YMCA Branch Name

For Youth Development
For Healthy Living
For Social Development
Our Leadership


The Kearney Family Y is governed by our Board of Directors consisting of volunteers from throughout the Kearney community. These volunteers are community leaders with a passion to serve. Together, our Board of Directors is solely responsible for determining policy, approving the annual budget and determining the association goals.


Marc Bailey, President
Julie Speirs, Vice President

Graten Beavers

Rachelle Bryant
Steve Chatelain
Amy Eifert
Jerry Fast
Anthony Finke
Nancy Foster
Lee Fritson
Lori Gartner
Nate Gaunt
Josh Hanshaw
Kyle Hanson
Sara Homan
Tammy Jackson
Josh Jeldon
Michael Kirkwood
Bettelee Lewis
Jennifer McBride
Amy Morris
Heidi Neverve
Troy Nielsen
Paul Plinske
Mike Schnieders
Tony Taylor
Steve Voigt
Cheryl Webber


The staff at the Kearney Family Y is in the business of building relationships. That is why our staff leaders make personal connections with our members, welcoming and treating all people with the highest quality of respect. We value expressing concern for others, including a sincere appreciation of professional and personal needs. The Kearney Family Y staff leaders demonstrate truthfulness, reliability and trustworthiness through words and actions.

Denny Placzek is a 18 year veteran of the Kearney Family YMCA. He began his career at the Kearney YMCA as the Business Operations Director. In 2008 Placzek assumed leadership and CEO of the Kearney YMCA.

During the economic downturn he is credited with changing the culture and financial picture of the Kearney YMCA. He was also responsible for developing the Kearney Family YMCA Foundation in 2010. The Foundation has grown to over $300,000.00 in the first two years.

Denny received a Bachelor’s Degree with an emphasis in Business from the University of Nebraska at Kearney. He is a graduate of Leadership Kearney and is currently a member of the Colonels Club which is a men’s group whose purpose is to serve as a public relations arm of the Kearney Area Chamber of Commerce.

He is married to Amy and is the father of two adult children. In his free time he enjoys camping, cycling, running and spending time with his family.

Denny believes that developing relationships is the key ingredient to a successful organization.

Duane Klabunde has been with the Kearney Family YMCA since November 2, 1998. Duane was hired as the Facilities Director to oversee the maintenance and the housekeeping of the YMCA inside and out which is setting on 10.3 acres of land. In 2000 I helped to designed and built a 36,343 square foot addition to the existing building for a total of 80,704 square foot facility.

He is a a Nebraska native and grew up in the northeast part of Nebraska at West Point. Duane served in the US Navy for 4 years from 1972 – 1976. During that time he did two tours over sea and is a Vietnam veteran.

Duane have been married for 40 years to Mary and we are members of St James Catholic Church. They have two married children and are blessed  with 5 grandchildren.

Ray Longoria first began his career at the Kearney Family Y while attending the University of Nebraska- Kearney as a part-time employee working at the Service Center, Family Center, Fitness Center, and Youth Sports. He rejoined the Y in his current role of Program Manager in 2010.

As Program Manager, he provides kids the opportunity to grow and develop through the avenue of sports, while putting emphasizes on skill and social development while having fun. Ray has a very strong passion for working with youth and hopes to make a positive impact on many kids in our community. 

Ray received a Bachelor’s Degree in Sports Administration from the University of Nebraska-Kearney. He received his Associates Degree in Business Administration from Colby Community College, where he also received a scholarship to run Cross Country and Track and Field. He is currently a member of the Young Professionals Network, whose purpose is to empower future community leaders through professional development, personal growth and networking opportunities.

Ray is married to Cintia. He enjoys running, playing basketball, staying in shape, listening to music, and grilling out. He and Cintia participate in several 5k races together throughout the year.

Cindy Mangels joined the Kearney Family YMCA in 1992. Since coming to the Y she has served as the Family Center Manager and is currently the Associate Executive Officer. She developed and implemented the Corporate Membership Program, Physicians Prescription Program, and streamlined the Membership Assistance Program. Cindy’s leadership skills have been recognized by her staff, peers and community organizations.

She grew up in Kearney Nebraska and serves on the Leadership Kearney board, having served as Youth Leadership Chair, ARC of Buffalo County, past board member of AYP and is a member of the Envoy’s Club which is a women’s group whose purpose is to serve as a public relations arm of the Kearney Area Chamber of Commerce. Cindy has coordinated Healthy Kids Day for the Kearney Y the past several years and has developed the program into a community wide event.

Cindy teaches Listen First and is a Faculty Trainer for the National YMCA. Listen First is the core skill in the YMCA Connection Plan. It outlines the skills necessary to truly “hear” what our members, our staff, our colleagues are saying so we can meet their needs. This training has allowed the Kearney YMCA to grow and impact the community.

She has two adult sons and an adult daughter and is married to Greg. She enjoys time with her family, meeting people, exercising, and living by the lake.

Cindy has never met a stranger and is fast to make friends! She believes that when you are kind to others, it not only changes you, it changes the world.

Sue Klein has seen many wonderful changes at the Y during the 16 years she has been employed, ranging from Preschool Teacher to Program Director, to Child Care Director. She was involved with the planning and building of the Child Development Center which opened in 2000. Children are a blessing and a priority in her life, so working at the Y is a good fit. The Child Care area has benefited many families throughout the community.

Ms Sue is a graduate of Concordia University with a bachelor degree in Elementary Ed with an Early Childhood certificate. She is active with the Advisory Committee at Kearney High School and the area Child Care Directors Group, as well as the Kearney Area Chapter of the Association for the Education of Young Children. Sue has volunteered many hours of her time for the betterment of youth in the Kearney area.

Sue and her husband live north of Pleasanton. They have 3 children and 6 grandchildren. One of Ms Sue’s favorite times outside the Y is planning “Grandma Weekends”, full of exciting adventures resulting in memories that last a lifetime.

Collette Buskirk joined the Y team in 2006 as a swimming lesson instructor and later became a lifeguard. In 2013 she became the aquatics director at the Hastings YMCA.

In the fall of 2014 a position opened up in Kearney and Collette jumped at the opportunity to reunite with our team. She is now the Aquatics Manager and will also be the training manager for staff trainings including CPR/AED, First Aid, Water Safety Instructor and Lifeguard Certifications. Collette graduated from the University of Nebraska at Kearney in 2012 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise Science with an emphasis in Health and Wellness. 

She currently holds certifications in Water Safety Instructor, Water Safety Instructor Trainer, Lifeguarding, CPR/AED, First Aid, Water Park, Lifeguard Instructor, and Certified Pool Operators.

 In her spare time, Collette enjoys playing court/sand volleyball, disc golf, softball and hanging out with friends and family. She grew up here in Kearney with three sisters and now has four nephews. 

Laura graduated from Colorado State University in 1994 with a Bachelor’s degree in Social Science. After graduation, Laura served for two and a half years as a Peace Corps Volunteer. It was during that time that she found a passion for education and service.

After working for several non-profit companies, she and her family moved to Kearney, NE where she started her career with the YMCA.  Laura started out as a Silver Sneaker instructor and has since taught several other group exercise classes.

Two years into her employment, she was asked to direct the Kearney Y’s annual Turkey Trot.  This year’s race will mark her 5th year as Race Director. In addition to her other responsibilities,  she is the Co- Race Director for the Shamrock Shuffle, teaches many group exercise  classes, is a personal  Trainer and has a passion for helping people reach goals.

In February 2013, Laura became the Program Coordinator for the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program.  Laura has been married for 16 years to Trevor.  They have two children Ainsley and Oliver and Newfoundland named Norman.  In her spare time, Laura enjoys running, reading and traveling.

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.