The YMCA's Common Thread

By Meridith Ingram & Tom Dott

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There's a cluster of 4 men, cracking jokes and laughing about something having to do with old pranks, as they all keep one eye on the game playing on the flat screens. As I walk in the door warm smiles and waves greet me with a resounding "Hey Meridith!" from the guys, who immediately return to their antics. It's like a scene from the old TV show "Cheers" (where "everybody knows your name"), but unlike Cheers, there are no beer kegs and no bar snacks at this joint. No, I just walked into my local YMCA, and in all fairness to my buddies leaning against the machines, it should also be revealed that they DO get a pretty good workout (in between innings).

The YMCA in West Barnstable is home to many different circles of communities, as well as some pretty colorful programs, and I consider the common thread they all share as I walk by our Livestrong group, a weekly meeting of cancer survivors, all brought together to not only improve their health and wellness, but equally important to support one another.

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With over 70 hours of group exercise classes available it's difficult to pick a favorite, but the 10:45am Zumba class always gets everyone grinning, dancing and breaking a joyful sweat, no matter what the individual fitness level!  If you hear loud laughter and really fun music in the downstairs hallway it's probably the Pedaling for Parkinson's class. "P4P" participants  are faced with tremendous challenges, but for 3 hours a week they cycle, sweat and whoop it up along side supportive classmates and passionate instructors. Often times, before or after a class, members head to the pool which is always bustling with activity with kid’s lessons, adults getting their laps in, or splish-splashing to a lively aqua aerobics class.

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As summer 2018 gears up the YMCA registers hundreds of kids for camp, many of which are fed by the Y's Food Service Department, receiving delicious lunches that might have otherwise not been so easy to come by. That's what's going on right now, and that's what has me thinking about that "common thread" that weaves through every Y program. It's a thread that starts at the most important place in the YMCA---the front desk. It's that feeling you get when you come in from life and are greeted by a familiar face and a warm smile. You don't have to drive to a bar in Boston to feel like everyone knows your name. Here you are part of the YMCA family, with a membership that comes wrapped in a feeling of community, camaraderie and friendships...and who knows? You just might get in a work out while you're here!

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The YMCA’s mission is to put Christian principles into practice through programs that build a healthy spirit, mind, and body for all. Visit YMCA in West Barnstable to learn more. http://ymcacapecod.org/