#YStory: Chris Hellgoth
My name is Christopher Hellgoth and I have been a member of the Lionville Community YMCA for the last six years. I am currently a senior at the Downingtown STEM Academy and will graduate in two months. I’m planning to continue my education at Georgia Tech for mechanical engineering this fall.
I would like to share my story on how the YMCA has impacted my life over the last six years. Over this time - and my parents can attest to this statement - I have greatly matured and attained some significant accomplishments. I have seen my social confidence soar, held two jobs, improved my academic capabilities, got accepted to college and earned the rank of Eagle Scout. With these successes in my life there has always been one constant force - the YMCA.
I joined the Lionville Community YMCA swim team six years ago, my first real involvement with the Y. Over those six years, and more specifically the last three, I have seen my role on the team develop and grow. Through organizing fun ‘intrasquad’ meets and the ‘swim sibling’ program, I began to see the impact that I was having on others. An impactful moment was when I ran into my ‘swim sibling’ at church, a 9-year-old boy named Cole. Cole told me how much he looked up to me as a friend and leader of the team. That small interaction illustrated for me the impact that I had on younger swimmers. I decided to volunteer after practice to help the 6-to-8-year olds with their stroke development and share my love for the sport.
Then, in the summer of 2016, I began lifeguarding, right after my freshman year. I was eager to work and picked up a lot of hours, which connected me with many different people. I enjoyed being at the pool and the people I worked with, so I decided to work throughout the school year. I have continued lifeguarding at the Y since that summer. Last summer I was asked to be one of the head lifeguards. This opportunity allowed me to interact more with members and assume supervisory duties. My transition from lifeguard to head lifeguard is another prime example of how the Y presented me with the opportunity to grow as a person, further developing my leadership skills and ability to communicate with others.
In December of last year, the head swim team coach, Owen Edwards, asked if I would be interested in taking an official assistant coaching position with the team. Over the next few months, I saw my relationship with the other swimmers grow. I began coaching as the regular season was ending and the championship season was beginning. The increase in hours was definitely a challenge for me due to my busy schedule with school, my own swimming and other activities. I realize now that balancing all of these responsibilities required good time management, another skill that has helped me grow.
The environment presented through swim team also led me to a group of 13 other teenagers (Jack, Will, Twill, Aiden, Cole, Matt, Nathan, Rob, Jonah, Dan, Sydney, Alexa, Anna). This group of swimmers helped me become a more social person while giving me the confidence to contribute more to my school environment. I view this group of my swim team friends as a necessity for getting through high school.
The impact that the Y has had on me these past six years can be seen in everything that I have accomplished and worked towards so far. I have grown so much over this time and the Y played a big role. As I move forward to the next stage of my life in college and beyond, I will always carry with me fond memories of my time at the Lionville Community YMCA, the opportunities I received to grow and become the person I am today, and the good friends I have made. Thank you Y.