YMCA heads into new year with 2 new staff members

Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Jeremy Fry (Sydney Stonner/Democrat-News)

Jeremy Fry

Two weeks ago Jeremy Fry was named program director at the Salt Fork YMCA, and already he has set some great goals.

Fry has been involved in member services at the Y off and on for about eight years, he said. He also spent a year each in Marshall and Sweet Springs schools teaching art.

Fry is excited about his new position, which he said will "allow me to do a little bit of everything."

He has big plans to start new programs at the YMCA. First up is an art program.

"Art is a huge part of the YMCA that this Y hasn't experienced yet," he said.

Fry, who is a working artist as well, plans to turn one room in the YMCA Annex into his art classroom. He hopes to start simple, with basic drawing classes for both children and adults that are "people friendly."

Another thing Fry wants to do is "put the Christian back in the YMCA."

He would like to create a Christian leadership program, a sort of youth group for young people from all area churches. Fry himself is a youth group leader at Family Worship Center in Marshall.

Both of these programs fit well with the YMCA's mission statement, which pledges to serve mind, body and spirit, Fry said.

Fry invites comments, questions and suggestions about his ideas. He has created a bulletin board at the Y to facilitate community feedback on YMCA programs.

"I want to do programs that the community needs," he said.

Bev Johnson (Sydney Stonner/Democrat-News)

Bev Johnson

Bev Johnson was promoted to member services director at Salt Fork YMCA in September 2008. She has worked with the Y for eight years, but in fact, she is retired.

Johnson spent 30 years in the accounting department at the Marshall Habilitation Center and retired when she knew she couldn't move up anymore.

Then she started working part-time at the YMCA.

"I came to work here to get a 'kid fix,'" she said.

And now, even in a position of authority, the people part of Johnson's job is still her favorite, especially in the classes she teaches.

In water aerobics, where participants range in age from 20-something to 80-something, Johnson said she has a family.

"I feel like I've got a grandparent in my life," as well as a parent and a child, she said.

Other parts of Johnson's job include teaching CPR and First Aid classes and managing front desk workers.

She is also in charge of the YMCA's Web site, and currently she is trying to set up online class registration.

Johnson's main goal in her new position is to get people to come to the Y.

"I want everyone in this community to know that they're welcome," she said, and to "let us make changes in their lives."

Her work certainly keeps her busy, and she often works more than 40 hours each week, even though she isn't paid overtime, she said.

But, for Johnson, this job isn't about the money.

"This is my heart," she said. "I didn't realize I could be so passionate about something."

Contact Sydney Stonner at marshallbusiness@socket.net

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  • Good job Jeremy! Glad to see another local boy doing well and working for the good of the community!

    -- Posted by two sides on Wed, Dec 24, 2008, at 12:10 PM
  • I love going to the YMCA and I can see a difference since the Y has been under new management. Congrats Bev, Jeremy , and Suzanne for all the hard work. It is paying off!

    -- Posted by mhsalumni on Sat, Dec 27, 2008, at 4:26 PM
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