The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

March 30, 2013

Keep moving at YMCA

Organization offers healthy activities for entire family

By James Neal, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — Denny Price Family YMCA has a variety of programs to keep families active and interacting, from toddlers to seniors.

“We have people come in here from six weeks old up into their 90s,” said Kim Boeckman, senior program director at Denny Price Family YMCA. “We make it easy for families to come here together. Parents can exercise while their kids are in a safe, fun environment.”

YMCA offers I-zone, a monitored play area for children too young to be left unsupervised or to be in the exercise rooms, and a game room and climbing wall for older kids.

Boeckman said YMCA weight room, pool and workout facilities are “family friendly,” allowing families to bond while they exercise.

“We have a lot of families that exercise together,” Boeckman said, and many families participate together in youth sports programs.

“I see a lot of fun family interaction with our sports programs,” Boeckman said, “because parents can volunteer to help out, and then they all get to spend time together at practice and games.”

Sign-ups currently are being taken for YMCA summer softball, baseball and T-ball teams. Sign-ups will be accepted until April 12.

YMCA also offers quarterly family nights, open to both YMCA members and non-members. The family night events usually are planned with a specific theme, such as “Hawaiian night.”

Boeckman said the next family night, “Spring into Fun,” is April 22.

The YMCA also offers a summer camp to keep kids active and engaged during the break from school.

“We’re hardly ever here during summer camp,” Boeckman said. “We’re always out and about, to parks, to Leonardo’s (Discovery Warehouse) ... different places to keep the kids active.”

She said other summer camp destinations include Oklahoma City Zoo, Science Museum of Oklahoma and Roman Nose State Park.

Summer camp fees are $100 per child per week, and the program is open to both YMCA members and non-members.

Sign-up packets for summer camp should be available by April 1, and registration begins April 15.

YMCA family programs all are tied to “Healthy Family Home,” an initiative designed to help families “practice the art and science of healthy living.”

Through YMCA, families can receive advice and support to develop healthy family eating habits, foster at least an hour of play time for children each day, develop stronger family relationships through one-on-one interaction, promote unstructured outdoor play time for kids and develop healthy sleep habits for the entire family.

Boeckman said the full range of YMCA activities are designed to keep families active and to offer them quality time together.

For Kendra Heitfeld, time at YMCA is a family affair.

Heitfeld has worked at YMCA for 10 years, and currently teaches a body pump class and tennis. She and husband, Rob, frequently attend the “Y” with their two children, ages 16 and 10.

“This is a great place to come with kids,” Heitfeld said. “It’s safe, and it keeps them busy and active.”

Heitfeld’s grandmother, Mildred Johnson, 85, started attending YMCA after she slipped, fell and broke her wrist while walking for exercise outside.

“Here, it’s safe, and there are people here to help her if she needs them,” Heitfeld said.

Johnson now walks two miles per day, six days per week at the YMCA’s indoor track. She also attends a Silver Sneakers class, specially designed strength training for seniors.

“It’s great to come here,” Johnson said. “I see people coming here in all shapes, and I admire them.”

Johnson now has been coming to the YMCA for five years, and she has no plans to slow down.

For other seniors and people facing mobility challenges, Johnson offered some advice: “Stay out of that chair. You have to keep trying. That’s what I do.”

For information on programs and activities at Denny Price Family YMCA call (580) 237-7076 or go to www.enidymca.org.