The Morris Community YMCA is committed to fulfilling program needs in communities throughout Grundy County. When school breaks for the summer, Y camp at Coal City Early Childhood Center provides a place where kids can have fun, learn new skills and build self-confidence. During the winter, the YMCA’s youth basketball program, held at Coal City Unit #1 Schools, encourages youth to be physically active and learn the importance of teamwork and sportsmanship. To further expand its reach, the Y recently debuted a series of after school programs at Coal City Elementary School and Coal City Intermediate School, thanks in part to generous funding from Coal City Community Unit School District #1.
Held in April and May, these one-hour, sampler-style programs had different weekly themes, each one falling under the HEPA (healthy eating, physical activity) and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) umbrellas. HEPA programs teach children how to make healthy food choices and to enjoy physical activity, contributing to their social and physical development. STEM programs nurture curiosity, inspire creativity and teach children how to succeed.
“No Bake, It’s a Piece of Cake,” for example, was a healthy eating class where students learned how to make guacamole and smoothies. “Dodgeball Mania,” on the other hand, encouraged kids to get moving through physical activity. “Slime Central,” the most popular session, was a STEM class where participants created slime using everyday items such as glue, contact solution and water. (Creating slime has become increasingly popular among school-age children. Naturally then, the program drew approximately 50 participants.)
At the Y, we believe the values and skills learned early on are vital building blocks for quality of life and future success. Through after school programs, children are put in a position to learn how to be their best selves. That makes for confident kids today, and contributing and engaged adults tomorrow.