16-Michael-WoolfolkMichael moved his family to Rye from Manhattan four months ago. He and his wife Eniko have two children, a 13-year old boy Artem and a three-year-old girl Victoria. They enjoy spending time together as a family, and value health and fitness. When Michael and Eniko explored the many health clubs around Rye, they chose the Rye Y because of its family-oriented programs. From day care to swimming classes to the fitness center to the ExerZone, the Rye Y reflects the values that the Woolfolks believe in.

Michael is a member of the Civil Air Patrol, the civilian volunteer auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, and squadron commander of its Manhattan unit. Artem is a member of Civil Air Patrol and Boy Scouts, and is committed to becoming an Eagle Scout. Exercise, healthy living and community service are values the Woolfolk’s want to impart upon their children. They want to do it in a way that the children can understand and relate to, which is what makes the Y special to them.

“Artem and Victoria are learning new things every day at the Y, and it is so nice to know that they are having fun in a safe environment where they can learn and grow. It’s just priceless,” said Michael. “Our kids are at a stage where they need good influences, and we can find that at the Rye Y. Joining is one of the best things that I could do for myself, my wife and my family. It’s the heart of Rye, in my opinion.”


16-VivianChenWe live in Rye Brook and starting coming because of my little one, Sidney, who is two now. When he was one, I started to feel the need to do something with him out of the house so he wouldn’t drive me crazy at home. He wanted to go out all the time. And in the winter it’s cold and we needed an activity. He likes water so I thought we could try swim lessons at the Y. We also came to Baby and Me gym. It’s nice to have a chance to get out together because I was going nuts trying to create activities to keep him entertained. Today we are going to music class, which Sidney enjoys. I was worried that he doesn’t participate, but when he gets home he picks up his little guitar and says “I’m the teacher” and mimics his teacher.

When he was younger, I would put him in childcare for a half hour at a time so I could go to the gym. He was having separation anxiety, but I am happy that we tried. I want to try again but he only speaks Chinese and would not be able to communicate. It will be interesting to try again.

I’m very happy that the membership is flexible. We have to go back to Taiwan at times and I can stop the membership and restart it. We are still able to come here and go to classes and I’m very grateful for that! I feel like at his age he is exposed to the environment at the Y and is very happy to try new things.

Laura Laura showed us around when we first came to the Y and she became my friend. I’m so happy for her and her little girl. Sidney’s first Halloween was at the Y. We wanted to dress him up and take him somewhere and the Y was a great place.

The Y suits us. It’s a small, low-key community that isn’t fancy and we like it here.



16-SuePadgettI first came to the Rye Y twenty-two years ago. My son was probably three and my daughter was in third grade. I started working in the babysitting room because I could bring him with me and still get a paycheck, which was wonderful. During the summer, I starting working at the summer camp as a counselor for several years and then as the camp’s pre-school director. My kids went to camp, free, and I still got a paycheck, which was awesome.

My daughter was a volunteer at the Y for many, many years. She ended up with over 1,500 hours of community service and won the Woof Haneman scholarship. She’s now a lawyer and my son received his Master’s in GIS technology. I now have two jobs. I teach pre-school at the Community Synagogue in the mornings and then I come here in the afternoons to work in either the Afterschool program or Child Watch.

In June 2014, I got a cancer diagnosis after having surgery for another reason. After the surgery, the pathology report came back with a surprise—I had endometrial cancer. I went through radiation for six weeks, until the end of September 2014. I didn’t know what to do. I found out about LIVESTRONG at the YMCA, and that there was a class starting in October, so I joined.

There were ten people in my group and it was awesome. My coaches were Sally Braid, Stephanie and J.T. They worked us very hard. I started getting invested in working out and realizing that life really is too short. I now exercise five or six times a week between my two jobs. I go to Enhance Fitness and the ExerZone, where I take Natalie’s Senior Circuit class. I also take the Limbercize class at the Wainwright House and work out in the Fitness Center, sometimes with my husband. I joined Laura Laura’s Summer Challenge last summer with some of my co-workers. That was really hard, but I lost the five pounds we were supposed to lose. I feel better than I have in years.

I now belong to a LIVESTRONG alumni group, which meets four times a month. I’ve met a lot of LIVESTRONG participants there and at LIVESTRONG Day, where we celebrate and are supported by another year gone by. I always felt like I belonged at the Y, but after LIVESTRONG, I felt completely “this is my place.”

It’s been a long haul. Through all these years, I’ve had periods of time when I exercised in different ways, but right now it’s just a continuation of the momentum I gained in LIVESTRONG. LIVESTRONG, the friends I’ve made in my fitness class, and my co-workers are the things that keep me cemented to the Y.


I’ve been here at the Rye YMCA on and off my whole life. I started on the YMCA swim team when I was six and was on the team when we won States in 1970. For a while we had an early morning Masters swim group here and I was the volunteer coach.

Now I’m still here most mornings. I’m one of the members who sits in their car until 5:27 a.m. and then gets in right away when the doors open at 5:30. I teach Math at New Rochelle high school and it is a great way to start my day.

16-Steve-NewmanI’ve swum competitively throughout my life. I went to YMCA Nationals as an adult five or six years ago as a representative of the Rye YMCA. Since I spend Christmas breaks in Florida, I began training with the Sarasota YMCA Sharks. About five years ago, the Sharks asked me to swim at a Master’s Nationals and now I swim all year round for them.

In early November, I represented the Sarasota Sharks in the Men’s 800 meter freestyle relay. We broke the world record by almost seven seconds for our age group. The age group is 240-279 years for the total age of the four participants. I was the young guy at 53. The Sarasota Y coach thinks we may have a shot for a new world record in the spring.

I could not have done this without the Rye YMCA. The staff is always friendly and accommodating. Swimming here in the early morning and later afternoon is perfect for me. I’ve really gotten to know the people I swim with well. The camaraderie lends itself to making new friends, from the chit-chat before the doors open to conversations in the locker room.

As a member of the Y you have a chance to give back. I participate in the swim fundraisers like the one supporting LIVESTRONG at the YMCA. I also enjoy lending a hand to help out a swimmer; just a few minutes ago I helped someone with their flip turn technique. Why would you want to go anyplace else?



16-StephenMI had been working in Boston as a CFO for three years, commuting back and forth from Rye Brook. I wasn’t getting enough exercise, I was always tired and I never got to see my family. I left that job in May and started looking for something new.

While I was looking, I decided to start exercising. I needed to do something. I thought “I’ll look for another CFO role and get in shape.” I’m getting in shape, but I haven’t found a job yet. I’ve lost about 15 pounds. In May, I could barely swim three laps. Now I swim a half mile, work out for an hour on the machines and then I go to Starbucks and have a coffee. My goal is to get down to 190 pounds; I only have five more to go.

The Y is convenient, it has a pool, the locker rooms are clean and the people are friendly. I’ve contemplated playing basketball here, but I haven’t done it. I’ve tried the kickboxing in the ExerZone. It’s fun and it limbers you up, but it’s tough. My favorite machine in the Fitness Center is the stomach crunch.

Everyone in my family lives to be about 100 and my parents never did a lick of exercise in their lives. So, since I’m exercising, I’ll probably live to be 110.



16-SamanthaBroutI became a member about two years ago after the pool at the New Rochelle Y closed. I was at that Y at the exact moment the ceiling collapsed. You never saw so many gray-haired ladies get out of a pool so fast! The Rye Y offered a trial period for New Rochelle members so we could use the pool here.

I felt like family from day 1. By my second day here, they were calling me by name. I have a bad knee and a bad back, so I haven’t been able to do any land classes. But I do the aqua classes every day, five days a week and sometimes Saturdays. I missed a day and the life guard asked ‘are you o-k?’ Nobody else does that. After retiring, I had no purpose. The aqua classes get me out of the house and give me incentive to eat right. I view this as almost like my job.

I’ve felt very welcome here, especially from the staff. Everyone is very genuine. The facility is kept so clean and run so well. Everything is kept perfect here. And everybody cares—it feels like an organization that cares about people.



16-PaulGenoveseI joined the Rye Y about eight years ago after being encouraged to do so by my son who was a lifeguard here at the time. He said, “Dad, give it a shot … it’s a great place.”

Prior to becoming a member, I primarily exercised at my workplace facility and home gym. The Rye Y has a great deal more equipment and, along with the helpful trainers, I now complete better workouts. I utilize the Elliptical, AMT, stacked and free weights, and sit-up bench. My goal is to stay in shape and the Rye Y enables me to do exactly that. It’s a great affordable alternative to other more elaborate, socially focused fitness facilities.

My wife is also a member and enjoys the exercise classes, especially Zumba, and utilizes the Fitness Center as well. We both appreciate the friendly atmosphere here and the positive attitude of the staff. The Y is an important part of our community and we are committed to support it.



16-NicoleBallMy husband and I were looking for homes about eight years ago and one of the criteria was a good gym. We looked at other gyms in the area and we visited the Y. At that time, it was under construction because of the flood. There was nothing in the fitness center, but we were told “trust us. It’s going to be really nice.” We had both worked out at Ys around the country and we agreed that this was the nicest one we had ever seen, so we joined.

I was pregnant with my son at the time. My husband came every day, but I didn’t come that often. I was a little intimidated at first. I couldn’t find parking. I didn’t understand the valet system. I was still working in the City every day and we were traveling on weekends, so I didn’t know anybody.

When I had my son, I remember opening the program guide and being overwhelmed by how many wonderful options there were. I e-mailed literally every person I knew who had babies and we all signed up for every class that would have us. They came from all over, even as far as Pleasantville. We took classes with Dawny Dew and Ellen Watermelon and we took the swim classes. The babysitting was a savior too. As I came, I met more and more people—thank God for that. As a new mom, in a new town…I had just stopped working for the first time ever… The people I’ve met here have become long-term friends.

I joined the Y’s Togetherhood Committee because it seemed like a good way to give back to a place that had given me so much. It also seemed like a good way to organize members around community service projects. There are so many great people here who are motivated to serve others.

If I didn’t have this place, I don’t know where I’d go. The Y is a place where you can feel comfortable and get healthy. The people here are kind and positive. It’s as much a social hour for me as a work-out. I get grumpy when I don’t come!



16-Midge-MasonI became a member of the Rye Y in September of 2015 after completing the 12-week LIVESTRONG at the YMCA program. Here’s how I got to the Y.

I was diagnosed with lymphoma in September 2014 – both on the dura of my brain and left parotid gland. As scary as my diagnosis sounded, I knew I had the best doctors who would do everything possible to cure me. The diagnosis helped explain two seizure events that I am now grateful for because they were critical warning signs. I was positive and optimistic throughout my testing and treatment. Three months after my treatments began, an MRI confirmed that the IV chemo drug I received weekly was killing the lymphoma. Three months after that, a neighbor suggested that I go to the Rye Y and join the LIVESTRONG program.

When I came to the LIVESTRONG program, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Barbara Hughes was the first person I met. She won me over with her passion and enthusiasm. The group of survivors that I spent 12 weeks exercising with are strong women on their own personal journey to good health. The three trainers who supported and encouraged us are truly special people to give their time so generously. LIVESTRONG gave me the confidence to believe I could exercise and push myself to new levels. It also helped me make a commitment to myself to stay on this healthy course. I recently lost 20 pounds, which I attribute to the options available to me at the Y and wanting to be the best I can be.

Wow, who would have thought – I came as a cancer survivor and I’m now learning to swim. The Y has two fabulous pools. I’m an adult who never learned to swim and feared the thought of it, though at times I wished I could do it. I am currently stepping way outside my comfort zone and participating in the Water Discovery Class for Adult Non-Swimmers. I’m still scared, but loving it.

Every single person at the Y is so nice. That in itself is enough to make you keep coming. I love the journey I’m on right now. I’m so grateful for the encouragement and support I’ve received since becoming a Rye Y member.


16-MaxOConnerMax: (Age 5 ½ ) I live in Larchmont. I’ve been a member of the Rye Y since I was one year old. I like to play basketball and swim. I take swim lessons.

Maria: (Max’s mom): We’ll come here a lot in the winter for family swim and soft play.

Max: I like the park [the Y’s playground] and the rock climbing [at the Rye Derby]. I went to the multi-sport camp. I like the game room too. My favorite game is air hockey. Football is my favorite sport.