La Porte Family YMCA: Ollie’s Story
The La Porte Family YMCA received a letter from one of their members, Victoria. The Y has had a great impact on Victoria and her family, and they would like to share her story with the community.
“I’ve been a member of the La Porte Family YMCA, off and on, since 1998. In the mid 2000’s, I began working there as a personal trainer and led multiple youth-oriented classes. Admittedly, during those early tenures, I never fully appreciated all the YMCA offered. For me to understand the Y’s role in building communities, I had to experience it through the eyes of a child.
Three years ago, my husband and I were looking for activities for our son, Ollie. After researching available programs, we decided on rejoining the La Porte Family YMCA. The day we signed up I remember being warmly welcomed by familiar faces. Ollie felt welcomed, too, and immediately began making friends.
Initially, Ollie took a tumbling class. He’d be giddy as he worked his way through the obstacle course while chatting with his friends. One day when leaving the Y, we walked over to the pool observation area and watched a swim lesson. Ollie let me know that he wanted to do that, he wanted to try to swim.
When Ollie hit the pool he was not what you’d call a natural. He looked like Wile E. Coyote running off a cliff. Literally, the little guy was moving in place. If he wasn’t flailing he was nonchalantly floating around. But, he loved it! Miss Pat always showed patience with Ollie and let him move along at his own pace. She encouraged parents to do the same. Ollie was allowed to grow and work at his own rate. As the sessions passed, and Ollie matured, things began to click. His swimming aides slowly disappeared. His dives became carefree. He grew to love swimming underwater. Ollie’s strength and confidence in the water soon matched his overall joy in the pool.
Ollie has always loved the social element of the Y. All of the staff members from the moment we walk in the door treat him like family. He knows everyone by name, and everyone takes the time to stop and chat with him. He is a friendly, compassionate, energetic, and joyful kid. All of those elements of his personality are nurtured at the Y. He’s been allowed to socially blossom while learning invaluable lessons about cooperation, and friendship.
The La Porte Family YMCA is our extended family. Ollie has taken classes from Basketball to T-Ball and everything in between. The lessons learned go well beyond the classes, and extend into everyday life. I am grateful that Ollie is growing up with such a strong network of friends behind him. People who are showing him how to be an integral member of society through lessons in friendship, teamwork, kindness, and compassion.”
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