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YMCA reaches out to community

By: David Wallace | Farmington Press | Published February 8, 2012

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FARMINGTON/FARMINGTON HILLS — As part of the Farmington Family YMCA’s goal of being more visible in the community, two representatives appeared at the Farmington City Council meeting Jan. 17 to share what’s going on at “the Y.”

“Nationally, we’re rebranding. That triangular logo will be going away this year into next year — it’s a long project — but we’re going to be harping on … three primary things: youth development, healthy living and social responsibility,” said Tom Wilkinson, a member of the Farmington Family YMCA’s board of directors. He is the board’s past president and serves on its newly formed community relations committee.

As part of the YMCA’s outreach, folks new to the YMCA and members alike can gather at the building, 28100 Farmington Road, just north of 12 Mile, 6:30-8:30 p.m. Feb. 18 for the free Pajama Jammy Jam.

“We’re going to have a pajama party in our gym,” explained Katrina Stewart, the youth and family director at the Farmington Family YMCA. The party includes games with pajama themes — think a pillowcase sack race — and a dance contest. Stewart said there will be an instructor or two available to teach dances, such as the hustle and Zumba dance fitness.

Stewart said no one is too old to enjoy the Pajama Jammy Jam, and people don’t have to wear pajamas.

“That would be a great opportunity for them to come and experience the YMCA,” Stewart said. Those interested should RSVP to (248) 306-3055.

People do not have to be members to attend the Pajama Jammy Jam or other free community events at the YMCA, which take place about once per month. In January, the free community event was a “dive-in” movie, which let people watch “Finding Nemo” from the comfort of the YMCA’s swimming pool.

The YMCA has other events planned in coming months.

“In March, we will have a spring fling, which is also a dance, and it’s for our school-age child care participants to come to the Y and participate in a semiformal little spring fling for the families,” said Stewart.

YMCAs throughout the country celebrate Healthy Kids Day April 28.

The YMCA has a large variety of classes available. Some are included with membership, while others carry additional fees.

“We’re committed to offering programs that will enhance the family, enhance the bonding of the family and bring them into the YMCA,” said Stewart. “And also part of my responsibility at the Y is to be more a part of the community.”

Stewart’s position is new; it started in September.

To help out in financially troubled times, the YMCA recently began a trial program offering a deal for lower-income families. Farmington Family YMCA Executive Director Laura Perlowski said the YMCA alerted its eligible member families and is still testing the trial program.

Wilkinson said that the YMCA also is looking at partnerships with Farmington Public Schools and the Detroit Lions’ Play 60 fitness program.

“They’re both very much in the preliminary stage,” said Perlowski.

The YMCA’s appearance before City Council came about after City Councilwoman JoAnne McShane and Wilkinson attended an event honoring high school students. McShane recommended that the YMCA report on its activities and take advantage of the City Council meetings’ cable television coverage.

“I hope you’ll come back on a regular basis,” said McShane.

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