Tess’ Story

Sometimes there are experiences that transform you. The Kelowna Family Y has been life-altering for me. A year ago I was eating my way through frustration in Vancouver and then I moved back to Kelowna and joined the Y.

Tess (left) and Brittany (right)

Initially, I was resistant to the concept of “joining a gym” so I started small; a couple of water aerobics classes a week, then three, then six classes broken up by pool walking three days a week. Pounds started to melt away and I was encouraged to try out the gym upstairs. Working out in the weightless environment of the deep pool was one thing, but donning my sole pair of sweat pants was not a concept I immediately embraced…so I checked to see if they would let me work out in the gym in a skirt and heels…for safety reasons the answer was no. My “pool days” were then supplemented with 7 miles on the bike and resistance training (my favourite part of my gym workouts will always be the jiggle machine).

My journey continues but you wouldn’t recognize the woman who first walked through the doors because not only did I lose 70 lbs, I’m now apprenticing to teach deep water aerobics. (I’m the one in the bathing suit and a sarong on the pool deck—smile.) For all those of you who feel you wouldn’t be comfortable putting on a bathing suit or going to a gym, rest assured that not only the Y staff, but its patrons, are a family waiting to help you succeed.

I’m so happy to know all of you. But I have to say that Brittany (because she looked at me at and saw a fitness instructor—some would say that took an incredible amount of vision), Angela (because she taught me, mentored me and became my friend), Erin (because her smile is the one that greets me most mornings and I’ve come to think of her as part of my sunrise), Sandie (because she shared how hard it is for her to step outside her comfort zone and now she gets up on the pool deck and makes it look effortless), and Collin (because he pushes me beyond my comfort level and is always an encouragement) are most intimately associated with this journey.

Teresa (Tess) Figner