Christian Gervin Sweetens the Day


lemonade“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade” is the proverbial phrase used to inspire someone to make something good out of a bad situation. I know from experience that it takes a can-do attitude and some ingenuity. Today Christian Gervin, a Y member, used his can-do attitude and skill to take the bitter out of a challenging situation!

Today 18 or so children arrived to the Y with their water bottles and lots of energy ready to take the Friday Tween Fit class and found that they were missing their instructor. Due to a miscommunication with a planned substitute and lack of instructors in the building, a solution needed to be found…

Immediately, Christian, who is dad to one of the kids, offered to the Y staff, “I can help run the class!” “I can do some Plyometrics with the kids!” he added. Without missing a beat, Christian loaded up some music and happily led this exuberant group of kids through a fun workout. With some shuffling of staff, another wellness staff person was able to help Christian with this “sweet” solution.

The Y is family made up of staff, volunteers, members and community partners. Christian’s action defines family helping family.

Christian, thank you for making lemonade for everyone to enjoy!

An Offer I Couldn’t Refuse


You know that moment when someone just puts it out there for you.  That happened to me  a few weeks back.

Joanne, a fellow YMCA Child Care team member stopped by to see me and made me an offer I could not refuse. She asked, “I wanted to know if you wanted to join me and some other staff on Mondays. We are going to help each other with our weight.”

BAM! There it was right in front of me. The fact that I have 70+ pounds to lose, was not the “news”. It was that the offer was made– and it was one I really did not want to refuse.  I often worry about taking care of others and don’t prioritize my own care… it was time to be part of a smaller community of support which I needed.

Fast forward to today. During the past few weeks there has been check in calls, new friends made in Aqua Zumba, accountability, a new found appreciation for each other and support! Joanne has been the key relationship builder in this process- even asking members to join our special network.  One night after class, Joanne introduced herself to member Debbie and now Debbie gets a call from Joanne.

I absolutely believe in a community of support and know the YMCA is the best community in which to give AND receive it. I wouldn’t work for the Y and ask people join this community if I didn’t believe. I just have to remember or be reminded (Thanks, Joanne!) that the same great programs, services, staff and culture are here for me, too.

Baby Tsunami on the way!

On May 16th, Stephanie Calamari from our aquatics department was showered with lots of gifts and love for her new baby on the way.  What a great gift pictured above of homemade onesies with Baby Tsunami and the new Y logo.There was great food, lots of laughs, and a huge sense of family among everyone! Stephanie made a very moving speech thanking everyone for being so welcoming to her and he family from the minute she started working here. She broke out in tears when she said she really does feel like we are her second family. What a touching moment that really shows what the Y stands for and why we all love working here! Congrats to the Calamari family, can’t wait to meet baby Allessandra!!

Marvelous Mondays!

Dear Mr. Austin and Ms. Yanus,

We have had such an amazing experience at the Farmington Valley YMCA I felt compelled to let you both know.

My little Wesley at a bit over 3 years old was doing well working on physical and social skills at his gym class. Knowing his challenges with change, confidence and trust we were broken-hearted to hear that the gym was closing, and began searching for something to fill the void. We decided to try swim classes at the Farmington Valley YMCA. We spent weeks prepping him knowing how difficult it would be for him to get used to a new type of class, a new building, a new teacher and new routine….the thought of adding the water factor on top of all this mounted up to great worry and stress on my part.

The first class we were greeted warmly by Wesley’s new teacher, Stephanie Calamari. With a gentle demeanor and kind heart she lead him into the water…I held my breath. As expected, the first day he was terrified. However, I was happily surprised that he took right away to Miss. Stephanie. She was actually able to keep him in the pool, albeit on her hip, the entire class. She was patient and worked very hard on getting Wesley to trust her the first class. Stephanie even spent an extra few minutes with him after class to get him used to being a bit independent in the water. She also talked with me after class about her plan to help Wesley progress. The next week I had a hard time convincing him to go back. When I reminded him how Miss. Stephanie was right with him in the water he decided himself that he would try it again. This time Miss. Stephanie encouraged him to stay on the wall without her. He was uncomfortable at first and cried for a minute. Stephanie glanced at me for agreement in doing this, which made me feel comfortable. Wes quickly acclimated as Miss. Stephanie kept checking in with him and he felt secure that she wasn’t far away. Only seven classes later, with her supportive yet challenging style of teaching, he is jumping off the side and swims, with bubble, across the entire length of the pool. He loves going to swim class. The only challenge now is getting him out of the water when class is over.

My daughter, Ellery, who is in the same class started with a different set of challenges. Ellery was very afraid of going underwater. I am happy to report that last class, after a private sidebar conversation with Miss. Stephanie the week before, she worked up the courage to give it a try. Low and behold she loved it, and did it over and over the whole class. Miss. Stephanie was so proud of Ellery and genuinely shared in her happiness at her success.

As a Mom on the sideline watching this amazing person help my children face their fears and support them as she does, my heart is warmed. I know I have found a wonderful place for the kids to work on a new skill in a comfortable, encouraging and yet challenging environment. Stephanie makes learning and practicing new skills fun with different games and an upbeat personality. Seeing Wesley go from clinging to Miss. Stephanie to jumping in and swimming the whole length of the pool, while Ellery is down one bubble and going underwater in just one session is unbelievable. We are so happy we have found this class for both of them.

In addition, I would like to thank Miss. Lauren for her wonderful support as well. When Miss. Stephanie was out sick one week, I was very nervous about how the change would go knowing what a hard time Wesley has with it. At the beginning of class he did not even want to get in the pool and by the end of that same class was smiling from ear to ear at her antics.

I guess the icing on the cake would be the friendly faces that great us at check in every week. All the employees are consistently kind and friendly. All of this adds up to make our day every Monday. We so look forward to it every week.

We couldn’t possibly be happier with our experience at the YMCA. So, kudos to the Farmington Valley YMCA’s swim program and those that make it what it is.


Jessica Barcomb

Junior SKC helpers

I’m glad Ernie and Nick showed up with TJ and me last night to help out, Dave. TJ and Nick learned some cool, new stuff about business/ non profits/ themselves while giving a hand to those that need it in our community. It was great fun watching and listening to TJ get his (2 or 3) donations/ fill out thank you cards, discuss directly with 10- 15 other adults our 2012 Strong Kids Campaign and another 12- 15 “Left message” on their phone machines. TJ just started his Personal Management Merit Badge in Boy Scouts last week. It’s about keeping track of his money, weekly, for 3 months and here we were working with monies and talking with people about it and where it goes at the Y for 2 hours. Nice tie in. And Nick is our player who’s been out of commission with foot surgery for these last 2 weeks and the next 2-3 coming up but has attended all our practices and each game cheering his teammates on! I was quite proud of both of them last night!!! Our community is in great shape in the future with young men like these.

Coach Tom

Orange Cobras #2 – 7th & 8th Graders

Kid’s Night Out: by Emma Conroy (age 11)

I love Kid’s Night Out at the FV Y because it has very fun activities. The 1st activity is dinner. They have very yummy food. We usually eat macaroni and cheese, applesauce, and apple juice. Then, we play the Wii®. We can choose these games: Anubis, Freddy Dish, Golf, Just Dance1, 2, &3, Mario Trivia, 101 in 1, & Zelda. Then, we go to rock wall climbing. We take 2 or 3 groups of 4 kids down to the rock wall. Then, we make crafts. The crafts go with what the theme is.

There are different themes each Friday night. They usually have to do with the holidays coming up. It can be a monthly theme. For example, January is National Soup Month, May is flower month, September is apple month, & October is pumpkin month. There is also a very special theme every 5 months, called Pajamas & Movie Night. Those are my favorite themes. On those rare Kid’s Nights Out, we wear our pajamas & watch kid’s movies, like The Smurfs.

The YMCA has the best staff! Christopher Robin gives kids rides, plays games, & plays Wii®. Michelle is really nice, Riley is a good listener, Kim asks me lots of questions, & Kristen does a great job running it.

( Emma Conroy is a member at the FV Y who loves coming to our Kid’s Night Out program. Her personal goal is to attend every Kid’s Night Out program we have!! She is up to 23 consecutive nights already!! She has also expressed that she knows she will work here when she is older.)

Back to the Wheeler YMCA

I just received this from one of our members. He couldn’t get over the difference between here and LA Fitness. This is why we are not “a gym”

My wife and I han experience with trying another health fitness center and found that there was more negative talk than positive talk. There was a bunch of negatives, such as prices of the different programs they had. There was a fee for everything in that place. If you wanted a trainer you would have to pay an extra fee. If you wanted to use a certain machine, it would cost you an extra fee. It was FEE FEE FEE! They had a very small swimming pool, no life guards, and very negative staffing. One thing they were good at is high pressure selling of the different programs and products. The only good thing they had,was clean locker rooms.

We came back to the Y after a short departure. We left because we wanted to see if there were different choices out there, but we didn’t find this which is why we came back. We got a warm greeting from the staff, like we had never left in the first place. We also got a GREAT financial package. The Y believes in you and motivates you without the burden of money and allows you to just be yourself! The Y brings out the best of you and they bring the family attitude because they care! We are trying to find time in our busy schedule to workout in such a positive atmosphere. They encourage individual and family values. They welcome you with loving smiles and open arms. Our experience has always been fulfilling and worthwhile since we came back. Ever since we came back and on better routine we have lost some weight and we are happy that we may meet our goals we set for ourselves.

April Chevalier, Wellness Director, Wheeler Regional Family YMCA