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Places to Go The Woodlands YMCA offers range of family-oriented services

September 21, 2018

The Woodlands is home to two branches of the YMCA of Greater Houston. The YMCA at Branch Crossing and the Shadowbend YMCA play an active role in the fitness and health of residents in the community.

Roxanne Davis, community liaison for The Woodlands YMCA, noted that both locations in The Woodlands offer “a variety of programs and activities for all ages.”

Programs include after school care, youth sports, summer camps, enrichment classes and more. The Shadowbend YMCA location even has a Children’s Academy five days a week for children age 18-month-old up through pre-kindergarten ages to help prepare them for school.

While many of its services and programs are free, the YMCA does offer memberships with benefits that include the use of the year round pools, wellness centers, and group fitness classes.

The Woodlands YMCA has an after school program at almost every Conroe Independent School District elementary school in South Montgomery County for children whose parents are not home when school gets out. The program runs from the end of school until 6:30 p.m. each day.

“We have an after school program for parents who don’t want their children to go to an empty home after school,” Davis said. “We have a YMCA staff member at their school providing enrichment classes, healthy refreshments and playing outside… so they’re in a very comfortable environment playing with friends.”

The YMCA also offers children’s summer camps for education and socialization. It has youth sports programs for children as young as 3 years old that teach teamwork skills and team spirit. There is also an adult sports program for basketball and volleyball.

“We’re all about youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Everything we do encompasses all three of those elements,” Davis noted. “People need to be engaged. They need to be around their friends. It’s not just about fitness; it’s about mind, body and spirit.”

As part of their social responsibility, the Christian organization has numerous community outreach programs. Staff members routinely visit apartment complexes in underprivileged areas to teach enrichment classes and swimming lessons, provide after school programs at community care centers and more.

YMCA provides more than $600,000 in financial assistance each year “so all children and all parents can participate in these activities,” Davis said.

“We believe a parent’s financial resources should not limit access,” she added.

Although the Shadowbend YMCA location did not open until 1986, Davis said the organization existed at least a decade before securing a physical building and has been serving The Woodlands community for more than 35 years.

“Prior to the actual building, we were providing programs in a variety of places in the late ’70s and early ’80s,” Davis explained. “We actually were transporting children to summer camps in Conroe in the ’70s. That was sort of the beginning of the YMCA in this community.”

The YMCA at Bear Branch Crossing will celebrate 15 years in February 2019.

In addition to all of its programs, the YMCA hosts several events throughout the year including four major fundraisers: Dancing with The Woodlands Stars, a kids triathlon, Run Thru the Woods and dragon boat races. The 20th Annual YMCA Dragon Boat Race is scheduled for this weekend, starting on Thursday, Sept. 27 through Sunday, Sept. 30 at Northshore Park.

The Woodlands Family YMCA at Branch Crossing is located at 8100 Ashlane Way and The Woodlands Family YMCA at Shadowbend is located at 6145 Shadowbend Place. For more information about programs and amenities at either location, visit www.ymcahouston.org or call 281-367-9622.

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