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Early November Brain Explosion

I’ve been meaning to write a post, many posts actually, for two weeks. So much is going on and I’m sorry I haven’t filled you in. Amidst all the new programs, sending out Annual Appeal letters, preparing 2022 budgets, lifeguarding, etc… I forget to sit down and reflect. So here are some of the things I want you to know. It feels a bit like a brain explosion!

· The Halloween Trunk or Treat was a huge success! The sunny, windy day made for difficult set up, but terrific ventilation. J We had about 30 trunks and over 500 children dressed up to collect treats! Many children brought family members (often in costume, too!). All told, we think we had 1000-1500 people from the community sharing their excitement and sugar-highs.

· The youth soccer round robin tournament was played in rain and mud rather than sun and wind, but shared the same feeling of victory. Almost 20 teams in two divisions played forty mini-games at the Y and at Walsh Field. The Moody Dog sent a food truck. A good time was had by all!

· Youth basketball started last week. It’s been wonderfully crazy at the Y after 5:30pm. So much fun to see so many balls (and a few kids!) bouncing off the walls. I am grateful to all the volunteer coaches who are helping!

· We are almost back to a full schedule in the pool! As we are hiring more lifeguards, we are adding more hours. I don’t want to jinx anything by declaring “Victory over Staffing Shortage”, but I will say that our team has continued to look for lifeguards wherever we can find them. Thank you to everyone for your patience and understanding.

· On a separate pool note, a $20 part broke and brought our filtering system to a standstill. So frustrating! Fortunately, our vendor sent the part by express mail and we had it installed the following day. Since our pool is over 10 years old, we are proactively looking for potential mechanical failures with an eye to having parts ready for the inevitable breakdowns.

· TeenTime! When I arrived at the Y last year, I heard about the way Troy Howard Middle School students used to descend upon our Y after school like a swarm of locusts. With the advent of COVID, we partnered with THMS to use their spaces and, per the school, developed a limited program to ensure social distancing. The swarm slowed to a trickle and eventually, we moved TeenTime online. This year, we rethought the program, focusing on how we can provide a safe, engaging place for teens after school while also protecting the community against COVID transmission. At first, few teens signed up. Sandi Roman, the program’s leader, racked her brain to think how to attract them. She came up with a Volleyball tournament as a first attempt. At first, she was unsure how many children would sign up. Over the course of the tournament, during which teams have played matches on Tuesdays and Thursdays, more and more children have joined. This week, the playoffs began! When I’ve been down in the gym to watch, I see a group of children having fun even though they may not be the best volleyball players. I love that! I am so proud of Sandi and the entire Youth Development team for continuing to find ways to engage children after they’ve been stuck indoors, often glued to screens for 18 months. This is essential work. So glad to be a part of it.

There is so much more. But the wish to write everything too often blocks my writing anything. I will try to do better! Happy November!

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