New Beginnings In The New Year

Mike Bramer,  Executive Director of  YMCA Norton Commons. Courtesy Photo.

Mike Bramer, Executive Director of YMCA Norton Commons. Courtesy Photo.

Mike Bramer is the executive director of the new YMCA at Norton Commons, opening Jan. 20. As a longtime team member at the YMCA, he shares his perspective for the New Year, his background and experience – and offers his own New Year’s resolutions.

LORI KOMMOR: January is a popular time of year for people to set new goals, especially when it comes to health and fitness. What advice do you have for those who have trouble keeping New Year’s resolutions?
MIKE BRAMER: The most important thing is to set realistic goals, including an accountability plan. At the YMCA, we work closely with members and provide wellness coaching and supportive environments to help individuals take the first step, but more importantly to provide ongoing support to stay committed to their goals. My personal advice to our members is to become engaged, take classes, make friends and take advantage of the knowledge and expertise of our staff members. They are here to help members achieve their goals by remaining committed and motivated.

KOMMOR: You’ve been at the YMCA since 1990 and have been deeply involved in health issues related to the community. Tell us about your background and passion for community health.
BRAMER: I started out as a youth sports program director and eventually served as director of healthy actions. In that position, I had the great opportunity to promote community-wide healthy eating and physical activity-based initiatives. Programs like our Y5210 education program, which impacted over 11,000 area children this school year, and the Diabetes Prevention Program both play vital roles in educating people about better health choices and improving our community’s overall health.

KOMMOR: The newest YMCA facility at Norton Commons is opening soon. As the executive director, what can you tell us about it?
BRAMER: I am so excited about this opportunity.  It is a spectacular facility but more importantly it is another resource to impact healthy living for thousands of individuals and families. We broke ground in November of 2011, and the facility will open on Jan. 20. Members will have access to lap and family pools, group exercise classes, sports fields for both youth and adult activities, an indoor track and of course a fitness center with state-of-the-art exercise equipment. The fitness center offers ellipticals, treadmills and weight equipment in the brand new, 8,000 square foot area. We provide tours and new member orientation sessions – so everyone is comfortable and at ease the first time they use the facility.

KOMMOR: Besides focusing on the new YMCA at Norton Commons, what is your New Year’s resolution for 2013?
BRAMER: My priority this year is to develop a strong team of staff and volunteers. The outcome of a strong team will result in helping our community improve through social responsibility, youth development and healthy living. Personally, I plan to be more regular with my running and hopefully complete a longer distance race with my wife in the early spring.