A sports-loving Ogallala native has joined the team at the Don Sjogren Community YMCA as the Sports Director.
“Holdrege always beat my teams in basketball when I was in Ogallala,” Joel Pelster said. “So, if you can’t beat them, join them!”
Joel began his work at the YMCA in mid-January. He will be responsible for organizing the youth and adult sports programs at the Y, including determining what programs and leagues to offer, finding coaches and volunteers and ensuring the programs are well organized and on time.
Joel said he has always loved sports, so this job is the perfect fit for him.
“I love playing and watching a long list of sports,” Joel said. “You’ll catch me on the golf course in the summertime almost daily, somehow not getting better. Not many times will you’ll catch me turning down basketball when asked to play unless my body says NO. Just like the majority of Nebraska, I’m a huge Husker fan and am always keeping up with anything going on with the teams.”
Joel followed his passion for sports to the University of Nebraska at Kearney, where he doubled majored in Sports & Business Administration. While at UNK, he worked at Campus Recreation, where he greeted students at the front desk and helped at UNK sporting events.
For the past three years, Joel has worked at his family’s business, Kildare Lumber. His family recently sold the business to Mead Lumber.
He is now looking forward to working in a job that aligns more with his passions.
“When I told people close to me that I was applying for this job and what it required, they all said, ‘That is right up your alley,’ and I agree,” Joel said. “What better place to work than at the Y, where you can engage with people of all ages throughout the community. Here, I can sit and have a conversation with the coffee crew in the morning, see kids running around with smiles on their faces after school and watch parents enjoy a night away to still play sports they loved growing up. Not many places you can get all of that, let alone in one day.”
Joel’s previous Y experience includes being part of a men’s basketball team that once won the league championship at the Kearney Family YMCA.
“Our reward for winning was two free pitchers of beer at one of the restaurants, which gave us all a good laugh!” Joel said. “Just so everyone knows, I don’t plan on rewarding the adult league winners with beer, but something more on the lines of a plaque and shirts.”
Joel said what he is most looking forward to about now working at the Y is connecting with people of all ages and giving them positive experiences with sports.
“Sports have been really huge for me to meet people and make everlasting friendships,” Joel said. “I hope this can be a place for people to make those friendships. Since I will be working with a lot of kids, it will be fun to see them grow into responsible young adults, hoping I had a part to play in it.”
Joel has had a lot of experiences with kids as he is the youngest of five children and loves spending time with his 12 nieces and nephews. He will get to spend more time with three of them (and one more on the way) as his brother, Mike Pelster, and his family also live in Holdrege.
Joel is busy organizing the Y’s current youth basketball program and preparing for the spring youth soccer season, which begins March 11 and is one the Y’s largest youth programs. Registrations are due February 27. T-ball, softball and baseball registrations will take place in April and May.
For adults, the Women’s and Coed Volleyball seasons start Jan. 28 and Jan. 29.
For more information about Y programs or to visit with Joel, call the YMCA at (308) 995-4050, stop by at 1415 Broadway in Holdrege or visit www.ymcaoftheprairie.org.
The YMCA is dedicated to strengthening the community through programs focused on youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.
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