YMCA bids farewell to fitness director

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 7, 2005

If you had anything at all to do with the Suffolk YMCA in the past eight years, chances are you know Jane Burgess.

If you took an exercise class, she might have been the teacher. If you wanted to learn more about lifting weights or doing cardio exercise, she was there to help. If you were an employee starting out, she gave you direction.

That’s why the people for whom Burgess did so much, even though she’s retired from the facility, can still carry on what they learned from her.

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&uot;I emulate her quite a bit when I teach,&uot; fitness instructor Cheryl Ray said Friday at Burgess’ farewell luncheon.

Now semi-retired, Burgess will work part-time at the Franklin YMCA.

Ray added, &uot;She taught me that exercise is more than just having fun and moving around. Jane taught us rules and boundaries to keep our classes safe and have fun at the same time.&uot;

Among other classes, Burgess taught step, body design, yoga, pilates, spinning and aquacize.

&uot;I’ll remember her incredible steadfastness,&uot; said instructor Connie Womack. &uot;She does not deviate from her standards of keeping classes safe and setting certain rules. She was a good role model for all of us.&uot;

Chewing on a strawberry, Burgess remembered her tenure at the facility, the last six years of which were spent as the fitness director.

&uot;When I came, we had three group exercise classes a day,&uot; she said. &uot;Now we have about 10. I always liked helping people achieve their goals, and I’m really going to miss all the members and all the employees.&uot;

That’s a sentiment echoed by associate director Cindy Butts.

&uot;Jane has a sweetness about her,&uot; said Butts, who arrived at the facility the year after Burgess. &uot;She’s really worked hard for the YMCA and she’s done a tremendous job… She cares about everyone she comes in contact with, and you don’t meet many people like that. We’ll definitely feel her loss, and the members will too.&uot;