Northern Berkshire YMCA Drums Up Fun for Fridays

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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Some of the kids check out a movie before heading to the gym at the Northern Berkshire YMCA's 'Friday Fun Night.'

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The "Friday Night Fun Club" at the Northern Berkshires YMCA provides children with an evening of fun and activities.

Program director Erin Lee said the weekly program serves North Adams children ages 8-12, with or without Y membership.

The program runs from 6 to 8 p.m. on Fridays and is offered free through grant funding received by the YMCA.

"Basically it is just a safe place for the kids to come on Friday nights," Lee said. "We want to get kids out of the house on Friday nights, and there really isn’t a program like this in North Adams right now for this age bracket."

Lee said the program provides many different activities, including games in the gym and swimming.

“We do all sorts of recreational activities," she said. "We use the pool, we play basketball in the gym, we had a dodge ball tournament the first night, and some nights we have specialized activities, like tonight we are having a movie night with popcorn."

Lee added that the program provides a different activity each Friday night, but children always have the option to just swim or use the gymnasium.

"We make sure that we have enough staff and volunteers to let the kids choose what they want to do, but we provide them with a broad range of activities," she said. "Right now all of our volunteers come from [Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts] so really it’s a partnership between the school and the YMCA.

"We are definitely looking for anyone that is willing to volunteer for a position."

The inspiration in creating a "fun night" is the lack of teen and pre-teen oriented programs, said Lee, especially one that would allow the children to drop in on their own.

"We want our numbers to grow, and we want kids to tell their friends," she said, with the hope that it will eventually expand to teenagers. "We have plenty of volunteers, and we just want more kids from the community to come."

Lee finds tremendous benefits in interacting with the children and enjoys creating a safe haven for an age bracket that often goes unnoticed.

"I think it is rewarding to be a solution to the lack places in the community for these kids," she said. "Being a part of putting this together and seeing that the kids really enjoy it is great."

While the program is free, parents do need to fill out a short registration form. Contact the YMCA at
413-663-6529 for more information.

Tags: family programming,   YMCA,   

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