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.


Anthony Finke, President
Jerry Fast, Vice President

Graten Beavers
Matt Broekemeier
Rachelle Bryant
Mark Bush
Joey Cochran
Jerry Fast
Anthony Finke
Jerry Fox
Sarah Fritzler
John Hoggatt
Blake Holscher
Sara Homan
Nick Johnson
Catherine Johnson
Amy Morris
TJ Peterson
Jaci Pohl
Mike Schnieders
Tova Shaffer
Kevin Thompson
Cheryl Webber
Carrie Whiting


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.


Rob Cooley joined the YMCA family in June of 2015 in our facilities and maintenance department.  In the spring of 2017, Rob became our Facilities Manager.  In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his high school sweetheart, now wife and three beautiful children. He also enjoys gardening and woodworking around his home.

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.


Collette Kinzie 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. 

Anne Johnson started her career at the Kearney Family YMCA as a Prime Time Instructor and over 10 years ago. She has her Bachelors of Science in Nursing and spent 11 years at GSH as an ICU nurse, 1 year at St. Johns Nursing home, and 5 years as a clinic nurse at the UNK student health clinic on campus.

She recently accepted the position at the Kearney YMCA as Chronic Disease Coordinator and looks forward to using her nursing skills, love for people, and training in exercise classes to help promote the Chronic Disease and Wellness programs at the YMCA.

She is married to Matt for over 22 years with two lovely children. Her daughter will be a freshman at UNK this fall, and her son will b continuing his home school learning as a freshman in high school.

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.