Bloomington-Normal YMCA


Published 04.10.18

        The aroma of brewing, delicious, hot coffee fills the air as you walk into the lobby of the YMCA. Conversations about day-to-day happenings between members and staff echo throughout the entry. Mornings like this are common here at the Y; however, our members are one of a kind. One particular member that is often seen participating in the morning coffee chatter is Pat Williams. Like all of our members, Pat brings a unique and refreshing perspective to what makes up the Y community. He knows most by name and at least one interesting fact about them. Crossing paths with Pat is a guaranteed way to spice up your morning.

            After his morning cup of coffee, he finds his way to the pool to swim for one hour. Pat has been an active member at the Bloomington-Normal YMCA for the past four years, visiting seven days a week. Although he has the same routine every morning, each day is different for him. Here at the Y, there are various opportunities to cultivate relationships with members and staff creating a new experience with each and every visit. Coffee talk with the Y family is not like having a cup of coffee at a diner. The conversations are genuine and welcoming; anyone could jump in if they wanted too. The Y provides a chance for the community to get to know each other by offering a place where everyone is equal.

            One particular component that makes Pat proudest to be a member is how grounded everyone is. He has had conversations with individuals from all different socioeconomic backgrounds, never concerned about the status of that individual because the Y is for all.  Being a member at the Y means being part of a community that is here to build you up and have a positive impact on your wellness journey. We are all here to strengthen our community and move forward to deliver that message not only to our Y family, but also to the Bloomington-Normal community. Every gift to the YMCA’s Strong Kids Campaign results in a family or child receiving program or membership assistance, helping them become involved when they may not be able to afford to participate on their own.  Nothing makes Pat more proud to be a part of this mission driven organization.

            Part of the YMCA’s purpose is to enhance the quality of life for everyone. Pat was never lost without the Y, but after he started making a habit out of coming to the Y every morning, his days started to change. When he left the YMCA parking lot, he was free. The opportunities were endless. He started to have an open mind on where the road could take him. Mentally, he started to have a clear vision of who he was and what possibilities were open to him. Exercise is not just about exercising the body; it also develops a healthy spirit, mind and body. Pat often says, “Swimming makes me feel good, it doesn’t just make me look good.”

            The atmosphere at the Y is not designed with the actual architecture of the building itself, it is members like Pat that create an environment that is home. We are all strangers when we first enter the YMCA. Nevertheless, it is the members and staff that construct such a caring, honest and hopeful setting that allow new members to feel that they are a part of the Y family. With the commitment to nurture the potential of all and the promise to create a home that allows chance for growth, together we create the YMCA.



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