Join Us for Two New Aquatic Programs at the Galowich Family Y This Fall!

Swim Programs in Joliet

As America’s most trusted swim instructor, the Y has been teaching kids how to swim for more than 100 years.  With a wide range of swim lesson options for the entire family and convenient class times, you’ll be sure to find something the meets your family’s needs and busy schedule.

This fall, the Y is introducing two new swim programs at the Galowich Family YMCA.  Set to get underway in early September at the Y’s Houbolt Road location, the Homeschool Open Swim program and the Sensory-Friendly Swim program are both open to the community.

Homeschool Open Swim Program
Parents looking for a class to supplement a physical education curriculum will find it in the Y’s new Homeschool Open Swim program. Designed for every member of your family, this exciting new program will be held on Monday afternoons at the Galowich Family YMCA.

September 10-November 12
Mondays from 2-4 p.m.

YMCA Facility Members: Free
Community Members: $50 for a 10-visit family punch pass

Sensory-Friendly Swimming
Sensory-friendly swim times will feature no music and little-to-no whistle use by our lifeguards. Swimmers will also be provided with an assortment of toys to play with during their time in the pool.

Sundays, from 2:30-3:30 p.m.

  • September 9
  • October 14
  • November 11
  • December 9

YMCA Facility Member Families: Free Family Admission
Community Member Families: $8 Per Family

For more information on these two new programs or our other aquatic programming, please contact:

Kenya Raichart
Galowich Family YMCA Aquatics Director
[email protected]
(815) 729-9629, ext. 320

As a reminder, our Fall 1 Session begins Monday, August 27.  To learn more, visit

Practicing Water Safety Skills with the Y’s “Go Blue” Program

Water Safety Programs

For many families, visiting a beach or pool during the summer is an easy way to cool off from the heat. Some may even visit a pool year-round. But it’s important to remember that even something as fun as a pool, or any body of water, can pose a serious threat if you or your child does not know how to swim.

As America’s most trusted swim instructor, the YMCA has been teaching kids how to swim for more than 100 years. Swim lessons at the YMCA will help your kids stay fit, healthy and strong when they spend time in the water. But, most importantly, they will gain confidence and learn vital water safety skills that will last them a lifetime.

The YMCA’s Swim Lesson Curriculum is based on a continuum that focuses on a skill-based progression that builds confidence and supports skill development for swimmers of all ages. Swim lessons are available six days a week for adults and children, as young as six-months-old. Enrolling your child in swim lessons at a young age will help them to get familiar with the water and teach them critical water safety skills. (Check out the Y’s many other aquatic programs offered this fall.)


To ensure our summer camp participants have the opportunity to develop this essential life skill, the YMCA has introduced the “Go Blue” Water Safety Program into its camp curriculum. As part of the “Go Blue” Program, campers take a mandatory swim test before entering the pool. Based on their swimming abilities, campers receive a red, yellow or blue wristband. To “Go Blue” means that swimmers have enough strength, skill, and confidence to pass the blue swim test, which includes jumping into the deep end of the pool, treading water, and swimming the length of the pool using a front crawl stroke without stopping.

To improve their swimming skills, all red and yellow wristband campers participate in 15-minute swim lessons several times each week during summer camp. The goal is to help all non-swimmers and intermediate swimmers “Go Blue” by the end of summer.


Now that summer camp has come to an end, we are very excited to share the results of this summer’s “Go Blue” Program. Congratulations to our summer campers and our aquatics and camp teams for a job well done!

C.W. Avery Family YMCA:

  • Red Swimmers to Yellow Swimmers: 34
  • Yellow Swimmers to Blue Swimmers: 42
  • Overall Percent of Campers Who Are Now Blue Swimmers: 74%

Galowich Family YMCA:

  • Red Swimmers to Yellow Swimmers: 14
  • Yellow Swimmers to Blue Swimmers: 12
  • Overall Percent of Campers Who Are Now Blue Swimmers: 46%

Morris Community YMCA:

  • Red Swimmers to Yellow Swimmers: 8
  • Yellow Swimmers to Blue Swimmers: 13
  • Overall Percent of Campers Who Are Now Blue Swimmers: 47%

Smith Family YMCA:

  • Red Swimmers to Yellow Swimmers: 21
  • Yellow Swimmers to Blue Swimmers: 19
  • Overall Percent of Campers Who Are Now Blue Swimmers: 52%

Registration is underway for fall swim lessons. To learn more, visit or contact the Aquatics Director at your local YMCA branch.

Staff Spotlight: Michael Taylor

mtMichael Taylor is the first Sports and Fitness Director in Galowich Family YMCA history. With an impressive background in sports, Michael is sure to make a huge impact in his new position. Learn more about his career with the Y, his plans for the future and more:

When did you get involved with the Y?
I got involved with the Y about seven or eight years ago. I applied, and I didn’t even make it home before I got a call back. I started in the Sports Department [at the C.W. Avery Family YMCA].

What was your role over there?
I did sports classes, camps, refereeing—anything of that nature. Then in the Youth and Family Department, I did Kidz Zone and Summer Camp. Then I transferred back to Sports to do a little internship there, where I did equipment managing and had responsibilities other than just teaching.

Now that you’re here at Galowich, what do you have in mind for the future?
We’re building the Sports Department from the ground up. Our main thing right now is Youth Basketball. But I’d also like to add a Spring Soccer League and even bring in Flag Football. That’s a big one at Avery. I also want to start implementing morning classes for the smaller kids. From a fitness standpoint, I want to build from the classes we have now. We’re eventually going to add Insanity.

What’s your favorite sport?
Basketball’s my favorite sport. I like football a lot. Baseball’s cool when the playoffs come around, but the games are too long for me [laughter]. I like boxing.

You played basketball in college, right? Tell us about that.
I played basketball a year at JJC [Joliet Junior College] down the street [from the Galowich Family YMCA]. Then I transferred to Trinity Christian College and played ball there. I played point guard, and I played shooting guard here and there, too. We had a couple of 20-win seasons. And I finished my degree in Sports and Exercise Studies with a minor in Psychology and Coaching.

Did you play any other sports growing up?
Yeah, I played football. I played basketball, baseball, soccer…I played them all. In high school, I did basketball and track.

Do you still play basketball?
Oh yeah—I’m in a couple adult leagues. Then I play at open gyms and stuff like that, so I’m playing basketball a lot.

Bulls fan?
Definitely. I’m excited to see what Derrick does this year. People might hate this, but I like LeBron. So I’m leaning with the Cavs a little bit too.

2014 Touch-A-Truck

Around 150 community members made a pitstop at the Galowich Family YMCA on Saturday, September 13 for the Y’s 2014 edition of Touch-A-Truck. The sun was shining on a late summer day as parents and children walked through the Y’s backyard to check out vehicles from organizations such as the Joliet Fire Department, the Marine Corps, Bill Jacobs and more.

Many thanks to the YMCA staff, participants and vendors that were able to attend! To see photos from the event, click here.

“Bear Down on Bullies”

IMG_0640In an effort to educate campers about bullying, Staley Da Bear, the official mascot of the Chicago Bears, paid a visit to the Galowich Family YMCA. Staley and an emcee led an anti-bullying demonstration known as “Bear Down on Bullies”—where campers engaged in hands-on activities to learn about the importance of respect and how to deal with and prevent bullying.

Staley had quite the sense of humor, so the kids had a blast learning about the five types of bullies: Big-mouth bully, hands-on bully, butt-out bully, cyber-bully, and all-around bully.

At the end of the presentation, the campers were presented with a player-autographed “Bear Down on Bullies” banner to display within the Y.

With the beginning of the school year just around the corner, parents are encouraged to talk with their children about bullying. For more information about bullying, including tips on how you can talk with your child, please visit

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