Times Bulletin Staff Writer
VAN WERT — Kristin Lichtensteiger, a prominent athlete at Crestview High School a decade ago, has carried her interest in physical exercise to the marketing field at the YMCA these days.
As the director of membership and marketing at the local establishment, Lichtensteiger helped celebrate the Y’s 100th anniversary this past Saturday by welcoming many of those she has signed up for membership or taught and guided in various exercise programs.
She enthusiastically noted that nearly 3,200 members and 1,500 memberships (family) make up what she loves to refer these days as, “my YMCA family.”
Lichtensteiger’s responsibilities include getting out stories and press releases, program marketing, promoting the programs of Camp Clay and the Aqua Park and overseeing the Silver Sneaker Program and senior fitness. Following a successful sports career at Crestview, Lichtensteinger got an athletic scholarship to the University of Southern Indiana in pitching. There, she received a bachelor of science degree in exercise science with a minor in nutrition. She also was awarded Ace Certification in personal training.
Following graduation she returned to the local area where she married Luke Lichtensteiger. Soon afterward she was employed at Thin and Healthy Total Solution, then accepted an offer to do personal training at Spiece Fitness in Fort Wayne where she worked for five years.
Eventually, Hugh Kocab, executive director of the Van Wert YMCA, inivited Lichtensteiger to take over the position of community wellness director. During her service in that position, Lichtensteiger assisted in adding a satellite location at Cooper Farms, a Diet Free program at Eaton Corporation, a KIDFIT exercise program for children at the YMCA, and a Stay Active program based on doctor’s referral.
A year ago, the energetic young leader was appointed as the Membership and Marketing Director, with Darcy Crummey assisting in paperwork, an “awesome arrangement,” said Lichtensteiger. “The stuff we have here is awesome,” said Lichtensteiger. “One of the best things I like about it is the family atmosphere. The members seem like a family with companionship and camaraderie. I know when people go to the doctor and celebrate the birth of a child. We all support each other and care about each other.”
Lichtensteiger and her husband have two children, Tate and Mila. She believes in the YMCA’s commitment to children. ” I like it the way we develop good solid programs for family life,” she stated. “This is a place where children can come and make mistakes and be safe.”
One of the areas that is the most meaningful to Lichtensteiger is that of working with the elderly and it is there that her heart is most tender. “I remember a member who came in about a year ago. She had Alzheimer’s and needed a place to exercise. Her husband brought her in here as a selfless act to get her going. He has neuropathy and he went to exercise while she was in the water.
“Six months ago she fell in the nursing home and they couldn’t come. A few months later, he came back and said that they wanted to start over again,” added Licthensteiger. “His love for her and desire to keep helping her got to me so much that after he walked away, I went into the office and cried.”