Keely Campbell was just 14 years old when she quit competitive figure skating. She still ran track and field and played volleyball, but wanted something else to do with her time. So she decided to join the YMCA.
She started working out at the YMCA of Fredericton’s northside location every day after school. At first, she was lost and confused, but pushed herself to be there once a day. It wasn’t long before a member approached her, took her under their wing and gave her a workout plan. She got into a routine, started to make friends, and fell in love with the Y. In 2010, she became a volunteer.
“I started the gym at a young age, and the staff was very welcoming,” Keely says.
Keely volunteered every Sunday for five hours as a wellness room supervisor. In exchange for her volunteer hours, the YMCA provided Keely with a personal training course, along with CPR, First Aid and AED training. While she was in university, she worked as a personal trainer and started teaching fitness classes. She also worked at the front desk.
Because of her time spent at the YMCA, Keely developed a deeper interest for fitness and health, which led her to pursue a degree in Recreation and Sport Studies at the University of New Brunswick.
“One of my main focuses in university was the YMCA,” said Keely. She wrote a paper on the history of the organization, and later wrote another on how it changed her life.
After graduating, Keely went on to study education at St. Thomas University. The 24-year-old is now on track to a career as a physical education teacher, part of which stems from her time spent at the Y and the contacts she has made there over the years.
“If I hadn’t volunteered for the Y, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”
Before the new YMCA location opened, Keely became an ambassador, and gave public tours of the facility. She has volunteered for the annual Strong Kids Campaign — a program that gives children and families memberships.
Keely has also formed a whole new circle of friends while working out and volunteering at the Y. They go to dinners, do activities, and compete in fitness challenges together.
“If any of us ever miss a day at the gym, we are always texting each other, making sure everything is okay,” she says. “We hold each other accountable without even meaning to.”
Today, Keely continues to live an active and healthy lifestyle. Almost every morning at 5:30 a.m., she goes to the gym for an hour and a half to workout. She considers the Y her second home, and says she wouldn’t be the person she is today without her YMCA community. She plans to be a life-long member.