BENEFITING: YMCA OF CENTRAL AND NORTHERN WESTCHESTER INC
ORGANIZER: YMCA OF CENTRAL AND NORTHERN WESTCHESTER INC
EVENT DATE: Aug 16, 2013
On 08/16/13 I will be setting out on my own from Biarritz, France to undertake the 500 mile journey to Santiago de Compostela, a 1000 year old Heritage Trail (aka The Camino de Santiago), in Northern Spain. I will then be joined by 8 other caminoers on the 373 mile mark to complete the journey that will help raise funds and awareness for a good cause.
I will start by crossing the border over the Pyrenees Mountain Range from the South of France to Spain, and then continue the trek across the Spanish countryside, one foot in front of the other, to do some soul searching and to reflect on how far I've come in my fitness career and in my life, in big part because of the YMCA.
The YMCA Strong Kids Campaign provides financial assistance to children, teens and families in need. In 2013, over $140,000 will be raised enabling children to attend camp, after-school and pre-school as well as providing assistance so individuals can participate in programs and membership.
As a member of the YMCA back when I was 18 years old, the YMCA staff saw the potential in me in becoming a fitness expert. I was at that time working two jobs and paying my way through college, attending NYU for business. Who would have thought that an 18 year old girl, coming through the YMCA doors wearing a cheap business suit, had the potential in a career or second career in fitness?
With college tuition bills piling up, and working two jobs, I didn't have the discretionary funds to easily pay for a YMCA gym membership. The YMCA staff gave me the opportunity to go to the gym for free, with the mutual understanding that I try to attend a basic fitness certification that they will sponsor. I took them up on their offer, figuring that I have nothing to lose. From that day forward, I was hooked. It was an epiphany.
Attending the basic certification was just the beginning. The YMCA provided me with a nurturing setting to implement my newly learned skills. I taught my first YMCA aerobics class, very nervous and very intimidated. I taught in a class that was attended by very non-judgemental members that encouraged me, and was mentored by YMCA staff that believed in me and gave me constructive feedback. Years later I realized that this would not have been possible in the major fitness chains. I would have been eaten alive by their members and immediately fired just from being an awkward and inexperienced instructor/trainer!
In two years and six fitness trainings later, all sponsored by the YMCA, I became a more knowledgeable and confident fitness professional. The timing could not have been any better. I found a third means to help pay for college, teaching for the YMCA and other NY gyms. I got free gym memberships in the places that I taught, and the YMCA continued to sponsor my trainings to further my development as a fitness professional.
Dear friends and family, as you can see, I have a lot to give back to the YMCA. This organization has positively impacted my life and since then, I've positively impacted other people's lives. It's not just that they give financial assistance to underprivileged members of the community, but that they also help these people learn and grow in spirit, mind and body. By bringing fitness into my life, I've transformed myself from a money hungry, stressed out, selfish, overweight, business student to a much more well-rounded person with a healthier outlook in life who wants to impact people's lives for the better. My business and fitness background from that point on in my life has become a vehicle for positive change.
The money that I'll be raising in this 500 mile pilgrimage will help children, teens and adults like myself become better people in many ways. You will be surprised how much of an impact a simple tax deductible donation can do to someone's life.
Thank you in advance for your generosity. Margie