We Are Y Wednesdays

Each Wednesday, we’ll be featuring someone who is part of our Y community, whether a staff member, volunteer, donor or YMCA member. Together, they make the Y a special place where everyone has the opportunity to be healthy, confident, connected and secure. We hope you enjoy meeting them all!

Meet Karen, a longtime Y member who has been trying new group exercise classes and staying healthy in mind, body and spirit

“I enjoy the many close friendships I’ve made over the years with both members and instructors, some which go back 27 years and are still going strong today!”

Meet Stacy, one of our new lifeguards who has found her second home at our Y

“I’m a Y person, whenever I move, I look for the YMCA. There I always find a community.”

Meet Lourdes, Dan, Alessandra and Isabela, one of our Y families participating in both our Child Care and Virtual Learning programs

“We have been members of the Y for three years. As new residents of Scotch Plains at the time, we joined the Y in an effort to acclimate and network with members of our local community.”

Meet Bridget, one of our fantastic Child Care teachers

“I came to the Fanwood-Scotch Plains Y when I was a senior at Union County Vo-Tech with a focus in Child Development. I interned with the Y’s former Kinderwrap program to get my first real teaching experience.”

Meet Kim, one of our friendly Welcome Center representatives who previously worked for our Y in the 1980s

“I started working here again in July 2019, but I was also here back in the 80s. I was a lifeguard, I worked at the front desk and was also a camp counselor when it was Camp Makawakmo.”

Meet Ann Marie, Andrew, Jack and Ella, one of our Child Care families who enjoy the friendships, caring atmosphere and learning the program provides

“Jack has been in the Y’s Child Care program since he was 6 months old. He started in the infant room and this is our 4th year in the program.”

Meet Ruth, Dan and Arlo, one of our Child Care families who are happy to be back at the Y

“Our son Arlo has been in the child care program for the last two years, since he was about eight months old. Two things really stood out about the Y’s program as opposed to some others in the area – one is we really liked that the Y had a focus on physical activity as well as socialization and academics.”

Meet Veronica and Atticus, who have been part of our Y Child Care family for over 4 years

“Atticus has been at the Y’s Child Care program for 4 years and 4 months. When we toured the YMCA while picking child care providers, the child care wing was still under construction. We saw the potential of what the Y was building and what they were aiming to achieve.”

Meet Max, one of our great School Age Child Care counselors

“First, in elementary school, I participated in the Y’s after care for about four years from first to fourth grade.”

Meet Luis, our new Tai Chi instructor who started his Y journey as a member of our YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program

“I initially came to this YMCA because I wanted to be part of a pre-diabetes support group that was led by Donna Peart. This was and continues to be a great experience.”

Meet Andy, one of our longtime members who has been taking our outdoor group exercise classes since we began to reopen our doors

“I have been a member of the Fanwood-Scotch Plains YMCA for over 30 years. Until I retired in 2017, I was commuting to Manhattan and needed a gym with flexible hours close-by to squeeze in any workouts that I could.”

Meet Margaret, one of our longtime members who has been taking outdoor exercise classes at our Y since we reopened

“I joined the Y in 1993. Before the closure, my work schedule allowing, I went to the Y every morning, Monday through Friday for 1 to 2 classes.”

Meet Val, one of our members who started her Y journey in our LIVESTRONG® at the YMCA program for cancer survivors

“I have been a member of the Fanwood-Scotch Plains YMCA for five years. I first joined the LIVESTRONG® at the YMCA program after treatment for breast cancer.”

Meet Miss Liz, one of our terrific Kindergarten teachers who is set to have a great year with her students

“I have been working here on and off since I was 17. I started working in the after care program and then switched over to Grand Street, where I worked in child care and at the front desk.”

Meet Sheri, our Senior Director who is retiring next week after nearly 40 years of service at the Fanwood-Scotch Plains YMCA

“I came to the Fanwood-Scotch Plains YMCA for swim lessons for my children. Little did I know at the time that I would find a wonderful supportive community to connect with.”

Meet Jaylen, one of our School Age Child Care counselors who is helping facilitate our new full-day virtual learning program

“I have been working at the Y since 2017. A few of my friends went to camp until they aged out and I knew Katie from when I was in after care.”

Meet Morgan, one of our School Age Child Care counselors who is helping facilitate our new full-day virtual learning program

“I have worked at the Y for 4 years. I started with camp first. I went to Y camp and Y after care my whole life.”

Meet Miss Beth, one of our amazing teachers who is excited to teach Kindergarten this year

“I first was a substitute at Grand Street in August of 1992 and I joined the child care staff in May 1993. This was my job when I went to college. I always say, ‘the Y has always been what I needed it to be.’”

Meet Matt, one of our fantastic camp counselors who helped us provide our campers with a summer they’ll never forget

“I’ve been working here for five years. I started my senior year in high school. I wanted to work with kids and I thought this was the perfect job for me.”

Meet Tommy, one of our great camp counselors who feels like he found his place at the Y

“I’ve been working at the Y for three years now. I started in Discovery Camp and have worked camp every year since, and I’ve also helped out in the Wellness Center.”

Meet Maureen, one of our dedicated members who is happy to be back in the pool

“I joined the Fanwood-Scotch Plains Y 20 years ago to learn how to swim properly. Before COVID-19, I would swim four to five times a week and use the Wellness Center on the other days….

Meet Laryssa, one of our terrific Summer Camp counselors

“This is my fifth summer working here, but I’ve pretty much been a member since I was born.”

Meet Diane, one of our fantastic early childhood teachers

“I personally took ballet lessons at the Y’s Grand Street location when I was a child, and my children took swim lessons and gymnastics here growing up.”

Meet Lorrie, one of our dedicated Welcome Center Representatives

“I have been working here for 24 years. My husband was doing the lawn maintenance and snow plowing at the time. We were friends with the Membership Director, Joanne, and my husband came in and said my wife would like a job at the Y.”

Meet Casey, one of our Lifeguards, Deck Ambassadors and Health Screeners

“My Y story started when I was around 2 years old. I first came here to do parent and me swim lessons and then started regular swim lessons.”

Meet Elisa, John, Mara, Brenna and Luke, one of our awesome Summer Camp families

“We’ve been members of the Y for 9 years. We initially joined for swim lessons for our oldest daughter.”

Meet Miss Kourtni, our School Age Child Care and Camp Coordinator

“During my junior year in high school, I met the Director of Child Care for the YMCA at a school job fair. I applied for a 3-day position that was then held in the main Y building.”

Meet Kera, one of our terrific camp counselors who is looking forward to creating a great Summer Camp experience for our campers

“I have been working here for about 7 years. I needed a job and I emailed the Camp Director at the time. She hired me for Summer Camp and I also started working in the after school program during the year.”

Meet Katie, our School Age Child Care and Camp Director, who is excited to have the Best Summer Ever

“My journey here at the Fanwood-Scotch Plains YMCA started when I was 3 years old with parent-child swim lessons. My father would bring me every Saturday for classes.”

Meet Mary, Matt, Jack and Abby, members of our Y for almost 15 years who have become part of our Swim Team family

“We have been members of the Y since 2006. We joined when our son Jack was 6 months old and we wanted to sign him up for swim lessons. Water safety and teaching our kids how to swim was very important for us.”

Meet Bernadette, a member of our Y for over four decades who is staying connected by participating in our live classes and following our YouTube fitness videos

“I have been enjoying membership at the Fanwood-Scotch Plains YMCA for about 41 years. I joined to participate in activities that promote physical, emotional and mental health and to become acquainted with members of the community.”

Meet Kirsten, Antonio, Ant and William, one of our Y families who are staying connected and staying with us to help us reopen as strong as before

“We joined the Y in Spring 2010 after our first son, Ant, was born so we could participate in parent/child swim and gymnastics class.”

Meet Anne, one of our dedicated members who got healthy and fit in retirement and is looking forward to when our doors reopen

“I joined the Y in January of 2017. I was employed as a clinical social worker in a psychiatric inpatient unit, and was fortunate to be able to take early retirement.”

Meet Chris, our Director of Competitive Aquatics, who began his Y journey as a member of our Swim Team and now oversees the team of over 200 swimmers

“I started at the Fanwood-Scotch Plains YMCA in 1993 after joining the FSPY Swim Team. I started working as a lifeguard and swim instructor in 1997.”

Meet Zach, our Associate Aquatics Director, who was a Y kid turned Y professional

“My Y journey began with swim lessons run by my local Y when I was 9 years old. From there, I joined the Swim Team and stuck with it through grade school.”

Meet Donna, our Director of Healthy Living who is also a registered dietitian and in her role, leads many of our health management programs

“My Y story goes back a bit. Our family moved to New Jersey from Massachusetts in 1996 when my boys were 5 years old and 11 months old. My husband was working in the city and I was alone with the two boys. So, the first thing I did was seek out the YMCA!”

Meet Kathy, our Senior Director of Child Care Services who started her Y journey 30 years ago

“My story started when I was in college. I was taking an education course that required me to either volunteer or work at a school or child care center. I found myself at the Grand Street Y working as a teacher’s aide; 30 years later, here I am as a senior program director.”

Meet Jennifer, our Health and Wellness Director, who started as a member of our Y and discovered her love of group fitness

“I started part-time 10 years ago as an instructor teaching cycle. I was a member and had been taking another instructor’s class and she asked if I’d be interested in becoming an instructor myself.”

Meet Tracy, our associate executive director who started working at our Y 20 years ago as a lifeguard and swim instructor

After I graduated high school, I moved away and went to college. But I wasn’t 100% committed. I changed majors and decided it was best to take a break, figure out what I wanted to do and then go back.”

Meet Jennifer, our Director of Sports and Fine Arts, who enjoys giving back to the community in her role at the Y

“My Y journey started when we moved to Scotch Plains in 2004. My son attended the YMCA Child Care at Grand Street as an infant, and through the years, my kids took swim lessons, my…

Meet our CEO Kim, who began her Y career as a camp counselor and is now leading our Y through these challenging times

“I started at the Y in Union when I was 17 as a camp counselor. I had no intention of working for the Y as my career. When I graduated college, I decided to work for the Y one more summer and then find a ‘real job.’”

Meet Kawanzaa, one of our fantastic Spin instructors who was inspired to join the Y team after taking classes as a member

“I was at the Y as a member for at least 15 years before becoming a teacher. I learned to swim there as an adult, and my kids also learned to swim there.”

Meet Julie, a participant in our MS Land and Water Exercise Programs who enjoys the camaraderie and support the programs provide

“A doctor had suggested working out in the water to help ease the symptoms of my MS.”

Meet Talib, one of our newest Board Members who is passionate about the Y’s mission and enjoys helping others in our community

“I started coming here as a member five years ago. In 2015, before I moved to Scotch Plains, I knew I needed to be healthier. I had hypertension and was overweight and I had to do something about it.”

Meet Taj, one of our dedicated employees who started at FSPY as an intern and became the Sports Coordinator three years ago

“When I was in college, I majored in sports management and I was looking for an internship. I participated in a lot of sports growing up like football, basketball and track which led to my interest in sports management. I knew that the Y offered a lot of sports programs and applied for an internship.”

Meet Anne, our Administrative Assistant to the Chief Executive Officer who sees the impact our Y makes every day

“My twin sons were 15 months old and I thought I might like a little part-time job for a couple of hours a week. I worked in Child Watch, back then it was called Babysitting, for about 2 weeks and then was moved to the Front Desk.”

Meet Kristine, our Membership Engagement Director who has been with our Y for almost 2 years, but has been part of the Y family for 15 years

 “When I was little, I used to go to the Fanwood-Scotch Plains Y for Preschool and to take swim lessons.”

Meet Anthony, our new Facilities Director who has enjoyed his first month working for our YMCA

“I started working here in January and this is the first Y I’ve worked for. I used to belong to the Y in Union about 15 years ago and I always felt at home.”

Meet Alex, our marketing and communications intern who is learning about our Y over her winter break

“During the Fall semester, I was looking for internships related to my major. My university connected me to the YMCA with an internship in marketing/communications.”

Meet Samantha, one of our former Gymnastics Team members turned coaches

“I started taking gymnastics classes at the Grand Street building when I was very young and was invited to join the Gymnastics Team by the time I was 9 years old. I competed for the Fanwood-Scotch Plains YMCA Gymnastics Team for nine years, representing the team at Nationals several times.”

Meet Susan, one of our longtime members turned swim instructors who enjoys coming to the Y to exercise and socialize

“I joined about 18 years ago when my oldest was a baby. I was looking for a gym that offered babysitting so I could exercise. Over the years, the Y has provided my family with classes to meet our needs at every stage.”

Meet Eric, one of our dedicated members who was inspired by his family to lose weight and get healthy

“Two years ago, I was 43 years old and 398 pounds, that was my heaviest. I decided to undergo weight loss surgery, a lot because of my 8-year-old daughter Avery. I started thinking, how many 70-year-olds do you know who weigh 400 pounds? I didn’t know any.”

Meet Eunice, one of our senior members who learned to swim at our Y and realized you can achieve your goals at any age

“After I retired, I came to the Y to work out. Someone suggested to me that I try the pool. I saw the older women in it and wanted to try. At first, I didn’t think it was possible because of my age.”

Meet Maria, our great infant room teacher who doubles as our resident artist around the holidays

“I have been working here since 2014 and started at the old Grand Street location. I was looking for a new job after my old daycare closed, and the family I was nannying for told me that the Y was hiring.”

Meet Susan, one of our terrific FSPY employees who wears many hats, including finance administrator, swim instructor, water exercise instructor and Member Service representative

“I started here in September 2017 in the Aquatics Department. I was under a tremendous amount of stress in my life the year before and started taking water exercise classes to help alleviate some of my stress.”

Meet Sophia and Ari, two longtime Fanwood-Scotch Plains YMCA members turned employees who are thankful for the opportunities the Y has provided them

Sophia recalls: “Our Y story started a long time ago. Ari was born with Down Syndrome and I had a hard time even finding people to babysit for him. We had taken mommy and me swim lessons and when he got a little older, I wanted to continue with the swim lessons. Anywhere I went, the first response was always, ‘we don’t have a special program here.’

Meet Johan, our knowledgeable and helpful Aquatics Coordinator who especially enjoys teaching people about safety

“I came here as a lifeguard and swim instructor and now I’m the Aquatics Coordinator. My job is coordinating the Red Cross trainings for Lifeguarding and CPR for our staff, developing plans for pool safety, inservice trainings and helping to manage the pool chemicals.”

Meet Lacey, our knowledgeable Human Resources/Payroll Administrator who enjoys helping staff members on their YMCA journey

“I moved to the area in May 2017 and became a member of the Y. About a year later, I started working here as a substitute fitness instructor.”

Meet Darlene, a longtime Y member who decided to begin her fitness journey almost two decades ago

Never an “exerciser,” Darlene was pleasantly surprised by how good working out made her feel. “I never exercised, ever. I didn’t like to sweat. In the early 2000s when my kids were young, one day out of total curiosity, I decided to see if I could run a mile. I did it and then started running regularly.”

We Are Y Wednesdays: Meet Barbi, our friendly Child Watch Supervisor who also is a longtime member of our YMCA

“I have been working here since late August, but I’ve been a member for years. I first joined to get in shape. Our twins then joined the Swim Team and have been on it since they were 6 – they are now 15.”

Meet Jadie, one of our great lifeguards and swim instructors who also sits on our YMCA Event Planning Committee

“This is my fourth month working here. I grew up in Scotch Plains and grew up going to the Y when I was younger. I took gymnastics and swim lessons and my brother played basketball. The Y, to me, was always like the center of the community.”