The YMCA Then and Now — A Tradition of Caring

Husband Bob and I went to the YMCA Sunday for our first workout together. Since the LiveSTRONG at the Y program offered us a trial full-family membership, we’re taking this opportunity to introduce Bob to the weight room. After spending most of his life in a drafting room (aka CAD room for you new-time drafters) it’s about time he ventured into a different type of room. Instead of drafting tables, T-squares, triangles, pencils, and electric erasers, the room at the Y is full of exercise equipment, cardio machines, and weights. But more impressive than the equipment was the Y instructor.

Honestly, every employee I’ve met at the YMCA is enthusiastic, knowledgable, and thoughtful. I am impressed. This young man took the time to complete our Work Out sheets, to explain every piece  of equipment, to note each setting and weight for Bob and for me; he took the time to explain the muscle group developed by each piece of equipment. Our Y instructor was so thorough that I feel knowledgable and comfortable enough to operate each piece of equipment by myself, although I won’t have to because a Y instructor is always on duty. So far, every instructor I’ve encountered has struck a fine balance of giving me privacy yet being watchful enough to make sure I’m using the equipment correctly and not over exerting myself.

On a side note, two children came into the room and started working with the equipment. Our instructor was so observant that he stopped a slight mishap because the older child was not watching the younger one well enough. He very calmly told the older boy to watch his buddy at all times. Within a minute or two, after the three of us had returned to our business, a different Y employee came into the room looking for the two children; wondering where they had gone to. Again, I’m impressed on how folks are cared for at the Y. I would definitely feel comfortable sending our son to the Y. Although at fifty-two, he makes most of his own decision now. But if that one day where I wished for him to be five-years-old again ever really happens, I’d feel comfortable sending him to the Y. If I’d let him out of my sight, that is.

In my youth I grew up at the Y. I remember loving it. For years, every day after grade school, I remember riding the bus to downtown Dallas, Texas, walking three blocks to the YWCA and staying there until Mother got off work.  My orders were to stay there until she came to get me (yes ma’am) then we’d ride the bus home. Mostly I remember being in the swimming pool and running everywhere (I did that a lot back then.). Alright, I’m talking about memories of well over sixty years ago, if you really must know. While I don’t remember many too specifics I do remember being happy there; and I remember that back then it was safe for a child to ride the bus alone and walk three blocks in downtown Dallas, Texas.

Eventually Husband Bob and I will go to the pool but this time it’ll be a warm pool and we’ll be doing water aerobics. The instructors will say “just two more times” instead of “no running at the pool.” Then we’ll go to the weight room where we’ll be observed by a Y instructor, probably on her way to take our pulse, just to make sure we’re exerting ourselves enough but not too much.

I applaud the Y employees for their graciousness, dedication, and enthusiasm. Clearly, after our trial membership has expired, Husband Bob and I will continue being members of the Y. As we told our instructor …”we have two horses and we intend to be strong enough to ride them and ride them well.”

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