Posted on: Saturday, December 30th, 2017
Meet Me At the Y. Where Lives are Enriched…
…lives like the Weihrauch Family. I spoke recently to Nancy about her family’s journey with the Hockomock Area YMCA.
Nancy and her husband Erick starting coming to the Hockomock Area YMCA when their daughter Emma was starting first grade 15 years ago. Emma was born with special needs and they needed a place for Emma to learn how to swim. Nancy explained, “The Integration Initiative was just starting at the Y and we understood that at the Y she would have an easier time in swim lessons.” Several years later the Integration program really took off. Erick would work out at the Y and Emma would be involved in many of the integration programs as it was one of the only spots that she could get recreational activities that Nancy and Erick were comfortable with. “There were very few places I could leave her and feel comfortable and the Y was definitely one of them. I would use that time to decompress. I would read, socialize, be on my phone, anything but workout,” Nancy explained.
Fast forward to last November. Erick saw a flyer for the Weigh to Change program. He pondered whether he should sign Nancy up for her birthday debating if she would want it or use it. She had recently told him that she was ‘happy with the way she was,’ but Erick did not think so. So he questioned his sister-in-law and asked if he should buy theatre tickets or sign her up for the Weigh to Change program for her birthday. She responded, “Did she ask for the program?”and the answer was of course, “no”. So, Nancy received theatre tickets for her birthday. Four days later however, much to Erick’s surprise, Nancy came home from the Y and announced that she had signed up for the Weigh to Change program! Nancy had seen the program when it was first advertised. She explained, “the 2nd time I saw the program advertised I regretted not signing up because I knew in my head, it was time. So the third time it was advertised I knew I was going to sign up before I even attended the information session.”
Nancy has lost a total of 57 pounds and 64 inches through the Y’s Weigh to Change program. She describes the program as “way more bang for my buck then I thought it was going to be.” The program addresses food and exercise at the same time, not just individually. “Two things that really matter: you have to want change and you have to show up. If you show up there’s no way the trainers or staff at the Hockomock Y will let you fail,” says Nancy. She explains further, “There’s something about the comradarie, about the people in the Weigh to Change group and taking the classes together. We share the same struggle. We have different stories, but the same struggle. There’s just a connection. I don’t know if it happens in every group, but it certainly happened in the group I was in, and we are all different ages. The support is incredible, very real, very genuine.”
I asked both Erick and Nancy about how the Y and the Weigh to Change program has changed them as a family. They both felt it brought their family closer together. Erick explained that they usually took a summer vacation but that this past year’s was very different. Instead of being based on the local restaurants and type of foods available, Nancy had stressed to Erick that she wanted an active vacation which was right up Erick’s alley, he really enjoyed hiking! So they planned a trip to Alaska and hiked a 4,000 foot dome in the Yukon. They also participated in a 5k race on the cruise and used the exercise room in every hotel. It was a very different vacation, one that they absolutely loved. Nancy explained “It’s not the weight or inches lost that have impacted me as much as the gift of being able to participate in my life now.”
Nancy and Erick explained further the value of the Y to their family. Erick pointed out, “The Y keeps coming up with creative ways to keep people engaged here. A friend of Emma’s works here [who has special needs]. The Y keeps trying to do more for everybody.” Nancy shared that she is a very private person, but she agreed to be interviewed by the Y because “anything I can do to help the Weigh to Change program and the Integration program. These are programs that are so critical for us. The fact that these programs exist for people is so important. I absolutely feel stronger, more confident, and happier.”