Five questions with Jeannie Elliott

Meet Jeannie Elliott, lifeguard, swim lessson instructor and water aerobics instructor at the Waynesboro YMCA.

 

What is your history with the Waynesboro YMCA?

“We lived in Richmond, and my husband (Tom) spent a lot of his growing-up years here in Waynesboro. He saw a job opportunity to come back to his hometown, and be with his dad, and be with his brother. That was in 1996. I was extremely homesick. He assured me before we moved that there’s a YMCA in Waynesboro, and you love to swim, so we’ll join the YMCA. That really helped my transition from Richmond to Waynesboro. My youngest was starting kindergarten that year. I had a brother-in-law and sister-in-law in town, but other than that, I didn’t really know anybody. The first day of school, when I came home after dropping them off, I felt so sad. I went upstairs, walked around, and then I realized, Jeannie, you have some freedom now. Go to the YMCA and swim. So that’s what I did.”

 

What is your favorite moment in your years at the Y?

“I think it’s just when you make a connection with somebody. It is such a joy to be able to make connections with people of so many different ages and backgrounds. Working in the pool area, seeing people learn how to swim, seeing people doing water aerobics, seeing people overcome their fear of the water, and really just getting to know them as people, it’s a blessing.”

 

What makes you excited about coming to work every day?

“I enjoy working at the YMCA. I enjoy the staff there. I enjoy all the different age groups. The children who come there. You see them grow up, from preschool to the afterschool program. There are adults that I’ve taught swim lessons to. I derive pleasure from getting to know people who come to the pool area to swim.”

 

What do you do in your spare time?

“I like to play music. I have a piano. I have a guitar. I have a flute. I play harmonicas. And I’m teaching myself to play the violin right now. I’d like to take lessons, but maybe once my life settles down a little bit.”

 

Tell us something that people don’t know about you

“I have a degree in visual arts from VCU. I haven’t done a lot of that recently. Once I had my first child, I found it hard to settle down and spend the time necessary.”


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