YMCA branches offer summer fun, exercise

By ALDO AMATO / Staff Writer

PELHAM – Residents of Alabaster and Pelham can enjoy summer fun and exercise in their own backyard with camps and programs offered at the YMCA.

With kids out of school for the summer months, parents are always searching for an alternative to keep their children occupied during the three months off. Alabaster and Pelham YMCA Director Lane Vines said that childcare is always a popular option during the summer.

“Childcare is the largest and most popular programs we offer in the summer months,” he said. “They usually operate between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. each day and parents can drop off their children as early as 7 a.m.”

Summer camps draw a large number of children to both locations. Vines said that around 400 children attend camps at the Pelham location and about 75 at the Alabaster location.

“We offer a wide variety of camps at all of our branches,” he said. “There’s a sports camp, princess camp, water sports camp and a bunch of other specialty camps that we offer. One of our most popular camps is called the ‘Tour de Playground’.”

Among the specialty camps offered, Vines said that the YMCA offers more traditional camps which tend to be popular as well. He said that the branches have a long standing partnership with Oak Mountain State Park in which campers can hike, swim and geo-cache around one of the state’s foremost parks.

“They are a great resource,” he said. “Campers can do a variety of things at the park and hang out at the beach so there is a lot that they offer.”

Sports and aquatics activities also are also a popular choice among YMCA attendees. Vines said that the sports camps offered are not as grueling or demanding as those offered at universities however they are both challenging and fun at the same time.

“All of our branches do youth sports,” he said. “They practice one day a week and have a short tourney at the end.”

Although the only pool is at the Pelham location, it still sees quite a bit of frequency during the summer months. Vines said that there are between 750-1000 swim lessons during the summer. A pool at the Alabaster location is currently under construction and is scheduled to open in late January.

Vines said that attendance this year at both locations is up and that he expect the numbers sustain throughout the summer.

“These are record numbers for us,” he said. “So we are very happy.”