Meet YMCA Intern Bailey Roberts

By all appearances, Bailey Roberts was an ACC-bound cross country runner.

Then the injury reports started to come in just as frequently as the college recruitment letters.

“I wanted to run in the ACC,” Roberts said. “That was my dream. I got hip surgery, so that didn’t work out. I ended up at JMU, and my plan was to take the year, get healthy, and transfer.”

But Bailey, currently a Staunton-Augusta Family YMCA intern, fell in love with James Madison University. Instead of transferring, she planned to walk on to the cross-country team at JMU.

“My sophomore year came around, and I still wasn’t feeling right,” Roberts said. “I had a plethora of injuries (seven stress fractures and tendonitis) scattered throughout all that. Being told to stop again would have been too devastating. I’d rather walk away from it myself than to be forced to quit again.”

Spending more time in doctor’s office than pursuing her passion of running was incredibly difficult for Roberts, but some good did come from it. As she was forced to reflect, she learned that her value as a person was greater than her identity in being a runner.

And it also helped steered Roberts – an aspiring surgeon – toward the medical profession.

“It got me to step back and say, ‘I am more than running. I am somebody without running,’” said Roberts, an avid hiker. “I need to figure out what I want to do with my future. I’m not going to run forever. I need to be able to handle anything that life throws at me. Just because I can’t run, I can’t be upset about X, Y or Z.”

For as long as Roberts can remember, she had been part of the YMCA in Roanoke. Her parents had been members for decades who visited the YMCA frequently, and Roberts grew up attending summer camps and various activities at the YMCA.

During her time at JMU, Roberts would drive to Staunton, just to be part of the closest YMCA.

“I started coming here my freshman year, just because I knew it was here,” Roberts said. “I just needed to get out of the JMU bubble. I worked there, and did my homework there. I just needed to get out. I like the atmosphere here. It’s very diverse.”

Roberts is a senior majoring in kinesiology. Her major requires her to complete an internship. Having been around the Staunton-Augusta Family YMCA since her freshman year of college, the Y was just a logical choice.

“Since I do enjoy exercise science, I want to work with a diverse population, learning the needs of kids in elementary school versus elderly people,” said Roberts, a self-described shy person who wants to push out of her comfort zone at the YMCA. “I want to study how exercise can impact them and then translate that into whatever medical profession I go into.”

Watch the video of Roberts here.

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