While it might seem an odd memory, that’s the first thing that comes to mind for YMCA of Greater Moncton CEO Zane Korytko when asked about his earliest Y recollections.
“When I was five and growing up in Montreal, my mom joined the local YMCA to get back in shape after having her third child,” says Korytko. “These were the days before child-care services so I ended up in the care of Mrs. Turley, who worked in the Y’s kitchen. She got me peeling carrots, which I guess was my first volunteer job. I loved it!”
After his kitchen-helper days, Korytko took part in just about every program available for children at the Y and held virtually every position available for youth, from swim instructor to assistant day camp counsellor, his first paid gig.
“I remember making $35 in the camp job — $35 for the entire summer!” he says with a laugh. “I thought it was great.”
After attending Carleton University in Ottawa, Korytko became aquatic director at Montreal’s Notre-Dame-de-Grâce YMCA, and later held posts there in everything from membership services to maintenance.
“I literally grew up in the Y,’ he says. “I’ve done every conceivable job except teaching fitness classes. My sisters worked at the Y, too. For us, the Y was family.”
The YMCA has continued to be a family affair for Korytko. In the late 1980s, he met Y enthusiast Ana Berlie, the woman who would later become his wife. The couple had three daughters, all of whom have worked with the organization, either in Montreal, at the Y’s Big Cove Camp in Nova Scotia, or at the YMCA of Greater Moncton, where Korytko took on the role of CEO in 2006.
Even his parents were YMCA members into their 80s!
“I think we all love the Y because it offers a sense of belonging and because it aims to help the community, plain and simple,” Korytko says. “It’s so much more than just a fitness centre—it’s truly a home. I’m proud to be a part of the Y. You really do have a home here.”