By Bruce Wallace
Bruce Wallace

Bruce Wallace

Just returned from a national conference of YMCA directors, managers and volunteers, Southern Boone YMCA Director Kip Batye was excited to get to work on Monday morning – and ready to implement a number of new programs at the Southern Boone YMCA. I sat down with Batye for a Q&A:

Q: What is new at the YMCA? A: We are busy. Numerous programs are currently going on, we are wrapping up baseball and softball and we are getting ready for a couple of big new programs with the new school year.

Q: Tell me about the Y Club? A: We are very excited about the Y-Club. When the YMCA came to town, people told us they wanted an after-school program. So the Y-Club was developed as a place for 5th through 8th grade students to go after school. We will have a program of fun, learning activities. It will start with the beginning of the new school year in August. It will be held at the Middle School, with coordinator Katherine Bishop. She has experience with kids, 15-plus years, and has experience as a director. She has experience working with non-profits and working with licensed programs. Also, she has been a substitute in the school district.

Q: What types of activities will you have? A: A variety – we will have fishing Friday and take the kids fishing at City Park in coordination with the Department of Conservation. Also, we will get together with the Learning Garden to grow food and learn more about healthy eating as a part of the ‘grow-your-own’ movement.

Q: How about some video games or Pokemon Go? A: That’s what we’re trying to avoid. We want to get the kids off the cell phones and tablets and get them outside. For five days a week for two hours after school, we want to have the kids involved in activities. (The program will be three hours after school on early out days.) This program gives the kids a place to go in a structured environment. As a parent, I would feel secure knowing where my kid was after school, with a snack – and a lot of fun.

Q: How many students do you expect? A: We are not sure. I think we may have more fifth graders than eighth graders as many parents will want their kids in a structured program after school at the younger age. We will have activities set up and we will ask the kids what they want to do as a part of the programming.

Q: Do you have to be a YMCA member to participate? A: You do not. It is $80 per month for a Y member and $100 per month for a non-Y member. It breaks down to $3.95 a day for a Y-member and about $4.25 a day for a non-Y member.

Q: What other youth programs? A: We will kick off flag football this fall.

Q: For what ages? A: First and second grade players – boys and girls. There will be sign-ups at back to school night and players start practicing in September.

Batye said that the YMCA is also going to be looking for a new wrestling coach for the winter (last year’s coach Trent Tracy will be the head high school coach) and continue that program.

He also noted that employee Isaac Wren is offering personal training and a new Boot Camp session will be begin Monday, July 23. The six-week program is $49 for members and $99 for non-members. Boot Camp workouts are 3-times each week.