Rye Y Story Project: Jennifer

JenniferIKeegan has coming to the Y for 6 months. I work part time and like to spend time with him when I’m not working. We’ve taken Baby Sports and Gym and Swim. Gym and Swim was really fun and got him acclimated to the water. I feel fortunate that I’ve been able to take classes with him. It has been lovely to do things together.

I just joined the Y myself and now plan to try Child Watch. I’ve made some friends who use the childcare here and it will be fun to work out with them. I’m looking forward to my next stage at the Y!

Rye Y Story Project: Tim

TimWe hear quite often about the importance of exercise to help those with diabetes. We hear it less often as a control for asthma and allergies. I have suffered with chronic nasal allergies my entire life. I was diagnosed with asthma at the age of 20. Today I am 52.

Over the course of my life I have been on many, many prescription medications to help control my asthma and allergies. I remain on several today. However, I have learned over time that the best treatment for my asthma is regular exercise. I can usually be found at the Y six days a week, most often in the early morning. My current routine includes playing basketball at 5:30 am, weight training and mixed cardio routines including running the stairs at the high school, the machines at the Y, bike riding, swimming, etc.

I prefer the early morning routines as it is the best way to clean out my lungs and nasal passages to start out my day. I often wake up congested, but by the time I get home at 7:00 am, my lungs and nasal passages are clear, I am full of energy and ready to start my day.

I find that regular exercise keeps my asthma in check and reduces the amount of prescription and over the counter medicine I need to function normally. I also understand, however, that asthma is different for different people and exercise can actually induce an asthma attack in some people. Therefore, it is important that those not used to exercise consult a physician before undergoing any strenuous exercise. For me, however, exercise is the best medicine and I am fortunate to have the Rye Y as the best and most convenient location to get my exercise in.

Rye Y Story Project: Ingraham

IngrahamIngraham has lived in Rye for 51 years. While she didn’t come to the Rye Y as a child, Ingraham wanted to be sure that her son could benefit from the Rye Y. She participated for several years, without being a member—paying nearly double for classes as a non-member. Asked why she chose that route, Ingraham stated that our country was in the heat of the civil rights era. Initially, she did not feel welcomed here as a minority. However, she was determined to have her children experience what the Y has to offer. Eventually, Ingraham realized that this was where she belonged too. She joined as a member and her son Andre became a part of the staff at 15 years old as a “CIT.” While attending college, Andre was also employed by the Y.

Ingraham also spoke about the personal challenges she has faced throughout the years – some that have kept her away from her Y at times. Yet, she always comes back. She especially loves the water. She attends the water aqua jog classes and notes that “the water gives me a spiritual energy that resonates a calmness and peace that I take for the rest of my day and week.

Ingraham’s spirituality is important to her and she feels blessed that she can always turn to her Y and the many relationships she has formed here—“true, authentic relationships are built here!” she declared.

Rye Y Story Project: Carolyn

CarolynMy doctor recommended that I swim to help my rheumatoid arthritis. I knew the Rye YMCA offered water aerobics so I joined since I don’t swim.

It has helped me tremendously. Water exercise has replaced the yoga classes I took prior to joining. My walking exercises were curtailed when coyotes invaded my neighborhood, leaving me to walk to the library and back as a substitute.

As a child, I took swimming lessons at the Y in Harlem which I visited annually on vacation. But when the year came for learning the final lessons, I went away to camp and never resumed lessons. I am 73 and no longer want to learn.

Rye Y Story Project: Dan Gallagher

DanielAfter moving to Mamaroneck years ago, I decided to join the Rye Y. I needed a place nearby that would keep me active, especially during the winter months. The Y has also provided an outlet for my son, who has attended Middle School Nights and played basketball in the gym on weekends. He’s a real athlete and the Y has been a great resource for him as well. He has participated in Y summer camp and he worked as a CIT last summer.

I recently started taking yoga classes and I find that it helps keep me agile and more flexible. I’m a regular skier and I needed something to prepare me for family ski trips to New England and upstate New York. I have a real routine now of swimming three to four days a week, yoga with Kelly’s class on Thursdays and time in the Fitness Center as well. I also joined the Y Board of Directors about four years ago and continue to serve on the Y’s Community Outreach Committee.

One thing that keeps me coming back is the staff. I find them incredibly friendly and helpful. I walk in and people know my name. It makes you feel like you are a part of a larger community when someone remembers your name.
I’m always surprised to see how engaged the Rye Y is within the community. When I head to the pool for a swim or take a yoga class, I’m always bumping into others I know from the area who I didn’t know were Y members. It’s great to connect that way.

Rye Y Story Project: Michael and Megan

Michael & MeganMichael: We’ve been members for about eight years. Swimming was the main attraction. We live around water. My sister-in-law has a pool. My wife Karen and I did the parent-swim classes with the kids. Now, Megan is on the practice swim team and [son] Ronan is on the pre-team. We’re here at least twice a week. I think the Y has one of the better swim programs.
The kids also started music lessons, sports programs and even went to the Y summer camp for several years. But most important is the people who work here and we have been fortunate enough to meet one of our babysitters here.
Megan (age 9): I did gymnastics when I was four. One of my favorite things is if my homework is finished and I’m changed out of my bathing suit, I like to play ping pong with my dad.
Michael: I work out occasionally. I’m going to start swimming because I’m going to do a couple triathlons next year. I used to do triathlons years ago and now I’m trying to do it as an old man, to see if my body holds up. So, I’ll definitely use the Y to train for that. My goal is to do the New York Triathlon in August 2014.

Rye Y Story Project: Noreen

NoreenI didn’t know many people when we moved to Rye Brook. My husband was always working. With two children under the age of 3 years, I needed a place for “family.” Tot Drop and Child Watch allowed me to have time to myself and take care of errands for an hour. Meanwhile, my children had fun!

Family swim, dinners and trips are all affordable at the Y. During my early years as a Mom, the Rye Y allowed me to embrace others day to day in a healthy way! I am thankful to the Y – while my children were in class here, I was able to train for the NYC Marathon. Our goal as a family is to keep taking Yoga on Sundays together. I am dedicated to my Yoga practice because of the YMCA and know that good things are to come!

There was a time that I was not working. It was a tough time and the Y made it work for us so we could continue our membership. Our children went to camp with the payment plan and continued to use the facility. Now I am back at work but thankful the Y was there and sensitive to my situation!


Rye Y Story Project: Anna

AnnaI’ve been a lifeguard since I was 16. Five years ago, a coworker at Mohawk summer camp recommended me to the Y. I’ve been here ever since and am still grateful to her. I love it here.

I am very shy and being with people all day has helped me come out of my shell. The in-service trainings led by Julianne are great. The trainings cover safety skills but also interpersonal skills so you feel comfortable responding to all kinds of situations. One day a member panicked in the water and needed help – I felt very prepared and got right in the water and assisted him.

My experience here has been just wonderful. Several of the staff have become like mothers to me. I love just being around everyone and seeing all the smiles. Adults, kids – morning, noon, night. The Y is a great organization and is the best place to be!


Rye Y Story Project: Ariel

ArielI feel like I’ve grown up at the Rye Y. I started attending camp here with my brother when I was 8. My family lives in Queens but my father works in White Plains so we commuted together every day. As soon as I was old enough, I became a C.I.T., then a counselor, then a unit leader and now I’m a group director overseeing the Explorer campers, C.I.T.s, counselors, and unit leaders. My role involves empowering my team and helping them work out problems and conflicts. I love seeing the growth of both campers and counselors over the course of the summer. I love getting to spend time with kids all day and be involved with so many families.

I double majored in studio art and psychology at Binghamton University. Since high school, I knew that I wanted to be an art therapist and am very passionate about the subject. I’m working on my Masters in Creative Art Therapy at Pratt and currently interning with high risk children in Chelsea.

Art is also a part of my job at the Y. A couple of summers ago, I proposed a fine arts program for the summer camp and helped set up the curriculum. I’m now teaching a creative arts class here and excited about a new art class we’re introducing in the Spring. The Mixed Media Sketchbook class is for grades 5-7 and will focus on self-expression and character development.

I love the Y. It is my second home – a home for growth and development. Everyone says it must be so hard to commute all the way from Queens but I don’t feel that way. It is so fun to be here.



Rye Y Story Project: Fred

FredFive years ago my brother Jayme passed away in Santa Barbara, California. This event prompted me to seriously think about my own mortality and to question whether or not I was taking adequate care of myself. I knew that I needed to exercise more but wasn’t sure about how to go about it. I thought of the Rye YMCA because my children had been members while growing up in Rye. I went on a tour of the Y and realized that this was not only a great place for my children but for me also and I joined immediately. The staff in the fitness center was very helpful in getting me started on Fitlinxx, which I have continued to use along with the upright bike twice a week. I began to swim laps and was assisted by Viwat, a swim instructor, in developing my swim strokes and have now been able to swim 25 laps twice a week.

I was two years old when I moved to Rye from Manhattan with my parents and two older brothers. My two younger brothers were born soon after. I have lived temporarily outside of Rye over the years to attend college and to serve in the military, but have never seriously considered moving away permanently because of how much Rye has to offer, including the YMCA. After leaving the military, I married and while raising our two children completed my education and began a career with the United States Postal Service, from which I retired eight years ago.

After five years working in counseling I thought I would fully retire but was so impressed by the staff at the Rye Y that I asked if there were any part time positions available. It turns out that a position opened in Membership not long after; I was hired and have been working for the Y for two years. I enjoy working with a group of caring and competent staff in Membership. I find it very satisfying to not only offer good service to the members but to also connect with them in a personal way, whether at the Y or out in the community.