While there are so many benefits to our lifestyle, one thing that can sometimes be hard is the transition to a new place. For my family and for me, we constantly look for a YMCA wherever we land. For us, the YMCA provides a family away from family type support. No matter where we go, the YMCA has always provided activities and after school care for our children as well as fitness and friendships for us all.

A passion for soccer was found on a field a sweet 3-year old stepped on one August day. He had fantastic volunteer coaches who encouraged him to do his best. The coaches showed him what it meant to win or to lose and to do both with dignity and grace. He is now 9 and while he no longer plays for the YMCA, he has not lost that passion for the game. For him, it’s his favorite sport. He may not remember the years leading up to where we are now, but we do. Being able to watch him fall more in love with the game every season he plays has been such an amazing blessing for our family. This love all goes back to the little 3-year old with his first soccer ball and a parent volunteer from the YMCA who took the time to share their own love of the game.

At the YMCA, swim lessons were a norm for the kids. Mommy and me classes were a nice introduction to the pool especially for a young baby who did not like getting his face wet. As the kids grew older, and the youngest began to watch her older brother she too needed to take lessons. Both kids were given fantastic instructors who praised them for their triumphs and encouraged them when they struggled. They both became comfortable around the water and enjoyed the end of lesson cannonballs. They slowly left their floatation devices behind and began swimming on their own. Their self-assurance and confidence in the water was fostered by those who chose to teach them.

The YMCA has also afforded us with the peace of mind, that while we may not have family here in Yuma we have people who will care and show love to our children. After school care with the YMCA is who we have always used since Kinder. In the program, it has always been the right amount of structure and fun. There is time given for homework, but also time for playing games and doing crafts. Some of their best friends have come from the YMCA before and after school program. Summer camp was a hit for the kids too. We were very new to the area, as in just moved here a few days prior, and the YMCA family allowed us the opportunity to enroll both kids into camp. I was nervous as were they, but after their first day we knew that it was going to be a great fit for the rest of the summer. Our plan is to let the kids attend the YMCA again this summer so that they are able to experience all of the wonderful lessons and adventures that they have planned.

The YMCA has been exceptionally wonderful in allowing my husband and I to run a fitness group for deployed spouses. The staff was always willing to help out in any way possible and were truly flexible when we needed them to be. This provided the spouses with much needed “me time” while going through the deployment and also gave them peace of mind when dropping the little ones off at child watch. The YMCA will never know how much the fitness group was more than just about fitness, but military spouses coming together for self-care and motivation. This group was so many different things for each of the members who attended and I know that they are appreciative as well.

The one thing that I have found about all YMCAs is that they care about their members. They treat their members like they would treat family. They want to bring us all together and find out what best benefits us all. No matter where you go or what stage of life you are in, the YMCA has something for each of us.

 

–Ki Kimball and Alexandria Johnson-Kimball