Despite having lived much of his adulthood away from Jamestown, David Caccamise is no stranger to the YMCA. Caccamise, 65, fondly remembers time spent at the Y and at Camp Onyahsa as a child, and he recently restarted his journey at the Jamestown Y as an adult.
Two years ago, Caccamise retired from retail management and moved back to Jamestown to take care of his now 96-year-old mother. Though she is in good health, Caccamise has found that taking care of an older person can be difficult at times.
“You can’t spend 24 hours a day taking care of someone, especially when that person is able to do some things for themselves,” Caccamise said. “It can be pretty stressful when you don’t have an outlet-something else to do.”
So he decided to check out the Y to see what it had to offer.
“I started taking a few classes and working out a little bit,” said Caccamise. “Getting out and associating with the people at the Y was a big help, especially in the winter. Now I’m here from Monday through Thursday taking classes or working out.”
But Caccamise doesn’t just take classes offered at the Y, he also teaches a class in Tai Chi. With 16 years of experience in the art, Caccamise says that it takes time to learn the form so that the movements become automatic and the actual benefits of Tai Chi can be realized.
“When you first start learning a particular form of Tai Chi, it takes about 20 minutes for your energy to actually circulate to the point that you are comfortable and relaxed,” Caccamise said. “After 16 years, I can get there in about two minutes.”
After taking the Y’s Moving for Better Balance class, similar to Tai Chi in some ways, Caccamise questioned YMCA Wellness Director Meg Pickard as to whether Tai Chi could also be offered at the Y.
Following a successful turnout to the Tai Chi classes at Fitness in the Park last summer, Pickard said she would schedule a Tai Chi class on one condition – that Caccamise help teach it.
“Dave had the experience and knowledge of Tai Chi, and he had previously team-taught our Moving for Better Balance class while it was still a prototype,” Pickard said, “so I knew he was capable of being an instructor for the class.”
So Caccamise started teaching Tai Chi at the Y, volunteering his time each week, and says that he is glad to be back in Jamestown and so involved with the Y.
“Going forward, I hope to help people realize that the Y is a nonprofit organization,” Caccamise said, “so that maybe other people will want to donate more of their time to the Y or can find a few more dollars to donate to the Y.”
Already looking ahead to this summer, Caccamise scheduled a fitness appointment this week with YMCA Wellness Intern Jamie Budzinski.
“I’m going to be doing some hiking in Ohio this summer, and I’m going to have to spend some time on the treadmill to get in shape for that,” said Caccamise. “And this year I’m playing golf again. The (Nautilus) machines are sure to help increase the length of my drive.”