It’s not easy being a 7th grader. You’re too old for kids’ stuff, but adulthood — aka high school — is still sooooo far away.
At least the Westport Y has your back.
Starting Wednesday (June 22), the Y will provide free — yes, as in “you don’t have to pay a cent” — memberships to all 7th grade boys and girls in the Westport and Weston school districts.
It would be nice to say this is the Westport Y’s idea, but it’s not. It’s modeled on similar initiatives at Ys around the country. The goal, the Y says, is to “promote the well-being of young adolescents at a critical juncture in their development, with enhanced self-esteem and increased understanding of the importance of exercise and healthy nutrition throughout the teen years and into adulthood.”
Also, probably, to reach a target population that increasingly is lured by fancy health clubs, video games, hi-def entertainment centers, and whatever else kids do with what little free time they have these days. (You don’t want to know.)
But hey, free is free. It’s a great deal, and though the Y may not have the uber-modern equipment of some clubs, it does offer 2 pools, 2 basketball and 3 squash courts.
To activate their free membership, students must bring a school ID or report card to the Family Y, plus a parent or guardian. (It’s a tossup which of those items kids will find harder to get hold of.)
Each student is asked to commit to at least 1 volunteer opportunity, such as a special event like the Strong Kids Triathlon in September, or a long-term experience like Teen Volunteer Corps. They must also take a group tour of the facility, and orientation sessions in the Fitness Center.
Free programs and activities available to 7th grade members include open swims and open gyms, fitness orientations, special group exercise classes, racquet sports and spinning classes. A list of offerings is available at www.westporty.org (click on “7th Grade Activities”).
The initial response from parents has been positive, the Y says. And why not? For once, you can’t argue about the price.
(Funding comes from the Family Y’s Strong Kids Campaign. For details about the 7th Grade Initiative, call Dave Cohen at 203-226-8981, ext. 109, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.)