On Friday, January 10, the La Porte County Family YMCA was full of activities for all ages! Every gym was jam-packed with people looking to have a great workout and a great time.
In the Shick Gym, the YMCA hosted their daily open gym, allowing people of all ages to come and use the gym. Teenagers, middle schoolers, and entire families packed the courts to play friendly games of basketball and dodge ball.
Hunter Ferguson, a seventh grader at Kesling Middle School and frequent participant of the Y’s open gym hours, said, “I come to the YMCA almost every day. It is just a fun place to play during the winter. You come here to swim, they have a nice pool, and have a lot of fun things to do here. I come here and hang out with friends. It is really just an all around fun place.”
The YMCA encourages teens to take advantage of its facilities and events. On any given day, dozens of teenagers fill up the fitness rooms, basketball courts, and swimming pool. The Y hopes to reach out to even more teens, especially now that winter has arrived.
Vanessa Maher, YMCA’s Marketing Director, explained, “It’s a safe place. We like to encourage our four core values: caring, respect, honesty, and responsibility. That’s just something that I think every community can benefit from, and that’s what our mission is. It is to implement those values into young people so that they can carry those lessons with them for the rest of their lives.”
While the YMCA certainly offers teens and kids of all ages an amazing place to hang out, have fun, and burn a few calories, it also provides teenagers the opportunity to build strong friendships while learning important life skills. In addition to its open gyms, the Y hosts several other programs directed toward teenagers.
Kayla Scelfo, Program Director of the La Porte’s Y explained, “Right now our teen center is open Monday, Wednesday, and Friday after school until 5:30. The kids can come right after school; all we ask is that we have a parent’s permission slip on file. On Mondays we are doing a leadership group where they will have the opportunity to learn from Y leaders about leadership skills. We’ll do some team building with them, and also get some community service opportunities.”
She continued, “They’ll basically learn how to develop into strong leaders. Wednesdays we have a partnership with Live True, and that is where they’ll talk about life issues or whatever the teens need to talk about. Fridays we have a Gym and Swim. They can come here and swim for an hour and then go up to the gym and play basketball or dodge ball or any other game for an hour. We really want to bring those teens in to build strong friendships with each other, and give them that place for something to do, and build those life skills.”
For those who are a little past their teenage years, from 6-8 the Y hosted its Zumba New Year’s Party! This was a two hour long dance party that featured fun, cardio-dance routines to great music. Swanson Gym, for two hours, was full of people following the lead of their enthusiastic instructors dancing to energetic music.
Tom Coe, a Zumba instructor at the Y for two and a half years, said, “I like Zumba because it’s really energetic and fun. It’s always a little bit different. It’s easy to follow and it’s something people stick with. If you like dancing, you’ll love it!”
All proceeds from the party went directly to the Y’s Annual Campaign. This campaign, which kicks off in February, helps the Y focus on its three main priorities: youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility. Every dollar collected by the Zumba Party, along with all other fundraisers and money from private donations, goes directly back into the community to benefit people of all ages.
Whether you are a teen looking to play pick-up games of basketball with your friend, or are looking to have a fun workout through dance, the La Porte County Family YMCA is the place to be!