The Rye Y Expands the Health and Fitness Vocabulary

The Village People have nothing on the Rye YMCA. As the national Y rebranded, 2,600 local Y’s have been redefining health and fitness. None more so than ours.  

Ythumb
Published March 8, 2012 8:45 PM
2 min read

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YthumbThe Village People have nothing on the Rye YMCA. As the national Y rebranded, 2,600 local Y’s have been redefining health and fitness. None more so than ours.

 


By Robin Jovanovich

 

 

The Village People have nothing on the Rye YMCA. As the national Y rebranded, 2,600 local Y’s have been redefining health and fitness. None more so than ours.

 

“We’re not just about exercise classes, but our roots — spirit, mind, body,” said Executive Director Gregg Howells.

 

bandoryeyIn 2011, the Rye Y added two big initiatives to its “playlist”: a chronic disease (diabetes) prevention program and LIVE STRONG, a national partnership to help people regain their lives after cancer. They also provided more scholarships, a grand total of $450,000 for summer camp and membership.

 

Mr. Howells said, “In this economy we’ve had an influx of requests for financial aid. We don’t define ourselves as a health club; we’re a community organization and the community has needed our help.”

 

As one of the biggest community boosters, the Y has done a lot of meaningful work in recent times through Activate America, Complete Streets, the School Gardens project. Their sports staff is on nine different school playgrounds. “We keep kids moving!” said Howells.

 

The Rye Y is approaching its centennial. Howells said a small committee is already at work planning how to celebrate that important milestone. Meanwhile, later this month they’re hosting their March Madness fundraiser at Manursing to kick off the 2012 Strong Kids Campaign. Many in the community and beyond are already training hard for the Rye Derby in April. And Howells is happy to report that summer camp enrollments are tracking ahead of last year.

 

The Rye Y is one of 25 Y’s nationwide eligible to apply for a Community Transformation Grant. The goal of the two-year program is to provide health equity, expanding opportunities for African-American and Hispanic populations. The RFP is due out shortly, and Howells said, if given the opportunity he’d love to partner with Open Door and the Carver Center to make more of the Y’s programs available to Port Chester’s Hispanic community.

 

Gregg Howells points to all the good things that have germinated in his 15 years as director. Class offerings have grown at a remarkable pace. Small fitness training groups have sprouted as many are finding success in their goals when they work out with a buddy or two.

 

If Howells has one special goal, “it’s to fund all the scholarships we can.”

 

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