Saturday Spotlight- Yolanda Szymanski

NAME: Yolanda Szymanski
AGE: 49
Marriage Status: Married
KIDS: Hailey 13 and Jonathan 10
Occupation: Floral Designer, Teachers Aide
Hobbies: Running, Kickboxing, Traveling, Tennis, Surfing, biking.
Pets: Izzy (A Yorkie-Pom) and Patches (A Holland lop bunny)
Hometown: Sayville, NY
Current Town: Patchogue, NY

I was born at St. Charles hospital in Port Jefferson and grew up not too far away on the south shore town of Sayville. I lived with my parents and three older sisters. My house was on a golf course that my father managed. My back yard was literally the fairway to the first hole. I started running in 3rd grade and I would run every day with my dad. We had our morning routine. A 3 mile run around the entire golf course. Then, he would take me to the diner for a hot chocolate and buttered roll. When I got in 5th grade I joined a private track team coached by one of my elementary school’s teachers. I was a sprinter running the 50-yard dash at 6.7 seconds. We competed around Long Island at various track meets and then ended up at the JR Olympics where I placed 2nd in the 50-yard dash. I never was much of a long distance runner; not running anything over 4 miles through my adolescence and teenage years. I played various sports in High School, like field hockey and volleyball, and I always participated in field and track. I graduated from Sayville High school in 1989 and went off to New York Institute of Technology for a degree in travel and hospitality. As a child we traveled all over the world. My father’s side of the family all lived in Italy, so we would go back and forth several times a year. He would always take us to various places around Europe. My mom loved the tropics. Every winter break we would travel to Hawaii or the Caribbean. The love for travel had grown on me. There is so much to see! To experience different cultures and people is truly so amazing! As I was studying for my degree I continued to work on the Golf course that my dad managed. He employed all the local high school and college kids. I loved working on the course, being outside, working with plants, the smell of fresh cut grass, the morning sunrises, the afternoon sunsets. I decide to change my major and go for Golf course management which meant going away and attending Rutgers University. I graduated from Rutgers university in 1996 with a degree in plant science. After returning home, I got promoted to assistant golf course superintendent at Island Hills Golf Club. I was the first female golf course assistant on Long Island. While at Rutgers I met my husband who also was an assistant superintendent at a Golf course in New Jersey. We got married in 1999 and he moved from new Jersey to Long Island, as I didn’t want to leave my family. I was born and raised here and had dreams of raising my own family here. In 2000 We decided we wanted to start a family and with my current position at the golf course it would be impossible because of all the hours I worked. It was a 7 day a week job. I decided after 17 years it was time for a change in March of 2000. I resigned from my position at Island Hills. I opened my own floral design company in 2001 after working 1 season with another floral design company. I had my daughter in 2005 and my son in 2008. I currently still own my floral design company and this up-coming season will be my 18th year in business. My business is seasonal, April through November, so I have also worked for the past 5 years in my local school district as a Teacher’s Aide. I really started running and loving long distances about 6 years ago, once my youngest was in school full-time. It’s a great stress reliever, it challenges me always, and I love all the wonderful aspiring people that I meet. The Selden Hills Warriors are truly an amazing group of inspirational runners that I’m happy to be a part of.