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!