The West Shore Family YMCA is kicking off the new year with programs to involve both kids and families.
“We have a lot of family memberships, but it’s usually very young kids,” said Program Coordinator Jim Bodnar. “We’re trying to get older kids from about 7 to 14 years old.”
And they’ve come up with some creative ideas from human bowling to girls-only football to family dodge ball.
Starting next year, the whole family can play dodge ball (with foam balls instead of those red rubber balls). Parents and kids can play in two age groups: 5 to 8 years old and 9 to 14 years old. Games will be held on the second and fourth Friday of each month from 8 to 9:30 p.m.
The new Power in Pink girls' football league for ages 5 to 7 not only will give girls a chance to learn the basics of sports and fair play, but also encourages mothers and guardians to sign up as coaches and volunteers.
“It’s been big on the West Coast and it’s been very effective,” Bodnar said. “Besides gymnastics and dance, getting girls into sports isn’t really a big thing. We want to put a bigger focus on that.
“We had a flag football program with the NFL in August and three girls in tat age group were playing. I swear, they did better than the boys— they had great arms,” Bodnar said.
Human Bowling for the whole family starts Jan. 22 and runs the third Sunday of each month from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. Bodnar said the YMCA is planning to use inflatable pins, with people rolling as the bowling balls.
Family open volleyball also encourages families to play together on the second and fourth Sunday of each month from 1 to 2:30 p.m.