In 1883, the Youngstown YMCA opened as a place farmers moving to the city for work could retreat to. It now boasts three branches: the Central branch in downtown Youngstown, Camp Fitch on Lake Erie, and the D.D. & Velma Davis Family YMCA.
Though the Y is a place where members can go to exercise, participate in sports leagues, and swim, it's also more than that; it's a place that strives to teach good values to community members. It stresses the importance of such principles as respect, teamwork, and sportsmanship, and it's dedicated to helping the area out through community-service efforts.
Inside Mentor Heisley Racquet and Fitness Club’s 130,000-square-foot facility, guests can hone their ground strokes on the tennis court, practice dunking on the basketball court, or learn to breathe underwater in the heated indoor and outdoor pools. Alternatively, exercisers can join in on group fitness classes such as yoga, water aerobics, and spinning, work out in one of two cardio rooms, or train under the watchful eye of an experienced personal trainer.
Red Oak Camp has come a long way since its humble beginnings as a barn and boys' summer retreat in 1947. Today, the staff organize old-fashioned, weeklong outdoor adventures that help boys and girls—in age groups ranging from 7 to 14—develop cooperation and leadership skills and an appreciation for nature. At the original Red Barn boys’ day camp, counselors watch over campers as they fish and canoe in a pond, practice their aim on an archery range, test their coordination on a low-ropes course, and stockpile candy bars for the winter. At the equestrian center, girls learn the basics of horsemanship and barn management and frolic in their own playing fields and activities center. Older children may leave camp for backpacking trips, and even the younger visitors may embark on flora- and fauna-identification hikes or pitch tents and sleep under the stars.
Wading through indoor heated pools, the instructors at British Swim School teach independent swimming skills to learners aged 3 months and older, adhering to a curriculum devised by British national swimmer Rita Goldberg. The 30-minute one-on-one sessions and small-group lessons, containing six or fewer swimmers, elucidate essential techniques for water safety and the importance of speaking fluent manatee. Swimboree (ages 3 months?3 years with parents) and Young Minnows sessions (ages 1?3 years without parents) teach wee swimmers basic water-survival skills, such as the back float. Turtle One and Turtle Two classes focus on freestyle, backstroke, and breaststroke maneuvers, honing more structured swimming skills in older kiddos. British Swim School's Shark courses enhance stamina and speed and teach even more demanding strokes, such as the butterfly and little-known mountain-goat flail. Certain British Swim School classes require parents to participate in the water or to supervise from the pool deck, and adults-only lessons allow grown-ups to refine their own abilities without the supervision of a toddler.
Michelle Alpern, an avid swimmer and Red Cross-certified lifeguard since high school, is the founder of the Kids and Infant Safety Swim (KISS) Swim Program. Tailoring lessons to each student?s needs, Michelle and staff lead sessions for infants, toddlers, kids, and adults, focusing on the swim-float-swim method in a fun, safe, and nurturing environment. She specializes in childhood education, and her training includes more than 175 hours of pool instruction, child psychology and physiology, and CPR and AED certifications.
The YMCA Adventure Warrior Race gives kids and adults a chance to prove themselves against ropes courses, mud, water obstacles, and other unexpected mental and physical challenges—all while supporting a good cause. Amid the breathtaking views and tranquil waters of Lake Tris, runners maneuver around trees and carry heavy objects up the sometimes snow-covered Laurel Highlands mountains, climbing up to 1,000 feet as they go. Warriors aged 16 and older make a 4-mile circuit, whereas younger participants run age-appropriate distances of a half mile or a full mile. Trophies and the respect of all the woodland creatures are awarded to the top male and female runners, top male and female teams, and top co-ed team. According to the Daily American, funds raised from the race provide camp scholarships that allow kids to attend residential and day programs at the 263-acre YMCA Camp T. Frank Soles.