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RYE, NY (October 17, 2014) “Dad, guess what…I don’t even miss my iPad…remember that you thought that I would!?!” This declaration was made by a Rye YMCA member at a recent weekend campout at beautiful New York YMCA Camp Greenkill. The families from the Rye Y traveled upstate as part of the Adventure Guides, an innovative program specially designed to foster the friendship between dads and their young children. The dads and kids took part in activities that included climbing, hiking, survival skills and s’mores-making. The benefits of a trip like this are immeasurable. No electronics were allowed, so full attention was devoted towards having fun with each other in the great outdoors. During their final lunch at the camp, one of the dads shared how grateful he was to be able to spend an entire weekend with his son. “As someone who works in the city, my time with my kids is so limited. YMCA programs and events are great, because we dads don’t have to plan anything. We just show up and have fun with our kids.”
Closer to home, the Rye Y’s First Family Fridays are themed events held monthly. The October activity was pumpkin-painting, with participants ranging from new YMCA members, to families who have been members for more than 7 years. The Dehmers are one of the veteran families. They have been enjoying Y family activities since their older daughter Ashley was 9 months old. What started as a simple Mommy & Me grew to include workouts for mom and dad. Having on-site Child Watch where members are treated like family has often been a huge stress-reliever. And Ashley was especially thrilled with her recent invitation to join the Rye Y’s gymnastics pre-team. But the opportunity to share activities has made the biggest impact. Together with 3-year-old Connor, the Dehmers have participated in gym and swim, family Zumba, family swim, open gym, Armelle’s music class, parent and child gym class and as many special events as they can fit into their schedule. “The kids love the Y. We get very excited when the new program guide arrives. Each session we eagerly scan it for more fun activities,” remarked Kerri Dehmer. Other families at the event mentioned their appreciation for the Y’s camps, after-school program, swimming, tennis, gymnastics and soccer lessons. The children were happy to share their program experiences and the families enjoyed the time together, devoting themselves to crafts and conversation.
Research has confirmed that families enjoy tangible benefits from sharing leisure activities. Children whose families regularly spend time together show better academic performance, fewer behavioral problems and stronger relationships. The Rye Y has long fostered this togetherness by offering a variety of fun activities to enhance family time. Hillary Southard, Senior Program Director commented, “Here at the Rye Y, we’re excited to continue to increase our family programs and activities. Over the past year we’ve seen great enthusiasm for our family events – from our Cardboard Boat Regatta, to Adventure Guides, to First Family Fridays – they just can’t seem to get enough! It’s our hope to continue to evolve along with our families to create a community where all demographics of the family are encouraged, inspired and welcome.”
For more information call 967-6363 or visit www.ryeymca.org.
Written by Carolyn Cassata
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