I’m all about community. And the Y is community.

My Y Story: Laura McGowan

Laura McGowan, Y is Community

Laura McGowan and her grandchildren.


Laura McGowan joined the Y in 1995, when it was located on Prospect Street in Nashua. “My children were age 5 and 3. I joined to stay ahead of the effects of aging. It was a physical and mental release for me. I was happy because my kids were engaged with staff, while I worked out. There were three classes for them:  arts and crafts, playing on the exercise mat, and playing ball games. They loved coming to the Y with me.”

Twenty-five years later, Laura’s still an engaged Y member.  Laura has custody of two of her grandchildren. When she needed childcare for them, it was natural for her to look to the Y. “I wanted a place for them to feel safe and secure. I needed it to be affordable. They are quiet and very tentative at first when they meet people. We were given best treatment by the childcare staff – both on a financial level and through the creativity of the program. The kids flourished. They are outgoing now. They engage in everything. When they get up in the morning they are ready to go to preschool.”

Four of Laura’s grandchildren have been in many of the programs the Y offers. “The kids love Y programs. I can’t tell you how my grandson’s face lights up when he goes to summer camp. Over the past two-and-a-half years the older grandchildren have gone to Camp Sargent. We had a good number of camp options for camp. We chose Camp Sargent. When I looked into it and talked with friends, they spoke very highly of it. We also love sports camps at Westwood Park Y. The kids love the camaraderie of camp and the physical activity, whether rain or sun. Y programs have been prominent in giving to my grandchildren in levels of learning and bonding. They learned to interact with other children, learn authority, and I respect that.”

Laura’s family enjoys all that our branches have to offer. “My grandson has been in the basketball program at Westwood Park Y for two months; he never held a basketball before that! Tracy engages children on a level that’s incredible. He’s not great. He doesn’t have to be. He adores her and he adores being in the program.”

When the grandkids are at the Y, Laura takes time for herself. She loves the indoor track at the Nashua Y, where she walks at her own pace. “There’s so much to look at, lots going on there!” When she uses the cardiovascular equipment, she shares that there’s always a staff person ready to assist her. “I have arthritis in my knee. I have questions about modifying my workout, so I don’t hurt myself, and there are always staff to work with me. I’m eager for my upcoming surgery and will be back to the Y to rehab after that.”

Laura appreciates the Y Cares financial assistance her family receives now in her time of need. “I am very much into paying it forward. It’s helped so much while my daughter finished her education.”

Laura highly recommends the Y for active families. “You are not going to get the versatility of what you need for your family anyplace, except at the Y – for every age level of our family members! Our Y experience has been incredible for so many years,” she said. “I appreciate the compassion and dedication of the staff. We have always seen staff to be 100 percent compassionate at each of the Y branches. I’m all about community. And the Y is community.”

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