Two new staffers join Franklin YMCA

Published 10:26 pm Tuesday, December 16, 2008

FRANKLIN—The Camp YMCA has recently added two new staffers.

Roger Lee II is the new director of sports and recreational programs, and Ken Cussick has taken over as the tennis pro. Both men have great expectations for the directions of their respective programs.

Originally from Windsor, Cussick decided to settle in Virginia Beach after graduating from Old Dominion University with a degree in sports management.

“I became a tennis pro for several reasons,” he said. “I love the game. It’s a great way to stay in shape, and it’s a sort of therapy. To me, there’s no better way to make a living.”

Cussick has worked as a pro at several clubs before coming to Camp YMCA, including the Cavalier Golf and Yacht Club in Virginia Beach and the Cedar Point Country Club in Suffolk.

“The hours can be pretty demanding for a pro at a club,” he said. I am looking forward to working at the YMCA, because it’s a much better setting for someone who has a family. I can actually have a life and be productive in it.”

Cussick said he’s excited about developing a renewed interest in tennis here in Western Tidewater, especially in children.

“You have to develop a program that instills the love of tennis into kids at an early age,” he said. “Having a pre-school program in the facility is exciting because I can bring the kids in here and let them roll the balls around the court. They may be too young to grasp the fundamentals, but in their minds, they are playing tennis.”

Cussick also is developing a program for older children and adults. “I am working on putting together some junior tournaments for early next year, and I have some great activities like cardio tennis planned for adults interested in the sport.”

Cussick is hopeful about where he can take the tennis program in the next few years.

“I believe a tennis pro can create a culture that gets people extremely comfortable with the game of tennis but, beyond that, teaches them about life. Tennis is really a game where you battle yourself more than your opponent. A person can play the best game ever and still lose. That’s a tough life lesson, but one I hope all my students eventually understand and use every day as reminder of how to get better in everything they do.”

Like Cussick, Virginia Beach native Roger Lee II is looking forward to his tenure at Camp YMCA and has already begun actively implementing new programs after only one month on the job.

“Currently we are holding a Biggest Loser contest, where members can win weekly prizes for hitting weight-loss goals,” he said. “My trainers are getting their education up so they can give each member an orientation on all our equipment. I’m even starting a dodge ball program that’s got kids so excited I had to turn some away because the demand was so great.”

Lee will be tasked with creating new programs, managing coaches and sports activities and ensuring that members are achieving their physical fitness goals. While the assignment is large, Lee is no stranger to this line of work.

After the former Norfolk State football player graduated with a degree in sports medicine, he took a job with the Military Welfare and Recreation Services. “My first day on the job, my boss quit and all of a sudden, I was the director. I learned a lot about creating programs for a facility really quick.”

Lee then decided to go back and further his education, obtaining a masters degree in sports management from Old Dominion University while working as a personal trainer to supplement his income.

After completing his masters, Lee served as athletic director of Elizabeth City, N.C. schools before going back to his alma mater of Green Run High School, where he helped coach football, track and baseball.

“I’ve been a player, a coach or a trainer all of my life,” he said. “This is a fun job, so its really not work for me.”

Lee said his main priority at the Camp YMCA will be to get people more involved in activities at the facility.

“I want to create programs that stimulate and interest people in such a way that they keep coming back,” he said. “I want them to have fun here.”

To achieve that goal, Lee has recently challenged all the coaches to get certified.

“I want to make sure our kids get the best technical instruction possible,” he said. “I want kids coming out of our sports programs to have a real understanding of the fundamentals.”

He is also overseeing the updating of equipment and plans to bringing unique attractions to the facility.

Lee is also implementing a triathlon program in January.

“The program is designed to help get folks into the type of shape they would need to be in to run a real triathlon,” he said. “The best part about the program is that it is monitored by the trainers and it is free. Participants would get lots of individual attention from our trainers at no cost at all.

I just want people to think of the ‘Y’ as the place to go to achieve their fitness goals.”