My name is Sarah Howard and I am 5 years old. I started playing spring soccer for the Waxahachie YMCA two seasons ago. I really like playing soccer. I enjoy playing with my teammates, cheering together after we score a goal, playing against our parents at practices and most of all my coach. My mom has been my coach both seasons and she is great. I really like that she comes on the field with me and helps me know where to go and what to do. I like that she gets to cheer with us during the game and after. We get a special picture of just the tow of us that we hang on the wall at home. It is very special. I can’t wait until next season starts so my friends and I can have some more fun playing soccer with my mom.

Sarah Howard


My son and I moved from Washington State at the beginning of the 2015 year. We have two family members here in Waxahachie. My father reached out to the YMCA and was thrilled to meet Jeff Smith. Upon arrival, my son and I were introduced as well. Jeff was incredibly welcoming and also brought a nice touch of California to my heart. My son, Ayden, has been able to enroll in every sport available this year and has grown incredibly as an athlete, and also as a young man. I am incredibly grateful to the staff for being so kind and comforting to my family. This YMCA is much more than just a gym facility; the staff has become very dear to my heart.

Jackie O'Brien


The first time our family went to the Y was to get a membership to help us stay in shape. This year my mom started going there to exercise. It helps her get in good shape and good health. My mom and I joined a volleyball team. My mom is a coach, I joined a team. Me and my mom have made a lot of new friends. My mom and I like hanging out with the Y. I’ve learned a lot about the volleyball sport. My mom has liked the Y since this year started. She loves hanging out with other people. Sometimes she takes me with her. I liked the Y before I even started this sport. I just liked seeing people so happy for at least getting to go to the Y.

Presley Jackson


To me, the YMCA is about playing team sports. I get to make new friends and get more energy. I also get to exercise by running. It helps me learn what it means to work together. The YMCA and sports are important to me because I want to be healthy.

Aakigha Stevenson


My name is Alex Holmes and I am 12 years old. At “My Y”, I have played volleyball and soccer and I will be playing basketball this winter. My Y story is about how participating in Y sports brings people together. My friends mean a lot to me and I like having friends with a lot of the same values as I do. I have found friends and coaches like that at “My Y.” My best friend and I played volleyball together and we will be playing basketball together soon. I appreciate how “My Y” personnel and coaches care about keeping friends together. My friend and I were able to provide strength and encouragement for each other, but more importantly, we met new friends. We all learned together how to be supportive of each other even if we made mistakes at the game and even through personal struggles off the field. We may not go to the same schools or see each other often, but I love when I see an old teammate around town and we still remember our friendship on the field.
One of my favorite seasons was when my brother and I played soccer together. We are already pretty close because we are only 17 months apart, but I think this made us closer because we were now part of our “Y Family”, too. We cheered each other on and shared in our team’s victories and defeats. This year my brother played football and he even actually wanted me to play on his team but it was too late to sing up. It meant a lot to me that he wanted me to be a part of his “Y” experience. Thanks “Y Family” for bringing people together, even my brother and I!

Alex Holmes


I think the YMCA is a good program. We always have grub club on Monday and I think it’s a good way for everybody at the YMCA to try new foods. On Tuesdays, we usually read. On Wednesday, we do science lab, it’s pretty darn fun. On Thursday, we do art and we study famous artists. On Friday, we’re free! We go to the bathroom at 3:30. Sometimes we go outside to play and it’s a lot of fun. If you’re signing up for the YMCA you rock.

Allie Gilliland


This is my daughter’s first sport ever played. I think this experience has been awesome for her. She has made friends, learned to come together with other children, and play on a team. She has enjoyed playing soccer for the Y. I wouldn’t choose another place for her to play. She loves it. The coaches and the other players are great. They have taught her teamwork and they taught her that it is ok if you do not win as long as you are having fun! “I like soccer because it’s fun!!”

Ava Martinez


I like the YMCA a lot because I learned to play sports like basketball, baseball, and flag football there. Me and my dad always go there and play racquetball. The YMCA is where I make a lot of friends and watch them play too. I say it’s a wonderful place to do anything!

Braxton Turner


My name is Garrett Holmes and I am 10 years old. I have played 5 seasons of soccer and currently in a season of football. I didn’t really know what to expect when I started at the Y because I go to a private Christian school and hadn’t played team sports before. My Y story is about how much my coaches and teammates have meant to me and all that I learned. I not only learned how to correctly play the sports, but more important how to play as a team, do my best and have a good attitude even if things didn’t go my way.
                One of my coaches, Coach Flores, stands out the most because I saw how he and his wife donated all their free time to coach my team and a lot of others too. Once, when a kid was being mean at a practice, Coach talked to him and all of us about what the letters “YMCA” stands for. It means a lot to me that the C stands for Christian. Coach even prayed for that kid with all of us at practice. I thought that was really cool and it made me feel good that my coach was a Christian. Last year we even had a perfect season with this coach!! Thanks, YMCA, for all you and the coaches have done for me!

Garrett Holmes

Why I like to play volleyball at the YMCA is because they bring you and your team together to make friends and to just be together like a team. They are so awesome to let us use their big gym. The referees understand our mistakes whenever we do that. The lessons we learn from playing at the YMCA helps us all become better teammates and better people in our community.

Gabi Fedora


I like the Y because it helps me build up my strength and determination. I can play all kinds of sports because I have more confidence that I can do it. I used to think I couldn’t do it, but now, thanks to the Y, I know I can do it! I learned that you just have to want it so much that you’re willing to do anything.

Jadyn White


I like going to the YMCA because they have lots of sports that I like to play. The sports I participated in are soccer, basketball, and karate. The YMCA helps me to improve my skills for these sports. They also help me to learn how to play each game better. They also help to teach me about team work and fair play. My family enjoys going to the YMCA so we can be healthy and strong.

Jaidyn Watts


Three years ago, my family moved to Waxahachie and got involved at the YMCA. Every year now, my younger brother, sister, and I each play a sport at the Y. I’m glad the YMCA is in Waxahachie because it gives me and my siblings a chance to play team sports.
Last summer, I played basketball at the Y. My dad was the coach, and my sister was also on the team. We decided our team name should be The Jazz. When the season started, our team was eager to play. On the day of our last game, we had lost all our game so far. Then, that day, we finally won, 20-5; our team was so excited that we finally won! That season was a great experience, learning about basketball and persevering, and I can’t wait to play again. I am thankful for the YMCA.

Caleb Wooten

My story began when I moved to Waxahachie to attend college. I joined the YMCA in order to be able to continue my workout regimen since our college didn’t have the equipment I needed such as treadmills and elliptical machines. After college, I continued my membership, but switched to a family membership when I was married and then after having our 4 kids. Our family has taken advantage of every aspect of the Y in Waxahachie. When our kids were little, they would stay in the childcare area while I went to Zumba, yoga, or walked on the treadmill. They loved the helpers in the childcare area and looked forward to spending time with them every time we went! During the summers, you could always find us at the pool soaking up the sun and probably taking turns on the slide! Our boys have played soccer, baseball, and basketball through the YMCA. They also participated in the karate program through the YMCA. Our girls have played soccer and volleyball through the YMCA. Their coaches and instructors have always been amazing leaders and models of character. They lead their teams with integrity and have taught our kids the true meaning of sportsmanship. My husband and I have both used the amazing personal trainer at the Y and have taken advantage of the many classes the Y offers, as well as the workout equipment! 
My Y story has spanned over many years! It has led to countless friendships for myself and our kids and has allowed us to have positive experiences and make many memories. My Y story began with my need to find a place to workout and led to endless involvement in a great organization. I am thankful for all that the Y has done for me and my family!

Nancy Magruder


I have started my first year in volleyball. I have had the pleasure of meeting new people and making new friends, but most of all, having my mother as my coach. She is the best, even though she is a single mother and stays so busy. She always makes time for me and my brothers. I have learned the skills of the game and enjoyed the interaction with others, but mostly having my mother as an example. Our team had only one girl that has ever played before and we won our second game. This would also help me help my mother buy some Christmas gifts.
We have not only learned the skills of the game, but how to work as a team and have respect for those we play against. I feel blessed to have such an awesome coach and mother. She has shown us guidance by being fair, but hard at the same time. My experience while playing volleyball at the YMCA will forever stay with me, but has taught me skills I will carry with me into my future. Our team is the Fireflies and we strive for excellence!!!!

Karlee  Kendall


This is the first time I have been able to play for the YMCA. I am on a flag football team and it has been very fun. I usually play baseball but decided to try something different and have had a lot of fun. I am on the Texans with two of my friends. I really like that the YMCA allows us to get on the same team as our friends. I am really grateful that I had this experience because it has strengthened my football skills, built new friendships and allowed me to continue to learn to work as a team.
We have lost some and won some but it has been really fun. I enjoy the games so I am not ready for the season to end. I have learned many skills by being the center and will carry those skills with me as I move forward into other sports. I feel blessed to have such an awesome coach and teammates. Mostly, I am thankful for my mother.  She always makes time even when she is busy. It has been an AWESOME season. Go Texans!

Tyler Kendall


Bryson is my name and basketball is my game. My mom noticed that I loved to dribble and shoot since I was 1 year old, so she found a team that would allow me to play as soon as I turned 3 years old. This past summer when I was 4 years old, we had a difficult time finding a summer league for me to play the sport that I had grown to love. FINALLY, after searching and searching, mom found a summer league at the Waxahachie YMCA! Boy was I excited! We were told that we wouldn’t have practice because it was a summer league and the gyms in the city were busy with other summer activities. Well….my team coach decided to practice one day a week, outside at her home. She was a good coach. Coach Stephanie was her name.

 That season came and went quickly, but I’m glad I had the opportunity to play because I learned so much during that short season. I learned how to play defense, how to be a good teammate, how to have good sportsmanship, and how to lose and how to win gracefully. I also made some friends and our friendships lasted longer than the season. Their names are Cason and Joe. They even came to my last birthday party! I will always remember that basketball season. Looking forward to more seasons at the Waxahachie YMCA!

Bryson Lemons

People have asked me why my family and I have chosen the YMCA for my boys’ sports and activities for the past 5 years. And the first thing I always say is, there is something for every child! And it is true growing up in the YMCA and now having my own children in the programs I have witnessed every child being welcomed into the programs. These programs vary from sports like basketball and baseball to special needs angel league bowling and swimming. Every child can play no matter their ability! I have been very fortunate to experience the sports programs through the YMCA and the Ellis County Angel League that provides sports programs for all special needs children no matter their disability. My oldest son Tyler has been playing in sports through the YMCA for almost 6 years, in baseball, basketball, soccer and now flag football. Every sport and season we see tremendous growth and happiness when he plays and a sense of belonging. He makes friends and has a wonderful time. The coaches are willing to teach so the team can grow and love the sport. Tyler looks forward to every season and is sad when a season ends. We look forward to him continuing in YMCA sports for many years to come.

We also have had the pleasure of being a part of the Ellis County Angel League for going on almost a year and a half. Our son Noah has Autism Spectrum Disorder and struggles in making friends and participating in organized activities. I have always known about the Angel League through my mother, Shannon Crain, the coach and organizer of the program. But when I became a parent of a special needs child, the Angel League became an answered prayer for me and my family. We witnessed this past summer our son become a part of the Angel swim team and finally belong. He was making friends, learning to swim and accomplishing goals and simply being a child. In the water and the program he wasn’t just a child with Autism, he was a 5 year old little boy. He enjoyed every second of it and it was such a big blessing to our family. The YMCA has been a place where we love to be and it has been such a joy for our family. We couldn’t imagine our life without it. We look forward to many more blessed years in the YMCA. And we are forever grateful for the acceptance and love the YMCA has showed our family, especially our children.

Shelby Knight


Last summer, I played basketball at the Y. My team was called “the Jazz.” My dad was the coach of our team. Playing basketball was a great experience. It taught me how to work hard as a team and never give up. My team hadn’t won any games, and we were giving up hope. Finally, we won our last game! The score was 20-5! But that’s only part of my story…..
I don’t exactly remember when, but a few years ago, I played soccer at the Y. My team was called “the Tigers.” Also, once again, my dad was the coach. My team only won a few games, but we still loved it! We were a great team, and we never gave up! That is my hopefully inspiring Y story. Gooooo Y!

Ella Wooten


Kason was a very whiney child before he began playing soccer at the YMCA. He is very competitive and had to win at everything. Because he is so competitive, he was advanced at many sports, and soccer was one of them. I decided to try the YMCA because they were the only league around that introduced goalies at a young age. Kason needed a challenge. I decided to coach his team because I knew a few kids from his baseball team wanted to play also. It was the best experience. We all had a great time. I had a wonderful team with awesome, enthusiastic players. Kason learned so much. He was a young kid that was extremely influenced by all the life lessons he was learning around him. Then summer basketball began. Kason would ask to lead the teams in prayer. This was huge for him. He was a young 5 year old that was not scared to pray for everyone to be safe, to help each other out, and to be kind to one another. He loved that he would get a medal or a trophy no matter what, so he learned to play to his best ability and not to win or lose. In a team sport, the score doesn’t reflect on the individual, it is a reflection on how well the team plays together. 
Kason has grown tremendously at the YMCA. He is not concerned about trophies or winning. He now plays sports because he truly enjoys the game. He tried football and didn’t have fun. I am thankful to the YMCA for all the awesome experiences that we have had with coaches, parents, referees, and players. Kason has also made lifelong friends from some of his teams. I have also had the privilege of making lifelong friends that have the same values as I have for my family and for my children.

Stephanie Rosenthal