As a teenager, Melissa Parker volunteered at the Y as a junior camp counselor and helped out with youth basketball games, keeping score and running the clocks. Nowadays, she (officially) works at the Smith Family YMCA, where she’s one of the first faces you see when you step through the door. Although Melissa mainly works at the membership desk, in the past she has worked as a camp counselor and offsite coordinator for the Central City YMCA. All in all, Melissa is a dedicated, enthusiastic Y staff member, who is truly a joy to be around. Check out our Q&A below!
The Y: Were you in any Y programs growing up?
Melissa Parker: I participated in cheerleading in fourth and fifth grade and I was actually a part of the first Teen Achievers class. The very first year—it was kind of like an ‘experiment.’
Wow, that’s super cool.
I actually chaperoned a trip for them last year. I loved it. Those kids are amazing. It was fun. It was a pretty cool trip. We visited between seven and nine colleges. I was grateful for the experience. I was glad to be a part of their learning experience.
What about nowadays? Do you use the facilities at the Y?
My family and I come to work out every morning. My parents get in the water. My sisters and I will go back in the gym and work out. We get up at like 6:30 a.m. It’s rough, but we make it! Five days a week.
If you’re not at the Y, what are you up to?
Church. That’s it. I go from work to church to home. That’s kind of like my life. Church and the Y.
Excellent. What’s your most memorable Y Story?
A story that I’ll keep with me is a story of one of my campers. He started when he was six. He had been with me for like seven years. He had some self-esteem issues and there were certain things we could never get him to do. We’d try to push him every year! There was an ice skating trip during my last year as an offsite coordinator and I asked him to go around the rink just one time. So he put his ice skates on and we went around half way and he was like “Okay I need to go back.” I said “You can’t, you might as well finish! You’re half way there!” So he finished it and I was so proud. I said “You did it! That’s all you had to do!” He was happy with himself. He stopped saying “I can’t” and he actually did it. It was a boost of confidence for him. This is why I do this—to see these kids’ faces. To see their reactions. To try to get them to just try something new. It was an achievement for the Y. It was an achievement for me. It was especially an achievement for him, which is what’s most important. I was happy for him. To this day I am.