Editor’s note: This is part two of a three part series, part three will also be printed on the Healthy Life page.

Each Y association or branch looks different in each community it serves. Each association runs independently of each other and that’s the beauty and uniqueness of each Y serving the needs of the community in which it operates. Your own Y looks different at different times each day. Did you know the Y is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) charitable organization? Our members, staff, volunteers, board and community are our stakeholders. Your Y is honored to have served in our community for 49 years! We love what we do each day and the collective impact the Y has and continues to make in our communities.

The ending of a good day at the Y is when you served, you see and hear how the Y helped someone reach something seemingly unattainable. The following is more “Attitude of gratitude” stories:

Amy and Matt Philibeck:

“We are so grateful to the Y for both the community of friends it has provided, but also the variety of opportunities it has provided for our family at every stage. When our daughter was born we were so thankful to have Tot Watch available and it was a big reason for our ability to get involved at the Y. We got to know the workers and knew that she was being completely cared for while we were able to focus on our exercise and health goals.

“The Y has provided us with many resources for these health goals and we regularly attend classes and use the equipment they provide. What has surprised us over time is how the resources of the Y have turned into friendships and community for our family. Yes, we go there to exercise, but now we go there to exercise with our friends. Similarly, our daughter was simply being cared for while we exercised, but now she begs to go to the Y to have fun with her Tot Watch buddies, make art with the workers, go swimming, and countless other opportunities she enjoys. We are very thankful for her to be growing up with friends in a place where health is encouraged and supported!”

Rebbecca Peanosky:

“After having two kids, I needed a couple different things. I needed some ‘me’ time, but wanted a caring environment for my boys while I was away; to get back in shape so I had energy and strength; and people to push me. The Y has had all of these things, plus a few extra bonuses.

“As far as the caring environment, Tot Watch has been awesome. After only a couple times of my boys being there, the workers knew their names. They always have fun and are well taken care of. It’s so refreshing that I can get a workout in and have somewhere for them to go where they enjoy themselves too.

“The workout classes that I’ve attended are great! There’s such a variety to choose from! After talking to a few people and trying some of them, I found the ones that fit me best and now I have my favorites that I recommend to others! They also have times that seem to work for everyone’s different schedules, plus each one I’ve been to have had fantastic instructors.

“This brings me to needing some people to push me. The instructors are knowledgeable, encouraging and demanding. If I have questions, they will either answer them, or find someone who knows the answer. They always encourage and never drag you down. BUT! They do demand you do YOUR best and push you to be better ... because that’s what you’re there for, right?

“As for the bonuses: The Y has also provided a place to meet new people, swim, let my kids get some winter energy out during Teedle Toddle Tumble, and do community events like the Turkey Trot. It’s been such a good experience since we’ve joined.”

Kelly and Brett Schuettpelz:

“We initially joined the Y because when you have a large family, the summer Y-kids program is a bargain! The kids stay busy doing healthy activities along with snacks and enjoy moving up to the different levels from Y-kids Jr. to Y-kids to Adventure Camp and getting to go out in the barn. The staff are great and we have seen tears when a staff member has to go back to school before our kids do. We sign the girls up for other Y activities during the day so we don’t have to shuttle them around in the evenings, it’s awesome!

“The Y-kids after school program has been very helpful also, it gives us peace of mind knowing the girls are being well cared for while we finish up at work.

“Two of our girls are on the Gliders Gymnastics team and love learning new skills and hanging out with friends. They teach us new terms and enjoy competing while we hang out with the fellow parents and bond over gymnastics hairstyles and how fast they are growing up.

“With our younger daughters we like that the sessions are 6-7 weeks long so if after a few weeks of gymnastics, they want to swim we are not locked into a 7-month commitment. They also enjoy the clinics, like basketball skills and drills, dance camp, gymnastics camp, and they really enjoyed the mermaid class.

“Without the Y our girls would not have had such varied experiences and we would not have met so many new friends.”

We like to say we serve everyone from pampers to grampers, that’s the beauty of a YMCA serving all. We are all thankful for the same thing; having a Y in their community, being a member or a program participant and enjoying the relationships they have created in a welcoming healthy environment.

Let’s make our community a better place. Our mission: To put Christian principles into practice through programs that build a healthy body, mind and spirit for all. Enjoy the above members’ stories and start a journey to your own Y story. The Y is not just a workout facility, it is so much more! The Y is for: Youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.