Y Provides Safe Opportunities for Community’s Kids to Re-engage

The COVID-19 pandemic has left a detrimental impact on the mental health of kids of all ages. As part of the New Canaan YMCA’s mission for youth development, the Y offers a safe environment for children to re-engage with peers through a variety of youth programs and activities this spring.

“According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), mental health issues among kids and teens have skyrocketed this past year. In 2020, the CDC reported a 24% increase over the previous year in emergency room mental health visits in children aged 5 to 11. That number rises to 31% for 12 to 17 years olds,” said Jacqueline D’Louhy, LCSW, New Canaan Youth and Family Services Coordinator.

The American Association of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that reengaging in sports, physical activity, and socialization with friends provides both physical and psychological health benefits. Participation in sports and physical activity improves cardiovascular health, strength, and overall fitness among youth, while also boosting the immune system. Reengaging in socialization with friends and teammates also helps to improve youth mental and developmental health.

The Y’s second session of spring programming offers a variety of activities for youth to re-engage with friends and peers through sports, wellness, and recreational programs in a safe environment where kids can thrive. Spring session two classes begin on Monday, April 26.

Swim lessons for ages six months to 12 years continues to be offered at the Y this spring. Parent/child, preschool, and school-age swim lessons are available in six-week sessions to help children learn aquatic skills and safety in the water. The Y’s school-age aquatics club is designed for youth interested in a non-competitive environment to swim for fitness while improving stamina, endurance, and skills.

For kids interested in sports, the Y offers backyard sports and preschool soccer for ages three and older. School-age youth sports programs include archery, basketball clinics, golf, junior tennis, and girl’s volleyball: beginner and intermediate. The Y also offers the non-traditional sports club for school-age youth, where participants will learn lesser-known sports like gaga, nine-square, mat-ball, dodgeball, and ultimate frisbee.

The Y also offers yoga for youth in elementary, middle school, and high school with a Y Personal Trainer. Yoga teaches mindfulness through breathing instructions, relaxation techniques, and strengthening poses that helps youth unwind after school and better recover from sports.

Kids can stay active this spring through the Y’s Total Youth Conditioning program. The six-week small-group outdoor training program is offered to youth ages 8-11 and 12-14, designed to get children moving while having fun and getting fit with a Y Personal Trainer.

Youth ages 12-14 can also take advantage of the Y’s Youth Strength Training program to stay strong and fit this spring. After completing the in-person/virtual course, participants will receive a F.I.T. pass to access the Wellness Center from 2:45-4:45 PM Monday through Sunday by themselves during the school year. F.I.T. Pass holders may also work out in the Wellness Center with a parent at any time.

Youth @ the Y for elementary schoolers is back this spring on April 24 and May 22, an event where kids can re-engage and have fun with friends participating in a variety of activities throughout the Y facility.

The Y also offers recreational certification courses for youth looking to become confident leaders, including Red Cross babysitting for ages 11-15, junior lifeguarding for ages 11-14, and lifeguarding for ages 15+ at the Y.

Registration for spring programs is currently available online at www.newcanaanymca.org. Summer program registration begins Tuesday, June 1. Thanks to donations made to the Y’s annual support campaign, financial assistance is available for membership and program fees. To learn more about financial assistance at the Y, contact Diana Riolo at 203-920-1653 or driolo@newcanaanymca.org. For additional information regarding spring programs or registration, call 203-966-4528.