Rye Y Story Project: John Rice

JohnRJohn joined the Rye Y staff in January, 2015 as Camp, Family & Teen Director

I was introduced to the Y as a child when my Mom started taking swim lessons at the Woodbury, New Jersey YMCA . She brought me along and after watching her, I decided I wanted to learn too. Then she started working at the Y. I was there so much that the aquatics director suggested I help out.

I started volunteering with the swim lesson program when I was 12. Then I worked as a CIT, a camp counselor, lifeguard, swim instructor and swim team coach – all at the Y. I started college at Roane University with a goal of learning how to run my own business. I wanted to own a recreation center – a place for the community to gather and have fun and do service work. I soon realized that there is a place that already does all of this – the YMCA!

I transferred to Springfield College in Massachusetts, which has a minor in YMCA professional studies. I majored in Youth Development and also studied sociology and non-profit business management. During college, I began working with YMCA afterschool and international programs. After graduation, I continued my Y career and most recently was a Teen and Camp Director in Philadelphia.

The cool thing about growing up at the Y is being part of transformational moments in the lives of others. From my early experiences helping a child who was petrified of the water become comfortable, to recent experiences giving staff opportunities to grow in their leadership skills, I have been blessed to be a part of the mission of the YMCA. Seeing fears turned into confidence, stress transformed into joy, isolation transition into community, and curiosity develop into new skills are components of what bring me to work every day. Opportunities for change take place for people at the Y as soon as they step in.

I found a voice and confidence at the Y. I was given an opportunity to make a difference and be part of a community. That has inspired me to give others the same opportunity and help them see that they are awesome, they have potential, and that it matters.