Meet Amy Brennan
By Leslie Moore
I met Amy Brennan, executive director of the Georgetown County Family YMCA, at the beautiful, year-old facility outside of Georgetown. The building is a fitness-lover’s dream,, filled with state of the art equipment, a six-lane, competitive/multi-use pool, sauna, group exercise and cycling studio and a child care center. But, more importantly, this is a friendly, comfortable place filled with the smiling faces of volunteers and staff who are dedicated to community wellness. This YMCA is a part of the YMCA of Coastal Carolina, which includes the Claire Chapin Epps YMCA in Myrtle Beach. Attractive, friendly and enthusiastic, Amy has been executive director of the Georgetown County Family YMCA since May of 2004 and led the effort to build a Y in Georgetown County.
Amy, tell us about a typical day for the executive director of the Y.
I usually get to work around 5:30 am and try to leave by 6:30 pm. Of course, I have to practice what I preach – I take an exercise class at 6 am a few days and another one in the afternoon a couple of times a week if I can. One of the perks is that unless I have a meeting I can walk around in my gym clothes for most of the day and fit right in!
I love working with people and hearing their stories. We are like a big family here. The idea for this YMCA started years ago after a string of tragic drownings in the area. A group of concerned citizens and local organizations came together to figure out a way to make sure that our children learn how to swim. Today, all second graders in Georgetown County receive basic water safety instruction at the YMCA as a part of the school physical education curriculum and are then encouraged to come and take more lessons. A side benefit is that many of the parents sign up for lessons as well. And, now we have a swim team! Before our facility was complete, there was no place for a swim team to practice or compete.
We don’t want anyone to think they can not afford to come here. Need-based scholarships are available for anyone in the community who wants to come and work out. What is important is that Georgetown County is getting healthy!
Currently, we have 3,000 members and offer child care for parents to be able to work out. I hear so many wonderful stories about how much weight people have lost, how their blood pressure has dropped, their need for medication has dropped, their diabetes is under control – it’s amazing! We’re sort of like Disney World; you can leave the world outside when you come here and just enjoy working out with your family. We also employ 80 people, not a small thing in this economy.
Since we opened the Y, I have learned to do many things that don’t have a lot to do with community development – boiler systems, propane gas, HVAC, etc. – everyday is a new adventure!
Amy, tell us a little more about yourself.
I am passionate about community development and want to continue being a part of that. It’s sort of my heart outside of my body. My husband is a teacher and coach, and we have talked about how we know we’re in the right place at the right time. Knowing I’ve made my community a better place means everything to me.
I do love the outdoors, and for my last birthday I got kayaks which I plan to find time to use. We have two children; a boy, Kyle, who is a junior in high school, and a girl, Kayla, who is a senior. Both are currently attending South Carolina Governor’s School for Science and Math, so while we are extremely proud of them, we don’t see them everyday. We travel to see them for sporting and special events – and have learned the value of the internet for staying in touch. We are very proud of the kids, and it has been a challenge learning to parent them from nearly 2 hours away.
I am also a brain tumor survivor. The tumors are not malignant, but would be fatal if not removed. So far, I’ve had three surgeries. I don’t believe I let my health issues interfere with my life, but they help me relate to the people I serve – everyone has something to overcome.
To learn more about either the YMCA of Georgetown County or the Claire Chapin Epps YMCA, visit www.coastalcarolinaymca.org or call 843-545-YMCA or 843-449-YMCA.
About this writer
- Leslie Moore is the editor for Strand Media Group. A 25 year resident of Pawleys Island, she is blessed with a life filled with the love of family and friends and satisfying work to do every day.