For Jennifer Fell, the Y has always played an instrumental role in her life. In fact, her father, George Howie, was on the Y’s Board of Directors back when the Town and Country YMCA first opened in Oconomowoc in 1965 and she recalls fond childhood memories of her family attending Y outings and ski trips with other families in the community. As an adult, she continued to be active at the Y by working out, competing in triathlons and in 1979 she began working at the Y in the Kid’s Corner and later as a fitness instructor. It was a great place to work and play. She could bring her small children and it provided her with a strong social network.
In 1990, things changed dramatically for Jennifer when she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Suddenly the active lifestyle she once knew became more difficult. In the beginning, she was able to continue doing many of the same activities she always enjoyed, but in 1990, she suffered a flare-up that affected her motor skills. “My MS is a physical battle, a spiritual battle, a psychological battle and an emotional battle. You have to fight it on every front. If not, you can get depressed,” Jennifer shares. “The Y has been instrumental in my fight.”
Jennifer has been an inspiration to her daughter, Britta Fell, Y Aquatics Coordinator. Growing up at the Y and participating on swim team, it was a natural next step to become involved at the Y herself. She feels strongly about the positive role the Y has played in her mother’s life. “Despite all of the challenges, my mother has continued to stay as active as possible. Last October, she celebrated her 60th Birthday. She still comes to the Y five to six times a week for water aerobics, cycling and many other classes. She still volunteers in the Child Care Center every week. If she didn’t do all these things, she would probably be in a wheelchair by now.”
“The Y is a great outlet for anyone struggling with Chronic Disease,” Jennifer explains. “There are instructors there to help you to know what to do and when you leave, you feel great! I love the Y. It’s like a vacation. I can see friends and feel a real camaraderie, plus I get the benefits of exercise.
Thank you Stephanie Fridley from the Gaston County Family YMCA for sharing your poem expressing why the YMCA is so much more than just a gym.
You know our logo and you've heard our song,But if you think we're just a gym, well, you've heard wrong.A gym is built by corporations, entrepreneurs and loaners,We were built by volunteers, advocates and donors.The bottom line dictates how a gym is run,Our business ...
Prior to coming to the Y, Flora was severely overweight. Medical complications due to her morbid obesity resulted in numerous surgeries over a four-year period, and left her feeling low with diminished self-confidence. In 2002, she lost her job and her overall health created barriers to finding new employment. She had no energy and her situation began to isolate her; she rarely left the house other than to ...
So here we stand. A new year. A fresh start. The past year has faded ever so quietly into the hope that accompanies the start of the new. It is almost as if we have been handed a clean slate. Dreams abound. Resolutions are made. Goals are set. Where will this new year take us? Where will it take you? What is on your horizon and what have you been dreaming ...
A simple gift can change a life!
LINDA'S STORY: Last January, 2012, I was given the “Gift of Health” from an old friend for a 3 month membership at the Y. I had said how much I missed swimming and would choose swimming laps as my mode of exercise, if I could.
As an incentive, he gave me a gift card for the Y. I was thrilled but intimidated at the same time. I had literally not ...