The next time you walk into a YMCA fitness center, look around. Don’t just notice the machines and equipment…take a closer look. Look at the faces. Do you see the number of young people, both male and female, that have chosen to make fitness a part of their lives in their teenage years? It’s not just because fitness is what’s hot right now, it’s because we are raising generation Y.
So what exactly is generation Y? It’s the young men and women in our YMCA who have developed the understanding that fitness is an essential part of life. They have figured out so much earlier than some of us that wellness goes beyond looking good in a bathing suit. These young people, some as young as middle school, have seen the results of living a healthy lifestyle.
A good portion of these young people are athletes. I talked to one of our 19 year old members, Chyenne, an NCAA college volleyball player, and found out exactly what drove her to the Y and fitness lifestyle. “I’ve always been a part of the Y, I grew up in the Y, it’s all I’ve ever known. I started working out when I was 11 years old because I fell in love with playing volleyball and wanted to be better, faster, stronger”, said Chyenne, “I wanted to jump higher and be able to play longer. As I got older I realized what I started for my sport, was so much more important to my whole life. I come to the Y by choice, because it’s where I grew up. My Mom didn’t know the impact she was creating in my life the first time she signed me up for Y (youth) volleyball, she just wanted me to be involved in a sport, but she was raising generation Y.”
The Y has plenty of fitness focused youth that are not athletes. They workout to feel better and feel better about themselves. Some kids follow their parents footsteps into the Y. Some youth see the results of poor fitness lifestyle choices in their own homes and families, and want to be healthy. Whatever the reasons for the upsurge in young Y members, it’s clear to see, we are raising generation Y.