Rye Y Story Project: Ellen

EllenI first came to the Rye Y twenty-three years ago, when my sons were two and four years old. I was looking for programs for them. But the only programs available for pre-schoolers were swim classes.

Then, in the summer of 1990, a friend was hired to work at the Y camp and she told me that they needed someone to run the camp music activities for a couple days a week. Although I had been a professional dancer and singer in my twenties, I had never taught music to young children. I went to the library and researched children’s songs. I used songs that my children loved. It was so successful, I asked the Y if they wanted me to start a children’s music program in the Fall. I started with one class. I trained two others to lead the program so there could be more classes. Soon, there were 13 classes per week. Now, I’m teaching 11 music, dance and movement classes per week.

For me, this job is what I was meant to do. The Y has allowed me to grow as a teacher. They encourage new initiatives and new ideas. The fitness department has changed my body because as that area grew, they taught me about Pilates, yoga, Zumba, and group power classes. What I love about the Y is that it has such a wide variety of fitness instructors. Everyone can find someone who is a good personality fit for themselves.

Both of my sons, who are now 25 and 28, learned to swim at the Y and went to Y summer camp until they were 12. When you’re at the Y, it feels like family.

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