A Marietta YMCA swim coach

Ryan Zundell decided to get involved in volunteering at the Marietta Family YMCA because of his son’s involvement in swimming and his own background of coaching a youth swimming team.

Not only does Zundell coach the swimming team, he is also a volunteer board member, which he joined in January.

Zundell said one of the more important things he teaches the children he coaches is sometimes a sport is not about winning; it’s about improvement.

Question: What is that you do for the YMCA?

Answer: I am a swim coach for the intermediate group. It’s swimmers that swam previously, between the ages of 8 and 13 or 14. They’re not beginners and they’re not real young. They’re kind of in that middle age group. And my son, Owen, is with swimming, so that’s kind of how I got back into it. I was asked to be on the board in January of this year. I’m one of six to seven members. When you enter, you commit to being on a committee. I’m on the membership committee. It’s typically around two meetings a month. Also, we’re all actually in the campaign to raise funds for programs. This year we’re focusing on the roof and the parking lot.

Q: How did you decide to get involved?

A: Owen had been involved in some other programs with the Y…A lot of parents help out with the swimming team. There was a void, they were in need of a coach. (YMCA Director) Suzy Zumwalde knew I had a swimming background. I had coached youth swimming. She knew I had the background and asked me to help out and coach the team. I enjoy coaching that age group. It’s not always about winning first place but improving and getting better. I think it’s a good life lesson. If you can go out and improve every time you do something, that’s great. That’s the real accomplishment.

Q: What do you like best, both with the kids and with the board?

A: Working with the kids, instilling some of that confidence when they do better and improve. I constantly talk about getting better. They’re excited about that more than being first, second or third. With the board, it’s helping the community in general. The Y has a place in our community. When I was in college, we’d go down and play some basketball at the Y, there was no DBRC. In the 90s, the Y was a part of daily life. It’s working and giving back and strengthening what the Y does in our community.

Q: Are there any challenges?

A: With coaching, it can be (challenging), given it’s such a long season. It starts in mid September and doesn’t finish up until the beginning of March. We practice Monday through Thursday, so four days a week. It’s just a long period. It’s a day-in, day-out type of thing and the kids typically have good attention. As far as the board, I’m new so there are challenges as far as the facility is concerned. I’m still trying to get my feet wet with being on the board.

Q: What are some ways others might be able to get involved with volunteering at the YMCA?

A: The Y is so diverse with the things they do, from child care to sports activities. Find what you love and ask to help out in any way you can. If you’re talented and artistic, ask to help teach an art class. Or if you have a background in basketball, ask to be a coach…When we did the mud run, I volunteered to go out and take pictures. Anything like that could be helpful and beneficial…Whatever excites you, whatever gets you motivated, there’s probably an opportunity at the Y to do that, and if there’s not they’ll probably create it.

Amanda Nicholson conducted this interview.