My husband and I moved to Skaneateles in 1998. Before that, we visited the village on vacation. Addicted to early morning exercise and because we belonged to the YMHA in New York City, we searched for a local YMCA. We checked with the Auburn Y and were introduced to its director, Dorothea Hughes. Dorothea welcomed us and opened the Y to our use. After our move to Skaneateles, she offered to honor our remaining YMHA membership before transferring to the Auburn Y. In an almost Grecian turn of the wheel, Dorothea now directs the Skaneateles Y.
When visiting our children in Seattle, we had a similar experience at the neighborhood YMCA. No restrictions, no payment, negotiations, or questions accompanied this welcome. Cordial and friendly, the man who greeted us seemed happy to have us visit. We used the facility every day until we left Seattle.
Pete and I were never sure of the relationship between the YMCA and YMHA. All we knew is that it did not matter to the fine people who greeted us on the two coasts. There is truly something special about an organization that treats people with such equanimity and trust. Skaneateles was blessed to have had the Skaneateles Community Center and is even more blessed with its transition to the YMCA. Pete and I both believe that next to our small library and our schools, it is essential to the well-being of our community. Unlike for-profit gyms, the Y strives to ensure that its program and services are inclusive and accessible to everyone.
To survive, the Y must charge membership dues, yet management is concerned about the people who cannot afford them. All of us know people who have lost jobs recently or cannot afford to pay the fees. Having experienced the Y's inclusiveness ourselves, Pete and I were not too surprised to learn that the