About ten years ago, I developed symptoms of Myotonic Dystrophy, a disorder falling under the umbrella of Muscular Dystrophy. For most of my life, my symptoms were dormant and I was perfectly able bodied. Since then my muscles have weakened considerably. As a child I did gymnastics, was a cheerleader, and loved to dance. During my adult life I worked out almost every weekday. My favorite form of workout was step aerobics and I never felt limited by my muscle weakness during class.

My symptoms have changed my day-to-day life considerably – I can no longer walk without a walker, as I am not very well balanced. For me, water aerobics is the only exercise that I can do, as it does not require the balance that other workouts do. For that reason I am thankful that the Rye Handicapped Association can do their work here. I joined the Rye Handicapped 5 years ago and attend water aerobics class twice a week. It is a wonderful option for me, because I want to exercise and keep my symptoms at a status quo. I enjoy being able to move my body and keep active in some way.

Everybody here is very accommodating. The women I meet in the locker room are very nice and the staff is great. It has been a wonderful experience for me and I will continue to come for as long as I can.

I fully believe that exercising will cause my disease to progress more slowly, although it will continue to get worse. My sister who has the same disease never exercised and is much more disabled than I am. Exercise works! It gives me strength and the endorphins I like.



I was interested in teaching water aerobics and was referred to the Rye Y by my friend Sheryl who works in Member Services. I spoke to Vickie who told me what I needed for certifications and I got certified in February. I was brand new, like a babe in the woods!

Vickie (Senior Director of Aquatics/Safety) told me that she would give me an opportunity to substitute, which was perfect for me as a beginning teacher. I wanted to teach here and was impressed with the facility and the cleanliness. I was also impressed with the training.

As it turned out, one of the instructors, Natalie, was pregnant and had to go on bed rest. Vickie asked me if I was willing to jump in. I was really nervous. She gave me the opportunity to teach the class to the Rye Handicapped group – they were so lovely and warm to me.

I took a lot of classes here, I took every water class the Y had and was really inspired. The other instructors told me they were here to help. I have to mention the wonderful lifeguards too, who always help me with my equipment and have been very helpful. In the summer I really gained a lot of experience. A member in the locker room said to me, very nicely, “You’ve come such a long way since you started!” And I have! I’ve learned many members’ names and really formed relationships.

Now I’m also starting as a Healthy Heart Ambassador here. I will be doing this three hours a week, working with members one on one to help monitor their blood pressure. I feel that I’ll be doing something good and hope I can inspire more people to take water classes. The more I learn, the more I grow as a teacher.

I feel the Rye Y is helping me grow in my life – my work here is an extension of the rest of my life helping people. I volunteer with the American Cancer Society in their “Look Good Feel Better” program. I’m a makeup artist and this is very rewarding. I also volunteer with My Sisters’ Place, which focuses on abused women. People don’t realize how much abuse happens right here in Westchester.

The Rye Y is the perfect place to do good things. In December, I’ll be teaching the water class for the LIVESTRONG at the YMCA group. I’d like to get more involved in the LIVESTRONG program. My mother is a cancer survivor and my sister passed away from cancer so it is meaningful to me.

I look forward to continuing to work here and grow and I’d like to get my family involved here. Because that’s what the world needs: love sweet love.



I’ve been a member of the Rye YMCA since 2007. At the time, I was new to town with a baby and a two- year-old. I joined the YMCA in order to get to know the town and community; I felt the Y would be a great starting base. I love the Y for the activities and programs. Once I became settled I signed my children up for swimming, hoping to meet new people. The baby met a friend through swimming and then met up again in kindergarten. I love that that was a possibility and how everything just came full circle. It brings me joy that everything was brought together because of the Rye Y.

I moved from New York City, and it was a disheartening thought to think that I was leaving the City behind and I’d miss every aspect of it, the busyness, the lights, and the people. You know, it’s the city that never sleeps. But moving to Rye and joining the Y lets me know that I’m not missing a thing.

My favorite event is the Rye Derby. Every year I run the five-mile and my three kids and husband participate in the one-mile fun run. In 2009 I wanted to do the Westchester triathlon but I didn’t know how to swim properly. I was unaware of proper strokes and movements; I didn’t have the appropriate endurance. I came to the Y pool frequently, and taught myself the proper techniques to prepare myself for the triathlon. Without the availability of the pool, I never would have completed the triathlon.



Nine and a half years ago, my daughter Amber was going into Kindergarten. I was looking for an hourly part time job teaching fitness classes. I applied for an instructor position at the Y and starting teaching. Within a couple of months, I started to work in gymnastics and sports, teaching classes and recess while my daughter was in school. I was soon very involved in the Y and was offered a full time teaching job within a year.

I was going through some trying situations at home, and the support of the Y helped me become mature and more independent as a single mother and become more stable to tackle situations that I would not have been able to do before.

I love the people I work with and love teaching the children. I love what I do and it helps me become a better parent and better involved in the community. The best feeling in the world is seeing the children outside of the Y and them knowing who I am and know that I am from the Y and having them feel safe around me.



 I grew up in Rye. I came to the Rye Y as a kid and went to camp here. The facility was completely different then. The old white house was the Y and you had just the small pool. It has changed quite a bit for the better.

I moved back here five or six years ago. I joined the Rye Tri Club and did the Westchester Triathlon for four years. I see a lot of old friends here and people I went to high school with. I come here to use the Fitness Center, primarily cardio. It helps me de-stress. I don’t come as much as I did because now I have a 6-month-old daughter. I’m looking forward to bringing her here.



I am serious about tennis and discovered that if you want to enjoy the game you need to spend 3 hours exercising to prepare. I don’t like exercise but I love tennis so I do it. I use the Stairmaster, elliptical – equipment that gets the heart going.

I come to the Y five days a week and my tennis has gotten better. I also play platform tennis in the winter which is even harder on the body. Just now, I was watching the swimmers in the pool because I’m thinking I should start swimming here. Swimming is a great exercise.



In the late 80s, I used to work at the Y at the front desk. I left the Y and started to work for the postal service delivering mail. My daughters were taking gym classes and swim classes here at the Y. When I retired, I started to look for a part time job and applied at the Y. A few months later, I started working again at the member service desk.

Working at the Y has helped me break out of my comfort zone. I really am a shy person and have trouble talking to those who I don’t know. Since working at the member service desk, I have to talk to people on a regular basis. It has helped me be more confident and build relationships with people I don’t know.

Swimming at the Y is a big part of my family. My two daughters were non-swimmers and are now comfortable in the water. This year they took part in gymnastics camp and came home every day showing off the skills they had learned.

The Y has made my family involved in their programs and with the community by offering them a place to go and things to do instead of being on their phones or watching television. The Y brings the community together and makes us all feel like we belong!



I grew up in Rye and have been coming to the Rye Y since first grade. I learned to swim here. Back then they had a universal gym machine next to the single pool. I even trained for the Navy Reserve here. The fitness standards and swim qualifications were very rigorous and I was able to prepare right here at the Rye Y.

Both my sons, now age 26 and 24, also learned to swim here. They both grew up at the Y and both of them did the Rye Derby Family Fun Run as soon as they were old enough to walk. They still come here to work out periodically. My younger son is now on active duty as an Army Ranger. The Rye Y was instrumental to his physical training.

I used to run competitively and also participate in triathlons. After it became popular it just wasn’t as much fun to compete. I enjoy training here. I like the atmosphere and the exercise equipment. The people are nice and the staff goes out of their way to help.

Working out here keeps me active. I’ve been a policeman for 32 years. Now I am a Chief and spend most of my day behind a desk, making staying in shape even more important. The Rye Y has helped me stay fit most of my life.



I started in Membership at the Rye Y in February 2016. I was interested in the job because it seemed like there was a real sense of community here that was missing from my previous job. Since I have a degree in Sociology, I thought it was a great way to connect my job to my field of study, build skills, and even work on myself. I think it’s really important to feel connected with your workplace and the Rye Y felt like a place where I could grow long-term and make good connections with people.

I have met so many wonderful and polite staff and members. It makes it a really friendly atmosphere and it’s nice to feel at home when you come through the door. Now that I’m part of the Y- USA Membership Cohort, I feel I am on the right path to becoming more involved and immersed in what goes on and am able to give my input and start to make my own imprint on the community and culture.

As a member, I have taken indoor cycling with Lisa. Since I have worked with Lisa in Membership, it was really nice to see a familiar face and it made me feel comfortable. I imagine other members feel the same way. I have made friends here with the staff at the Membership desk and also have made good bonds with members over time at the front desk.

My personal goals are working on becoming more in shape and health-conscious. The Rye YMCA definitely is a place where I can focus on bettering myself and achieving those goals.



I love to swim and the Rye Y has a great pool, so I come here six days a week. I’ve been coming for 13 years.

There has been a lot of talk in the media about “locker room talk” so I wanted to talk about that. The women’s locker room at the Rye Y is a wonderful community of kind, supportive women. I’ve made lots of friends in the locker room. When you walk in, the first thing you see is a bulletin board with notes from members expressing gratitude to other members who were kind to them when they were going through tough times.

What do we talk about? Mostly about our families. We also talk about clothes, especially shoes. (After all, this is a women’s locker room.) We talk about books and movies and, of course, our exercise routines. But we never talk about men’s bodies. Why would we waste our time talking about that when we have so much else to talk about?

So that’s what locker room talk is at the Rye Y’s women’s locker room.