The C.W. Avery Family YMCA is celebrating its 15th Anniversary on Wallin Drive in 2021! To commemorate this milestone, we are sharing the Y story of one of our fantastic members each month. Today we shine the spotlight on John Ciesniewski. John joined the Y in February of 2006 with his wife Amy and their three sons, Jacob, Joshua, and Jonathan, and we are so excited to have him share some of his favorite memories from the last 15 years!
Q: What do you remember about joining the Y?
John: At that time the only thing I knew about working out was how to run. I would get up early and run, but in the winter it would be cold and awful. I heard that the Y was breaking ground and I just couldn’t wait for it to open. When it opened that February, I figured I’d hang up my running hat and figure out what I should actually do to work out. I started to meet people and they convinced me to go to classes.
Q: What has the Y helped you achieve over the last 15 years?
I have made some great friends here and you don’t do that running alone. Because I have been in classes, these people have become part of my life now. I didn’t set out to do that, but it’s what happened. I’ve also learned so much about fitness. It’s not just the exercise piece, but also my diet. When I joined the Y, I wouldn’t say I was overweight, but I was 200 pounds and probably shouldn’t have been 200 pounds. Now I’m at 180 pounds.”
Q: How has the Y impacted your family?
Kids Corner was a godsend for my wife and I and this is also where my kids learned how to swim. I took them to the pool every day. I remember telling them that if they could swim the whole length of the pool we’d go get Dairy Queen. We only have good memories here. My boys are older now, but they know how much fitness matters and they really are fitness-minded now. They take it seriously and I’m pretty sure they’ll be a part of a Y moving forward.
Q: Why do you continue to enjoy your Y experience?
It’s the people. A lot of us say that when we grow up we want to be like Gus and Diane Rousonelos. Everybody at the front desk knows your name and Shelly Interial in particular is the bright spot in the morning. Kevin Hir has been a huge inspiration as the boot camp instructor. (Executive Director) Lisa Behounek has also been a great friend and we have been so happy to see this place grow and become such an attraction and anchor for the people who live in this community.
Q: What should someone who is interested in joining know about the Y?
They are in for more than just trying to get into shape. They are going to grow physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally. It’s all four of those things. I have friends that are members of other fitness clubs and they don’t really talk about it. It’s just a place they go for an hour of their day. It’s not family like it is here. The Y becomes a fabric of your life.
We would like to thank John and his family for their incredible support over the last 15 years! At the Y, we look forward to making a positive impact on members of our community throughout 2021 and beyond!