Foresman rises to new role with YMCA
When Vicky Foresman attending college at the University of Northern Iowa, she knew she wanted to be an educator and work with kids, but she didn’t anticipate the specific path she would take. One day, her academic adviser made a statement that changed her life.
“My adviser said, ‘Vicky, here’s the choice you’re going to be making: If you go into education, you’ll work with kids who are there because they have to be there. If you go to work for the YMCA, they’ll be there because they want to be there,’” Foresman said.
She decided she wanted to work with kids who were seeking guidance voluntarily and began taking classes on non-profit organizations. She graduated from UNI with a bachelor’s degree in leisure services and youth agency administration in 1991. Foresman completed an internship with Des Moines’ South Suburban YMCA and her first job after college was coordinating youth sports and aquatics for a YMCA branch in Houston, Texas.
“It was a huge adjustment,” said Foresman, who grew up on a farm in Audubon. “The Y is very demanding on your personal time, but when I didn’t have Y stuff to do, there was a big city to explore. I loved the professional sports and the beach of Galveston. Those were two of the best years of my life.”
In 1993, Foresman returned to Iowa and the South Suburban YMCA, where she worked until 2000 as a program director, running day camps, teen leadership programs, youth sports and a daycare program. Then she was transferred to the Riverfront YMCA where she served as associate director for two years. Foresman’s next job was director of teen program development for the YMCA of Greater Des Moines. She set up leadership clubs and activities for after-school and the weekends for all of the local YMCA locations and 21 YMCAs across the state.
On March 29, Foresman was promoted to executive director of the South Suburban YMCA.
“It’s been a really gratifying experience,” she said. “I feel like I’ve come full circle. My biggest challenge is learning my new role as executive director and all the hats I need to wear to keep everything moving forward.”
Another challenge is fund raising: The South Suburban YMCA at 401 S.E. Army Post Road is in the midst of a $2 million capital campaign and plans to build a swimming pool.
“It’s exciting, challenging and tough, but it’s going to happen,” she said. Foresman says the mission of the YMCA, “to put Christian principles into practice through programs that build a healthy mind, body and spirit for all,” keeps her going.
“We’re here for everyone,” she said. “I would advise anyone, if you haven’t visited your local YMCA, check it out to see what it has to offer you.”