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I’ve been a member for about 20 years, on and off. (I left for few years when I was living in London.) I first joined when we moved to Rye from New York City and my oldest daughter was about one. Deborah Schiff was the friendly face at the front desk. She was so welcoming. My son and daughter would come into the old part of the house, where the main desk was and climb on the railings. They could stay happy there all day.
We joined for the recreation with the kids. The Mommy and Me, the Gym and Swim. For me, the Y was a really important place. We didn’t know anyone except for the people at our church. This was the place where we could really become part of the community. We met people and we made friends here. All of my kids learned to swim here, went to summer camp and took sports classes. When my daughter Julia was in summer camp, we met Christie and Tom Murphy. Tom was president of the Rye Y board at that time and he recruited me to serve on the board. And the rest is history!
About three years ago, I had major surgery. I had to come back from that and the Y really helped me. I could barely lift anything. I had no endurance and poor balance. The instructors really supported and watched over me. They encouraged me even when I was barely able to do a lot of the exercises. They never made me feel less than anyone else in class. My personal favorites are the fitness classes and the group exercise because I need someone to drive and motivate me.
What’s special about the Y is that it’s a real equalizer in the community. It brings together people of all ages, all backgrounds and all socio-economic levels. It creates a real friendly bond. It makes Rye the special community that it is, and I don’t think that would exist without the Y.
My Y story is more about how I’ve worked here as a volunteer. The sea change I feel most proud of is the way the Rye Y has changed its outlook over the past six years through Activate America. The Y is no longer just about our four walls. We’ve broken down those walls and we’re reaching out to bring healthy living not just to our members but also to the entire community. We’re much more connected to the fabric of the community. I’m very proud to be part of that.
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