I have been a member of the Rye YMCA for almost 20 years! I can’t believe it’s been that long!

I joined when I was 8½ months pregnant with my first child after I stopped working. For as long as I‘ve been a member, everyone there has made me and my entire family feel so welcome. When I check in, Debbie is always there to ask about my kids, as do the staff at young care, who remember my guys when they were babies. The first time I dropped my son off in young care, I got 19 minutes on the treadmill before someone came to get me because he was crying. In just a short period of time, my son soon loved going there and it was usually him asking to stay longer! Just two years later, I was dropping both of my boys off. Trucks, Lego and goldfish for snack – what could be better! By the time I was bringing my third child (a girl, as Lily had adamantly predicted), I was so practiced at buying my punch card, leaving her without a second thought and even taking advantage of Drop and Shop!

But the Y was – and is – so much more than a babysitting center. As a family, we have taken advantage of almost everything it has to offer. We have had countless kids’ birthday parties at the Y, my children all learned to swim at the Y (Saturday gym and swim with dad), they have all gone on the Y paintball trips, both of my boys fulfilled their community service hours by being a CIT during the summer and my daughter attended the gymnastics vacation camps.

But a huge part of my time spent at the Y was during Ellen Watermelon’s mommy and me classes. Bubbles, singing and running around – all that I needed with those energetic toddlers.

It was in the mommy and me classes that I met two of my very dear friends: Cheraye (with her son, Nicholas) and Tracey. My oldest son, Michael and Nicholas became great friends at the Y and remained close all through elementary school and are still Facebook friends today. Sadly, Cheraye passed away from cancer but I think of her often and our early days together at the Y (and requisite bagel store visit after class). Another one of my closest friends is Tracey. Our children line up perfectly in age and gender and we became fast friends somewhere between the one foot slide, which seemed treacherous, and parachute time. We spend holidays and vacations together and our kids are all very close. When people ask us how we met, we reminisce about those long-ago classes at the Y.

Now that my kids are older, we use the Y differently. I take as many classes as I can and love the familiarity of everyone in the class, and of course the tough workouts that they provide. All of the instructors are amazing – Diana, Maijut, JT, Yvette, Elle, Theresa, Martha and Rebecca welcome all of their participants, they make sure we are doing the exercises correctly, they listen to our comments and concerns and always make a grueling hour bearable, even enjoyable (most of the time)!

My kids have benefitted from personal training sessions during their pre-seasons for various sports. George, JT and Laura have this amazing ability to make them smile even as they are asking for 50 more squats or chest presses!

My husband spins and takes yoga at the Y. He is a hockey player and used to be bothered by an old shoulder injury. After his first few Saturday and Sunday yoga classes, he was astonished that it no longer bothered him.

When I first joined the Y, I really didn’t know how much I would get out of it. Really, I was just hoping to lose the baby weight fast! Now, almost 20 years later, I am so thankful to be a part of the Y. Here’s to another 20!