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Bridgewater YMCA continues to build on success

Sophia Clark joined the YMCA to play a little basketball, then quickly immersed herself in other activities. Clark credits the YMCA with building her confidence and bringing out her leadership qualities. A grade 12 student at Park View Education Centre, Clark has her sights set on a career in social work.
Sophia Clark joined the YMCA to play a little basketball, then quickly immersed herself in other activities. Clark credits the YMCA with building her confidence and bringing out her leadership qualities. A grade 12 student at Park View Education Centre, Clark has her sights set on a career in social work. - Peter Simpson

The adage “if you build it, they will come” certainly rings true at the Lunenburg County YMCA.

The popular YMCA in Bridgewater continues to build on its successful drop-in programs designed specifically for youth, and young people of all ages are showing up to enjoy the experience.

Last year more than 1,500 visits to the King Street Youth Centre were recorded, and nearly 1,000 children and youth participated in the free Friday Night Youth Zone Program, where youth of all ages gather to play games, learn new skills, and socialize with their peers in a safe environment.

October is the month a specific fundraiser, as the YMCA Strong Kids Campaign is held nationally. The YMCA is a registered charity, and all money raised in Lunenburg County stays in the county, funding popular youth programs. Tax receipts are issued to all donors.

Lunenburg County YMCA manager Kim Roy said in the delivery of its programs and services, the YMCA is guided by five key core values: Caring, respect, honesty, responsibility and inclusiveness.

“The YMCA gives adults and children the opportunity to belong to a supportive community while improving their physical, mental, emotional and social health,” said Roy.

“No one is ever turned away, so a portion of all donations helps to provide financial assistance to individuals and families who can’t afford the full cost of a YMCA membership.”

A well-spoken young lady, Sophia Clark of Wileville joined the YMCA in 2017 and quickly immersed herself in a variety of activities.

“I wanted a place to meet other young people and make friends, and I really like to play basketball,” said Clark, a 17-year-old Grade 12 student at Park View Education Centre in Bridgewater.

“Coming to the Y made me more confident, and I started to talk to a lot of people my age who I didn’t talk to before joining. Most of the kids who come here don’t really have another place to interact with boys and girls other than in school. The Y is like another family to them,” she said.

YMCA management recognized Clark’s leadership potential and asked her to become a youth leader.

“In my leadership training I learned how to manage youth program activities such as cooking, ethnic mosaic, basketball, conditioning, Youth Zone, crafts and creativity classes,” said Clark. “It’s gratifying for me to know I can make a difference in a young kid’s life.”

With her sights set on a career in social work, Clark is undecided on what age group to pursue.

“I enjoy working with youth, but I also worked with seniors at Harbour View Haven in Lunenburg as a summer student, and I enjoyed that experience as well. Time will tell,” said Clark.

A member since 2011, Karen Wall joined the YMCA in the hope that participating in a yoga program would help to ease her constant back pain.

“I thought I was going to die during my first yoga class. I stuck with it and eventually the exercises became easier,” said Wall, an active senior and Bridgewater resident. Now I take two classes a week.”

Zumba training followed, then the energized Wall put together a playlist and taught her own class – Zumba for Beginners.

“My hope was that I might motivate other people to become more fit by doing Zumba. It’s just a fun way to get in shape. I love teaching, and my students are terrific,” said Wall.

“Since joining the Y, I feel so much healthier and stronger. I’ve lost some weight and I have much more energy,” she added.

For details on YMCA membership and programs, or to donate to the YMCA Strong Kids Campaign, call 902-543-9622, like them on Facebook YMCA Lunenburg County, or visit in person.

Trick or Treat Trot

On Sat. Oct. 26 at 9:30 a.m., the YMCA is presenting its Trick or Treat Trot 2019, a 5 km fun run/walk/bike/stroller fundraising event. Fee is $25 per person, including snacks and draw prizes. Halloween costumes are encouraged. Register online at www.ymcalunenburgcounty.org.

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