Cathy retired from the Y after a 27-year career. She is still involved with the Y on a daily basis as both a member of her local Y, and as VP of Membership for her AYR Chapter.

Tell Us About Your YMCA Career

Thinking about the Y still puts a smile on my face. It’s been an important part of my life. I believe in the Y. It’s like a second home to people, providing a very comfortable, welcoming environment for families and young children. It’s special – not a fitness club. The Y staff really cares about their members.

My first job in the Y was Administrative Assistant to the MRC Director in Philadelphia, located in the Association Office. I was hired by Len Wilson in 1986. Back then, the MRC was the Management Resource Center, providing consulting support to 72 YMCAs in the region. When national services was re-structured, I held positions, still with the Philadelphia YMCA, supporting VPs (HR/COO & Membership). I retired just as Philly merged with Phoenixville (Freedom Valley) to become the Philadelphia Freedom Valley YMCA.

How Was The Transition To Retirement?

The Y gave me a wonderful party which included current and past colleagues. Then my husband, Walt, threw a surprise party for me. Honestly, on my first day of retirement it felt strange not to rush for the train. Of course there was some transition time that took me a few weeks. Now I do my morning workouts at a suburban Y (4-5 mornings/week), have time to work in the garden, take walks with Cooper (my young Jack Russell), and also spend more time with my mother. To tell you the truth, I’m really having fun!

The month I retired, Len invited me to attend an AYR holiday lunch, and he urged me to join the Association of YMCA Retirees. So the same guy who first hired me in 1986 also recruited me to join AYR more than 25 years later. Now I am VP for Membership in the AYR Central Atlantic Chapter. It’s all about building relationships. I also do proofreading for Bridges, the WFYR (World Fellowship of YMCA Retirees) newsletter.

Tell Us About The Process Of Saving For Retirement

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to save much early in my career. But the last 10 years while I was working, I got smart and started saving. It was a colleague in the payroll department who encouraged me. Also, my CEO, John Flynn, urged all staff to save, and so did Bob Hastedt from the YMCA Retirement Fund, who came to All-Staff meetings. I feel very lucky and blessed to have a pension from the YMCA Retirement Fund.

If you could give one piece of advice to current YMCA staff about saving and planning for retirement, what would it be?

Is anything so important that you can’t live without it? Probably not. So instead of spending, save your money. Do it. It’s worth it. You’ll be glad you did!