Summertime is finally here! It’s the season when some of our best memories are made. It’s a time for kids to just be kids. But as parents and caregivers, we know that kids still need to grow and develop over the next several weeks until school begins again. There is no better place than the YMCA of Greenville for your kids to have fun this summer, to explore and develop new skills, and to develop their community as they socialize with other children. At the Y, they also experience the positive influence that a healthy adult role model can have, which we know is critical to their development.
Our broad lineup of programs are centered around our three focus areas: Youth Development, Healthy Living, and Social Responsibility. We have something for everyone – from young to young at heart, diverse abilities, novice athletes to those who want to sharpen their skills further. And when we say everyone, we mean everyone. We raise money each year to provide financial assistance to those who may not be able to participate in the Y’s programs and services otherwise.
We provide a lot of teens and young adults their first jobs as summer day camp and overnight camp counselors, swim instructors, lifeguards to name a few. They learn how to lead, communicate with others and develop skills they didn’t have before. When I was 12, the lifeguard at the Y in my hometown demonstrated a high degree of respect of what it means to guard the pool and what it meant to be a role model. Because of that, I followed in her footsteps to become a summer lifeguard. That first job paved a path, like for so many others, for a lifetime career at the Y.
Our summer day camp is a great place for kids to try a new sport before committing to a full season. They can figure out what they like and don’t like. With such short attention spans, it’s good to challenge them week by week with a different activity, keeping them fresh and excited to try new things. At Camp Greenville, overnight camp also gives them the freedom to explore, something that in today’s world is many children don’t get to experience. Our programs also give them exposure to kids with different interests and ages – all things that are good for their development of social skills – which can be lost in this digital age.
We also offer programs for children and young adults with diverse abilities. iCanBike, a national program hosted by the Eastside Y in late July/early August, helps those with diverse abilities experience the joy and freedom of riding a bike. At Camp Greenville, our Fall Stargazer Camp for children with Down Syndrome and their families, as well as Spectrum Camp for children on the Autism spectrum and their families, helps bring the joy of an overnight camp and connection with others who understand the challenges both the kids and families face.
Finally, summertime at the Y is also for the young at heart. Many of our senior members use the Y as their place to build community and to engage in social interaction. If you live by yourself, you don’t have to be alone during the day. Come to your local branch and exercise, have a cup of coffee and congregate for a while. We’d love to have you and help you continue to build happy, healthy and positive memories this summer.