Disclosure :: YMCA of Greater New Orleans sponsored this post.
Wh(Y) I Love The YMCA :: One Mom’s Perspective
A little over 2 years ago, my husband and I took a tour of our local YMCA because we were searching for a fitness facility that would be a great fit for our family. As a mother of two small children, I wanted a place where I could go and workout while my children could play and socialize with other little ones their age. Truthfully, if I am being honest, I was really looking for a little time to myself a few days a week to help keep my sanity. I never expected the YMCA would be our home away from home, but that is certainly what it has become.
A Home Away From Home
You see, when we toured the YMCA that day, we realized it was more than just a gym. It was a place where we could spend quality family time together. The day we took our tour, we immediately signed up only to rush home and make a quick wardrobe change into our swimsuits so we could go back to swim as a family that evening. We use the pool all summer long to stay cool, because being wet is the only way to beat the summer heat. One of our favorite family events at the YMCA are the ‘Dive-In’ movie nights where we can eat dinner and watch a movie, all while splashing around in the pool. Oh and when the pool is open they always have lifeguards on duty. If you don’t know how to swim, that’s okay, too because they offer swim lesson for both youth and adults.
Something For Everyone
The YMCA truly offers something for everyone, and I can say that with confidence having been a paying member for the past few years. There are tons of group fitness classes and personal training, as well as fun activities for children, teens and parents. For instance, twice a month the YMCA will hold an event called ‘Kids’ Nite Out.’ Children ages 6 weeks – 12 years old can attend from 6:00pm- 10:00pm. They are provided dinner, engage with crafts, play games and can jump in the bounce house. The kids get a night out in a safe and fun environment and the parents can enjoy a kid-free night for a very reasonable price.
Youth Sports at the YMCA
Another bonus of the YMCA is the youth sports program. My kids love the YMCA, so it made sense to sign them up for youth sports in an atmosphere they already loved and were familiar with instead of seeking out other programs offered in town. Over the last year, my son and daughter have participated in all of the youth sports that the YMCA offers. Both of them played soccer, flag football, basketball and wrapped up with t-ball a few weeks ago. Next summer, I plan to sign them both up for the summer swim team.
YMCA Community Events
The YMCA always holds great events for both their members and local community. My kids have had pancakes with Santa and the Easter Bunny, had a ball playing the games at the Fall Fest, enjoyed muffins with mom for Mother’s Day and participated in Healthy Kids Day. They also have summer camp for kids entering Kindergarten through 6th grade and they offer Holiday camps whenever the public schools are out of school.
For Tweens and Teens, Too!
If you are looking for a positive place for your teenagers to connect with other teenagers and adult role models, look no further. The YMCA knows the importance of youth development and helping to shape todays youth into tomorrows leaders. The YMCA has a ‘Teen Night’ for 12-15 year olds. At Teen Night, youth can choose to play basketball, volleyball, participate in group fitness classes or workout on the wellness floor with supervised use of the equipment. During the summer, a teen camp is held for those 13 years old and up and if you want to get your teenager more involved with positive youth, you can enroll them in Leaders Club where they will receive leadership training and learn the importance of social responsibility and service to others. I have had the privilege of volunteering with our Leaders Club over the past year and seen first hand the remarkable things they have done for the community through their hard work and dedication.
My Personal Health and Fitness Goals = Achieved!
The YMCA has made a huge impact on my own health and fitness goals. I have become much more fit and stronger. I fell in love with group fitness, the instructors and the members taking the classes. You see, when you start participating in group fitness the instructors encourage you and motivate you to do your best, but you also become friends with all the members in class and they also encourage and motivate you to keep coming and give it your all. After a year of regularly taking Les Mills BODYPUMP I decided that I wanted to become a certified instructor and now teach BODYPUMP to the members who became my friends in class when I was a participant along side of them. I also pursued another group certification through the Aerobic and Fitness Association of America (AFAA) and am teaching a program called BEAST (Be Energetic and Strong Today) to the youth at my local YMCA.
What’s NOT to Love at the YMCA?
We love everything about the YMCA. My kids love going to childcare, rock climbing, swimming in the pool, the youth sports and all the other fun activities offered. I love that the staff is friendly and helpful and it is a safe atmosphere where we can spend and enjoy lots of quality family time together. The wellness floor is great with lots of equipment, they have a variety of group fitness classes and the instructors and members are truly encouraging and motivating. My family has developed some wonderful friendships and made lasting memories at the YMCA.
Two years ago, when we walked through those YMCA doors I was just looking for some alone time for myself. Time for me to dedicate to improving myself as a better wife and mother. I knew I needed to take time for myself in order to give my best back to my family. I never would have imagined all the ways the YMCA would help me become a better person and build a stronger family.