The following letter was included in the May 3 edition of the Westport Minuteman newspaper and published online. It’s such an eloquent statement of what the Family Y means to one young member and her family, and the entire community, that we think it deserves as large an audience as possible.
Here’s Esme Hunter, age 9, in her own words:
The other day I heard someone say that our town could lose our YMCA. I could not believe it, the Y is so important to our town. I have been going to the Y my whole life. When I was a baby my dad started bringing me to the Y for swim lessons. We did that for years, afterwards we would go to Coffee An for a doughnut, it was tradition since he had taken my two older brothers to swim lessons at the Y and a doughnut. After I got bigger I started going to lessons on my own. Then I did Half A Day swim camp, and finally I tried out for the WRAT swim team like my brothers. I was almost 6 when I tried out and started swimming for the team, we practice 5 or 6 times a week, that was almost 4 years ago.
But my family doesn’t just do swim team at the Y, we have done art lessons, basketball, t-ball and ski conditioning. My friends use the Y too. My friend Eli does gymnastics at the Y. I have a lot of friends who do dance at the Y. I have had 2 of my birthday parties at the Y. Plus there are a lot of people who exercise there.
The Y is part of our whole community. The swim team did a swim to raise money for the people in Haiti when there was an earthquake there. Every year the Y has the Point to Point swim and the Kids Triathlon to raise money to help people in our town. When we lost power in our house for 4 days, we went to the Y and took hot showers. I don’t know what I would do without the Y. My brother says he loves the Y, it is like his second home. When we forget our goggles, Tim at the front desk lets us borrow some from the ones in the drawer. If I forget my bathing suit, Tim says “Esme do you want me to call your mom?”
I hope everyone will donate money to build our new Y. If we lose our Y, the people I will feel most sorry for are the little kids who are learning how to swim and dance and do gymnastics now. Because if we don’t have a Y, they will never know how great it is to have a Y that is like your second home.
9 years old