles at YMCA

Two fitness instructors have been promoted to new positions at the Don Sjogren Community YMCA.

Laurel Thorell, who has taught a variety of classes at the Y for 10 years, will be the Group Exercise Supervisor. Holly Johnson, who has taught at the YMCA for 5 years, will be the Healthy Living Coordinator. Both positions are part-time.

YMCA Executive Branch Director Janell Brown said she is excited to see some new energy in these areas with the promotion of two long-time staffers.

“Both ladies have been a part of our YMCA for many years in the wellness department, and both have a passion to strengthen our community and better support people to live a healthy lifestyle,” Brown said. “Their passion and creativity will continue to grow our wellness department as we deepen relationships and support our members to reach their goals.”

Laurel has taught a variety of classes at the Y, including water classes, Kickboxing, Power Step, TRX, Fit Camp, PiYo, Rip, Pound, Shape Up, Indo Row, Shockwave, Dance Fusion, War, Instructors Choice and Boga.

As part of her new duties, Thorell will create the group exercise schedule and support and supervise the group exercise instructors. She said she is looking forward to working with the other instructors to continue a strong group exercise program and to find ways to serve more members. She will also create and oversee exercise challenges.

“I was excited for the opportunity to play a larger part in the Y and to help grow the group exercise program,” Thorell said. “Over the last 10 years, I have raised my kids at the Y (four children ages 5-11) and have built lasting friendships through the classes I have taught. I want the program to continue and grow and be a resource for community members.”

Thorell said she loves teaching classes and seeing people come together to reach their goals and to build relationships.

“I have made many friends and have seen many friendships form through the YMCA and the group exercise program,” she said. “I believe attending a group exercise class gives more than a great workout; it provides a connection.”

Outside of the YMCA, Thorell is the director of the Kearney County Economic Development Agency and coaches two elementary-aged cheer and dance groups.

Thorell holds a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Nebraska at Omaha and is also certified in TRX, Shockwave, Indo Row, Bar, Pound, and PiYo.

Holly Johnson started teaching boot camp at the YMCA five years ago. She has also taught middle school boot camp, specialty boot camp classes, Fit for Life and Weights 101.

In her new role as the Healthy Living Coordinator, Johnson will expand community partnerships, develop new wellness programs and oversee and implement the Workplace Wellness program.

Johnson said she has always been interested in health and wellness and has a passion for helping and encouraging people to meet their goals.

“The YMCA plays a big role in the community, and it is a fantastic organization to be a part of,” she said. “It has a lot of positive things going on. People from all different backgrounds and ages use the YMCA. I want to help develop and implement programs that can reach even more people. There is a place for everyone.”

Before working at the YMCA, Johnson taught school for 16 years. She currently is a substitute teacher and outside of work, she enjoys spending time with her family and attending her kids’ activities.

Johnson is certified in Shockwave, Indorow and Medicine Ball Power.

The YMCA is the leading nonprofit committed to strengthening the community by connecting all people to their potential, purpose and each other. By bringing people together from different backgrounds, perspectives and generations, we ensure that we all have access to the opportunities, relationships and resources necessary to learn, grow and thrive.

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