When is the last time you checked out all that the YMCA has to offer in your community?
A couple of months ago, I enrolled my two kids in soccer at my local Bayer YMCA (formerly Monsanto). I was really excited to find a way to keep them busy during the fall. I wanted something that was reasonably priced, outdoors, and would increase the chance of naps in the afternoons … I mean, give them plenty of exercise.
I was surprised that we were only one of two families enrolled. I thought recent building renovations would bring a larger crowd; nonetheless, we had a great session! I decided to enroll my kids in the next soccer session at the Y, and when I went inside, I was surprised to learn all that the Bayer YMCA has to offer this season. I’ll share a few things here:
Soccer and Basketball for Preschoolers
Soccer has been a lot of fun! It is primarily outside but will move indoors when it’s too cold. We get medals, T-shirts, and shin guards. Basketball is always indoors, but the Y has been good about requiring kids and adults to wear masks.
Swim lessons are always in full effect at the YMCA! Although I chose not to participate this year, I know several families that have been going and are having a great time, as well as a nurse who feels more comfortable in the pool than she does in the store. (I’ll let you in on a little secret, swim classes are only $5 at this Y. You’re welcome!).
Kids in the Kitchen
Kids in the Kitchen is a six-week “mommy and me” styled class that teaches kids about eating healthy. Y’all! I love mommy and me classes! There is no better way to learn or redevelop an old skill while teaching kids and having fun in class. I will be in attendance at as many of these as possible. They are on Wednesdays at 6 pm in November and December. Classes include eating the five food groups, kitchen safety, and encouraging kids to eat veggies. Yes! Yes! And Yes!
New Teen Center
A new teen center allows teens to start “hanging out with a purpose.” What was previously a large kids area has now turned into a two-story educational center for teens. Although I was sad to lose the play area for my 3- and 5-year- olds, I was happy to find out about all the educational programs they will be able to participate in as they grow and mature. I know the heart of the Y is teens, and this provides a safe, clean space for them to enjoy learning new things. The center will focus on STEM and provide teens with practical ways to learn what interests them.
Teen Center Programming
It’s the teen center programming for me! They didn’t just build a center; they gave the teens something useful to do in it! I have to say I was really impressed by the new programming that will be offered for teens beginning on November 4. They have a computer coding class. One of the barriers to success that has developed over the last decade has been in technology. Not all demographics have the same access, and I was pleased to learn that the YMCA is helping to close the gap by providing coding classes. In addition, they have a Podcasting class beginning on November 5 and a Radio Production class starting November 10. All classes are free!
Healthy Eating Classes
Healthy eating classes are offered for adults on Wednesdays at noon. While most of the perks are for the kids, I also enrolled in an Eating Healthy class. At least once a week in the summer, I take my kids for a walk on the outdoor track, and we get to pass the garden. The gardeners are gracious enough to pass out the food occasionally to encourage healthy eating. I’m excited to see how the Y will continue to inspire me and other adults to get our lives together through healthy eating.
New Child Care Facility
Last but certainly not least, the Bayer YMCA just opened up a new child care facility. Previously it was for kids ages two and a half through five. It has now expanded to infants, ages 6-weeks through 5-years-old. I must say it looks nice!
If you can’t make it to my Y, I would encourage you to see what’s going on at a YMCA in your neighborhood. The joining fees are lower at my Y (also a secret …shhhhh). You can open a membership there and use all the facilities in the Gateway Region. The Y has been my go-to since I became a mom, and with all these extravagant programs, it’s obvious why I heart my local YMCA!