Visiting the center nearly every other day, Greg and his family have found a genuine community. With the help of our Sports Director, Jon Byrd, Greg instructs the newfound Adult Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Class. His background in Jiu-Jitsu and motivation to inspire others to get involved in the foundation in which the Flagstaff YMCA is built.

Greg and his family have lived in the Flagstaff area for several years, but have only just recently joined our family here at the Flagstaff Y. He shared his recent experiences as a newcomer.

Greg says, “As soon as you walk through the doors, there’s a smiling face greeting you with friendliness. The staff members I’ve worked with have been hard working and willing to make things happen for the members. It gives me confidence as a new member AND a volunteer. Even my son has found an interest in programs like the Jr. Suns Basketball League. We’ve only been here a month, but the whole family is excited to get more and more involved.”

“I’ve been practicing Jiu-Jitsu for years and I’ve been wanting to combine my passion with an outlet for community outreach,” says Greg. As a new member, he looks forward to finding roots in a positive culture that collectively works together. “The class is a perfect way for people to learn self-defense techniques. The basic appeal of Jiu-Jitsu is the comradery with other athletes.” He looks forward to seeing the group grow, with the potential to reach further into the community emphasizing the value of self-defense.

He also shared his thoughts on members who may be on the fence in joining a new group like this. “Even my wife wasn’t so sure about Jiu-Jitsu herself. Once she tried it, though, she’s been hooked ever since. She can easily keep up with men much bigger than her in a sparring match.”

Programs like these are rooted in the fundamentals of the Y. The respect and responsibility taught help members to step out of their comfort zones to help them become the best version of themselves. We encourage members of all ages to find new passions for wellness in programs that are good for the heart and boost confidence.

Greg says, “The biggest motivation to keep coming back to the Y has definitely been the staff and volunteers. People here are so passionate about the core values of a non-profit (to reach the community, to improve the community), that it inspires people like me to do better.”

Greg’s exceptional presence in the Y community has already shown. His heart for volunteerism and serving the community has been inspirational to all members. We look forward to the amazing heights Greg and the Jiu-Jitsu athletes will reach.