Wellness Center of Nemaha County Notes 15 Years; Auburn Native Wehenkel New Manager
Wednesday, Sept. 12, marked the 15th anniversary of the opening of the Wellness Center of Nemaha County.
The center, in the Nemaha County Multiplex Building, includes a weight room, gymnasium, racquetball court and sauna.
More than 25,000 persons use the center annually. That includes daily activities and special events, said Leah Wehenkel, manager/trainer. A 2007 Auburn High School graduate, Wehenkel joined the Wellness Center staff in late May. During the summer she managed the Auburn Municipal Pool. Wehenkel has worked at the center full-time since the pool closed for the season on Aug. 12.
Anyone who has not visited the Wellness Center is invited to stop in and see all that the staff has to offer, she said.
“We have highly trained individuals to ensure your experience at our facility will be a safe and enjoyable one,” Wehenkel said.
The Wellness Center is used by people of a wide range of ages. Wehenkel said she would like to see the younger people get more involved. There is more demand for programs emphasizing fitness.
“It seems like the younger people like the classes better. Strength programs attract participation by older people. A lot of youth come to the center to shoot hoops and to play volleyball,” she said.
Use of the center is usually slower during the summer. Wehenkel said she believed the usage will increase in October with the refueling outage at Cooper Nuclear Station south of Brownville.
Wellness Center members may choose to work with the personal trainers, to assess and design a specific weight program or to advance a rehabilitation program, Wehenkel said.
The assessment will consist of a health history questioning and other necessary testing measures to develop a cardio and strength training program to fit your specific needs and goals, she said.
The center’s weight equipment is specially designed for fitness and rehabilitation purposes. The weight room also features a selection of cardiovascular equipment, she said.
“A combination of both a cardio and strength training program will benefit people of all ages,” Wehenkel said.
Basketball, volleyball, tetherball and waffle ball may be played in the center’s gymnasium. Last year, many Auburn Public Schools student-athletes used the gymnasium for practices. Activities held in the gymnasium also include volleyball leagues and tournaments, basketball leagues, sports camps, holiday celebrations, craft shows and dances. The public may use the gymnasium as a walking track for no charge during regular business hours. The gymnasium may be reserved by anyone for any occasion, she said.
Weekly activities at the Wellness Center include classes in step aerobics, toning, dance, yoga, kickboxing, karate, aerobics and adult fun fit.
Manager Involved in Athletics in High School, College
Wehenkel is a 2011 graduate of Doane College, Crete. She received a bachelors’ degree in exercise science and pre-physical therapy. Wehenkel is studying to be a strength and conditioning specialist. She is also doing personal training.
“I was always involved in athletics and enjoyed being involved in fitness. I want to help people get more involved in reaching their fitness goals. It’s nice to be doing something in my area of study,” Wehenkel said of her new position.
At Auburn High School, she participated in volleyball, cross country, basketball and track and field. In college, she participated in the pole vault and threw the javelin.
“It was fun. It was something I decided to do,” Wehenkel said about javelin throwing.
Last year, she worked for Auburn Public Schools and coached track and field. This year, she will be coaching junior high track and field in the middle distance, pole vault and high jump events.
“It’s something I enjoy doing,” she said of coaching track and field.
Wehenkel is the daughter of Steve and Rose Petersen, Auburn. Her husband, Brandon, works in physical therapy at St. Mary’s Hospital, Nebraska City.
Board members who oversee the center are important in helping to maintain a smooth operation, she said.
Other center employees include: Dennis Brady, office clerk/trainer; Claudette Dalbec and Dave Ramsey, office clerks; Carolyn Olesen, dance and step aerobics instructor; Lance Kreifels, karate instructor and Katy Billings, aerobics instructor.