Staying in shape and keeping an eye on the community are two elements important to Joelle Washer, a Jamestown Area YMCA member since 2003 and during high school and college.
Washer, who is the regional operations officer for the Northwest Savings Bank in Jamestown, has always struggled with being a little overweight and unhealthy.
''I wanted to make a change and knew that the Y could help,'' she said. ''I was able to find out what programs the Y offered and what fitness equipment was right for me.''
Joelle Washer exercises on the leg curl machine at the Jamestown YMCA.
Washer, daughter of Anthony and Jeanne Conti and wife to Dana Washer of Jamestown, decided in 2009 that she would add running to her regime to help attain her goals.
She began using the treadmill at the Jamestown YMCA and participating in local 5K and 10K races.
''I found that running was a great way to stay in shape and keep the weight off,'' Washer said. ''I lost 45 pounds and kept it off for over two years now. It wasn't easy, but the hard work definitely paid off.''
She also uses the free weights and elliptical, and participated in the Zumba, Power Pump and Boot Camp classes at the Jamestown YMCA.
In the spring of 2011, she had surgery for torn cartilage in her hip. After surgery, she went through several months of physical therapy which prevented her from continuing with her normal workout routine at the YMCA.
''Although my overall goal is to continue to be healthy and work out, I had to modify my workout after surgery,'' Washer said. ''The Y offers its members many other options or equipment to use to help you remain fit and stay on target.''
With this in mind, she relied on the Nautilus equipment to aid in her physical therapy.
Not only does she work out at the Y, but she is very involved with the leadership of the organization. She is on the board of directors where she is secretary, a member of the executive committee, chairperson of board development, member of the fundraising committee and annual campaign branch director.
She was first asked to join the board by Fred Baker, YMCA member and board vice president.
''It was a nice fit for me to be asked to be on the board, because I like to be involved in the community since I live here,'' Washer said. ''I want to have a presence here for the future.''
Giving back is also important to Washer, who believes in the YMCA and its charitable community attributes.
''As an employee of the Northwest Savings Bank, I see giving back on a day-to-day basis,'' she said. Their community involvement filters back to the bank staff just like the Y staff that are so passionate about their work in the community.''
Washer's other community involvement includes the Family Service of the Chautauqua Region (vice-president of the board), Rotary Club of Jamestown (member and board director), United Way of Southern Chautauqua County (board director), Chautauqua Region Community Foundation, Chautauqua Leadership Network, Jamestown's Next Gen Leaders (co-chairperson), and Junior Achievement (volunteer instructor).
Washer would like to get others involved in the YMCA and educate members and non-members about how important and special it is to have a jewel like the Y in our community.
''From afterschool and teen programs to fitness and sports and multiple facilities, the Y offers so much more than just being called a gym and swim,'' she said.
Her future goals are to maintain her current weight, health and energy in addition to working out three to four days a week.
Washer is a 2005 graduate of SUNY Fredonia with a BS in business administration. She also graduated from JCC in 2001 with an associate degree in mathematics and science, and she attended Ohio State University.