Share Your Story

Everyone Belongs at the Y. You Should Too.

There’s something for everyone here at the Y!  We’d like to know about your experiences here and how it’s impacted you or your family’s life and well-being.  We’ve created this submission form for your convenience to share the initial details of your story.  Once we receive it, we may contact you for further information or a video interview to learn more.  Unfortunately, we can’t share everyone’s story…there are so many!

If your story is used in any of our communications such as our website, publications or advertising, we’d like to recognize you with an I BELONG T-SHIRT so everyone knows your part of the Y family and they should be too!

Here are some story guideline suggestions:

  • Inspirational stories of triumph that demonstrate how the Y provided a program, facility, resources or staff support to help you and your family.  The story should also demonstrate the Y’s mission in some way through either Youth Development, Healthy Living or Social Responsibility.
  • It demonstrates the role that the Y played you or family’s success in overcoming specific circumstances, challenges and issues, a disability, met a need, or how you adopted a healthy lifestyle.  It should be compelling and unique.  There are numerous stories throughout the Y, but we’re looking for the ones that dramatically stand out and have a positive “wow” factor.
  • The subject of the story must be willing to share it with the community-at-large and be able to articulately tell it and present a positive image.  If used, the story will likely be captured on video and be edited for various communications channels to encourage others to belong to the Y.

*indicates required fields below.


Tell us your Y story!
Maximum upload size: 2.1MB

*YMCA Photo/Video/Release

Just Keep Spinning….

I have been coming to the YMCA off and on for about four years. During this time, I have taken several different group classes. I always wanted to try Spin but was intimidated by what I felt was the competitive nature of the class. I was super excited when I saw that the Y was going to be offering an “Intro to Spin” class. A beginner’s class seemed to be the perfect opportunity for me to get a feel for what Spin was all about. I am glad my first Spin Instructor was Michael Cancio because he was very helpful, encouraging, and motivational. I was relieved when he showed everyone the proper way to set up and adjust their bikes since I had absolutely no clue what I was doing. He actually made the class really fun! After about three Intro classes, Michael suggested that I was ready for regular Spin. I am now taking three Spin classes per week and it is my favorite class. I know that the only reason I am successful in Spin is that of Michael and the Intro class. I would suggest to anyone who has ever wanted to take Spin but was afraid that they should definitely try the “Intro to Spin” class. I’m glad I did!

-YMCA Member, Erin Petro

Why you should Y..

I love our YMCA and all the instructors and staff. I started at the YMCA in November of 2013. Silver Sneakers was my first class. I now am doing Aerobics, Body Combat, and Zumba. Last year I did the Mayors Challenge and haven’t felt this good about my strength and health in a long time. You can do it if you put your mind to it. Make 2017 a good year and join the exercise program, gym or one of their many classes.

Thanks to all of you, especially instructors Gloria, Gabby, Shawna, Yana, China and Sandy, leadership staff Ashely and Jarret, and all other staff members. Of course all of my friends in my classes, and even those not in my classes, I love you all. Support our YMCA! I am so grateful to have a place where there is no judgment and they really care about people in a spiritual way.

Thank you – Debbie Wheeler

 Why I LOVE the Enhance Fitness Class….

From the first day in Enhance Fitness Class, I knew this was exactly what I should be doing. I had given up on finding a class for people with Rheumatoid Arthritis and other limiting diseases, so I joined the YMCA so that I could swim and perhaps design my own exercise program.

Within two weeks in Enhance Fitness, I was feeling much better and had more energy. I have been able to do a little gardening and house cleaning that I haven’t even attempted in several years. I look forward to every class and enjoy excersiign and socializing with our other people near my age. I have met some wonderful people, including Danna, our instructor. Thank you, Danna, for making this class possible.

-YMCA Member, June Wendt

Being part of the Y family is building a better me …

When I was kid, I was lucky enough to have a family that only required my father to work. My mother didn’t have to work, she was always there for my brothers, sisters and I. When I met my husband, we decided that I would only work part time, so that I could do that for our children until they started school. We wanted our children to have a good foundation on which to grow, it was more important to us than having two incomes.

Fast forward 8 years, we have two children, a boy 8 and a little girl 3. I have been working retail for just as long, 3 nights a week and weekends. It feels as though I never see my husband who is working days and has weekends off. I only see my son in the morning and for a little while before I go to work, while we do his homework.

Via email, I set up a phone interview for October 6. It went well. Then I am asked to attend a panel interview on October 12. This was potentially the most important and most scary interview I had ever scheduled. But apparently it went well too, because here I am: your Four Townes Family YMCA Membership Director. I am the happiest I have been at work, ever. I get to work with great people everyday, staff and members. And as an added bonus, I have lost 17 pounds, just from the lifestyle change.

Where do I work? The YMCA.

—Shared by Sarah Belland Membership Experience Director


History has a way of repeating itself…in a good way…

To be honest I forgot all about the Y. It hasn’t been part of my life for many years, until now.

My brother and I did everything together until he decided to stop playing sports and being active. He started to gain weight. When he was a freshman in high school kids started picking on him because of his weight. One day he got fed up. We drove by the Y everyday on the way to school and he asked me to stop there because he had decided he wanted to see what it was about. My mom signed him up for a youth membership. He started going to the Y every single day. I don’t know exactly what he did there. All I know is he found a sense of purpose by going to the Y. He made new friends and then joined the weightlifting team at school. The teasing and getting picked on stopped.

Fast forward to today. My son is only 8. He is a sensitive – old soul. He’s outgoing, funny and well behaved.

He has been kicked, punched and spit on. He has been called names and come home crying because he didn’t understand why some kids were so mean to him. He didn’t understand why some kids at his afterschool care treated him like that or were allowed to treat him that way. My husband and I felt stuck. This was what we could afford.

Then the Y came back into my life. My son got the opportunity to attend the Y afterschool program in Port Orange. When this opportunity came up I was relieved and still nervous about how he would be accepted by the other children. You never know, and as a mother I have found myself in constant worry to know he is more than just ok, he is happy and healthy and being treated well. Every day he is so happy to go to the Y and not the “other place.” After his first week at the Y he said to me “Mom, I really like the YMCA. They are all so nice and the other kids help me with my homework.” I continue to ask him daily about the Y. I get answers like “Fantastic!” “Awesome!” “Best day ever!” Every single day he tells me how much fun he has and how much he loves the Y.

Recently he ran in the Lap the Track with the YMCA kids. What I saw brought tears to my eyes in the freezing cold. When we arrived to the event every kid said hi to him and was happy to see him. All the counselors too. I watched him engage with Mr. Marcel. He and my son did this fun handshake. My son wanted to do it 10 times and Mr. Marcel complied with a smile and excitement each time. That may not seem like much to anyone else, to me it meant everything.

The Y provides more than a safe place for kids. I can tell that they treat every single child in their program with the utmost care and concern. Kids are taught respect, responsibility and about friendship. They truly are building up kids every day at the Y in Port Orange.

Thank you for making a positive impact on not just my son, but me too.

— A Grateful Mom of a Y Afterschool Child

 From the Free Throw Line:

A 4-year-old was playing for the first time and didn’t  know what to expect. He was put onto a team and told to stand in line with the rest of the members of his team. At the end of practice the coach talked to the team about teamwork and respecting each other. Coach told the kids they were teammates, and teammates protect each other. After coach dismissed the team, the 4-year-old ran over to his mother and said: “Mom, I’m on a team! This is Taylor and he is one of my teammates.” Taylor’s mom walked over and introduced herself and the two moms began talking while the two boys bounced the basketball.

At that moment two things occurred to me: This is the first team that this child has ever belonged to and how awesome is it that we as the Y get to shape his perspective on what team sports are and mean!

We are not just a GYM!

— Shared by Don Grinstead
Regional Sports Director

 A Healthy Balance:

I am so pleased with the progress I’ve made with balance since I started your Movement for Better Balance class. It has given me more self-confidence and so I began your Tuesday and Thursday Tai Chi classes. I am so thrilled to feel more confident and it has done wonders for my mental health as well.

I believe everyone benefits from these programs and particularly those of us who are seniors.

Thanks again,
Marian Michel

Mission Statement: To put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all.

Site Design by Stark LMC. YMCA Store.