Service and Leadership

Alan Teeple believes in service and leadership and has befriended and counseled lifeguards at the Southwest Family Y for nearly two decades. The child of an Air Force intelligence officer, Alan followed his father’s example and enlisted in the U.S. Army, serving for 10 years. He has been married for 30 years to his blushing bride and has one son. Alan jokes that “God’s a woman with a sense of humor because my one and only child came along when I was 47”. Alan is 63 with a 15-year-old son ‘getting ready to drive’ “He’s already six foot two inches and gets a kick out of hovering over me”, said Alan.

Alan’s son Samuel is continuing his father and grandfather’s ‘legacy of service’ by becoming a YMCA lifeguard where he will learn and demonstrate the YMCA’s core values of Respect, Responsibility, Caring, and Honesty.

Alan grew up in the Y. He was a Y kid because his Mom was terrified of water and wanted to ensure Alan and his sisters didn’t live with the same fear. A great portion of his childhood was spent in a YMCA pool even though his family moved frequently. His Mom never learned to swim but shuttled the kids to the Y year-round for swim lessons. Alan said, “I started in the Y system, so everywhere I moved, everywhere I could, I found a Y to join.” Back in Austin, Alan joined the TownLake Y in 1997 and would go over on lunch break from work to swim nearly every day. Another move took Alan and his family to the Southwest Y where they have been active members for the last 18 years.

Alan is extremely outgoing. He said, “Shy is not a term that has ever been associated with me, so I’ve gotten to know a lot of people, a lot of lifeguards. I’ve seen many kids go from three-foot tall fledgling swimmers to grown, professional lifeguards. Watching guards grow up, move, get married. Being a part of their lives and having the opportunity to inspire the younger generation to a life of service and leadership means a lot to me. My son was taught to swim by a former SW Y Aquatics Director, Spencer Robertson when he was a young lifeguard and instructor. I’ve known Spencer since he was a green, high school kid, lifeguarding at the Y. He’s now a Y professional in San Antonio. I’m so proud to have watched him grow, serve and inspire my own son.”

Alan shares with his son that “lifeguarding is a great (first) job. You learn how to be a team player, develop time management and people skills, communication, problem-solving skills, responsibility, and simple kindness. Whatever path you choose moving forward, these skills learned through your job at the Y will serve you. They will aid you in being a good person and better leader in life and in business. You have to be able to work with and speak with people of all backgrounds, and you learn that at the Y. Use those skills and carry it forward.”

Alan refers to the lifeguards at SW Y as ‘my lifeguards’. He swims 50 laps nearly every day all year round. As long as ‘his lifeguards’ are willing to go outside, he’ll swim outside. “I used to even swim outside when it was spitting snow. It was magnificent. Magnificent, like the Y.”