Florida Keys News - Islamorada/KL Free Press
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Local YMCA gets new park director

KEY LARGO -- Fresh from the snows of Western Illinois, Nora Johnson says she's ready to grow the Key Largo Community Park's YMCA program.

This is Johnson's first full-time job following her degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

"What I miss most are the seasons," Johnson said about her Aug. 1 relocation to a subtropical clime.

Her open-air office on the second-floor of the YMCA building is comfortable this time of year, but summer weather can make the room unbearable, she explains.

Tasked with increasing YMCA participation at the county-owned park, Johnson is featuring a Christmas-themed skate camp over the holidays as well as a peewee soccer league starting in January. The soccer league will be open for children ages 3 to 5. Johnson said she will be looking for volunteers to coach and umpire the league.

At the Upper Keys YMCA, Johnson has five employees whose duties range from coaching tennis to helping out with concessions. The YMCA also manages after-school programs at Key Largo School. The group recently filmed a thank-you video for the Ocean Reef Club after several financial donations.

Johnson also has begun writing a park newsletter, which details programs and events for children. Johnson, who is employed by YMCA of Greater Miami and commutes from Homestead, has weekly meetings with YMCA officials.

"I'm just now getting acclimated," said Johnson, who soon plans to be working on a South Florida tan by kayaking. She has also taken up snorkeling at the reefs.

The park currently doesn't have organized programs for adults, but pick-up soccer, volleyball and occasionally kickball games occur throughout the week.

Despite being a bit green, Johnson said she has much experience with the YMCA. In college, she worked as a volunteer coordinator and coached youth sports for the association. She also worked a summer as a YMCA volunteer in Colorado.

Johnson takes over for Adam Scott, who left for Arizona with his fiancée.

For more information, call Johnson at 453-3422.

jgore@keysnews.com

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