Sunday Focus: YMCA offers summer recreation opportunities
NATCHEZ — As the end of another school year looms, area sports and recreation officials are hard at work putting together a list of summer programs to help keep not only children but also adults active during the summer months.
YMCA of Natchez administrators said they have been developing more ways to encourage locals to stay on their feet and outside as soon as school lets out, which for Natchez-Adams County schools is May 24.
Sports and other programs
Faye Minor, sports and programs director for the YMCA of Natchez, said both adults and children would soon have more ways to have fun in the Natchez area with programs she is developing.
Minor said the YMCA would be sponsoring several sporting events throughout the summer, and all registration forms can be filled out at the Rex Team Sports Center on Seargent S. Prentiss Drive or at the YMCA Natchez office at 352 Liberty Road, Natchez.
For some people, however, the fun has already begun, Minor said.
Children 3 years old and older kicked off a T-ball league last Monday, Minor said.
“We started off really slow, but we’ve had more than 50 players eventually sign up for T-ball,” Minor said. “People were still finding out about it.”
Though the T-ball season will be over by the end of this month, Minor said it’s not too late to register for an adult men’s basketball team for a season that will start May 1 and run until the end of June playing in the Margaret Martin Performing Arts Center gym.
The cost is $400 per team of eight-to-10 players, Minor said, adding that six teams have already signed up and the deadline is Tuesday.
Coming up later this summer, Minor said, the YMCA is planning a summer basketball league for teens from mid-June to the end of July for $350 per team.
Minor said she is also exploring the possibility of forming an adult volleyball league and dance classes.
Minor said she also plans to bring back a children’s soccer league that had been successfully orchestrated last fall.
“People think the YMCA is all about youth sports, and it’s not,” Minor said. “Overall, it’s a family program, and we’re trying to make sure the Y can take care of everyone in our community and help them stay active and healthy this summer — both adults and children.”
For more information regarding YMCA sports and programs, call 601-597-3440 or check the YMCA out on social media, Minor said.
Stay cool in the pool
Another option for staying active this summer is at the YMCA Aquatics Center, which opened last year off of Liberty Road and houses a junior Olympic size swimming pool.
Administrators said the pool would open for summer swimmers the last week of May — with perhaps a few surprise weekends of pool activities before then whenever the weather is nice and the staff is available, said Monica Bihm, aquatics director for the pool.
One-day passes are $5 per person, Bihm said, while one-month memberships are $35 per person or $65 per family of two adults and up to six children under the age of 18 who live in the same household.
New to the pool
Bihm said the waters would be stirred up a bit this summer as a list of new activities is put into action to encourage more people to buy memberships.
After the pool opens at the end of May, starting at 7 p.m. every Thursday will be designated as adults only night, Bihm said, which would open the pool up for relaxation and socialization.
“Every Thursday night we will kindly ask the kids to leave and open the pool for adults only,” Bihm said, “and we will have food trucks and entertainment then as well.”
Food trucks would also be around earlier in the day for all ages, Bihm said, and the YMCA has also acquired a projector to use for movie nights at the pool that could be for adults and kids alike.
“We’ve got that great big blank wall, so we can host kids movie nights with family films and play more mature movies on some of the adult nights as well,” Bihm said. “I think it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
The YMCA also offers swimming classes that last two weeks per session and would be kicking off June 3 and run throughout the summer, Bihm said.
“I think it’s going to be a great summer,” Bihm said. “We’ve ironed out some of the kinks from last summer. We know what the community wants and needs, and we are on the right path.”
Funding the future of the pool
Meanwhile, Bihm said she is hopeful that funding would be found to heat and at least temporarily cover the pool and extend its use into the cooler months of the year.
City and county officials have also discussed adding needed lockers and showers for swim teams to the facility and applied for a Land Water Conservation grant which caps out at $175,000 to help fund the improvements.
If approved, the burden of 50-50 match requirement could be split between the city and county funds, said Natchez City Planner James Johnston, adding that he should know by August or September whether it would be approved.
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