YMCA offers healthy living activities this summer

Wednesday, May 27, 2015
Gymnastics Instructor Emma Riley helps student Lexie Vance, 11, of Golden, with practicing a flip. Julia Kilmer reporter@cassville-democrat.com

Variety of programs and activities offered for all ages

For anyone looking to get fit this summer, learn how to swim, dance or zumba, enjoy inexpensive family activities, play sports, sign up their children for healthy, fun day camps, or for a place to volunteer, look no further than your local Cassville YMCA.

With its mission to promote healthy living, social responsibility, youth development and promote Judeo-Christian values through programs that build a healthy spirit, mind and body for all, the YMCA, in Cassville since 2007, has something for everyone this summer.

Front desk and fitness staff member Chris Dunker helps member Leigh Cox of Cassville with his workout on one of the many weight-bearing machines available at the YMCA. Julia Kilmer reporter@cassville-democrat.com

"We are here to support the community and to fill in any gaps to support the kids, healthy families and wellness," said Dove Haney, YMCA center executive. "We are there to help anyone in any way they need."

Haney said if anyone is unsure of how to get started, trainers are available to meet with them for free. And all visitors receive two free guest passes.

"We also have a new system this year we're using called ActivTrax," she said. "I want to say it's a 'trainer in a box.' It customizes workouts to the individual's goals and abilities. It tracks them so it automatically generates a new workout based on the results of the last workout. Its' a smart system and follows you along."

Haney said child care, after-school care and summer day camps are available for children and parents.

"We work on homework so that when parents come in to pick up the kids, so they can enjoy their kids and not have to worry about that," said Haney. "We partner with Ozark Food Harvest to provide a healthy snack. There's also an organized activity such as a science project, craft or outdoor activity."

The program is state-licensed. Haney said financial assistance is available to those who qualify.

"We offer income-based financial aid up to 50 percent for working parents," she said.

Parents may also be interested in summer day camps, which offer fun, healthy activities for K-6 children.

"We have breakfast, organized activities and games in the morning, then in the afternoon we go to the pool," Haney said. "Monday, Wednesday and Friday are pool and park days, and on Tuesdays and Thursdays, we go on a field trip. Each week has a theme and we go to museums, amusement parks, the Discovery Center and other fun places."

Haney said the field trip depends on the them and the week and parents can inquire when specific field trips are offered.

Lots of sporting activities and tournaments are also offered at the aquatic park, such as soccer, flag football and a new sport called archery tag which is offered for ages 10 and up from June through August.

"Archery tag its a new thing taking the nation by storm," said Haney. "It's a combination of paint ball, dodge ball and archery. Participants wear paint ball masks and hide behind big inflatable bunkers. The arrows have a big piece of foam on them that look like a big marshmallow on the end. Each team will have a target with disks to shoot at, and if someone shoots all your disks they win."

The YMCA also has a friendly, knowledgeable staff ready to help. Dennis Jacobs, a member of the front desk and fitness staff, has been working at the Cassville YMCA for almost two years, and likes to run marathons. Jacobs said he recently completed the annual Bass Pro marathon and the Joplin Memorial run, and enjoys working at the YMCA and helping members with their goals.

"I love working with everyone," Jacobs said. "I like the relationships I get to have with the members. Coming here makes them feel good about themselves. When they come to work out, they feel good."

Chris Dunker, who is also part of the front desk and fitness staff, has been working at the Cassville YMCA since 2012.

"It's a good place to work and I enjoy the workout stuff," he said. "We can help people with reaching their fitness goals. It's a good family environment, you can bring the family to work out. Working out helps you mentally because if you work on your body it makes you feel better, and coming here allows you to connect with the community."

Following is a list of activities, programs and events available for individuals, families and groups at the Cassville YMCA.

* Gymnasium with cardio and weight machines, ellipticals, treadmills with TV screens and free weights area, basketball area, tumble mat for tumbling or sports

* Rock-climbing wall, trampoline and tumble pit for children

* Indoor track for walking or jogging

* Group fitness classes, including yoga, Zumba, Insanity. Silver Sneakers is also offered which features a slower pace and focuses on stretching and balance

* New Fitpath system powered by ActiveTrax technology which guides members in reaching fitness goals and automatically tracks, customizes and generates new workouts for each visit

* Kidz Zone child care while parents exercise (ages six weeks to six years), including a castle jungle gym

* After-school program for grades K-6

* Summer day camps for children grades K-6

* Gymnastics, including progressive tumbling (ages 18 months to 16 years) is offered year round, with three-month sessions beginning in January, April and August. Prices are discounted with a family membership

* Lounge area with foosball, air hockey, pool table and carpet ball game

Children age nine and under are not permitted in the facility without the supervision of a person age 16 or older.

Various events are offered through the summer such as the Y Not Tri Spring Triathlon in July and member appreciation pool party in August.

The Aquatic Center is open and offers lap swimming, water aerobics, swimming lessons (beginning June 15), aquababies and guard start. Members receive free admission all summer to the Aquatic Park, public admission is only $4 per day, and on Saturday nights from 6-8 p.m., the entire family can get into the Aquatic Center for only $5. Hours are Sundays to Fridays from 1-6 p.m. and Saturdays 1-8 p.m.. Party rentals are available for up to 150 guests.

"The Aquatic Center is owned by the city but the YMCA provides daily operations and lifeguards," Haney said.

Group rentals for special events and celebrations such as birthday parties, pool parties, receptions, family reunion, company picnics, archery tag, church activities or a retreat.

The YMCA invites visitors to utilize their two free guest passes to try out the facility and programs before joining. After that day passes are only $5 per day for ages 18 and under, $8 per day for 18 and older, and $15 per day for families.

Benefits of membership include exercise classes, family activities, access to the Cassville YMCA, the Cassville Family Aquatic Center, Monett indoor and city pools, access to all Ozarks regional YMCA locations, child care while members work out (with family membership), discounts on Cox Monett wellness programs, Fitpath wellness appointment with one-on-one attention and personalized workout, teen center and after school teen programs. Family members receive savings on any fee-based program or child care and discounts on all youth sports and swim lessons.

Volunteer opportunities are also available, such as coaching a youth soccer team, teaching a poetry class, leading campfire songs or other activities.

Cassville YMCA hours are Mondays to Thursdays from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m., Fridays from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The YMCA is closed on Sundays. For more information on membership, events or programs, people may call the Cassville YMCA at 417-846-1535. Haney said financial assistance is available to those who qualify.

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