When you join the Y, you’re not just joining a gym. In addition to helping members stay healthy, the Y provides opportunities to find a greater sense of community. This is true for individuals like Galowich Family YMCA member and volunteer Carl Smith. Carl is a regular friendly face in the Y’s fitness center, and his passion for the Y can be seen through his volunteer leadership on the YMCA Board of Directors and Galowich Family YMCA Advisory Council. You can learn more about Carl in the Q&A below:
Q: Why did you join the Y?
Carl: I grew up in Channahon and I started coming to the Galowich Family YMCA when it first opened. My friends and I would come to the Y a few nights a week to play basketball. Then, about 13 or 14 years ago, I moved back to the area with my family and we joined on a family membership.
Q: How has the Y impacted your life?
Carl: The best thing for me in terms of personal growth has been the change to my health that I’ve been able to sustain. I hit a high-water mark of 212 pounds, which was not good for a guy of my height. I kept coming to the fitness center and I would do work on the track. I got down to 182 pounds. When I’m here, I like to do a lot of the things I remember from the fitness training I did when I was in the military, things like chin-ups and leg raises. It’s rewarding now to hear people say I don’t look my age.
Q: Why were you interested in becoming a volunteer board member?
Carl: Years ago, I became good friends with Fred Wells. Fred is a great guy and he was a member of the Galowich Advisory Council. He would always ask for feedback and one day he said ‘Is anyone interested in helping our Y move forward and improve?’ When I said ‘yes’, he actually invited me to one of the council meetings. I enjoyed it, and I ended up being able to join the council. A couple years after that, I was approached about joining the Board of Directors. It’s interesting because for a long time I didn’t know all of the things the Y did in the community. Now I wear the Y on my sleeve. I’m very proud of the Y.
Q: What do you think is the most important way the Y impacts the community?
Carl: YMCA programs are great for the entire family and, as a parent, that has always been important to me. At the Y, kids are safe, they’re respected, and they are going to learn. That’s what the Y has given to our communities and that’s why I enjoy being involved with the Y.
Q: Why are you excited about the future of the Y?
Carl: I’m a member of the Facilities Committee, which I absolutely love, and this is an exciting time to be a part of this organization. The Morris Hospital YMCA is coming online, and I’ve been so impressed with the work President and CEO Katy Leclair and Chief Operating Officer Missy Durkin have done to get us ready for this project. I can’t wait to see construction begin on that building.
Q: Do you have any advice for those interested in joining the Y?
Carl: For every person who walks through the door, the Y has a way to help. So don’t be afraid to ask questions. The staff here at the Y are just like you, they know what you’re going through, and they can help you find what you need.
We are so proud to have Carl in our YMCA community and thank him for his enthusiasm, leadership, and continued support.
If you are looking to start your Y journey, there is no better time to join than during our extended New Year’s Membership Sale. Join by February 6 and you’ll pay a $0 Joiner’s Fee, a savings of up to $120!