by Morgan Smith
Looking for a way to get the family healthy? One local YMCA is doing their best to make sure family is the starting point to healthy living.
With soccer and dance programs kicking off this fall for kids and teens, and group exercise classes and TRX suspension training for adults, the Harris YMCA has everything needed to help your family live a better life, Joannah Roseman, communications coordinator at Harris, said.
“The Y is a place for everybody. We want everybody to have the ability to be healthy and to be active,” she said. “We have access to pools and waterparks. We have free health and wellness programs. We have health consultants, nutrition and wellness seminars. We have a great partnership with (Carolinas Medical Center)… (and) a diverse offering with our group exercises classes, drop-in child care and even Bible studies.”
While trainers and instructors still iron out the details to some new program offerings this fall, the Harris YMCA is rolling out many of their basic and traditional offerings throughout August and September. Whatever your fancy, Roseman said Harris or its sister YMCA, Harris Express, has something to fit your needs.
“There are tons of opportunities for members to volunteer and connect. It’s not just a gym. We are so much more than that,” she said. “It’s all about spirit, mind and body.”
From nutrition classes to intense workouts to an indoor aquatics center and outdoor waterpark, Roseman encourages healthy lives while keeping the family together. With many of the kid-related programs, Roseman said there are tons of opportunities for kids and their parents to interact, especially with league sports.
“It’s good to see parents who set healthy examples,” she said.
Check out some of Harris YMCAs offerings starting this fall. People can register or find more information online at www.ymcacharlotte.org/branches/harris/ha.aspx.
• Soccer program: The soccer program at Harris YMCA will run from August to November. Clinics are available for kids ages 3 to 5 years old from Sept. 10 to Oct. 20. Soccer leagues for kids ages 5 to 17 run from Aug. 20 to Nov. 10.
“We focus on fundamentals and just having a good time,” Roseman said.
• Flag football program: Offered to both boys and girls, flag football runs from September through November. Clinics are available for kids ages 3 to 5 years old from Sept. 15 to Oct. 20. Flag football leagues for kids ages 5 to 17 run from Sept. 15 to Nov. 17.
• Gymnastics: The Harris YMCA offers gymnastic classes for ages 12 months to teens, from beginners to a competitive team. Their state-of-the-art facility is fully equipped with a tumble track, loose foam pit and traverse-climbing wall. The fall semester runs from Sept. 4 to Dec. 15.
• Cheerleading and Tumbling: Harris is launching a new cheerleading and tumbling program starting this fall, designed to teach the basics of the sport from routines to stunts. Classes are for kids ages 5 to 18. The semester runs from Sept. 4 to Dec. 15. Kids also have the opportunity to participate on a new competition team.
• Dance: Dance classes are offered for people of all ages, from tots to adults. With a lower school, for kids ages 2 to 6 years old, and upper school, ages 6 to 17, as well as additional adult classes, dancers will learn the fundamentals in ballet, tap, hip-hop and jazz. The fall semester runs from Sept. 4 to Dec. 2. Harris also will offer drop-in ballroom dance classes throughout the semester. Visit the website for more information.
• Swimming: Harris offers swimming for all ages. From lessons to water exercise classes, people looking for a low impact, total-body workout should hit up the swimming program. The program also offers competitive swimming for both children and adults. Check out the website to see a list of all swimming offerings.
• TRX Suspension Training: This fitness class is an intense small group training offering intermediate to advance moves.
The YMCA makes it easy for families to get started, offering health consultants and coaching, fitness appointments and assessments, numerous group exercise classes such as zumba and yoga, youth fitness and lifestyle management.
“Our programs appeal to all levels – to people that are just getting started, to people who have been exercising on and off,” Roseman said. “We also want to make sure within our members, we’ve got something that challenges people, that we’re not just giving them the same thing every single time. (We want to) make sure they’re keeping it fresh because its always good to switch things up and keep it new. I think we do a really good job of giving members what they’re looking for.”
YMCA hits home for local family
For Trang Schwartz and her family, the Harris YMCA really is like a home away from home. She’s been going there for nearly five years working out, taking classes and utilizing the aquatics center and outdoor waterpark.
“I’m very much an active member in a couple of different ways,” she said. “I like to think of it as my second home. I don’t work there and I only volunteer for one big event, but in regards to the kids and myself, we’ve been there every morning.”
When it comes to health and well being, Schwartz said it really is a family thing. With her two kids, all three are very active at the YMCA, with Schwartz taking group exercise classes and other activities while the kids enjoy summer camps, sports and hanging out in the children’s drop-in program where they can play and learn in what Schwartz says is a safe and trusting environment – a top priority in her book.
“(The program) is very consistent. The kids see the same teachers and see the same kids. It’s one of those things that is a comfort; to come in and know the people that are taking care of your kids,” she said. “For me to go work out for an hour and a half or two hours or whatever, I feel comfortable to leave my kids because I know they’ll be safe and will have a good time.”
Schwartz says Harris makes it easy to be healthy and fit. With their coordinating schedules for adult and kid programs, and an array of classes and exercise equipment, she says joining the Y was one of the greatest decisions her and her husband ever made.
Even better, Schwartz said she’s happy to be setting a good example for her kids.
“It’s just too easy and it’s so organized in the way that it’s done. It’s hard not to take advantage of it,” she said.
“The kids see mommy exercising and now they walk down the hallway doing jumping jacks,” Schwartz added. “They see (older) kids playing basketball or see aerobics classes. They see that it’s something good that mommy does every day.”
And with resources readily available in the lobby, Schwartz said it’s easy to get connected and meet new people. She’s made plenty of friends through her exercise classes and connections with her kids.
“Everything from the sports program, to the pool, to the classes…it’s just a great place to be.”