YMCA Branch Name

For Youth Development
For Healthy Living
For Social Development

KEARNEY — On a cold, windy day last December, Denny Placzek, executive director of the Kearney Family YMCA, huddled under blankets in the thrashing wind and cold on the roof of the Y at 4500 Sixth Ave. to inspire Y donations for the Give Where You Live event sponsored by the Kearney Area Community Foundation.

Thursday afternoon, with his feet firmly on the ground, Placzek will celebrate the YMCA building’s 20th anniversary at an open house. Guests will enjoy free food, games, activities and a kids soccer clinic. It will be the Y’s way of thanking the community for its unwavering support.

“I think of the Y as a large indoor neighborhood,” Placzek said. “Building relationships is what the Y is all about. We continue to change every year. If we see a need, we take a look and move forward.”


KEARNEY — The Kearney Family YMCA will accept a $12,200 grant from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska at the annual Cornhusker State Games Torch Run this afternoon at the Y at 4500 Sixth Ave.

The presentation will be made between 5:30 and 6 p.m., according to Denny Placzek, executive director at the Y.

The grant will go to the Y’s popular diabetes prevention program, now in its second year. The one-year program is for people who are at least 18 years old, overweight and at risk of developing diabetes, according to Pamela Little, the Y’s aquatic manager. She filled out the application at the end of March.

“We at the Y want to do more than ‘typical swim and gym.’ We want to go after what the community needs,” Little said. “Lowering the risk for disease is always a goal. Diabetes is a huge health risk.”


“Good morning Bright Spirit” a lively gentleman says as he walks into the Y in his trademark brown trench coat. At 94 years old, John Cochran stands a little over five feet tall and always has a smile on his face. His gentle presence has a calming effect, even in the chaos of the front desk.

This is John Cochran, one of our most loyal gym members. Born in Saint Joseph Missouri in 1920, John has lived what many would call a vigorous life. At a young age he developed a love for physical activity. Growing up during the Great Depression meant that high school sports were out,


Lorraine Barta is truly one of a kind! Growing up, she was a typical Nebraska girl. She attended school and wanted to become a paralegal. Like many girls, she had a boyfriend, held a job, and even had her own Chevy Monte Carlo. Lorraine also
loves country music.
In fact, I have never met anyone who loves country music as much as she does! She claims to know the words to every country song, and to date no one has ever proven otherwise! many girls, she had a boyfriend, held a job, and even had her own Chevy Monte Carlo.

One Friday night everything changed dramatically for her. 


The Y is committed to providing programs that build a healthy spirit, mind and body for all. We make every effort to ensure that no one is turned away due to inability to pay. Click to read more about our financial assistance.