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Even as a tot, Kelley Taylor knew she wanted to work in health and recreation when she grew up. “I’ve been active from a very young age,” says Kelley who is now the vice-president of health, fitness and aquatics for the YMCA.
Kelley found her passion for recreation at age 7 when she started playing ringette and went on to become a member of provincial teams that went to the national championships eight times, 1989-96, winning silver and bronze medals. Kelley also got into coaching ringette, from club teams to Team BC.
Kelley earned her recreation management diploma at Langara College and worked 12 years in the golf industry before fate brought her to the Y 10 years ago. “I just love how health and fitness and community changes your life at any age and stage,” says Kelley.
And that’s exactly what the Y does — change people’s lives.
You could even go as far as to say the Y saves people’s lives, too, with its programs and community partnerships focused around disease prevention and post-surgery rehabilitation. “You can walk through one of our Health, Fitness and Aquatics centres (Kelowna Family Y, H2O and Kelowna Downtown Y) at any time and see people of all ages and abilities, each working towards their unique health goals,” says Kelley. “We’re very inclusive. We’re a charity committed to building healthy communities. And healthy communities are more than gyms and pools. It’s senior’s social events, it’s cardiac rehabilitation programs, it’s losing 100 pounds, it’s not having to have surgery or recovering after a significant injury.”
As long as she can remember, Kelley has been active and paving the way to her dream job as a healthy community-builder at the Y. “One of the programs that I’m really proud of is our diabetes prevention program that we spearheaded with UBC Okanagan. The impact that this program is having locally is amazing to see, and we are now working to expand this program to communities across Canada.”
“The Y really is my passion,” she says. “We reach the community in so many different and positive ways.”
As an open-for-all, barrier-free, value-based charity, the Y can provide financial assistance, thanks to generous community donors, for those who might not otherwise be able to afford a fitness membership or program.
As such, the Y, along with Kelley and her team, are leaders in the fitness industry, providing not just the infrastructure of fitness centres and pools, but the philosophy, environment and value-added programming to create healthy communities. That community can be a fitness class, swimming lesson, a program for people managing a health condition or recovering from surgery. It could even be a seniors mingle or companionship found through an aquafit class.
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