This is not a sponsored post. I just truly love my local YMCA!
Your first YMCA experience might have been be listening to the song by The Village People. Or maybe it was actually visiting a YMCA. Either way, today’s YMCA is a family, youth, and community-oriented clubhouse where “everyone belongs.” This is one of the reasons I love it so much. When I walk through the double doors at Lynn’s Demakes Family YMCA, I feel at home. I feel welcome. I feel at ease. And so does the rest of my family!
Last year we decided to get a family membership at our local, newly opened facility in Lynn. Our priority was swimming lessons for our daughter, but we have discovered how much more the Y offers! Turns out, it’s not just a gym and a swimming pool!
YMCA is a worldwide organization, but each individual YMCA is unique and provides different offerings depending on the size and needs of the community. Many YMCA locations in Massachusetts are grouped regionally (like the YMCA of Metro North, which includes seven branches), and when you open a membership in any one of the branches in that grouping, you have unlimited access to all of them!
Here are a few of the offerings and perks our family enjoys at our local Y — in addition to swimming lessons, open swim, and use of the gym:
Adventure Zone and Ninja Warrior classes
Our local YMCA has a small but very well appointed area for all things Ninja Warrior, “floor is lava,” and obstacle course fun! There are open play times when members can use the space in addition to Ninja Warrior classes for children in various age groups. The Adventure Zone is also available to teenagers and grownups at different times. Registration for classes is available to non-members, as are many of the YMCA class offerings (but members always get a discount).
Exercise classes, programs, and more
Most YMCAs have a gym area with machines and other gym equipment, and many of them also offer exercise classes. At our local Y, there’s also personal training, challenges you can join throughout the year, cycling, and many other group exercise classes. Some classes require registration and an additional fee, which is always discounted for members, and others allow you to just show up. Additionally, YMCAs also run other fitness events in the community, like 5K races. Training for a race with a group from your local Y can add an element of camaraderie you might not experience otherwise!
Many YMCAs have sports courts, like basketball, track, indoor soccer, and more, and they also often offer training, leagues, and clinics for members of all ages to learn and improve their skills. Some YMCAs have gymnastics available, too, which I know is a big draw for a lot of families with young children — for both classes and for open gym times, which comes in very handy during cold or inclement weather!
Our local YMCA offers a variety of healthy cooking classes! This is an offering we have yet to take advantage of, but I’ve had my eye on it for a while and hope to be able to sign up at least one of my children soon. Sometimes the classes are super practical, like learning how to make healthy snacks, which is bound to prove useful in my household!
Free family and community events
If you’re like me, and sometimes you struggle to come up with plans for something fun to do with the family, having a YMCA membership can come in handy if you check the calendar of events each month for community events. Our YMCA has wonderful family parties involving bounce houses, music, and snacks, plus fun nights for kids only, when the grownups get a chance to drop the kids off and go out on their own! Date night, anyone?!
Free child watch for family members
This benefit is just the best. Folks with family memberships can use the YMCA’s free child watch service to drop your child off with trustworthy staff who will ensure your child has fun while you get some time to work out, swim, sit at the café and do some work, get in the sauna for a bit, and follow it with a nice shower. The possibilities are endless!
Be sure to visit your local branch in person or online and ask as many questions as you have. They will be delighted to give you a tour and answer your questions. And if you have concerns about the financial investment involved with signing up for a membership, ask your local YMCA staff to tell you about their financial assistance programs!