By the Wabash River in Fairbanks Park sits an old YWCA building. For the past 6 years a resurrected YMCA has given this building life. This life arrived through the hard efforts of leaders such as Deb Ringo and Eleanor Ramseier and others.
Over the last couple years this YMCA has gone through some major leadership transitions. We lost those who restarted the YMCA and felt the loss of great leaders.
Through this time of transition, one woman quietly stepped up to help hold the YMCA together.
Her heart and efforts preserved the community of the Y for the many who love it. Her leadership kept classes in session, funding arriving, and special events happening.
(I realize many others invested in the YMCA and I have a limited perspective. Thanks to everyone who served…but for right now I want to point to one woman who led.)
I first met Erin Gregory during the brutal days of “Cardio Abs.” This beast of a class (full body, not just abs) routinely ran a full hour and fifteen minutes of the alotted one time slot. Actually finishing the class each Tuesday and Thursday gave you immediate bragging rights.
Erin and Mike moved to Terre Haute about the same time as Ashley and I (2012ish). Over the next couple years we connected over “Cardio Abs” and the friendship of our daughters.
Eventually Eleanor Ramseier (former YMCA director) recruited Erin into teaching a few strength training classes. These classes seemed to come naturally to Erin as an athlete.
Erin writes both for the newspaper (The Tribune Star) and a magazine (Terre Haute Living). Frequently her husband Mike’s photography appears with her articles.
Between writing articles, teaching classes, and living as mom to 2 little girls (and another on the way now), Erin kept busy.
Really, as far as I knew, Erin’s role at the Y consisted of simply attending classes and teaching a couple classes. Simple at least until a couple years ago.
Fall 2016 the YMCA experienced a huge leadership transition leaving us missing people in three main areas. We also lost quite a few instructors for the classes. I remember wondering who would coordinate the class schedules and who would fill gaps in the the teaching schedule for the Y?
About this time I and a number of others stepped up to teach in the vacancies. Others stepped up into many administrative roles and still others doubled their workloads to cover for losses.
Erin, however, did a little more.
Erin moved from just teaching classes to doing whatever else she could to help. Within a short time the CEO of the local Y hired Erin to coordinate the class schedules and wear several other hats. Over the next year Erin did everything from organizing fundraisers to planning the class schedules. She even took over managing communication for the Y. Everywhere I looked, I saw some of her handiwork.
Terre Haute needs more men and women willing to step up and make things happen
Erin Gregory is one of those people.
Erin has grit. She has stepped up to keep things moving at the Y. Organizations need strong, faithful, creative people to keep the doors open.
I’ve led a church for 6 years now, so I know something of how much work it takes to sustain an organization. Erin’s work behind the scenes at the Y gives life to this old YWCA.
I love that currently Erin is balancing settling into a new house, preparing for the impending birth of baby 3 and launching year 2 of the YMCA gala!
Which will come first? Gala or Girl?
The YMCA today
Before I finish I have to say that today in 2018 the Vigo County YMCA is rocking and rolling! We have a new CEO and everywhere I look I see new initiatives, programs, and members. It’s exciting to show up at the Y these days!
In putting a spotlight on Erin I know I’m leaving quite a few in the dark. Erin hasn’t single-handedly carried 951 Dresser on her shoulders (She’s not that much of an athlete!). I love and appreciate the long hours and hard work put in by many at my beloved YMCA. Thank you for making a community for my family.
Whether it’s a church or a YMCA organizations that make a difference need gritty leaders. They need people to step up in chaotic situations and do the work to keep the lights on. They need people to believe in the cause enough to advocate for it. They don’t need superheros, they just need real people who willing to serve.
People like Erin Gregory