Healthy Living

YMCA volunteer Carole Tracey shines at 75

02 June 2023 - by YMCA of Greater Toronto
Carole Tracey joined the Central YMCA in 1988 to help her quit smoking, and she quickly learned that being a Y member was so much more. She kicked her smoking habit, took her fitness to a new level and made social connections. Seeing the impact the Y had on her overall health and well-being, Carole decided to pay it forward in 1990 and became a Y volunteer.

Over the years, Carole has led Group Fitness classes such as RunFit and Bootcamp at our Scarborough YMCA, Central YMCA and The Cooper Koo Family YMCA health and fitness centres. She is always willing to lend a helping hand. She estimates that she has led about 50 classes per year, which means she’s taught well over 1,500 classes during her time with the Y.
Carole’s favourite memories

Carole is passionate about helping others maintain and improve their health. Regardless of her participants’ abilities, Carole is happy whenever people are trying their best. Over the years she has made many friends and connections in her classes. In fact, one of her current Bootcamp participants has been attending Carole’s weekly class for 30 years.

One of Carole’s favourite memories from volunteering at the Y involves a first-time RunFit participant who had no prior training before joining the class. Carole recognized this person’s potential and offered advice and encouragement. Within a short time, he was running long distances, eventually completing a marathon.
Inspiring others

Carole takes pride in leading her classes at the Y, taking time to uniquely craft the exercises and music she uses. Participants appreciate her new setups and challenges — it’s kept a core of regulars coming back for years. Carole says that leading programs at the Y has strengthened her leadership and communication skills. She feels like the Y is her home away from home.

Carole has also inspired others at the Y to pay it forward and many of the participants from her classes have gone on to become volunteers themselves.
Carole’s other passions

In addition to Carole’s volunteer work at the Y, she is a successful marathon runner with 50 runs completed in many cities around the world. Carole also hikes with a weekly group in central southern Ontario. She has completed two legs of the Camino de Santiago in Spain and will be hiking in the Alps this June.

As a lifelong learner, Carole took up ice skating and cycling at age 73 and is learning to swim now at 75. Besides athletics, Carole is interested in the arts and history. She is a regular volunteer at the Royal Ontario Museum and has visited many world museums and galleries.

There's much more to say about Carole. Most importantly, she's a caring person who has a kind word and smile for everyone she meets.

This month, Carole turns 75 and we want to celebrate all her amazing contributions to the YMCA of Greater Toronto. If Carole’s story has inspired you, consider starting your volunteer journey with us today.


Visit to find out more about our programs, services and charitable impact.


See the many ways to give to the Y and help build a brighter future.


Find child care programs that help children and families shine.


Stay healthy, active and connected at our health and fitness centres.


Explore camps and outdoor centres for fun, adventure, leadership, skills-building and more.


Get the job you want and brighten your career with help from Employment Services.


Settle in and light up your new life in the GTA with support from Immigrant Services.


Make new friends, hone new skills and find counselling at our Youth Programs.


Give back and shine on with rewarding YMCA Volunteer Opportunities.


Find out about our green initiatives and what we're doing to build resilience to climate change.


Light up learning at  YMCA Academy, a middle and high school for those who learn differently.