Minor changes to swim lessons at YMCA
© Krysta Carroll photo
Starting this fall, there is a rolling registration process for swimming lessons at the YMCA Exploits Valley, according to Stephen Williams, Chief Executive Officer of the YMCA of Exploits Valley. This is following suit with a number of other YMCAs in the country.
There has been some confusion surrounding registration for swimming lessons at the YMCA Exploits Valley.
This is due to the YMCA taking a “rolling registration” approach starting with the fall session – a registration method and process used in a lot of other YMCAs, according to Stephen Williams, chief executive officer of the YMCA of Exploits Valley.
“I guess probably we could have articulated this whole thing a little better than we did, certainly, but it’s hard to anticipate questions every person has to put it all on a piece of paper that everybody can read,” Williams admitted. “I’m hopeful that it will work really well for people.”
The program is a benefit to members and participants because it runs for 10-months, from September until June, he said. So once a child is registered in a particular block, they are there until the end of the season. That is, he added, unless you decide to cancel, or change sessions.
“It allows people to set a particular time and they can block that out in the schedule and then they can work their multitude of other things that children are in around that,” Williams said. “That’s the reason we did it.”
It also helps in scheduling around normal breaks, such as around Christmas and Easter, which previously, when the sessions were 10-weeks, was a struggle.
This process will also eliminate other problems, such as line-ups for non-member registration days.
“You can register at any time,” Williams said.
Previously there were days for registration for non-members where people lined up at the door, he said, which is eliminated as long as the spots are available for participants.
“If you decided to buy your membership Nov. 1, and you want to put your child in swimming lessons, in the old system, you couldn’t do it until January because the 10-week sessions were in progress and you would just have to wait,” Williams said. But now, he said, if you join Nov. 1, and there is space available in the particular lesson - there has to be a space because they are limited by instructors and pool capacity - then you can start your child right away and you don’t have to wait.
“From that point of view it’s better for people,” Williams said. “I think the hiccup for people is it’s a membership-based kind of system. But in terms of financially, a youth membership (ages 0-12) is $24.75 (a month), we also have the YMCA assistance program, so if people can’t afford to pay the fees then there’s subsidy available, so the financial end of it should be a big issue for people. If you end up coming for 10-weeks…it pretty much costs you pretty much the same. I think one of our staff (members) figured it out. It would have costs you $61.08, as opposed to $60 for 10-weeks.”
Previously, the cost of swimming lessons was included in membership, and non-members paid for the lessons. Now, you are paying the membership instead of the lesson charge, he explained.
And you can cancel your membership at any time, he said.
Also, with a membership, people have access to the other youth programs as well, along with general swimming seven-days-a-week.
The first time when you sign up your child you are going to pick a block, for example, for ‘Learn to Swim,’ which includes Otter, Seal, Dolphin and Swimmer, he explained.
“The first week they will access all the children in the program and separated them by ability,” he said. “They will work within those frameworks.”
If the child completes Otter in three weeks, they can get their badge and work on Seal within the same block.
“Rolling registration gives your child the opportunity to learn at his or her own pace without having to repeat levels,” he said. “Some children will progress faster and some will progress slower, as in everything. But you are not locked into (the block you) start Sept. 17, and on Dec. 3, that’s the end of the session, so you get your little report card…that can happen progressively through.”
This also eliminates the learning curve for the child and instructor of getting used to each other.
“Your child will have the same instructor for longer periods of time within that block so they get to be more familiar with the instructor, and the instructor is more familiar with the child,” he said.
“From that point of view we think it’s a good system, but it is a change. We have not done it yet, so we will see, but logically it seems to make really good sense.”
He is hopeful this will increase membership at the YMCA, however, registration didn’t start until today.
Membership comes in many forms, from adult, senior, student, teen, child, couple or family, with different rates for each. Fees can be paid monthly or annually.
“Obviously we want families to participate,” Williams said. “We think healthy fitness recreation programs are good for all people, all ages.”
Williams said there will be summer sessions, however, they are unsure right now how that will pan out.
For more information, including membership fees or schedules, visit www.exploitsvalleyymca.ca.