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Boreal Community Media

YMCA adds after-school activities for kids.

Apr 06, 2018 08:54AM ● By Editor
From Staff Reports from The Cook County News Herald - Friday, April 6, 2018

The Cook County Community YMCA has become the primary gathering place for youth after school. When the school bell rings, hundreds of kids flood into the Y each afternoon for school athletics, YMCA programs, after-school care, and social time with friends.

Many older youths take advantage of programs like swim team and dance after school. However, there is a growing number of kids ages 9-12 that come to use the Y independently and are not enrolled in a program. This age group is often faced with challenges to find positive ways to spend their time while the gyms are in use by school athletic programs. Their young age prohibits them from safely using the weight room/cardio room areas. 

The local advisory council of the YMCA has passed a few votes recently in an effort to create space for activities for this age group. One of those decisions is to start opening the pool at 3:30 p.m. instead of the usual 4 p.m. time.

“With school ending earlier this year there was too much of a gap between when school got out and when the pool opened,” says Executive Director Emily Marshall. “In order to make this change, the advisory council voted to cut a half hour out of the opening time each morning, making the opening of the aquatic facilities (sauna, hot tub, and pool) 6:30 a.m. instead of 6 a.m. The aquatic facilities will still open at 6 a.m. on Tuesdays and Fridays for swim club participants and other users.” 

Another big decision the advisory council made, said Marshall, was to convert the somewhat under-utilized conference room space into a “Generation Room.” The room will have seating, board games, cards, books, foosball, craft supplies, and active video game options (like Wii Sports, Dance, and Rockband).

This space will be available for active older adults in the mornings for activities like cribbage and coffee. It will be available to youth (9+ who are still in school) only from 3:15 to 6 p.m. From 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. the conference room will be an intergenerational space for young adults, families, or youth that want to play games or socialize.

The room will open in April and be available year-round. 

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