Morris YMCA and Grundy Area Vocational Center Partner to Offer Specialty Summer Camps

The Morris Community YMCA and Grundy Area Vocational Center (GAVC) teamed up this summer to offer three new specialty camps for youth in grades 5 through 9. Taught by GAVC instructors, each camp covered different topics, ranging from culinary arts to building trades to computer skills.

Keep reading to learn more about each of them!

Kids in the Kitchen Camp

Over the course of five days, our junior chefs worked their way around the kitchen, learning basic culinary skills and techniques. First, they focused on preparing healthy items such as sandwich wraps, fruit kabobs and granola. For their final lesson, they let their creativity shine while baking cupcakes topped with colorful fondant icing and frosting.

Automotive and Building Trades Camp

This combo camp included valuable lessons related to automotive and building trades. After getting their hands dirty learning the ins and outs of auto repair, campers were taught how to construct their very own wooden toolboxes.

Computer Maintenance and Graphic Skills Camp

When campers weren’t learning how to build a computer, they were learning how to use programs related to photo editing, graphic design and video editing. They also got a first-hand look at how to design and screen a T-shirt.

6 Summer Fitness Classes to Try at the Avery YMCA

Stay active this summer by working your way through the C.W. Avery Family YMCA’s new lineup of specialty fitness classes!

Summer Body Boot Camp
With Personal Trainer and Former Figure Competitor Marenda Eison // Mondays, 6:30-7:30 p.m.

Whether you want to get into shape or stay in shape for the summer, this new boot camp can help you reach your goal! During class, you’ll learn the latest exercises that help you burn calories quickly. Each week, participants will also receive a bonus DIY workout to complete on their own.

Register Now

Hoop Fitness
With Certified Hoop Instructor and Personal Trainer Melissa Vidito // Tuesdays, 10:30-11:30 a.m.

Don’t call it a comeback! Hula hooping never went out of style. Hoop Fitness utilizes hula hoops that are designed to strengthen your core and increase flexibility and overall strength.

Register Now

Lunchtime Express
With Personal Trainer Suzuka Hetterich // Tuesdays, 11:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m.

For a midday pick-me-up, join us for Lunchtime Express, a quick workout that features various exercise styles and formats.

Register Now

Small Group Yoga & Strength
With Personal Trainer and Yoga Instructor Karen St. Charles // Thursdays, 10:30-11:30 a.m.

This combo class will help you build a stronger mind, body and spirit by incorporating elements of yoga and TRX.

Register Now

Women Who Lift
With Strength Coach Esmerelda Ramirez // Thursdays, 6:30-7:30 p.m.

Explore various lifting styles under the guidance of Strength Coach Esmerelda Ramirez. All fitness levels are welcome! Each week, participants will also receive a bonus DIY workout to complete on their own.

Register Now

Progressive Cycle
With the YMCA Health and Wellness Team // Wednesdays, 8:30-9:30 a.m. or Thursdays, 5-6 p.m.

This specialized indoor cycling class is designed to significantly improve your cardiovascular strength and endurance and body composition. In addition to a fantastic weekly workout, participants also receive:

  • A Functional Threshold Power Test (FTP) Test
  • Body composition testing and measurements
  • “How-to” instructions for the IGC Training App used during class
  • Bonus DIY workouts to complete on their own

Register Now

Healthy at Home: Fish Tacos with Watermelon Salsa Recipe

Experts recommend eating fish on a weekly basis. Fish is not only a lean protein but also a good source of Omega-3 fatty acids, which benefit your heart. Get your weekly fish fix by firing up these sweet and spicy tacos!

Serving Size: 4 tacos

Calories: 437, Protein 25g, Fat: 18g, Total Carbohydrate: 45g, Sodium: 636g


  • 4 cups diced seedless watermelon
  • 1/2 small red onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro
  • Juice of 2 limes, plus lime wedges for serving
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely diced
  • 8 corn tortillas
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound skinless wild striped bass fillets
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
  • 1 romaine lettuce heart, thinly sliced


  1. Make the watermelon salsa by combining the watermelon, red onion, cilantro, lime juice and jalapeno in a bowl. Toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt and set aside.
  2. Preheat a grill to high. Sprinkle the fish on both sides with the chile powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt; drizzle both sides with the remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil. Brush the grill with olive oil, then add the fish and grill until marked and cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer the fish to a plate and break into bite-size pieces.
  3. Meanwhile, toss the lettuce with 2 tablespoons of the juices from the watermelon salsa and a pinch of salt. Warm the tortillas on the grill and fill with the fish, watermelon salsa, avocado and lettuce. Serve with lime wedges.


“Healthy at Home” is a series of healthy recipes curated by Morris Hospital Clinical Dietitian Liz Fischer.

JETS Swimmer Jonathon Yanello Declares to Nova Southeastern University

Last week was a big one for Joliet Y Jets Swimmer Jonathon Yanello.

On the heels of being named Joliet West High School Male Athlete of the Year, Jonathon announced some exciting news about his future. Starting this fall, he will be attending Nova Southeastern University in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, where he will join the swim team and study industrial engineering.

An accomplished swimmer, Jonathon set a pool record in the 50 free at the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) Sectionals. This past spring, he took 6th place at the YMCA Short Course Nationals.

In addition to being a skilled swimmer, Jonathon is an excellent student. Because of his academic achievements, he received the Ron and Kathy Assaf Scholarship, which will fully cover his tuition and boarding at Nova Southeastern.

This summer, Jonathon will continue to train and compete with the JETS as he prepares for college. Nevertheless, we’d like to pass on our congratulations and wish him the best in the future!

Six Water Safety Tips for Water Safety Month

Drowning is the second leading cause of death for children ages five to 14, with children from communities of color at greatest risk. With National Water Safety Month in May and summer around the corner, it’s a great time for parents to remember the importance of ensuring their children are equipped with essential water safety skills. YMCA swimming lessons help reduce the risk of childhood drowning, develop a lifelong love for swimming and provide children from underserved areas greater access to water safety programs.

Before letting your children hit the water this summer, remember these few tips to ensure it’s an enjoyable and safe experience.

  1. Never swim alone. Teach your children that they should only swim in locations where a lifeguard is on duty.
  2. Supervise your children whenever they’re in water. Whether it’s bath time or taking a dip in a pool or lake, make sure your children are within arm’s reach of you at all time.
  3. Don’t engage in breath holding activities. Children shouldn’t hold their breath for a prolonged amount of time while swimming, as this can cause drowning and has several other severe physical side effects.
  4. Wear a life jacket. Inexperienced or non-swimmers should wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket.
  5. Don’t jump in the water to save a friend who is struggling in deep water. If a child finds their friend in deep water unexpectedly, their natural reaction may be to jump in the water to try to save them. Even if a child is a great swimmer, a panicked person will overpower them, pulling them underwater with them. The Y teaches the “reach, throw, don’t go” concept of using a long object to reach for them and pull them to safety. By using this technique, children can help their friend without compromising their own safety.
  6. Enroll your children in water safety or swim lessons. Just like teaching your children to look both ways before they cross the street, having them participate in formal water safety lessons teaches them an important life skill. The Y’ swimming lesson program teaches children fundamental water safety skills and what to do if they find themselves in water unexpectedly.

Learning how to swim also has multiple benefits beyond the ability to enjoy water safely. It helps children strive for physical achievement, promotes healthy living and builds their confidence. Enroll in Y swimming lessons today!

Summer Day Camp Swimming Lessons

  • Available weekly throughout Summer Day Camp, exclusively for Y campers.
  • To ensure campers don’t miss any field trips, classes meet on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.

Standard Swimming Lessons

  • Includes weekly swim instruction on the day of your choice.
  • Morning and evening classes are available.
  • Registration opens Saturday, May 6 for Facility Members.

One-Week Swimming Lessons

  • Available during summer sessions only.
  • Includes daily swim instruction during the week(s) of your choice.
  • Registration opens Saturday, May 6 for Facility Members.