Maryanne Mecca, a yoga instructor who has been part of the Madison Area YMCA staff for the past three years, has had the YMCA in her life since childhood. The Y was also part of her children’s lives growing up and now her grandchildren’s lives.

“I love teaching here,” says Maryanne, noting the variety of people that take her yoga class who have become regulars. “People want to stay fit at all different ages and they come regardless of their ability level. That’s what I like. We do modifications for lots of different issues, no problem,” she says.

Maryanne has lots of fond YMCA memories. Flipping through a family photo album from her childhood, she points to her pictures with friends at Camp Mohawk for Girls, an overnight summer camp she attended in Litchfield, CT, where she learned how to ride a horse.

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She also learned how to swim at the Y. Pasted in the album, she has her “Flying Fish” and “Shark” recognition cards that were awarded in 1973 to prove it. Each card lists the five tests she passed.

“We were a beach family growing up. My grandparents had a shore house that we visited,” Maryanne says, turning the page. “Water safety was important to my mother, so she signed us up for swim lessons at an early age at the Riverbrook Regional YMCA in Wilton, CT. I did the same for my four kids—I signed them up at the Y for swim lessons. My 5-year-old grandson also learned to swim right here at the Madison Area YMCA,” says Maryanne, whose oldest daughter went on to become a lifeguard. “Knowing how to swim is a necessity in life.”

Noting the importance of the Y in the community with its financial assistance program that provides opportunities for Y membership, health and wellness programming, summer camp and education, Maryanne says, “The Madison Area Y is a safe, trusting, happy and friendly place to be. I also like that when I bring my grandchildren here it’s very child friendly. Even the furniture in the lobby where the pool is located is colorful, moveable, soft and fun. This Y is very accommodating. It’s great for kids.”

If you haven’t tried yoga, Maryanne just might make you a yogi. She leads her class from5:30-6:30 p.m. in Buttenheim Hall at the Madison Area Y. If you’re not already a member, come for a guest pass and check it out!