Many board members and staff at the Sheridan County YMCA have deep roots in the nonprofit. Whether in Sheridan or around the country, many attended camps, formed lasting memories and developed a deepened understanding of how the programs, people and facilities can make a difference in a child’s life.
For Jacob Haseman, Sheridan County YMCA board president and partner at Throne Law Office, his connection with the Y didn’t begin in Sheridan.
His mother worked at the YMCA in Lafayette, Indiana, so he quickly became known as a “YMCA brat.” His mom taught swim lessons and one of the first experiences Haseman had with the Y was participating in the “mommy and me” swimming classes.
From there, Haseman’s involvement in the nonprofit grew. He participated in many Y programs over the years — swimming lessons, the “gym and swim” program, basketball and child care programs.
“I was particularly enamored with the pool and anything involving water; per my parents, all I wanted to do is swim, and the YMCA certainly gave me the swimming skill necessary to later become a competitive swimmer,” Haseman said.
As he grew older, Haseman’s first job was at the Y as a lifeguard and swimming instructor. He later moved into roles involving pool and building supervision, swim coach and soccer coach.
As he entered college, he worked at the Stevens Point Area YMCA in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, during the school year and returned to his Lafayette stomping grounds in the summers.
Haseman knows the impact the Y had on his youth cannot be overstated. He noted that some of his favorite childhood memories spur from his time at the YMCA.
But even more than that, it placed him in a valuable and influential peer group that helped instill a sense of personal responsibility and taught him the YMCA values still upheld today.
“As a teenager and into my college years, working at the YMCA developed my love for helping others and sharing my aquatic talents while also instilling an appreciation for a strong work ethic,” Haseman said. “The YMCA and its message was a critical influence on myself as both a child and a young adult.”
When Haseman and his wife, Brenda, moved to Sheridan in 2008, they hadn’t been involved in a local YMCA for several years, but quickly joined the Sheridan YMCA.
“It was quickly apparent that the Sheridan County YMCA is a special place and a center of the Sheridan County community that provides an amazing environment for building a healthy spirit, mind and body,” Haseman said.
Wanting to give back to an organization that had such a positive influence on his formative years, Haseman became involved with the Aquatics Committee working on developing, funding and managing the project.
“The aquatics campaign was designed on the idea that we can do more together to strengthen our community,” Haseman said. “With extensive help from a diverse cross section of our community, over $19 million was raised for the pool, and it is such an exciting feel to see the Community Aquatic Center up and running today.
“Being a part of the community’s vision for the Community Aquatic Center was a privilege, even more so because the success of the campaign was dependent on all of the community stakeholders coming together to achieve the same goal.”
Now, as the Sheridan County YMCA board president, Haseman sees just as much importance in breathing new life into the Y’s 60-year-old building. The project demonstrates the YMCA’s commitment to the existing location while also responding to community needs.
“Remodeling and repurposing the older areas of our facility will give the YMCA the opportunity to provide equal access to all of our facility, increase safety in our design and respond to community demands,” Haseman said.
Those needs, he said, include relocation and expansion of the Y’s youth programming, including a new location and expanded offerings for child care; the relocation and expansion of health and well-being programming and facilities, which will allow for better access for all members; expansion of YMCA arts programming; and the creation of a maintenance and infrastructure fund for Camp Roberts.
“With the help of the community, the YMCA is excited for the opportunity that the repurpose project brings and the dynamic programming that will follow, and I am excited and hopeful to work with the community to make it a reality,” Haseman said.