Two decades in com­mu­nity

Central Leader - - OUT & ABOUT - ELESHA EDMONDS

It’s been two decades since Jenny El­lis wore a ly­cra leo­tard to her aer­o­bics class.

To­mor­row the group fit­ness in­struc­tor will be wear­ing her 90s fit­ness at­tire again as part of the Mt Al­bert Com­mu­nity and Leisure Cen­tre’s 20th an­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tions.

El­lis was one of the first fit­ness in­struc­tors to run aer­o­bics classes at the YMCA-man­aged cen­tre.

‘‘I have two clients who have been with me for 18 years and still come to my classes,’’ the Ti­ti­rangi res­i­dent said.

Cen­tre man­ager Jill Gib­son had also been in­volved with the cen­tre for more than two decades.

She started off vol­un­teer­ing at the cen­tre when her daugh­ter be­gan at­tend­ing gym­nas­tic classes.

‘‘My son ended up be­ing a pain in the class,’’ Gib­son said.

‘‘He got a bit grumpy and so I got him out while we were do­ing our floor work and he ended up crawl­ing all over me.’’

The sit­u­a­tion in­spired Gib­son to start a creche at the cen­tre which she lead for seven years, be­fore tak­ing on a paid po­si­tion in re­cep­tion.

Over the years she moved up the ranks, be­com­ing com­mu­nity man­ager and then later ac­cept­ing the role of cen­tre man­ager.

Gib­son said she watched the cen­tre in­creas­ingly be­come a hub for the com­mu­nity.

‘‘It’s so easy for peo­ple to walk through the door be­cause we are com­mu­nity fa­cil­ity,’’ she said.

‘‘Although the fit­ness club is there, it’s not threat­en­ing so peo­ple can go have a look at it when they are ready.’’

Many chil­dren who started at creche have come back and ei­ther worked or vol­un­teered for the YMCA, Gib­son said.

‘‘The only thing that keeps me in my role over all these years is really know­ing I’m mak­ing a dif­fer­ence for peo­ple and fam­i­lies,’’ she said.

Gib­son said the cen­tre saw huge growth dur­ing the past two decades with mem­ber­ship in­creas­ing from 275 to more than 1150.

The Mt Al­bert YMCA’s an­niver­sary event will fea­ture a 90s themed aer­o­bic class.

There will also be a com­mu­nity bake­off, ta­ble ten­nis chal­lenge, bouncy cas­tle and much more.

The event will be held on De­cem­ber 10 from 10am to 2pm at 773 New North Rd.

Phone 09 846 0788 for de­tails.

ELESHA EDMONDS/FAIR­FAX NZ

Group fit­ness in­struc­tor Jenny El­lis, man­ager Jill Gib­son and in­struc­tor Ngairene Gray have all worked at Mt Al­bert’s YMCA for 20 years.

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