The Y and I

By Kristen Johnson

Exercise – that thing we love (endorphins) and that thing we hate (pain). We know we should do it and sometimes we do. We know we feel better when we exercise, but sometimes it’s just so much easier to sit around on the couch than get up off it and do what we should.

If you are looking for an encouraging and fun place to get in some exercise, look no further than your local YMCA. I have been a longtime (dissatisfied) member of a large gym franchise for many years, and after discovering the Y last week, I dumped them in favor of this new love of mine. The Y is for everyone and you will not be disappointed.

The Y aims to improve the nation’s health and well-being by providing programs and activities that promote wellness, reduce risk for disease and help others reclaim their health. ( Really, what more could you want from an organization than one whose goal is to promote community wellness?

The Y provides food assistance to families: This summer, the Y has committed to partnering with another non-profit to provide meals and snacks to over 1,500 locations during the school break when many children go hungry because they are not receiving free or reduced-fee lunches during school sessions. It’s a fabulous way for an organization to serve the community and particularly to serve those who are most vulnerable – our nation’s children. (

The Y is available to anyone, regardless of ability to pay: The Y is a non-profit organization, and they are committed to families. They provide summer camps, child care, swim lessons, and a wide variety of health and fitness classes and activities. The best part is that if a family can’t afford it, they have financial assistance options available so that everyone in the community can be a part of the fun. Good luck finding that option available at your local gym. (

Guess what? It’s fun: There are classes available all day everyday to suit families, working men and women and everything in between. I managed to find a class every weekday at 5:30 p.m. that interests me – everything from body pump to Zumba to yoga. Every weekend they have classes available as well – and, the pool at my local Y is amazing! It looks more like a resort swimming pool than something you’d want to do laps in. My only complaint about my local Y is that I can’t swim after work due to swimming lessons for the kiddos. But, heck – those lessons help the community and I can always swim on weekends. (I’d likely rather be in my 5:30 p.m. class at any rate!)

I am so grateful for programs like the YMCA that provide such wonderful services for the community. It’s fun to be a member of a community organization. It’s fun (and motivating) to participate in fun group exercise classes. And it’s definitely amazing to be a part of a non-profit organization that insists on serving the community.

Thank you to the YMCA for providing such a wonderful example of serving the community. Thank you for providing a safe space for everyone.

Colossians 3:23-24 (NRSV): Whatever your task, put yourselves into it, as done for the Lord and not for your masters,[a] 24 since you know that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward; you serve[b] the Lord Christ.

Serve all with love.

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