YMCA helps build memories, one summer at a time

Published 8:38 pm Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Editor’s Note: This column is written by Emory Smith, a YMCA staff member.

Most of us have summer memories. We think of vacations we had with family … especially those trips to the beach or those “up north” or “out west.” Some remember playing Little League Baseball … maybe about that hit that won the game for the team. Others might remember those trips to see Grandma and Grandpa, Paw Paw and Me Maw, or Uncle Fred and Aunt Martha (I think everybody had an Aunt Martha).

My memories are of going fishing with my Dad (I still have the picture of us holding that string of catfish). I remember the summer of 1966 when we saw the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone. There was one summer where I think I went barefoot all summer. I remember the first summer I played baseball. Unfortunately, that memory is not of home runs but of being stuck “out there in right field watching the dandelions grow.” But, along with all these great summer memories, I remember summers with the YMCA.

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Y Summer Camps hold great memories for me. I think of swimming in the lake and the pool. I remember the first time I dove off the high dive (too bad we don’t have those any more). There were songs and skits (particularly one where we put a pie in the face of one of our counselors). One year, when the Summer Olympics were held, we did the “Crazy Olympics” at camp. We ended up with flour, shaving cream, syrup, and who knows what else all over us. I remember my first summer as a counselor when I did the “Peanut Butter Skit.” I think I was still cleaning bits of peanut butter out of my hair a week later. Most of all, I remember those counselors and leaders who took the time to get to know me and to help give me a sense of direction and purpose.

Your Bainbridge-Decatur County YMCA is a place to build summer memories. We’re already gearing up for summer camps (Camp Decatur for 4-to-8-year-olds and Camp Seminole for 9-to-12-year-olds).

Every day, campers will have fun swimming, playing sports and games (anybody remember playing Broom Hockey?). We will have the “World’s Largest Slip-n-Slide” and a visit from the world-record holder. There will also be fun with singing, skits and trips to the library. Older campers will learn about “personal leadership” through hearing guest speakers and learning Steven Covey’s “Seven Habits.” And, the “Y Core Values” of caring, honesty, respect and responsibility will be a part of every camp day.

Response to our winter basketball leagues and spring soccer leagues was so positive that we are going to have summer leagues. We will have Skills Assessment Day for both sports on Saturday, June 2. Then, after two weeks of practice, the games will begin June 21 and June 22. And, of course, the Y pool is going to be a place of lots of activity. We’ve got swimming lessons all summer long. There is plenty of pool time for the kids and for adults. And, also for adults, our fitness classes will be in “high gear” (if you haven’t tried Zumba, you’ve just got to!).

The Y is a great summer place for adults to get fit. It is a place for youth and teens to keep active. Our summer camp is a place for children to build lasting relationships with other campers and with caring counselors. The Y is a place for seniors to make friends and to stay healthy with water aerobics and our Silver Sneakers program. But, most of all, the YMCA is a place to build memories. So, as summer approaches and as we continue our 25th Anniversary Membership Drive, maybe it is time for you to join us in “building memories one summer at a time.”

Emory Smith is a staff member at the Bainbridge-Decatur County YMCA. He can be reached at (229) 243-0508.