Thursday, February 28, 2013
As you all may know, I work for the YMCA as a group fitness instructor. What I love about the Y is that it is an across-the-board organization and when you commit to the Y, you commit to the community as well as the membership.
We're so much more than a gym-n-swim - the YMCA does community outreach in every way we can think of, from day & sleepaway camps, to truancy diversion, to housing and social support for adults and families, diabetes/cancer/weight loss support groups...the YMCA is also the country's largest child care provider. Our association's rule is "never say no" - we find a way to help anyone who asks for it.
Our Y-cycling group (the downtown YMCA has 13 cycling classes on its weekly roster, so lots of people morning, noon and night) holds an annual indoor cycling event to raise money for People Helping People (i.e. the account for all I mentioned above). We ask local bike-friendly businesses to donate gear, gift cards, food, water, etc. toward our cause and our riders pay for the privledge (!) of riding indoors for three hours.
Yeah, we're masochists, just like any other group of cyclists.
This year we raised $1700 toward youth outreach in a nearby neighborhood, providing a) swim lessons and b) social intervention to middle-school aged kids who need attention, guidance and structure in their lives. The YMCA can provide that, and our group's fund raising effort will have faces and names that we'll see in person at our Y.
So, if you're considering joining a gym (or you've got a YMCA close by), give them a look. While we're not the cheapest gym out there, your membership will get you into any YMCA in the country and your membership fee will be out in the community rather than in some fat-cat's wallet.