YMCA encourages families to try more, save more this fall

Youth actors participate in a table reading of Mean Girls Jr. – the 2023 fall youth theater production of the Jennersville Performing Arts Company at the Jennersville YMCA.

With children back in school, fall sports and activities are ramping up across the region. As families consider their options, the YMCA of Greater Brandywine (YGBW) invites them to try something new this year.

To encourage families to try new activities, YGBW is offering members the opportunity to buy two Monthly programs and receive a third Monthly program for free. The promo is valid on Monthly Programs that run in Sep, Oct, Nov and Dec – but members must register by Sep 30 to take advantage of the savings.

“Children are naturally curious,” comments Senior Director of Youth Programming, Bridgette Barbera-Byrne. “They love to discover and try new things, but trying new activities can be costly for parents. Plus, youth sports and activities typically come with a long-term time commitment, making it challenging to try something new.”

“That’s why we launched Monthly Programs earlier this year,” continues Barbera-Byrne. Monthly Programs last for just one month and are reasonably priced. This allows children to try new things without breaking the bank.”

YGBW’s catalog of Monthly Programs includes traditional offerings that you expect to find at the Y, such as Monthly Swim Lessons, Monthly Tumbling Classes and Monthly Basketball Classes. But they also offer Monthly Programs that parents may be surprised to find at the Y – and that children will be eager to try, such as Monthly Cooking Classes, Monthly STEM Classes, Monthly Ninja Lessons and Introductory Theater classes.

In addition to the full catalog of Monthly Programs, the Y offers session-based Academy Programs for children who have found their passion and are ready to focus on sharpening skills and techniques. Academy Programs come with a longer time commitment, which varies based upon the program. Swim Academy lasts for 14 weeks, while some Dance Academy programs span the full school year from Sep through May.

YGBW offers Academy programs that you expect to find at the Y such as Swim Academy, Progressive Gymnastics and Youth Sports Leagues, while also offering unique Academy programs like School of Dance and Youth Theater productions of Mean Girls, Jr. and Matilda, Jr.

“Our Youth Theater offerings are a perfect example of how we’ve designed our catalog of Youth Programs,” explains Barbera-Byrne. “Children who are new to theater can try Preschool Musical Theater or Intro to Acting, which are Monthly Programs. Children who already know that they love theater and are ready to make a longer time commitment can progress to our session-based Youth Theater Productions. These productions are offered at the Jennersville YMCA in West Grove and the Upper Main Line YMCA in Berwyn.”

The Jennersville YMCA is home to the Jennersville Performing Arts Company, which is performing a production of Mean Girls Jr. this fall for children ages 10 – 17. For children who prefer to stay backstage, the Jennersville Performing Arts Company offers Technical Theater Academy for children ages 12 – 17. The Upper Main Line YMCA (UMLY) is home to the UMLY Performing Arts Company, which is performing a production of Matilda Jr. this fall for children ages 9 – 18.

Danny Murphy serves as the Director of Arts and Humanities at the Jennersville YMCA and previously worked in Arts and Humanities at the Upper Main Line YMCA. He’s also been involved with community theater programs not affiliated with the YMCA in the past and says that there’s a noticeable advantage to performing arts offerings at the Y.

“Other theater programs can be competitive,” Murphy says. “But things are different at the Y. Our young performers truly support, encourage and uplift each other. At both the Jennersville and UMLY Performing Arts Companies, we work to build an inclusive, welcoming and supportive environment for our theater families – and they appreciate it. Some performers in our fall production of Mean Girls Jr. are driving an hour to attend rehearsals at the Jennersville Y because they love our community. We’ve built something special here.”

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