First, I’m honored to be included in the Be A Good Dad family. I personally believe that fatherhood will always be the most important job I ever have. And believe me, some days it definitely feels like a job. One that pays below minimum wage without breaks. And leaves you whimpering in the corner after a long day of listening to shrieking toddlers. (Or is that just me?)
Anyway, aside from the job of fatherhood, I have chosen a career with the YMCA. The Y is an organization that is built for families. Our motto is “We build strong kids, strong families and strong communities” and the programs that most YMCA’s run are intended to make the family stronger.
Now I realize the YMCA is not the only game in town and for many there isn’t a YMCA nearby. A good city recreation program or another community organization like the JCC or YWCA also provide strong programs that help strengthen families.
But the YMCA can only be a part of your family’s life if you take the time to find out what your YMCA has to offer. Many Y’s offer programs for your children that include gymnastics, swim lessons, youth sports and day camps. But perhaps more importantly many Y’s offer programs that families can do together. For example, family fitness classes are becoming more prevalent as YMCA’s shift focus on teaching healthy living to all generations. Many Y’s also offer a program called Adventure Guides (or Indian Guides in the less-PC areas of our country). This program is similar to scouting where a parent and child do activities designed to strengthen communication while learning core values such as caring, honesty, respect and responsibility.
The bottom line is that your community offers many opportunities to come together as a family. The YMCA is just one resource available to you as you seek opportunities for your family. The great thing about the YMCA, as a non-profit, is that it has a goal of never turning anyone away due to an inability to pay. The YMCA truly is for everybody.
Your homework assignment is week is to seek out your local YMCA or community center and find out all the things your family can do. I’ll bet you’ll be surprised.
For more information on the YMCA or to find a YMCA near you, visit www.ymca.net.