SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

February 18, 2013

New Peabody Y director advocates for facility

(Continued)

An increased involvement with the Y sent her to college and a satellite program of Springfield College.

“I wanted to broaden what I was doing,” she said.

Eventually, she moved up to an administrative position. That brought her to the YMCA in Malden, then to the North Shore, where she worked four years in Danvers. Meanwhile, she and husband Richie have lived in Swampscott.

“The Y is a family,” she said. “As people are coming through the lobby ... you get to know their likes and dislikes. If a husband has been ill. If a daughter had a baby.”

Her duties as director fall increasingly in the sphere of public relations. She involves herself in local institutions like the schools and the Peabody Institute Library. Fundraising is also a part of the job, along with something she seems to do as a matter of course — selling the advantages of the YMCA.

Membership fees run from $32.50 to $64.74 a month, Jache said. They open the door to indoor and outdoor pools — deep enough for diving; exercise machines, some with personal TVs; a basketball court and indoor track; saunas and a whirlpool; spin and Zumba classes; and after-school and day camps.

“We want this to be accessible to everyone,” she said, explaining that financial assistance is available.

The modern YMCA, Jache said, has adapted to the competition of for-profit gyms. Join the Peabody YMCA, and you’ll have access to YMCAs everywhere. Consequently, the Peabody Y, which opened 60 years ago, weathered both the economic slowdown and competition from the massive Lynch-Van Otterloo YMCA on the Salem/Marblehead line.

“We had a slight dip in membership,” Jache said, “but it’s starting to come back.”

In addition to dues, the Y is supported through donations and grants, Jache said. It isn’t all about kids, either. Sure, there are swimming lessons for the little ones, but there’s also a group of older women self-described as the Aquadivas. “They come in for winter aerobics.”

The Peabody Y is busy even in the off hours before working people begin showing up at the treadmills and stationary bicycles. Yet, Jache is eager to see still more people. For her, the place is irresistible. The only thing stopping people is a reluctance she overcame a long time ago.

“The hardest part to joining,” she said, “is coming in the front door.”

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