Technology and evolving lifestyles have given parents and families all new sets of challenges. The statistics can be alarming. Children from birth to age eight spend an average of two and a half hours each day looking at a screen.
So much screen time can equate to a lack of exercise, which can have serious health consequences. According to The State of Obesity, North Carolina has a 31.8 percent adult-obesity rate. It is the 16th highest adult obesity rate in the nation. At the YMCA of the Triangle, we’re committed to beating those odds.
“At the Y, we want to get everyone moving and active,” explains Kim Keith, YMCA of the Triangle vice president. “We offer adult and youth sports of all levels across the Triangle region. Y sports are also great fun.”
With a sport for almost everyone, there is no such thing as being too young or too old to get in the game at the Y.
“Parents and kids love our Rookie Sports Programs for children ages three to five,” Keith says. “We focus on basic skills, team play and sportsmanship.”
The Y provides a supportive environment for children through middle school who want to participate in baseball, basketball, soccer, swimming, T-ball, tennis and volleyball. There are a variety of teams and programs offering different levels of engagement to kids of all ages and skill levels.
“We offer Challenge Basketball and Challenge Soccer for kids who want to take their game to the next level,” Keith says.
The YMCA even hosts a competitive jump rope team called the YMCA Super Skippers for youth ages eight to 22. In June, the Triangle team won its seventh consecutive USA National Jump Rope Championship.
Contrary to the old saying, winning is not the only thing. Young athletes who participate in sports at the Y are given opportunities to grow physically, mentally and emotionally. Melanie, a parent of a YMCA Challenge Soccer player, says YMCA coaches invest in kids, on and off the field.
“While our Y coaches are very competitive, they also create a culture of positive and clean play,” Melanie says. “The Y soccer program has presented our son with stronger skills, more confidence and the understanding of what it takes to be a team player on the field, at home and in the community.”
Challenge soccer coach Monica Brown agrees.
“Our program is just as competitive as other leagues,” Brown explains. “There is a different feel to our program. We are a mission- and cause-driven organization. We talk about our values before tryouts, when kids make the team and beyond. We’re just living up to our mission with this program.”
BENEFITS BEYOND CHILDHOOD
Health experts say active play is essential to good health, especially for adults. At the Y, there is no shortage of adult sports options.
“We offer basketball, volleyball, soccer, tennis, racquetball and masters swim classes for serious adult swimmers,” Keith says. “If you’re looking for something less formal, we offer pickup games at branches around the Triangle.”
At the Y, sports is not just kid stuff.
“Sports at the Y promotes healthy living for all ages,” Keith says. “But the best benefits are the friendships made.”
For nearly 160 years, the YMCA of the Triangle has strengthened the foundations of the community. It takes pride in its diversity and is passionate about being a positive force for good. The YMCA of the Triangle is a private nonprofit organization governed by a local board of volunteer directors.