UNION COUNTY, NJ – As the global pandemic continues, and parents are making individual decisions on social and wellness opportunities for children, The Gateway Family YMCA has expanded Virtual Programming to include additional classes geared for children, tweens and teens. Virtual Program opportunities include Summer Camp, Martial Arts and Wellness programs – all providing a mix of enrichment, wellness and socialization in an age-appropriate format.
The Gateway Family YMCA has served the local community for 120 years, and remains open for 24-hour Housing and Social Services in Elizabeth and Plainfield, NJ. In addition, the Y continues to provide virtual programs, community outreach, socialization and support.
“When our facilities were forced to close for wellness activities and programs in mid-March, we immediately pivoted to continue programs virtually, with an immediate focus on continuing our chronic disease programs, even opening them to the greater community,” stated Krystal R. Canady, CEO, The Gateway Family YMCA. “As the pandemic has continued, we expanded our online platform, Your Virtual Y, to over 35 live programs per week and continue to add variety for all ages.”
This July and August, The Gateway Family YMCA is offering a Virtual Summer Camp for Children entering Grades 1-3, allowing them to experience Summer Camp from Home. Designed to keep kids busy while social distancing, the Virtual Summer Camp will provide weekly themes, activities and daily Zoom sessions – as well as a host of at-home fun like scavenger hunts, craft activities and active fun.
“We understand that many parents may not be comfortable with an in-person program this summer for their children. Our goal was to provide a format that will allow children to have fun and learn, and socialize with children their own age, all from the comfort and safety of their home,” stated Melynda A. Mileski, EVP/COO, The Gateway Family YMCA.
For children interested in Martial Arts, Virtual Tae Kwon Do classes are available for ages 5-12 at a Beginner and Intermediate Level. As a continuation of in-person learning, the YMCA instructor provides a small group virtual program designed to teach the basics of Tae Kwon Do. Tae Kwon Do is the essential discipline of the mind, body and spirit. Within each class, students learn the skills of self-defense by managing six tenets: Power, Speed, Focus, Balance, Relaxation and Control. Throughout their time within the program students practice and work to achieve belt levels by embracing new skills and enhancing those previously learned. Each level consists of the powers of concentration, self-discipline and timing. Students will become sharper and highly developed as coordination improves.
Wellness Group Exercise programs specifically for ages 5-12 include Get Fit Kids and Yoga Kids. Virtual Get Fit Kids is designed for youth to experience a group exercise class in a fun way. The class provides a full-body workout that incorporates both cardiovascular exercise and light weight training, designed in a fun specific to their age, and using props that are easily available at home. Virtual Yoga Kids is a fun, creative and relaxing class, combining movement with the basic poses of yoga. The Y instructor will work on balance, flexibility, coordination and body awareness. This class introduces yoga terminology, poses and breath work in age-appropriate exercises.
All remaining Group Exercise programs through The Gateway Family YMCA’s portal “Your Virtual Y” are available for ages 12 and up, including teens and adults. These traditional wellness programs are adjusted for a virtual format, including Y favorites like Yoga, Zumba and Barre, as well as targeted exercise programs like Back to Abs and Butts and Guts.
“The Y is the leading community-based organization dedicated to improving the nation’s health and this program is a great example of putting that commitment into action. Through our virtual programming, we are meeting community needs, improving health and promoting virtual connection to those at home,” added Melynda A. Mileski.
The Gateway Family YMCA is a leading 501(c)(3) non-profit, health and community service organization committed to strengthening community by connecting all people to their potential, purpose and each other. Working locally, the Y focus on empowering young people, improving health and well-being, and inspiring action in and across communities. By bringing together people from different backgrounds, perspectives and generations, the Y ensure that all have access to the opportunities, relationships and resources necessary to learn, grow and thrive.
For more information on The Gateway Family YMCA or Virtual Programs, visit www.tgfymca.org.
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