Last year, 2017, was a year that produced a healthy amount of growth for the YMCA.
From a significant increase of Summer Camp registrants, to the partnership between the ‘Y’ and, Donnie and Mary Knowles to improve soccer at the facility, to even minor upgrades, the longstanding facility has all the reason to be positive about what 2018 may bring.
YMCA Program Director, Shakeitha Henfield, recently sat with this daily to give a brief recap of 2017 and what’s on the cards for the new year.
She noted the aforementioned partnership with two of Grand Bahama’s biggest soccer enthusiasts, which began back in October 2017, was the step in the right direction that they needed.
As a result, the ‘Y’ had over 200 children enrolled for the soccer season and hopes to see that continued success in other programs.
As far as aquatics goes, that area of the ‘Y’ is expected to begin in the coming months and the facility has even introduced their own Tennis Academy.
“We have our swimming program, which will start back up in either February or March, whenever the weather gets a little bit better. We also introduced our Tennis Program. We’ve always had the tennis courts, where the seniors took advantage of. But, we now have an actual YMCA Tennis Program, which is our YMCA Tennis Academy.
“We introduced tennis into the Summer Camps over the past two years and that helped us to use the numbers that were there to gain a better interest and introduce parents to it.
“We also have our Learn to Swim Program with the government schools. They now have the option to participate in swimming or tennis. That’s free of charge, so it gives us a chance to recruit for the Tennis Program.”
The Tennis Academy runs Monday - Thursday between the hours of 4:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. with Mondays and Wednesdays catering to the five to seven year olds and Tuesdays and Thursdays slated for the eight to 13 year olds.
The ‘Y’ Health and Fitness Department will see two new additions that should spark the interests of the community.
“We’ve added a Zumba/Hip-Hop Class that starts 6:00 p.m. on Wednesdays. You can come and pay the daily rate, once a week or it can be included in your monthly membership. We have also introduced Cross-Fit on Tuesdays and Thursdays for 9:00 a.m. class; that too can also be included in gym memberships.”
To further assist the ‘Y’ in expanding its portfolio, the former track and field athlete announced she would be traveling to the Cayman Islands, as of today, to attend a YMCA Conference.
She noted that the trip could be a great opportunity to help the local facility in the long run. “They’re really focusing on Youth Programs or anyone involved with Youth Programs. that will be a great opportunity to network with other YMCAs and see some of their successful programs and what they’re doing so that, maybe, we could bring some of that information back. I’m hoping to be able to bring that back and train some of the staff and expand on that information.
“The Cayman Islands has an After School Program, which is very huge and includes over 100 part-time staff members … So the way they have their program set up it’s just not academically based, but it includes some of the sports. That’s the kind of program, I think, we can be successful at, if we do something like that here.”