YMCA offers free memberships to seventh graders

Published 2:56 pm Tuesday, July 18, 2023

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By BARTON PERKINS | Staff Writer

Starting Tuesday Aug. 1, the YMCA will be offering free memberships to seventh graders for the duration of the school year. 

To qualify for the membership, students must:

-Be a seventh grade student in the 2023-2024 school year

-Attend the mandatory membership orientation with parent/guardian

-Complete the YMCA Youth Fitness Orientation program before accessing the fitness floor

-Agree to abide by the YMCA Code of Conduct

The YMCA is putting on this program to help children develop healthy habits and build the foundation for a healthy lifestyle. Participants will have access to the Y’s Fitness Center, gym, group classes, and the swimming pool after the completion of a swimming test. However, certain facilities are off-limits due to safety concerns, such as saunas, steam rooms, whirlpools and certain fitness equipment.

With an estimated 20 percent of children in Alabama being classified as obese, for reference, the national average is thought to be 19.7 percent, the Y’s initiative seems to be a timely one as physical inactivity is a contributing factor in obesity. 

As far back as 2020, the American Heart Association noted that only one in four high school students perform the recommended one hour of physical activity per day. This rate has plummeted even further after the COVID-19 pandemic.

The reasons for physical inactivity amongst adolescents are thought to be a variety of factors, including; the amount of time allocated for recess, social environments at schools and the lack of proper facilities.

The YMCA’s initiative to provide free memberships to seventh graders should help alleviate the last of these, even if only a little bit. However, the main goal of the Y’s program is to provide a safe and supervised environment for students to exercise and socialize with peers in a supervised environment while forming a healthy relationship with physical activity and fitness.

Seventh grade students can sign up for a free membership with the YMCA at any of the following locations: