We love a good love story at the YMCA. So, it is only right that we share the tale of Steve and Annette Locke.
The high school sweethearts started dating during their sophomore year at Greece Arcadia High School. They went on to SUNY Potsdam, even pursuing the same profession, as Annette was a teacher at Gates Chili Middle School, while Steve taught at Byron-Bergen High School.
The couple retired and began looking for an outlet in their post-education careers. An idea came to mind: what about the YMCA? They both frequented the Westside Family YMCA for lap swimming while they were still teachers. They figured, “Why not become lifeguards?”
“We call this a volunteer gig,” said Steve, who has been lifeguarding with Annette for three years. “They pay us, but we gift it back to them because we just love the Y.”
Annette speaks glowingly of the YMCA of Greater Rochester, specifically the branch she is most familiar with, the Westside Family YMCA. But most importantly, it’s the people in our YMCA community that bring her back.
“The people are just wonderful. I speak for myself, I do it for the people,” said Annette, who made sure to credit Westside Executive Director Meghan Angel and Aquatics Director Brett VanBoden. “I’ve just made such good friends here. It feels like a family, everybody just looks out for each other.”
Considering she was also a former lap swimmer, Steve and Annette made sure to convince friend and former classmate Marcia Kushner into lifeguarding at Westside for a new role in retirement. Things may have been tough for her to start, but Marcia credits the couple for helping her stick with it in lifeguarding.
“I kind of had doubts about my abilities, but they kept encouraging me and helping me through the whole process, every step of the way,” said Marcia. “So now I have this great job and I love working with them. I just enjoy the job and working with the people that are here, so I’m very grateful to them.”
If you do not see the couple on Westside’s deck during the day, you will probably find them in the branch’s community garden. Steve brought Annette along with him and they have been harvesting the garden since, with spinach, arugula, kale, herbs, carrots, cabbage, and more filling up the garden to share amongst the Westside members.
No matter what it is, Steve and Annette are most thankful to be experiencing it all side by side.
“It’s fun being able to do it together,” said Annette. “We enjoy each other, work well as a team. It’s just fun.”
“We’re doing it while we still can,” Steve added.