Curiosity got the best of long-time YMCA member, Norma after receiving a birthday letter last year from the YMCA of Broome Count offering discounts on fee-based activities. The gregarious retiree joined the YMCA in April 2001. For years, she found a comfortable niche in the Rusty Hinges class, lap swimming and Wellness Center work-outs. The letter piqued her interest and sense of adventure. So, she spoke with YMCA Membership Director, Karen Berman about the options. She hoped to find something different and fun to change her routine. One choice really stood out, Adult Archery. Not only did Norma settle on the Monday evening Adult Archery last spring, she also convinced Karen and her husband to join the session as well!
Norma and Karen struck up a friendship that enhanced their YMCA and community connections during the weekly Archery classes. When planning for the very popular Trunk or Treat Community event, Karen knew she could count on Norma. The former school secretary and mother to 5 grown children, missed her “kids. She welcomed this opportunity to decorate her trunk and hand out candy to the costumed youngsters. She said the endless stream of families who turned out surprised and delighted her. She was trilled her candy lasted through the last trick-or-treater.
On Thursday, February 16th, the West Family YMCA held a Member’s Social. Karen Berman enlisted Norma’s help again with planning and set-up. Norma’s warmth and hospitality (which included a delicious homemade snack mix) helped the team create a welcoming atmosphere that morning. The event drew a mix: members and staff, veteran and new members, ages mid-thirties to decades-long retirees. If conversation, smiles and laughter measured outcome, the hour and a half was a hit. The lasting success will be determined by the connections made after members shared their YMCA stories. As the strangers engaged, each experienced a genuine sense of belonging. They left with feeling of community and friendship.
Norma said she finds life so much more rewarding through her volunteer efforts. She has contributed years office work and help to the Lourdes Hospital Diabetes program. She knows the toll of diabetes; she lost her husband to failing health brought on by his diabetes. She started coming to the YMCA the month after he passed away in 2001. Her children and grandchildren followed her example; they value opportunities to give back!
The YMCA of Broome County is very grateful for Norma and all the other volunteers who find their own special way to contribute to the YMCA. Every hour of effort enhances our efforts to strengthen and build our community.
Contact our staff if you would like to help the YMCA. There are so many ways to assist!!!