Nicole Benson
Nicole Benson

VAN WERT – For Van Wert YMCA membership director Nicole Benson, her world of involvement only begins in the office where she works. Benson spends plenty of time planning activities to satisfy the needs of members and draw people into the YMCA, but she is also involved in various church and community activities.

Most of all, Benson is concerned about the health and well-being of others in dimensions such as physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health. It is with that focus that she enjoys expending her energy into the local community.

“I try to do as much as I can to get everybody moving and healthy again,” said Benson. “I like using my post at the ‘Y’ to help other non-profits succeed.”

One of Benson’s current dreams is to develop a program for children of parents who are going through alcohol and drug rehabilitation.

“I want to be able to get information to kids so that they won’t get involved in the same thing,” said Benson. “There’s a lot of truth to the saying that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. We would like to get them in classes where they learn how to write checks, sew, cook and succeed in life.”

One of the primary summer programs going on is a teacher appreciation time. Teachers are currently being offered a 20 percent discount for getting involved with the YMCA. There is also a summer college discount rate.

One event that Benson and Deb Sealscott of the Human Society are currently focusing on is a “kitten yoga” time on June 16. All proceeds will go to the support of the Humane Society.

“This involves yoga with a room full of kittens,” said Benson. “The kittens will come from the Humane Society and can be adopted.

“I try to come up with ways to help people utilize their memberships to the fullest,” said Benson.

Other responsibilities include the establishment of, “Boom,” an up-tempo Silver Sneakers event and to make sure that the growing daycare is running smoothly.

Additional summer activities include the opportunity for kids in the YWCA food program to swim on Tuesday and Thursday and visit Camp Clay. Benson noted that she is also looking to a kids’ yoga program in Franklin Park on Fridays.

Benson started working at the “Y” in October through a suggestion from program director Briana Geiger.

“I had been a stay at home mom for the last 11 years,” said Benson. “I was ready to get out and get active in the community again.”

She received a bachelor’s degree in business management and human resources from Devry University in Chicago, not far from where she was raised in LaSalle, Illinois.

Following college, Benson joined the U.S. Army for four years, a time which included a tour of Iraq where she served as a unit supply specialist.

“I met my husband there and we came back to have four children, but he passed away two years ago,” said.

These days, Benson’s fiancé is Tyler Myers of Middle Point, who is a construction worker and is a member of the Middle Point Fire Department. Benson is secretary of the Fire Department Auxiliary.

In addition, she and Geiger have started a youth group at the Middle Point United Methodist Church. She is also is involved with, “Relay for Life” and has started a walking club known as, “Sole Sisters,” in Middle Point.