Hansen set to lead recreation program

by Jeff Pederson

During his first three months on the job, Bryan Hansen has found himself right at home as the new Sheboygan Falls Recreation and Aquatics Department director. The Maribel native and Denmark High School graduate assumed his new duties on June 1, following the retirement of longtime Recreation and Aquatics Director Fred Brown. Hansen, who holds an exercise and sports science degree from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, comes to Sheboygan Falls after serving as a fitness center manager and personal trainer at the Green Bay YMCA for three-and-a-half years. “I enjoyed working at the YMCA in Green Bay, but I really appreciate the chance to be involved with youth athletics and the aquatic center here in Sheboygan Falls,” Hansen said. “I think this job is very well suited to my interests and skills.” Hansen learned about the opening from former Sheboygan Falls High School graduate Amy Reineking, who is employed as the program director at the Green Bay YMCA. “I worked with Amy at the Green Bay YMCA and she is originally from Sheboygan Falls, so she told me about the opening,” he said. “It sounded interesting to me, so I decided to go for it.” In his first few months on the job, Hansen got a taste of the wide range of programs offered through the recreation department. “The summer programs were pretty much already set up by Fred Brown, so I was just able to come in and kind of observe what was going on with our programs in those first few weeks,” Hansen said. “There are a few things we could do to improve our programs and maybe even expand them a bit during the school year.” Hansen's duties include scheduling programs and supervising coaches, pool managers, lifeguards and deck attendants. “I enjoy having the chance to work with a lot of different people to serve our community with the best recreational and aquatic programming possible,” Hansen said. “For a community of our size, we offer a lot of different programs and the participation levels are high in nearly every one of them.” Hansen, who completed an internship at the Ripken Baseball Center in Baltimore, is responsible for coordinating, organizing and supervising a wide range of recreation department programs, including baseball, basketball, softball, wrestling, adult volleyball, tennis lessons and adult open gym basketball. “Our programs are doing very well,” he said. “Participation is really outstanding right now. We have 21 rec. league and six traveling teams in our baseball and softball programs. Our basketball program has eight traveling teams, which is a very good number. I am very impressed with how the community has supported these programs.” Swimming lessons are a huge drawing card at the state-of-the-art aquatic center. “We had over 1,000 kids enrolled in swimming lessons this summer,” Hansen said. “We offer eight classes of lessons during the year. There are people of all ages that come here from throughout the county and the area to take our swimming lessons. “It's amazing how quickly the lessons fill up,” he said. “Our swimming lessons add a lot of value to our aquatic center, which is something the entire community can be proud of. We are really lucky to have such a great aquatic facility here.” Aside from the highly popular swimming lessons, Hansen has been busy drawing additional activity to the aquatic center through water aerobics, gym class participation, lap and open swims. “The aquatic center gets a lot of use, but I think we could improve on our participation numbers a bit,” Hansen said. “We've added a water aerobics class on Tuesdays and Thursdays for the first time ever during the school year. “This year we are working on getting more physical education classes to use the pool,” he said. “Our aquatic center is quite busy, especially in the summer. We have theme nights on Friday nights in the summer, which are very popular. However, I think there is more we can do to get more people to use the pool during the school year.” In addition to overseeing recreation department athletic teams, clinics and lessons, Hansen is also in charge of supervising activities at the weight room and ropes course. “Our weight room at the high school is open to the community 10 hours a week,” Hansen said. “I think that is something a lot of people might not know about. We also have a ropes course on the high school athletic field, which I would like to see get more use.” The recreation and aquatics program currently boasts 123 active memberships, including families, adults and seniors. “The family membership is really a good deal," Hansen said. “For $135, you get into all open and lap swims, the weight room and any programs, except swimming lessons, throughout the year.” Although he had limited knowledge of Sheboygan Falls prior to his arrival, it has taken no time at all for Hansen to warm up to his new surroundings. “I really love this community,” he said. “I grew up in a small town, so I have felt right at home here. The people have been great. “Our principal, Luke Goral, is from Denmark and he has been a big help to me, as has our district administrator, Jean Born.” The former high school football, baseball and basketball standout is pleased to be in a position to combine his passion for athletics with his drive to assist kids in reaching their full potential. “From a young age, I knew I wanted to pursue a job where I could be involved in athletics and work with kids,” Hansen said. “This is just about a perfect fit for me. I have enjoyed my first few months and I'm looking forward to maintaining the strong program we have and improving in a few areas to make our recreation and aquatics department the best it can possibly be.”

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