Creating opportunities for The Kohnen Family
When Tammi married Ray Kohnen III she did not realize then how much of a role the YMCA would play in her life and the lives of their four children, Ashley, Olivia, Jenna and Ray. The Kohnens have been members of the YMCA since Ray III was in high school. The Y has served as a home away from home and a place that consistently keeps them motivated to live a healthy lifestyle. “My children were raised here,” says Tammi. “The Y is a familiar place, a comfortable place for your kids to grow up.” Her children, now 21, 19, 17 and 10 were enrolled in the Child Development Center, and participated in family swim and other youth programs before partaking in school sponsored sports programs. “The YMCA has been a central part of helping me to stay healthy and strong for my family. At one point I would be spending just as much time at the Y as I did at home.”
Tammi now runs half-marathons with her husband Ray, who also does triathlons, but credits her jumpstart into fitness to participating in group fitness classes at the Y. When her children were young a friend introduced her to group fitness classes -- spin, yoga, Pilates and Sh’Bam (a group dance class); when her three eldest children were old enough, they would join in the classes with her.
Fitness would become an integral part of how their family enjoyed spending time together. Even through high school, Ashley and Olivia would find themselves spending a great deal of time at the Y. Ashley would come at 6:00 every morning with her father before school. “I’ve been coming to the Y for as long as I can remember. In the 9th grade my dad would take me with him to the Y before school to workout. He recognized that highschool could be tough and I was struggling with insecurities and growing up. The people at the Y have never judged me. Everytime I walk through the doors I feel supported. I am grateful for all the experiences the Y has given me,” says Ashley. “I’ve been going to the Y since I was 2, I grew up here. High School was stressful for me and it was difficult to make friends, but the Y was always there for me. It has given me a community and a family. I always know that I belong and am welcomed here,” says Olivia. After spending many years as members, Tammi, Ashley and Olivia became a part of the YMCA staff team, serving in various roles in Drop-In Childwatch, Wellness and Front Desk. For the Kohnens the Y remains a staple in their lives on their continuing journey to stay healthy and strong.