Editor’s note: the following article is part of a series of articles The Ripple is doing entitled “The Day in the Life of.” The article is written in the first person from the reporter’s perspective.
Daylight still hasn’t crept over the horizon, and I gather with four other people in a classroom in the Yadkin Family YMCA as a cycling class begins. The room is dark with only the glow of tube lighting stretched around the room to cast just enough light that everyone can see the instructor.
Becky Serine is leading the class. Serine is the newest member to the Yadkin YMCA family. She’s just been brought in as the wellness director and is starting her second week with the gym. The class begins calm and quiet as the cyclers warm up their legs and prepare for what’s to come.
Once the warm up is done Serine hops off her bike, cranks up the music on her iPod and hops right back on telling everyone to pick up the pace. While the cyclers pump their legs away with looks of pain on their faces, Serine’s upbeat voice encourages and challenges them with more energy than anyone should have at 5:30 in the morning.
Serine is filling in for an instructor who couldn’t make it in and this is her first time teaching a class since her arrival. At the conclusion of the class she makes sure to greet every cycler and ask them how they felt about the class and if she should work on anything and everyone encourages her.
Once everything is put away we finally have a chance to talk about what has brought Serine to the Yadkin YMCA.
Serine tells me that just four years ago she had just given birth to her daughter, and at the time she was weighing in at a little over 200 pounds. She said she wasn’t happy with her appearance and she wanted to do something to change it. She started looking into the YMCA but said she initially hesitated because she wasn’t very spiritual and she thought that it might be awkward since the YMCA is a Christian organization.
Despite her worries she joined anyways and found a place to improve herself in every aspect of her life, not just physically.
“I always thought of being healthy as an outward thing but I wasn’t healthy on the inside,” said Serine. “I wasn’t spiritual and I wasn’t happy on the inside and I had to fix that first.”
Serine said that after six months she had lost a significant amount of weight and she was finding happiness in herself as well as with her appearance.
Seeing her transformation, her local wellness director approached her and asked if she would be interested in teaching some classes a few times a week. Serine accepted because she wanted to use that experience as a way to help others the way that she had been helped.
“It’s so cool for me now because on the weekends when my 5-year-old will ask me to go for a run, I can actually go and do that with her,” Serine said.
Serine has been working as a wellness director in YMCA locations in Lexington, Winston-Salem and, now, Yadkinville for three years.
Her job as the wellness director requires that she make the schedule for all employees in the workout area and exercise classes. When an instructor calls in sick and no one is available to fill in for that class, Serine must fill the gap.
She is also expected to create a budget for equipment and staff that the wellness center needs to function, find ways to incorporate fitness trends into their class schedule and plan events.
Serine finds herself in a career that’s busy during the New Year thanks to the popular resolution to lose weight and get healthy. She said that every year it’s the same, new memberships skyrocket in the first few weeks of January and then they’ll drop off around March as people lose the drive they started the year with.
This year is especially busy for the YMCA with the introduction of the “Pay the Day” program that allows members to join and pay only the amount of the calendar date that they join (i.e. Pay only $1 on Jan. 1, $2 on Jan. 2, etc.)
Serine said that she tries to develop a personal relationship with members to encourage them to stick with it and to make their time at the YMCA more than just losing weight.
“The new year gives you a lot of hope when you have all these new faces here working on their health,” Serine said. “If they could just take it home and incorporate it into their daily life to use it with their family. I’m happy if someone doesn’t lose a pound but they joined a church; it’s a lifestyle change.”
As the day wears on and the sun finally makes its way out Serine and I work on the board that lists the classes available outside the exercise classroom. She tells me that she likes to put some creative energy into projects like this and she’s planning to add another bulletin board to keep members up–to-date on what’s going on and what’s coming up.
“I have a degree in textile and fabric design and art education,” Serine said. “I can’t stifle my creative energy that I have so I funnel some of that into things like creating bulletin boards and planning events.”
Throughout the day Serine steps out of her office to walk around the fitness center to introduce herself to the members and get to know them a little. Meanwhile, she encourages their exercise goals. With each person she talks long enough to find an interest or topic that she can relate to with them and carries on conversation like an old friend.
“I try to find common ground with members,” Serine said. “Most of them don’t want to talk about diet or exercise form. They want to talk about their careers or their interests and I want to connect with them.”
After eight hours I am struggling to keep my eyes open thanks to my early morning wake up and Serine is heading out to take a break before she returns to fill in for another cycling class at 5:30 that evening. As we walk out Serine shares how grateful she is to be in Yadkin County and serving the community.
“My job here is not at all what I thought I would be doing with my life but God’s plan is a lot different from our plans,” Serine said. “I love working for an organization that focuses on community, kids and things that make an environment. It’s not just a gym, it’s so much more.”
Reach Lindsay Craven at 679-2341 or at email@example.com.