Six deep is how the Ball family rolls. Christopher, Natalie and their four boys are a hard squad to miss if you see them pulling up to the Hays Communities Y. If you don’t believe it, drop by any Tuesday or Thursday and they’ll be there. Natalie will be ready to kick your butt in her group exercise class, Christopher all set to get his sweat on and the four boys psyched to have a ball in Child Watch or sports practice.
Our story starts with Christopher and Natalie’s meeting in high school. Both grew up in Central Texas and were friends. Eventually, they found themselves in San Marcos to attend Texas State University as their friendship grew into an extended courtship. After seven years of dating the two were married and ready to start a family in the Buda-Kyle area.
The young family found the Hays Community Y soon after its opening in 2008. Natalie who was, a first-grade teacher at the time, credits group exercise instructor Jill Edwards for bringing her in and welcoming her to the Y. But with the birth of their second child on the horizon and thoughts of increased childcare costs on their minds, the couple pondered ways to make extra money.
“We knew there were things that we had to cut out of our lives and the YMCA was one that we did not want to cut out, “ Natalie says.
Reflecting on her mother’s career as an aerobics instructor in North Austin, Natalie knew that getting certified herself and teaching at the Y was a natural choice. She followed her mother’s advice on how to get started and ended up filling in for Jill as she moved on from the Y.
“It’s kind of morphed and changed over the years, but you kind of know who to expect, so there’s that accountability factor,” Christopher says of Natalie’s classes. “It’s closer-knit relationships than you would have generally thought about a place you go to work out. It’s kind of special actually. ”
The Ball family has certainly found a second home at Y, building long-standing relationships and welcoming others in into the fold. They’ve given their children a rhythm of life, where they know to expect a visit to the Y twice a week and teaching them a commitment to the activities that they participate in.
That commitment to the Y and towards their community shows itself in more than the family’s number of visits. They also proudly display their support of the Y’s Annual Giving Campaign.
“We give because of the impact the Y has made on us. It’s one way to do your part to keep it moving in the right direction. When you believe in something like this, it just feels right and feels good to give money.” Christopher says.
Feeling inspired by the Ball Family’s story? Share your support for the Y with a donation to the Annual Giving Campaign at AustinYMCA.org/donate