We build strong kids
strong families strong communities

Member Testimonials

At the Y, we work with you to help you achieve your goals. Below are some stories from our members.


“Exercise. Some people love the word, others loathe it.

For me it’s been there for me through a lot of ups and downs. I guess you could say it’s a very effective counselor.

Apart from challenging myself physically and pushing my own boundaries of comfort; mentally I couldn’t recommend it enough. I suppose the point in my life I am currently in, I’ve realized how important being physically fit is. I was diagnosed with high grade invasive breast cancer in 2020 and am still going through treatment. This treatment is extremely taxing on the body in many ways, especially physically and mentally.

Throughout my journey which has included many tests, diagnostics and 2 surgeries, I have been told right from the start that having a level of fitness will help me with side effects and my over all recovery. They were right.

Before being slammed with the big ‘C’ word, I was pretty fit physically. I enjoy participating in running events and just started to enjoy my trail running also. A typical week for me included 4 to 5 gym sessions (spin classes, weight training and group fitness), 3 to 4 training runs and a swim or sauna. I know that all that sounds exhausting and yes at times it was but I had never felt more full of energy and mentally clear. I never see exercise as a chore, I looked forward to the next challenge to see if I had taken time off a run or done a few more Ks on the bike.

I loved it. I still do. I think exercise teaches us many things, but also how to be mentally strong. It’s not until strength is your only option that you realize how strong you are.”

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“I completed my NCEA Level 2 at the YMCA last year, and also received an award for diligence. In October I visited the Alliance Lorneville plant with Southland Youth Futures. I thought Alliance was interesting, and everyone I met was nice and friendly. My favourite part was seeing the boner debone the meat and finding out what they do. I decided that day I wanted to work there. I got the application form that day, filled it out, and went back a week later to hand it in and be interviewed. Then I got the job and started four days later.

I love my new job. My first day was fun, interesting and really enjoyable. It was hard work too. My job involves packing different cuts of meat, sorting out meat by weight, and putting it into trays. I start work at 4.15 to 2am. I wear a white top, pants and white gumboots. I also wear a hairnet, earmuffs and googles. I can listen to the radio through my earmuffs. My goal is to also do “clean-up” duties after my shift. I have put my name down and hope I will get the extra work.”

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Stephen, what’s your Y?

“I work out regularly because it makes me feel good. It is also breaks up my day at the office and is a good opportunity to clear the mind. In addition, it is the people that make the Y - the staff and the other members who you get to know and connect with. A good example of this is the Saturday morning spin class, where some of the regulars and the instructor go for coffee/brunch afterwards (it is a great way to start your Saturday!). Another thing that has given me a renewed enthusiasm for training is working with a personal trainer (Vikas) over the last two years; this has benefitted me immensely.”

You’re a life member of YMCA South. What has kept you here for all this time?

“I joined the Y in 1993, about the same time I started my own business as I wanted to stay in shape. I then joined the Y board in 1996 and came to understand that the Y was much more than just a Health & Fitness centre. The Y was one of the first community organisation boards that I served on. During my tenure, I served as Chairman and President and am grateful for the part the Y played in my personal and professional growth. I stepped down in 2016, however I remain fully invested and committed to the Y and its future. I was recognised with a life membership for my board service and consider it an honour.”

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

“If you are going to rush, then rush slowly”

What brings you the most joy in life?

“I am a strong advocate of work/life balance and the importance of heath and wellbeing. It is something I promote to my clients as well (it’s not all about the money!). I get joy from seeing people and organisations succeed and achieve their potential and being able to contribute to that. I also get joy from spending time with family and friends enjoying the beautiful province and country that we are blessed to live in.”

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“Dear Mila, the 83rd birthday celebratory flowers and card were a surprise and delight. Making 268 gym visits during 2019 means I had 97 days off ! Remind myself …. ” 80% of success is just “showing up”. It is worthwhile and rewarding being a ‘regular’ in your classes Mila which seems to have been my focus for quite a number of years. In my view YOU epitomize the focus of YMCA world wide (I quote) ….. ” sound values, deeply rooted in the community and serving the needs of everyone regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, beliefs or social background thus helping people to take control of their lives and make a difference “….. Easy Combo and Cardiac classes enjoyed and strongly supported by ‘Y’ senior membership are a testimony to the care and personal interest you take to ensure these programmes serve the needs of older people; some amazing examples of recovery from health set backs or surgery to return and participate in class, have occurred during the past year. In Power where we work to build strength and endurance using weights a team spirit of supportive camaraderie has developed, deeply rooted in respect for the professional competence and personal fitness you display as our Instructor. Your strength, work ethic and tenacity is an example to us all. My firm belief is that exercise not only changes your body it also changes your mind, your attitude and your mood (stirring up the endorphins certainly helps to make me feel positive and happy). Age and weight lifting continues to work; maybe my balance isn’t as good and falling over executing tricky Yoga positions happens - “falling over is okay - giving up is not” which is your mantra for us, is an excellent one and feel happy to commit to that. It also fits when doing demanding tasks at home and in the garden. If more people became aware of the tremendous benefits of commitment to regular exercise like increased energy, higher level of immunity to minor ailments and being able to sleep better and wake up feeling happy, your classes would be bursting out of the gym doors! Grateful thanks Mila for your continued efforts on our behalf, for your caring and patient attitude - we all respect and love you, Dorothy.”

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Peter was the recipient of our Leading By Example award for 2020. Nominated by the Y team for outstanding voluntary contr ibutions and being a quality role model for the community, Peter has volunteered with the Y since 1999, is a super active member and Coordinator for the Southland Alpine Club and was instrumental in gaining the funding to upgrade the Y bouldering wall. Peter works so much to enrich our climbers experiences through his passion he brings to the club, to the kids that take part in climbing those wanting to get into the industry.

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