Morris YMCA Dance-A-Thon Raises $900 for Annual Campaign

The Morris Community YMCA raised $900 in scholarship funds at its 3rd Annual Campaign Dance-A-Thon held May 4 at White Oak Elementary School. The event included instruction for three of the Y’s most popular group fitness classes: Zumba, Pound and Hip-Hop Fit.

A mix of 80s and 90s decor and music set the tone for the event, which drew a crowd of 35 participants. To match the nostalgic theme, many attendees dressed in bright neon colors and wore retro-inspired accessories.

All proceeds from the Dance-A-Thon will help to ensure that no one is turned away from the Y due to the inability to pay. To make a contribution to the Y’s Annual Campaign, click here.

Swim Lessons Create Strong Swimmers and Confident Kids

May is National Water Safety Month, and the perfect time to get children involved in swim lessons. As America’s Swim Instructor, the Y is the most accessible community resource to prevent drowning and encourage a lifelong enjoyment of swimming—teaching more than one million kids a year swimming and water safety skills.

YMCA swim lessons increase the accessibility and enjoyment of swimming to all ages and skill levels. The latest evolution of Y Swim Lessons accommodates varying abilities to help foster a sense of achievement as swimmers’ progress between levels. Through this approach, advanced swimmers flow more easily to higher levels while swimmers who need more instruction can learn at their own pace. This results in more confident swimmers who stick with lessons and develop a love for swimming that can last a lifetime.

There are three general categories of Y Swim Lessons:

  • Swim Starters develops water enrichment and aquatic readiness in children ages 6 months to 3 years. This category focuses on developing swim readiness skills through fun and confidence-building experiences. Parents also learn how to supervise children in the water, how to prevent accidents and how to plan for emergencies.
  • Swim Basics develops personal water safety and basic swimming skills in students of all ages. Swimmers develop a high level of comfort in the water by practicing safe water habits, engaging in underwater exploration, and learning how to swim to safety and exit if they fall into a body of water.
  • Swim Strokes introduces and refines stroke technique in older students (school age, teens and adults). Having mastered the fundamentals, students learn additional water safety skills and build stroke technique, developing skills that prevent chronic disease, increase social-emotional and cognitive well-being and foster a lifetime of physical activity.

The Y introduced the concept of group swim lessons in 1909. Now, each year in more than 2,000 pools across the country, the Y teaches more than a million children from all backgrounds invaluable water safety and swim skills.

To ensure that everyone has an opportunity to participate, financial assistance is available to those in need to help cover the costs. Families interested in learning more about Y swim lessons and water safety classes should click here.

Little Free Library Lands at Smith Family YMCA

The Smith Family YMCA is now the proud home of a Little Free Library. There are more than 60,000 of these free book exchanges worldwide, and each of them operates on one basic principle: “Take a book, return a book.”

Located to the right of the Y’s entrance, this Little Free Library is available to the entire community. By providing 24/7 access to books, we hope this service will foster a love of reading for the youth in our area.

If you’d like to donate a book or two, you’re more than welcome to do so. Just simply place them in the Little Free Library. There are also opportunities to post information on community events and programs. To learn more, visit us at the Front Desk.

Special thanks to the Kiwanis Club of JolietJoliet Public Library and YMCA Teen Achievers. Without their help and support, this would not be possible!

Teen Achievers: Now Developing Future Leaders in Plainfield

Teen Achievers, one of the YMCA’s most rapidly growing programs, expanded into Plainfield South High School at the start of the 2017-2018 school year. Through this new partnership, the Y has been able to strengthen its commitment to youth development and teach more students to believe in themselves and strive for success.

Under the guidance of the Y’s Teen and Young Adult Advancement Team, the Plainfield South program has met on a weekly basis since October. Topics of discussion often center around coursework, college preparation, career development and life skills. In March, several students visited seven universities throughout Pennsylvania, Maryland and Washington D.C. as part of the program’s annual college tour.

Teen Achievers at Plainfield South
Year 1 By the Numbers

  • 24 Student Participants
  • 10 Freshmen, 13 Sophomores & 1 Junior
  • 11:1 Female-to-Male Ratio
  • 7 Students Attended College Trip through Pennsylvania, Maryland and Washington D.C.

Since 2005, Teen Achievers has been offered at Joliet Central and Joliet West High Schools. In that time, 93 percent of the graduating seniors in the program has advanced to institutions of higher learning.


Maurice Fears, Executive Director – Teen and Young Adult Advancement
[email protected]
(815) 729-9638, ext. 610

Awaken Summer Imagination

Healthy Kids Day is April 21

Summer is a time when children can let their imaginations run wild! From creating their own to plays to building forts in the backyard, there’s no limit to what kids can dream up—provided they’re properly supported.

The Y wants to ensure all kids in our community awaken their summer imaginations through healthy eating habits and physical activity. Because when a child is happy, healthy, motivated and excited, something amazing is inevitably going to result. When children have the opportunity to grow and reach their true potential, they can accomplish great things.

That’s why, on Saturday, April 21, all Greater Joliet Area YMCA locations are hosting Healthy Kids Day events to ensure families have the tools they need to help kids stay active and engaged all summer long. Attend one of our Healthy Kids Day celebrations to learn about summer program options, participate in activities and take home exciting giveaways.


C.W. Avery Family YMCA
9 a.m.-Noon

Galowich Family YMCA
10 a.m.-Noon

Morris Community YMCA
10:30 a.m.-Noon

Smith Family YMCA
1-3 p.m.

In celebration of YMCA’s Healthy Kids Day, the Y offers the following tips to help families develop healthy habits:

  • High Five the Fruits and Veggies – Make sure kids get at least five servings a day, the minimum number nutritionists recommend to maintain healthy childhood development. And to keep kids’ taste buds evolving, have everyone in the family try at least one bite of a new fruit or vegetable at least once a month.
  • Read Together – The summer is a great time to enjoy books, and 30 minutes a day goes a long way! Take trips to the local library or create a family reading challenge to see who can log the most minutes of reading. Encourage youth to create their own stories as well.
  • Get Moving! – Activities that require movement also help kids flex their mental muscle. Use materials in unique ways: ask youth to build models, manipulate tools or develop their own theatrical scenes.
  • Play Together – Play may be the best way to prevent childhood obesity. By putting more play into your family’s day, you will soon find yourself getting the activity that will have your family feeling energized and strong.
  • Make sleep a priority – Doctors recommend 10-12 hours of sleep a day for children ages 5-12 and 7-8 hours per night for adults. Sleep plays a critical role in maintaining our healthy immune system, metabolism, mood, memory, learning and other vital functions.
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