I’m a transplant to the Olean area; a big-city girl from Boston, MA. 🙂 I wasn’t quite sure what I had gotten myself into when I first moved here with three small children six years ago. My husband was traveling a lot and I was instantly lonely and overwhelmed. What would we do all day? Where would we go? How would we meet people? As the first few weeks passed and the house full of boxes started to become a home, I still felt isolated. I knew I had to do something about it. I looked around for options and the one that seemed the most promising was the YMCA. I was planning to get a job and would need childcare. Y Care came highly recommended – check. I needed to find a place to run as the winter approached, nice indoor track – check. With a place to drop the kids to be supervised while I ran??? – BONUS! Swimming lessons for the kids – check. A place to meet new people – check. A beautiful, well-run, clean facility and friendly staff – check, check. Okay, you get the picture. So I signed up for a family membership in our second month in WNY. And boy, did the Y deliver, BIGTIME.
All three of my children went through the Y Care program. Kelsie Vine, now the director, basically helped raise my children and we felt lucky to have her and the rest of the Y staff to depend on. They learned to swim. They played basketball and football. They complained about being dropped off to play while I ran, but they always had fun and they were always safe. The Y helped us become part of this community. That’s a pretty big deal to us.
When people find out I am from Boston they always ask if I am happy here. This is what I tell them… For the first few years I thought of Boston as home. I missed my family. I missed the ocean. I missed the city. Slowly, without my even realizing it, I started to think of WNY as home. Now, when I travel back from Boston a few times a year, as I pass Binghamton, then Hornell, that feeling you only get when you are coming home embraces me. The mountains seem comforting, the air smells cleaner, the landscape feels familiar and my heart fills with happiness. The Y helped make that a reality. What more is there to say?