The YMCA at Gothenburg Health has two new staff members who are off to the races building potential in local youth and helping to strengthen the community through new programs and partnerships.
Omaha native and former Camp Comeca staff member Micah Waskowiak joined the YMCA team on June 20 as the Youth & Family Director. He also leads the branch’s communications, social media and email activities.
“One of the big reasons I wanted to work for the Y is the awesome atmosphere that the team has created as well as the ability to be really present with my family,” Micah said.
His wife, Stephanie, is a fourth-grade teacher at Dudley Elementary, and they have a daughter, Sawyer, and a little boy on the way in December or January.
“The YMCA also allows me to create programs that impact the community directly and to give families another place to grow physically, emotionally, and spiritually,” he said.
One new program he is leading this fall is ChangeMakers, which is a youth program that teaches kids in grades 4-6 how to be all-around makers of positive change in the community. Micah looks to keep expanding and growing the program in the future.
Micah’s educational path includes studying criminal justice at Iowa Western, where he also ran track and cross country. He then transferred to UNK, where he studied recreation management. He worked as a recreation programmer for the City of Omaha Parks and Rec Department for three summers, including some time lifeguarding. He worked at Camp Comeca and Retreat Center during the summer of 2018 and started full-time at Camp Comeca in 2019 first as the program director and then as the outreach director.
So far, Micah is enjoying his new role at the YMCA, and he loves the variety the job offers.
“In my role, I work closely with everybody so that allows me to be up and around,” Micah said. “I have also really enjoyed working with our community leaders and partners. We all have the same goal of bettering our community, and finding ways to be more cohesive has been fun.”
Micah is excited to see how his career will grow with the YMCA.
“I would say we are just getting started,” Micah said. “The Y has a lot to offer, and so far I’ve enjoyed the benefits it provided and the opportunities it has given me. But I am also pumped for what’s coming next!”
When he is not working, Micah serves on the board of the Charitable Fund of Cozad, assists with the Cozad UMC Youth Group and is an assistant coach for the Cozad Cross Country team.
Hunter Kiburz started work on May 4 as the Y Sports Director. He worked at the Orthman Community YMCA in Lexington during high school as a building monitor. He was an active Y member participating in weight lifting and pick-up basketball games. He also worked with the City of Lexington Parks and Recreation Department, where he learned to prep baseball and soccer fields, a skill that comes in handy in his new role!
After high school, Hunter attended Wayne State College to study journalism with the goal of becoming a sports writer. But after four years of that study, he decided to do something else.
“The Y has impacted my life just by being able to work here and finally feeling like I’m moving in the right direction in life,” Hunter said. “After college and not knowing what I wanted to do with my life, I am just really appreciative of being the sports director here and hope I can make a positive impact on this community.
He enjoys being back closer to his parents, who live in Lexington, the variety of work at the Y and impacting the lives of kids.
“I love sports and love being able to help kids out with whatever they need,” Hunter said. “I want to make a positive impact on as many kids as I can here in Gothenburg.”
His future career goals revolve around sports as well, including hopefully someday working for a college or professional sports team or coaching basketball.
“I’ve been around the game my whole life and feel like the game has always come to me pretty easy,” Hunter said. “I want to help coach kids what I was taught when I was growing up, but then also teach them life lessons as well. My coaches during high school were not only my coach but another father figure who I could reach out for advice outside of sports.”
When he’s not working, Hunter enjoys playing golf and plays as much as he can.