Why We Love the Y

I love the classes they offer any equipment they have. I also love the location of the Meriden YMCA and how it is conveniently located in downtown. -Jessica Burdacki

Group fitness classes. Instructors are great!- Krzysztof Buczynski

We're like family - the togetherness. Everyone is nice and encouraging. - Morine Thompson

I love the Y because I feel like a new person every day after doing exercises. - Yamiris C.

We love the Y because of its friendly atmosphere which includes both the staff and the members! We are also impressed by the degree of cleanliness in the building. We are so fortunate to be able to extend our life and also our health. Thanks for doing a good job! - Ron and Linda Horozy

Harriet Barrone

When I finally stopped working I decided it was time to get some exercise and joined the Y Silver Sneakers program.  My first time at exercise class was a true revelation.  Everyone was welcoming, friendly and so helpful.  I didn’t feel like a stranger at all.

One gal in particular, Wendy, became an instant friend and readily got my items for me and helped me with those sometimes confusing exercises. 

The Y has led to not only exercise but new friends, a feeling of inclusiveness, concern for each other and even getting together outside of the Y.  We have our own little text “tree” so we know who is coming and who is not.

Also should have added that our instructors are top notch and so knowledgeable. They keep us limber and strong. And we get a good laugh sometimes as well.

It really doesn’t get much better than this." - Harriet Barrone

Update: Harriet appreciated the videos we sent during the shutdown to be able to see favorite instructors and keep exercising. Harriet shared her story with Michael Fuller at NBC CT about the difficulty of the pandemic, how much she missed the Y and how glad she is to be back. See Harriet's Y story on NBC CT. 

Pat Marcinczyk

The Meriden YMCA has become my second home and family. It helps me keep fit physically, mentally, emotionally, and socially.

You can find me working out in the pool, in the aerobics room, or the fitness center! After knee replacement surgeries two years ago, I built strength and muscle through physical activity. I am more fit today in my 60's than I was in my 20's.

I have build a network of close friends who have become extremely supportive. After years as a caregiver, I lost my spouse. Caregiving was extremely taxing, and the medical issues at times became overwhelming. Members and staff alike were extremely supportive and helpful during this difficult time in my life. We cried together and then they taught me it was okay to laugh with them despite what was going on in my life.

Socially, the Meriden YMCA has opened up a whole new world for me. We "Pool Pals" exercise hard, but we play hard as well. Last year we started taking field trips. So far our trips have included visits to restaurants, museums, horse races, historical homes, plays, art activities, to name a few. You will find some of us playing Mah Jong on Friday mornings next to the racquetball courts. Who knows what we will do next?

I have encouraged a lot of my friends to join the Meriden YMCA because the people of the Meriden YMCA have saved my life in many ways.

Update: When the Y was closed during the pandemic shutdown, it was very difficult. I am so happy to be back. Now I do my water walking. I feel safe at the Y. See Pat's Y story on NBC CT. 

Carmen Perrault

I chose the Y because I feel comfortable. Everybody helps you. It is like a family. I started at 263 pounds. No one judged me.

I also delivered holiday meals with my son to show him you got to give back. And Beky helped train my daughter to run her first 5K. I am so proud of her.

My husband lost 50 pounds. He has never been in a gym his whole life and would not get off the elevator at first. Now he has got to go 3 times a week.

Donna Scott 

I've lost 50 pounds and met so many awesome friends of all ages!

CrossFit has changed my body, mind and soul.  Its more than just a workout, its a lifestyle. The CrossFit community is so supportive. Everyone has their own personal goals, but we're all driven to be the best we can be while supporting each other. CrossFit has made me change my eating and training habits. I learned to slow down and listen!  I'm so grateful for the awesome coaches, who give so much knowledge and support.  

I love that everyday is a different workout, there is always something to work on and get better at. For example, I'm working on kipping pullups and handstand pushups and the knowledgeable coaches have made progression possible from week to week.  I also love the sense of community.  Everyone is working on something and supporting each other.  The friendships made at CrossFit are friends for life! 

Kimberly Osnoe, mother of Steven

Kimberly: My Y story begins when I was looking for a preschool program for my son Steven. We found the Meriden YMCA Little Hounds Preschool program at Hanover Elementary School. We loved it! Steven did very well.

After our experience with preschool, we signed him up for Soccer, Basketball, School Vacation Fun Club and Mountain Mist Day Camp. He has had school trips to Exploration Station when he was in preschool and had a couple of birthday parties there too.

When it was time for him to attend his elementary school, not only was he prepared academically from preschool and socially from preschool and camp, he was ready to ride the bus to his magnet school. Steven’s first bus rides were with the Y to Exploration Station and to Mountain Mist. The camp counselor who rode the bus took him under her wing.

He also gained confidence through youth sports as he learned the game of basketball. When he first started playing, he did not know the game and was unsure of himself. The winter skills and drills program taught him a lot and he learned how to play the game. After his latest season Steven is now very confident and is really enjoying basketball.

Steven loves Mountain Mist Day Camp. His favorite thing about camp is swimming every day. He loves all of the counselors, CITs, and the kids.

We registered Steven for camp during early registration in February 2020. Then everything happened. He was home with me. I work at home so we could not spend much time outside during the day which was hard.

When summer came, I was so glad Steven had the chance to go to Mountain Mist and enjoy being outside. The Y was fantastic about communicating about what would happen during summer camp. I participated in all of the Zoom meetings. I was very confident in the Y and was happy there were no COVID incidents. Everyone worked hard to ensure the campers had a safe fun summer. The last day of camp was very emotional for me. I was so happy and grateful my son had a wonderful summer. We are looking forward to this summer.

Maria (Maggie) Diaz

I have had two major surgeries for rare conditions. Imagine your tissues have lost the “glue” (collagen) to hold them together. It is called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome or EDS which is a genetic defect in the collagen that is in the connective tissue for organs, muscles, ligaments, skin…everything in your body. This is what is happening all over my body and part of my brain had started to slide down into my spinal column which is called Chiari 1 Malformation.

The surgeries involved a “Brain Decompression and Craniocervical Fusion” by a specialist in New York. I am still recovering, still doing physical therapy.

Our kids, Devon and Delaney are very active. They do theater (MYT), dance, summer camp, swimming, and basketball. With me being out of work for medical reasons and my husband only able to take a limited time off, we had no idea how we were going to take care of the kids and keep them active. We needed them to go to camp while I focused on recovering but had no idea how we could pay for it last year.

The Meriden YMCA offered Devon and Delaney camp scholarships (with funds raised by the Annual Campaign) so they could go to camp for free last summer while I recovered from major surgeries.

This was a very big deal to us. The Y helped us tremendously during a very tough time for our family. It took a lot of worries away. Thank you. It means so much to my family.

Maria Morales

I started at the Y with Silver Sneakers.

I feel good and have met a lot of nice people.

I enjoy ZUMBA, Yoga, Have a Ball, Weights, Senior Olympics, Lunch and Learn...everything!

I come almost every day. 


O'Neal Family

I love the Y because my girls have made some wonderful friends on the swim team and my daughter's reading improved in the Reading Rocks program. I have also met some wonderful friends. I love the staff they are so incredible with everything and I love the Y because my kids feel safe there.  My older daughter also loves CrossFit Kids.

Pat Fitzgerald

"Everybody has their breaking point."

It was early in the year. The weekend before, I went to a hockey game up in Boston with my brothers. I ate a lot of fast food and I wasn't feeling too good. I dropped my daughter off for swim practice and thought, we have a family membership I might as well use it.

I went upstairs to the fitness center and saw the scale. I decided to get on it and saw 300. I stepped off and thought it might be broken. I took a deep breath and stepped back on the scale. It still said 300. Everybody has their breaking point. That was it. I said to myself, this has to stop.

First, I started running every day. I thought 45 minutes on the treadmill would do the trick.

I signed up for the Biggest Winner Challenge with my wife. It was a home run for both of us and a great thing to do together and have that support at home. She has lost weight - I don’t know all of the numbers - she has done great.

Carrie (Carrie Marquardt, Fitness Director) was our coach for the Biggest Winner Team Challenge. I had been running on the treadmill for about a week and a half when we did a team challenge work out with Carrie. It was a whole variety of things - air squats etc. In 25 minutes I was drenched with sweat.

Carrie said we’re done. I said, “Yeah we’re done with this, what's next?” And Carrie said, “No we’re done.” I could not believe it. Then Carrie said “You just did more in that work out than you did for a week and a half on the treadmill.”

I listened. My old self would've gone off and just done my own thing. I changed my workout and still did a lot of cardio but also added the Workout of the Week.

It’s May, and I was talking to Brandon, (Brandon Keegan, Meriden YMCA Fitness Staff member, Personal Trainer, and CrossFit Coach.) Brandon said if I wanted to lose the upper body weight in my chest I needed to work on strength and not just cardio. So I’d mix it up, run 5 laps on the track, go do a strength exercise, and do some more. I tried CrossFit too which helped me get stronger and continue to get in better shape.  Everyone is very supportive.

I am trying to change everything. The way I exercise, the way I eat, the way I do things. Everything. I have pushed myself way out of my comfort zone in many ways. I have tried Boot Camp and other classes and work outs that I would never normally do. Also, I don’t like to talk about myself. I am a shy guy. But after (Coach) Annie shared her story, I decided I can too if it inspires others.

Sue Meadows

“The Y is not just a gym. It’s a life changing experience."

 “The Y is not just a gym. It’s a life changing experience. I love all of the personal trainers. They all challenge you in different ways. I ran a half marathon last year with Beky’s encouragement! The challenges are great. We’ve changed our eating habits and substituted water for soda. And Mountain Mist is a jewel - no other gym has that.”

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