Tag Archive | "YMCA"

February Camps for Kids

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It’s on the calendar and coming quick. The winter break for local schools is set to start February 15. Families not going away and those visiting for the week will be looking for what to do with the kids.

Recreation and theater programs abound in and around the Harbor, Southampton Youth Services (SYS), the East Hampton YMCA RECenter and Bay Street offering a full slate of activities to keep kids busy.

SYS on Majors Path has a 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. camp each day for those in kindergarten through sixth grade. There is a weekly $200 fee and a $45 a day drop-in rate. SYS is also offering an all-day karate camp for those ages four-and-up and a half-day squash camp for those ages nine-to-seventeen. More information is available online at sysinc.org or by calling 287-1511.

The RECenter also has an all-day camp, theirs running from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for ages five to thirteen. Games, swimming and arts & crafts are part of the YMCA program; the cost is $60 for the first day and $55 each day thereafter.

For kids not so much into recreation, Stages is holding a camp at The Bay Street Theater, ages eight to twelve honing their acting skills from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Outside the village, The Parrish Art Museum has morning and afternoon sessions for artists four-and-up; L’Atelier 5 in Southampton is hosting an art camp, attendees coming in by age group; and the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center (WHBPAC) has created a one-week camp for thespians ages five to eighteen, culminating in a performance of “Jack and the Beanstalk”.

More information on the Stages/Bay Street program can be found at baystreet.org or at 725-0818, extension 110. The Parrish program information is available at 283-2118; the L’Atelier 5 at 259-3898 and the WHBPAC at 288-2350.

Baseball, Golf & Strength Camps

There are kids that are very specific about likes and dislikes. Those five-to-thirteen that enjoy baseball can travel west to All-Pro Sports Academy in Bellport for a 10 a.m. to noon “Spring Training” camp.

Private pitching and hitting lessons are also available all week at the All-Pro facility, as are golf lessons from the Rich Jones Golf Academy (767-3444) and performance training for ages seven-and-up from Infiniti Sports (286-2414).

The All-Pro baseball coaches are planning to be back for their annual mid-August baseball camp in Mashashimuet Park. Details on that program will be available in mid-May. All-Pro can be reached at allprosportsacademy.com and 286-5144.

Synchronized Swans Look to National Competition

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By Andrew Rudansky

Coach Meg Preiss stands feet from the pool, arms crossed, analyzing and dissecting each and every movement of the three swimmers in the water. Occasionally Priess tells the girls to straighten their arms, or keep up with the timing. She asks for near perfection.

In the water Shaina Preiss, Catherine Musnicki and Keriann Fitzpatrick and Audrey Sinclair, all members of the East Hampton Synchronized Swimming Team, practice diligently for their upcoming meet. A classical composition plays in the background as the swimmers display their aquatic acrobatics. Musnicki, age 15, a Sag Harbor native, says of the team that they are “not at a professional level yet, but they are definitely getting better all the time.” 

The three girls were practicing for the Synchronized Swimming East Zone Championships held last weekend at Salem University. This is not the first competition the “Synchro-Swans” have competed in; far from it, they have travelled across the country to places like Ohio, Indiana, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York and Washington. Later in the month they will be heading to Gainesville, Florida to compete in nationals.

Musnicki says that they are “hoping to place in the top four” at the East Zone Championships at Salem. Not all the girls are as certain as Musnicki however. Fitzpatrick, age 14, also a Sag Harbor native said, “It is very, very nerve racking.”

The synchronized swimming competition the team was heading to was adjudicated over by five judges. The judges sit on all sides of the pool and look for difficulty, timing and synchronism, deducting points for mistakes and touching the bottom or sides of the pool. The individual judges give a rough score out of 10, and after all the scores are compiled and averaged out, a final score of up to 100 is given for the performance.

“It’s probably a bit harder than a regular swimming race, because of the different personalities involved,” said Preiss. The swimmers not only have to be athletically competent but they need to swim in perfect synch; and to be a successful team, each of the members need to really know the other members of the team. Preiss said that team dynamics need to be pitch perfect to win.

Despite the pressure of the competition the team seems generally relaxed. They break into laughter when they talk about Knox. Knox is a hair gel used by the team to keep their hair from getting in the way while they perform. Fitzpatrick calls the gel “unflavored Jell-O,” and said that all the swimmers in competition use it. She laments that it is hard to get out of your hair but says it is worth it since it is “pretty much waterproof.”

Preiss has been coaching the synchronized swimming since the East Hampton YMCA RECenter opened in 2000, and in the past nine years she has seen the team evolve. The synchronized swim program was the first recreational program at the East Hampton YMCA RECenter and the coach said the program has seen “its ups and downs.”

Preiss has her team practice six days in preparation for competition.

“Effort? I couldn’t ask for more from these girls…I am very proud of my girls.” Beaming, Preiss says that any of the swimmers on her team who want to go to nationals have made it into the competition.

At Salem University the “Synchro-Swans” competed in both solo and team performances. Preiss said she is perhaps the most nervous of the group, adding, “We are a judged sport…and we need to ask ourselves after every performance ‘did I swim my personal best?’”

At last weekend’s event Keriann Fitzpatrick placed third in the solo competition, and sixth in figures. Catherine Musnicki and Audrey Sinclair placed fourth in the duet, and in the trio competition Fitzpatrick, Musnicki and Sinclair placed third.

Preiss said of the results, “They still have a lot of room for improvement before they swim at Gainesville, Florida at the end of the month.”


Finding Fun in Fitness

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Juan Castro at YMCA east hampton

As the trees begin to show their bare limbs, and Holiday shopping and eating seem to be all the buzz – fitness and well being remains as important as ever for members of the community.
This winter season, the YMCA East Hampton RECenter, located on Gingerbread Lane in Easthampton has nearly 6000 members taking advantage of all the facility has to offer. Among many activities offered for people of all ages are a technology center, an indoor pool, fitness equipment, foosball tables and ping-pong.
Juan Castro, executive director, added that for these colder months, there are so many things that people can enjoy doing within the facility, protected from the elements.
“The biggest crisis in our country is health,” Castro said on Friday. “The United States is one of the top five in obesity on the planet. Health care is skyrocketing and it’s become a national crisis.”
Castro suggests a simple solution for this problem. “Fitness. It’s the most important thing and the most cost-effective. What can be more important than that?” Castro explained that health cover for those not paying attention to their personal overall well-being can become costly, and by just taking part in one of the many activities that the center has to offer, one can reduce the likelihood of many diseases and sicknesses.
Castro also said that not only for people’s well-being is fitness important, but it also helps build strong relationships and create positive energy. “Fitness is Critical,” he said.
“Not many people know that YMCA was started in the 1850’s,” said Castro, “There was homelessness and starvation – children were working 13-hour days seven days a week. YMCA began as a shelter for those in need.”
Castro explained that the YMCA became particularly important this time of year, when shelter during the cold months is nearly essential. He said that the YMCA created indoor sports like basketball and volleyball, because of the gymnasiums that the facility began to build.
“The YMCA facilities offered shelter, but some also had libraries, chapels and fitness centers,” said Castro. Now, according to him, there are nearly 60 million YMCA’s worldwide.
Although the building in Easthampton does not have a chapel connected with it, it does offer numerous fitness activities and nearly half a dozen computers where research or Internet surfing can be done. In addition this building houses an indoor swimming pool where national champions practice but also allows for those just looking for a leisurely swim. All the fitness equipment in the building, like elliptical machines and treadmills, are less than one and half years old, according to Castro.
Right now, the center has nearly 15% of Easthampton town’s residents attending. Castro said of that percentage, half are under 21 years old and 25% are seniors.
“The reason is simple,” he said, “both of these groups have time on their hands.”
Schools utilizing the facility for swimming include the Easthampton High School, the Child Development Center of the Hamptons, Stella Marris, Bridgehampton and Sag Harbor Elementary School. Easthampton RECreation center also has an outpost in Montauk, located within Gurneys Inn, where the Montauk Students can attend.
“We have two pools open all year long and we are the only indoor pool east of Westhampton, besides Gurneys,” Castro said “some of our clients think they are whales, just swimming back and forth, back and forth all day long.”
At the Easthampton site, there is a 25 yard heated lap pool and a heated instruction pool. There is also a multipurpose room for aerobics, fitness and cultural arts. The center also has a rock climbing wall, outdoor basketball courts and a teen center. Classes offered include ballet, tap, karate ballroom dancing and swim lessons – all schedules available on their website. Castro said that anyone can rent out the facility for different celebrations or parties, especially for birthday parties where kids can enjoy the ping-pong and foosball tables.
“Its important for people to know that we have financial assistance for those eligible,” Castro said, “So there is no reason not to participate.”
Easthampton RECcenter is located at 2 Gingerbread Lane in Easthampton. Their website is www.ymcali.org and can be reached at (631) 329-6884