The YMCA, Ensuring a Brighter Future

The Hansen Family 

Y Offers Non-Stop Activities For Everyone

The Hansen family never stops moving. Jeremy and Erica, the parents of four young children, can often be found at the Y. It's the perfect place for Cora, age 8; Cooper, age 7; Cameron, age 6; and Cyle, age 4, to expend their natural, never-ending energy. Jeremy and Erica, both ages 35, keep active and involved right along with them. "Our family never sits down," says Erica with a laugh as she watches her kids run around the Y's Family Fun Center. Well-known at the Y as a regular volunteer youth coach, Jeremy smiles and nods in agreement.


Jeremy coaches Cora and Cooper's basketball teams. He coaches Cooper's flag football team and is looking forward to coaching Cameron in football this fall too. Cyle hasn't yet reached the age for his dad to formally coach him, but his turn is coming soon. "My dad coached me while I was growing up, and I wanted to have that experience with my kids," Jeremy says. "I want to reach out to other kids on the team, give back, and help others most of all."


All of the Hansen children take swimming lessons. Cora enjoys gymnastics. Erica shares that she's been taking Cora to the Y since she's been a baby, and then Cooper and Cameron soon came along too. The family officially became Y members four years ago when Cyle was born.


The Hansens don't stop there. The boys enjoy karate lessons. The three older children attend Y School Age Care before and after school. With both parents working, they also attend the Y Summer School Age Care Program in the summer months. The Hansens sincerely appreciate the benefits they receive through the Strong Kids Campaign, which provides financial assistance to families. "We're able to have the kids in many activities," Erica says. "It's been great for them."


About two years ago, the Y was a "god-send" when the first floor of the family's home was destroyed by fire. The Y provided them a free membership for one year, which gave them a place to go when they couldn't return to their house for two weeks. "Can you imagine all of this energy in one hotel room?" says Erica, again smiling at her children playing tag. "We were lucky to be able to come here." The fire gave Erica the motivation to return to school for nursing. At that point, she had been running an in-home day care for eight years. "It was time to do something different," Erica says. She's currently a full-time student at Viterbo University and also works as a certified nursing assistant at Gundersen.


When he's not coaching or refereeing, Jeremy works for Pepsi Company in sales and development. Married for 10 years, the couple agrees the sports season never ends in their family. "It's crazy and a blast, and we wouldn't have it any other way," says Jeremy, who was a three-sport athlete (football, basketball and baseball) growing up. "I'm not much harder on my kids during games than the other kids. But I expect my kids to be leaders, and they do step up and lead." Leadership skills, a strong work ethic and responsibility and caring for others are among the traits the Hansens believe their children gain from participating in Y sports and activities. They also attend sports events in the summer that Jeremy umpires; he's an Amateur Softball Association of America representative as southwest state deputy. The family always spends time together, supporting and cheering for one another - whether it's sports or school events. "We're a very close family," Erica says. "We try to be involved in everything our kids are doing."


- By Kim Seidel, Seidel Ink LLC. 2013