Amy D’Andrea’s Story

Amy D'Andrea, Aquatics Director tells her Darien YMCA Story

Darien YMCA Aquatic Director Amy D’Andrea isn’t just a Y employee - she’s a product of it. The Mass. native considers herself a “Y brat,” as she grew up as a child of an Andover YMCA employee. Her mother was the Nursery School teacher there and Amy spent her youth swimming, and working at the Andover Y.

After Amy married and had four kids, she and her family relocated to Stamford, Conn., after a series of moves. In search of both a job and community for her children in a new state, Amy’s husband suggested she try the Darien YMCA. He grew up as a member there and had fond memories.

“I had grown up at a Y, I had worked there all during my young years at the Andover Y, and I just knew that I was looking for a place where my kids could also find that same kind of community,” Amy said.

She went to the Darien YMCA, picked up an application for a part-time swim instructor, and never left.

“So, what's different about the Darien Y is the community here is unlike anything else. When you come in, the people genuinely care about how you are that day, how is your family, you know, the day-to-day, they want to get to know you. And as a new person, when I first came on, I needed that because I didn't know anybody in this town besides my husband and my sister-in-law.”

From that day forward, a long and continuing relationship between the D’Andrea family and the Darien YMCA began. Amy started teaching swim classes at the Y two days a week, and her kids quickly became involved in various programs at the Y, including the Holly Pond School, gymnastics, basketball and more.

“I knew that it was the right place for our kids within the first year,” Amy said. “The Y embraced my kids and had every program we needed or that they wanted to be involved in.”

A year after Amy started at the Y, she was promoted to Assistant Aquatic Director, and in 2018, started her current role as Aquatic Director. As Aquatic Director, she oversees all aquatic programs at the Darien Y, including the Parent/Child swimming classes, Adult Aquatics, House Swimming, and beyond.

Amy takes special pride in the beginner swimming classes, “Before any soccer,  basketball, or gymnastics, you should be teaching your child to swim. So, for me, that impact is what drives me in the job: to offer a program that's gentle and caring and gets them where they need to be from that aquatic safety standpoint.”

Besides the safety impact, Amy enjoys working with people of all age ranges and abilities, fostering relationships and memories with members of the Darien Y, “I think there's just so much to what aquatics offers people. And so, for me, it's all about the relationships and the, you know, the actual physical impact that it has on them.”

The Darien YMCA has always been a family affair for the D’Andrea family and continues to be to this very day. Her youngest son was two-and-a-half years old when he started at the Darien Y, and now, at 22-years-old, he is a trainer on staff at the Y. Thanks to the Darien Y, the D’Andrea family has expanded. Two of Amy’s children met their spouses at the Y.

Amy has no plans to leave the Darien Y anytime soon, and even after 20 years there, she looks forward to going to work every day, “This is my home and happy place.”