My family just took advantage of the 20% discount the YMCA of Greater Erie is offering through Feb. 16, which takes our monthly membership fee to just $58 a month. It's such an affordable price for what you get -- plus going to the Y as a family is a great way to show your kids how important -- and fun! -- fitness can be.
Besides, when I think about what else we've spent $58 on recently? One dinner out, a week's worth of lunches and snacks for my husband, an unnecessary trip to Target ... well, we definitely had room in our budget for something that would give us a full month's worth of family fun.
Here are 10 reasons why we chose to join the Y as a family:
1. Family fun and fitness
We had a great time at our first Family Cardio class. It makes cardio fun with races, games (I haven't played sharks and minnows in decades!) and even kickboxing and punching. We all got in a workout -- and had a great time TOGETHER. There's also a Saturday Family ZUMBA class for those families who love to dance.
If you haven't played, pickle ball is kind of like tennis on a half court with a whiffle ball. It's super fun, fast-paced and my kids love it. We've only played on family vacations in Florida, so we were all excited to find out there's a pickle ball court at the YMCA -- plus they provide the racquets and balls.
3. Classes just for kids
I've already signed the kids up for Kids Inclusive Yoga, which starts Feb. 15 at no additional charge. They're also looking forward to the next session of golf lessons for kids. But that's just the beginning: There's also classes for toddlers and caregivers, along with dance classes, martial arts class, an obstacle interval class, cheer clinic, tumbling (you get the idea!) for older kids. The Y offers a LOT of emphasis on kid fitness -- and fun. I also love the Y has started offering Adaptive Yoga for Kids with special needs.
4. Pool time!
Our home Y is Glenwood where there is a beautiful pool facility. My kids can take lessons there any time of year and have already made me promise to spend an upcoming weekend afternoon playing there during open pool times. That's easier now that the Y offers expanded Sunday hours. But as Y members, we also get to use any of the Ys and Camp Sherwin as part of our membership! That means access to SEVEN swimming pools, along with the waterslide at the Eastside Y and the spray park at Camp Sherwin.
5. Free childcare
My kids are too young to stay home alone, which I've often used as an excuse for not going to exercise. But the Y offers childcare for kids as young as six weeks. Older kids -- like mine -- get to go to a fun space called "the loft" where they can play video games, pool, table tennis, or just hang out. No more excuses for me to skip out.
New this year: You can pause your membership at anytime. So, for instance, if you know your family is going on a big vacation in September, you can pause your. membership for the month and save a few bucks.
7. Unlimited guest passes
You used to get just a few guest passes for the Y each year, but now you can have UNLIMITED passes. That means a friend or visiting family can visit up to three times with you for FREE. My kids are already planning to invite friends with them to play at the pool.
8. Youth sports
Walking through the Y on our first visit there as members, my daughter saw kids practicing floor hockey. "Can I play?" she asked me. For sure! The Y's sports teams are a great and affordable way to introduce enthusiastic kids to new sports in a low-stress environment. Sign us up.
9. Teen time
We're still a few years away (but not many! Gulp.) from teen life. I like how inclusive the Y is for tweens and teens. At the Eastside Y there's the 814 Tween Club, a drop-in program for tweens 8-14 Mondays through Thursdays each week. Meanwhile Glenwood has its "loft" but is also working to expand its offerings for tweens and teens. In fact, kids ages 12 to 18 are invited to a meet and greet Friday, Feb. 14 at 4 p.m. to give input on activities they'd like at the Y. Complete with pizza and treats, of course.
10. Family fun nights -- and parent nights out!
The Glenwood Y hosts occasional Family Fun Nights for members when the whole family can spend an evening having fun with organized pool and gym activities, arts and crafts, and games like family dodgeball. Another member bonus: Parent night's out on a regular basis at both the Eastside and Glenwood locations. That means my hubby and I can enjoy a date night out while we know the kids are safe and entertained with movies, pizza and a dance party. Plus the price is a LOT cheaper than if I left the kids at home with a babysitter.
👉🏼Drop-in for a free visit with your family and try the County Y for free on Monday, Feb. 17 from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Free and open to the public – no registration required. Children must be accompanied by an adult. You'll find a perfect mix of activities for kids 10 and under to include active play, arts/crafts, block building, Playdough play and group games for families. Here is a schedule of activities:
- 8:00a-12:00p – Parents Only! Go to a class or exercise, while you take advantage of the County Y's free childwatch.
- 12:00p-2:00p – Youth & Parent Obstacle Course in Aerobics Room
- 2:00p-4:00p – Volleyball, pickleball, basketball, soccer for families in Gymnasium
- 5:00p-7:00p – Programmed Child Watch – Playdough Play Night, Block Building Bonanza