Friends, Laughter and Early Morning Water Workouts

Being a YMCA Member is Very Good

Betty started in YMCA Water Fitness programs on and off again 20 years ago. She attended a 7pm class with her sister. They earned special notoriety for changing out of their swimsuits into their pjs before they left the Y for home. Since Betty retired 6 years ago, she bounces out bed, tucks a pink or white flower behind her ear and heads to the West Family YMCA for early morning classes 5 days a week. On Monday, Wednesday and Fridays, she takes the 7 a.m. Aqua Intervals followed by 8 a.m. Deep Water Jog. On Tuesday and Thursday, she joins friends for the 7:45 am Aqua Zumba class and finishes her workout by treading water for 1/2 an hour.

Betty works with an intensity that keeps her a youthful 65. She appreciates the health gains from her pool time: cardio benefits and the benefits for aching joints, bones and muscles. She says her loss of 43 pounds leaves her without a nagging back issue; she is now free of pain and pain medications. Without skipping a beat, she says also enjoys adding an extra element to the morning routines, clowning. She loves singing along with the oldies, changing up the words and adding a little extra laughter to the fun atmosphere in the pool. This includes shouting, Elvis has left the pool!” when his version of Hound Dog finishes playing off the instructor’s song list. Immediately, the class lights up with a collective smile and lots of chuckles. Betty says, “Eating healthy and moving are great for your body; laughter and friendship are equally important.” Rubber Ducky Day and any competitive sets energize her workouts even more…and make the classes more enjoyable. Betty, a middle child of 13, says class participants smile when they hear she was extremely shy until age 23 or 24. She says some in the class don’t know her by name but ask, “Where is the lady with the flower in her hair, ” when she is missing, like after a recent major surgery that kept her out of the pool for two months.

Betty feels her positive experiences at the YMCA of Broome are meant to be shared. So through her personal invitation, 12 of her friends and family members, including her husband, Rob, have joined! Many of those individuals signed up for family memberships as well, multiplying that number. blog-betty

Betty summed it up by saying, “I have met wonderful friends at the YMCA. I organized a group of about 10 of my new Y friends and my other Y friends to do lunch the second Thursday of the month. We take turns picking where to go. No matter where we go, by bus, car of boat (we have done all 3), we ALWAYS laugh! And that is a very good…

Being a Y member is a very good!”

Kindergarten Here We Come!

The YMCA of Broome Universal Pre-K Moving-Up Ceremony was held on Thursday, June 22, 2017. Parents, family members and friends filled chairs in the room the class used all year. The well-wishers watched, videoed and snapped pictures as each student walked through the red star doorway to the left of the stage, then strided, sashayed, skipped or strolled to reach the wooden bridge center stage. One by one the soon-to-be kindergartners stood tall, shook Ms. Courtney’s hand as she awarded each child a certificate of UPK completion and then he or she crossed the bridge to fill the rows of pint-size seats waiting on the other side.

Then the youngsters, Ms. Courtney and Mr. Erhen and their preschool teachers, Ms. Marijo and Ms. Janiece sang a couple of choruses officially announcing, “Kindergarten, here we come!” A video of the year followed, complete with excited bursts, “That’s AJ,” That’s Bella,” “That’s me,” “That’s me, again!” Photo credits at the end featured each of the 20 “stars” and his/her favorite memory of UPK. With a catch in her voice, one mom sighed. “I hope this gets easier by high school.”

Twins, Alexis and Alana’s mom, Jacylyn, gratefully recalled the girls’ UPK year at the YMCA as well as the rest of the time they spent at the YMCA Child Care Center. From birth until 3 1/2 years old, the girls were cared for by relatives. When that care was no longer available, their parent, Jaclyn and Daniel, searched for an affordable, dependable and nurturing option. The YMCA site offered the best fit for the girls. Jaclyn said the girls cried when they first came to the center. Then Jaclyn fondly pointed out Ms Marijo, the YMCA teacher who helped the girls adjust to the change. Soon the girls only cried when they COULDN’T come due to illness. Though no longer their teacher, Marijo sat right among class smiling and encouraging them from the sidelines. Jaclyn, Daniel and other relatives captured the Moving Up Ceremony with videos and pictures from almost every angle. Jaclyn expressed much appreciation for their positive experience at the YMCA Day Care Center. The girls are now ready for kindergarten at Thomas Jefferson Elementary this fall.

Another set of twins, Matthew and Leah, started in the YMCA Childcare Center by 8 weeks old. They move up to kindergarten in Union Endicott and YMCA School-Age Child Care. They are looking forward to an exciting summer in the YMCA of Broome Create-a-Camp 2017 Program.
UPK children must be 4 by December 1st and will enter Kindergarten the following year. A developmental learning approach which is combined with opportunities for self-expression along with many language and literacy based activities in classrooms taught by NYS certified teachers.
Participation is based upon school district application and requirements. We have additional classrooms for all other school districts who are looking for full or part time care. Classes are held September through June with care before and after the program available.

The Y of Broome County
Childcare Center
61 Susquehanna St.
Binghamton, NY 13901
607-772-0560 Ext. 236

For more information about the YMCA Child Care center please visit:


Picture Perfect Day for 87 Golfers in 2017 YMCA of Broome County’s Golf Tournament

87 golfers turned out for the 13th annual YMCA Golf Tournament held on the picture-perfect first Friday of June at Traditions Golf Course in Johnson City. One, three person team who played in nearly every tournament since it began, were among the first players to load their clubs in their cart. Two were long-time YMCA members and the other a YMCA employee. The trio discussed Mulligans and other strategies as they prepared to hit the greens. They looked forward to spending the day together and supporting th YMCA at the same time.IMG_1134

A foursome arrived at their cart as newbies to the event. In fact Wayne, one of the team members had never golfed! Wayne said his childhood friend, Andy, was returning for a hometown visit from San Diego. Andy checked for local events scheduled during his stay and discovered the YMCA Golf Tournament. He generously covered the fees for everyone on the team, Wayne, Wayne’s dad and another longtime friend.They arrived back from the course in good spirits around 6pm, anxious for the dinner buffet waiting in the food tent. Before he joined the others, Wayne smiled as he chatted about the experience and fondly recalled playing youth sports at the YMCA.

The YMCA of Broome County appreciates the generous support of the 2017 YMCA Golf Tournament by the Title Sponsors: Postler & Jaeckle Corp Mechanical Contractors and Walsh & Son Construction, Cart Sponsors: Mirabito Energy Products, the volunteers and other sponsors…and the 22 teams. This fun event and charitable effort will make a sizable impact on our community through the YMCA Strong Kids Campaign.

YMCA Swim Instructor, Bryan, Teaches 2 Year Old Pool/Water Safety Skills

I say “walk”; she runs. I say “stop”; she goes. As a mother of a strong-willed, fearless 2 year old, I worried about opening our pool this year. I put child-proof door knobs on each door, gated the porch on the way to the deck, gated the deck on the way to the pool, and draped a pool alarm across the water. Overkill? Maybe. But how safe is “too safe?”

Siena spent the summer before her 1st and 2nd birthdays swimming with a puddle jumper flotation device in our pool. This swim aid allowed her to feel at ease in the water. In fact she swam so confidently, she had absolutely no concept that if she jumped in without one, she would most definitely sink. Since Siena operates in strong-will mode most of the time around me, I knew I needed to find someone else to teach her to swim without it.

I enrolled her in a 2 year old group swim lesson at the West Family YMCA. On the first day, I jumped in with her, full of optimism and excitement. The initial instruction, “Parents, lift your children up onto the side of the pool and help them jump into the water to you,” seemed easy enough. I watched as each “compliant baby” jumped in and cuddled tightly to mommy’s or daddy’s neck. Cue Siena’s turn. She jumped in…and swam away. I retrieved her from the preschool class area where she was trying to make friends. Then the instructor handed her a basket of toys and told her to take two. She took them all, climbed out of the pool and ran across the deck. I got her back “under control,” and ducked into the locker room clutching her in my arms, desperately trying to come up yet another plan.

I met with Patti Scotto, the Aquatics Director. After listening to my concerns and weighing the options, we settled on finding her a private teacher, even though she was a little young for this program. A swim instructor named Bryan agreed to take her on, even though I warned him it might not be an easy feat. The first day he walked over to where Siena waited on deck, then kindly asked her to follow him to the water. She walked slowly behind him, in the completely controlled manner he modeled. She followed each of his instructions: “Carefully walk around the pool”, “Sit on the edge and wait for instructions”, “Jump in”, “Kick and stop; kick and stop,” It was as if someone had taken my child, replaced her with an exact replica, only this one followed directions.

In just 3 lessons, Siena was swimming without a float. Now, I won’t remove my Fort Knox Security System around our pool; but I also won’t be calling 911 anymore when I’m out and my husband doesn’t answer the phone. Siena still has lots to learn: holding the railing going down the steps into the water, not running around the pool to retrieve toys from the skimmer, not jumping directly onto her mommy in the deep end. My goodness! This parenting stuff is exhausting!
The YMCA, and specifically, Bryan, have been a godsend in helping Siena develop listening skills, teaching safe habits around the pool, weaning Siena off the security of her flotation device…and giving her mommy and daddy some peace of mind. Thank you, Bryan.

The YMCA of Broome County offers a variety of options to promote water safety and teach children to swim. Summer is a great time to learn these skills!
Safety Around Water Program
Date: June 20-June 23, 2017
Time: 4:00-5:00pm, Tuesday-Friday
Location: Binghamton Y
Price: Free

There are a variety of Summer Swim Lesson options this year. Both the Binghamton and the West Family Y offer 1 or 2 Day/week options. There are also Off-site Options. Please check the YMCA of Broome County Website or contact:
Patty Scotto 607 770-9622
Aquatics Director

YMCA Aquatic Employment Prepares Sam for Campus Life and Success

Though Sam started as a YMCA Aquatics Staffer 4 years ago, she first experienced the YMCA as a child in youth swim lessons. This positive exposure to YMCA programs led her to become a youth volunteer at age fourteen and anxiously await her 16th birthday so she could be hired to teach youth swim lessons. Sam said, “I love working with children and hope to continue to do so after I graduate from college.”

Sam also took lifeguard training and has guarded ever since. Two years ago, she shadowed veteran water fitness instructors and then taught a Deep Water class on Tuesday mornings for a few months. Last summer she accepted the position offered to her for supervising Saturday YMCA morning swim lessons.

Sam says, “I am the type of person to take on everything life offers because I want to gain as many experiences as possible. I currently attend Binghamton University and carry 18 credits. I also belong to three campus clubs. In addition, I am a teacher’s assistant (TA) for an English class and hold two internships. On top of all of that, I work three part-time jobs. The YMCA has been so understanding and allowed me a very flexible schedule. While in school, my only consistent hours were 9-12 on Saturday and any sub shifts I could manage in my “spare” time.”
Blog-Sam lifeguard
The leadership skills Sam gained at the YMCA prepared for her campus life. Sam said “Learning how to work with pool patrons and staff by taking a step back and being fair-minded carried into all of my activities and roles at SUNY Broome. Last year, I served as a senator in the student assembly, where I was a voice for students. This position helped create a stronger sense of community. I also served as the sole student representative on the International Student Advisory Committee as part of my internship with LINGONET (a campus club that paired American students with international students to bridge cultural gaps and advocate for international students)” Sam added, “My experiences have landed me some really amazing opportunities, including being selected to give SUNY Broome’s commencement speech at graduation last year.

Working at the YMCA has shaped me into the leader that I am today. I so appreciative the Saturday staff. Without the great lifeguards and swim instructors, Saturday swim lessons would not run smoothly. My goal is to make sure the staff feels their work matters. I commit to small act of kindness: helping swim down a lane line, saying hi to the lifeguard or just telling someone they are doing a great job. I PROMISE it makes a huge difference!”

Sam said the best part about the YMCA is that I have made many friends and it makes work really fun. I also love working at a place that touches so many lives. Knowing I am making a difference for someone, no matter how small, is the most rewarding feeling in the world.

YMCA Membership Helps Val With Congenital Hip Condition

My name is Val. I was born with a congenital hip condition. Since the balls of my femurs were not completely formed, they fit loosely in the socket causing subluxation, an incomplete or partial dislocation of the hip. My doctor discovered the subluxation when I started to walk. So specialists formulated a treatment plan that put me in traction for a month. After I completed that phase, I was in and out of body casts to try and set the bones until I was 4 years old. The plan seemed pretty successful. I really did not experience any additional problems that I could not manage until I got in my teens. Then, I knew I would eventually face more surgery, which I was able to hold off until I was in my 30’s!

I went through two successful left hip replacements over the years, but bone deterioration and infections in my right side made the same procedure impossible in my other hip. So now my right femur essentially rests in pocket of scar tissue, which means I now walk with no hip on the right side of my body. I compensate with a 1 ½ inch build up on the outside of my shoe.

After the last two surgeries, I was laid up for quite a while. I knew I needed an exercise program to keep my muscles from atrophying. I found a water fitness program that I really liked but unfortunately it ended. I set out to find another water fitness program. I noticed that the YMCA of Broome offered a free week trial in Jan 2017. So my friend, Cindy, and I visited and tried all the water fitness programs. Although they were different than what we were used to, we were embraced by the YMCA community and decided to join.
Since joining the YMCA I have noticed a vast improvements in my stamina. My core is stronger and I am now able to walk short distances without my arm crutches. I try to attend 5 days a week In addition to the various water classes,(Deep Water Intervals, Deep Water Jog, Shallow Water Intervals, Aqua Zumba and some water body toning classes), I also incorporated the fitness center with weight training two of the 5 days.

The support I have received from the YMCA staff and members has been wonderful.
I am looking forward to moving on with obtaining my weight loss goals in the coming months and moving on to the next chapter of my life.

Joints in Motion: A Chair Class to Increase Strength and Flexibility

Joints in Motion meets at 1 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday in the Group Ex Room at West. It is designed to make daily tasks easier through strength and flexibility exercises that are accomplished while seated in a chair. Several of the 17 in attendance on May 17th shared how the class has improved their functional fitness. One woman coming since this winter, said her balance and hand weight-lifting ability improved; another mentioned how the class helped her stay mobile and healthy. One member said she participated in water fitness classes for more than a decade ago. She started Joints in Motion, at the suggestion of her instructor, Sue, after double knee replacement several years ago. Now, her wellness routine includes both Joints in Motion 3 days a week, with Sue as her instructor, and water fitness 5 days a week. IMG_0319
The members expressed warm appreciation for Sue. Her instructional approach ensured the class ran smoothly from start to finish. The members assisted in setting up chairs and getting their equipment (2 small hand-weights and an exercise stretch band) before class. Participants gave kind consideration for the needs of fellow class members. Those limited by sight or hearing sat nearer to the instuctor; those with ambulatory limits positioned themselves nearer to the exit. Sue began teaching with a clear, soothing voice and step by step instructions. She demonstrated each movement with easy to follow visual cues. The class progressed through a series of sets of exercises that started with a gentle warm up. Each joint was taken through the participants’ full range of motion. Individuals remained seated for some sets; they stood by their chair for others, using a hand on the chair back as needed for stability. Sue alternate between joints as she taught. She offered brief rests to recover as she completed a series or switched to a different mode. She also employed weights and bands to enhance the resistance. She encouraged each person to engage in the movements based on their level of ability. For example, on occasion Sue gave the option to remain in one’s chair, if stability would be compromised. Sue kept a nice rhythm and intensity through the class…just enough to work the entire body without taxing any area.
After class, others offered comments. One woman said she suffered from a pain in her neck for years. In the 2 years since she started attending, her pain and numbness have reduced to minimal levels. Another participant cited an interesting benefit: brain challenges. She said Sue occasionally throws in some combinations that challenge her mind-body connections. A newer member appreciated the friendships formed and looked forward to the informal gatherings at Wegman’s following class. She said these impromptu events meet social needs of this population, many of whom are widowed and/or living alone.

The class is best summed up in 8 words of a member, “I feel so good when I go home!”


YMCA of Broome County member and Vietnam Veteran, Steve, recently took some time to share his thoughts on Memorial Day, formerly known as Decoration Day, when the graves of soldiers lost in war were “decorated” with flags and flowers.

Memorial Day has meant different things to me over the years. When I was a youngster it was called Decoration Day. I wove red, white and blue crepe paper through the spokes of my bike. Then, I rode it in our small town’s Decoration Day Parade to remember all those who gave their lives in defense of our great country. Later we gathered for a BBQ. When I was in high school, I played taps on my trumpet after the local American Legion rifle squad fired a 21 gun salute to honor the our lost heroes. The real human toll hit me while I served in Vietnam. On occasion, I was flown into some tight spots to play taps after a battle resulted in the death of one of our soldiers. My trumpet was the lone tribute; volleys of a rifle squad might have reengaged the enemy.
Steve @ Vietnam Statue
I left for Vietnam right around my birthday in 1967. I was assigned to the 1st Infantry Division Headquarters Support Command, just north of Saigon. Our unit’s responsibilities included: recon, patrol and pacification. I traveled on land, sea and air in the Mekong Delta at all times of day and night. Our South Korean allies had a post adjacent to ours; we met once in awhile to get acquainted. I finished my tour of duty around my birthday in 1968. Unlike several of my classmates, I returned home. They paid the ultimate price.The loss of their lives is understood most by us who fought beside them. Their great sacrifice must never be forgotten, and especially recalled on Memorial Day!
Many years passed since my time in the service. I lived life long enough to earn my retirement and spare time. Then, 4 years ago, my brother and YMCA of Broome member, got me interested in the “Y”.

I have been a Y member ever since. I usually visit 6 days a week and generally use the treadmill and upper body equipment in the Wellness Center. The workouts help me be more physically fit and lose a little weight, which is good. I also enjoy having coffee in the lobby with other YMCA members after our workouts. It is a great way to cool down and meet people. We engage in lively conversations….our favorite discussions center on solving the world’s problems.

Emily: YMCA Member, Community Volunteer and Special Olympian Athlete

Emily celebrates her 22nd birthday on May 12th and works out at the West Family YMCA 4 days a week. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, she enjoys joining the Rusty Hinges water fitness class. She devotes the rest of her time to the Wellness Center. She allots about 20-40 minutes to counting her steps on the treadmill. Then she moves over for circuit training on the weight machines. Emily finishes the entire hour routine strong. After the workout, Emily and Jen, her direct support professional, pull up some chairs at their favorite table in the lobby to chill out and play a few hands of cards. Emily’s eyes twinkle when she rates her time on the treadmill with a “thumbs down” and then flashes a “thumbs up” for the card games. She holds a near perfect record of wins against Jen. This dynamic duo enjoy every minute they spend at the YMCA. IMG_0207

Since coming to the YMCA about 6 months ago, Emily commited to another wellness choice, cutting back on soda and pizza, her favorite food. She takes a cooking class in Owego to experience different food options and develop her culinary skills.The YMCA is just a part of the busy monthly schedule Emily tracks in her neatly organized folder. She works Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Boy’s and Girl’s Club in Binghamton. Her list of duties include organization of equipment and assisting the children with storing their coats and belongings. She trains on a Vestal swim team Wednesday afternoons. She participates in Special Olympics as a volunteer and an athlete. She recently helped Jen, who serves as a coach for Vestal and a Volunteer Coordinator, sort their green team shirts for the Broome/Tioga Spring Special Olympics. The Saturday, May 6th Competition, held at Chenango Valley High School, hosted over 500 athletes. Emily’s YMCA training helped her to compete in the Softball Throw, 50 Meter Run and a 4 Person Relay that day. She placed 4th in the Softball Throw and 3rd and 4th in 2 relays. Emily also proudly sings the National Anthem for Special Olympic Events and perfoms for the community in Talking Hands, a sign-language group. They recently made the day for residents of a local nursing home with their skills. Emily one other appointment included in her monthly schedule is a meeting with her job coach, a teacher in a local school. Plus, the coach enlists Emily’s enthusiatic aid in end of the school events for her students.

The YMCA of Broome considers it a privilege to serve as wellness partner with this delightful young woman, who gives so much back to our community. IMG_0208

Christie’s Story: Taking Care of Business Includes Taking Care of Myself

Christie and her good friend and neighboring retailer, Casey, relished a 10 minute cool down and chat after their YMCA water fitness class. The two juggled multiple work, home and family responsibilities. Casey summed up the unique scheduling crunch they faced as women owning/operating small businesses, “We take care of everything and everyone…but ourselves.” Then Christie scrambled out of the pool for a job-related appointment.

Nine months earlier, Casey invited Christie to “to find time for herself” and give the YMCA of Broome a try on the first visit free promotion. In addition to her regular roles, Christie and a team of other women shared the heartbreaking care of a friend in the final stages of cancer. Watching how the stress took a toll on her friend, Casey hoped Christie could experience the wellness benefits she gained in deep water fitness workouts since joining the YMCA the previous year after a tough time in her life.

Christie enjoyed the class from the first day. “What a relief to exercise in a judgement-free environment!” Contrary to some of Christie’s prior experiences, she soon noted every size, shape and ability were welcomed into YMCA workouts. She connected quickly with the members and instructor. She enjoyed their support and camaraderie, as well as the instructor’s encouragement. She found the class routine fun, challenging, but not intimidating.

Christie reports her wellness improvements include more energy for her work schedule and more enthusiasm for living! She also set a goal to work out at the YMCA at least once a week.