CARROLLWOOD – For the kids at the Bob Sierra Family YMCA, summer is ending way too soon. Some of the campers, in fact, aren’t really looking forward to school. They just want to stay at the YMCA.
Fourth-grader Olivia Kinkade and third-grader Alexandra Goulbourne, for instance, said they became best friends this summer and will have to start at different elementary schools in a few weeks. They call themselves “The Superstars.”
Third-grader Justice Otero, who wants to be an inventor one day, said he isn’t looking forward to being chased by girls around Claywell Elementary.
The Sierra YMCA offers several programs and challenges for kids, starting with a large pool and dozens of other activities. Olivia and Alexandra spent part of their days learning to dance to, of all things, Elvis Presley music. Justice said he spent a lot of time working on his speed to avoid the girls this fall.
It was a great summer for the kids, and each was a bit apprehensive about heading back once the school bells ring in a few weeks.
“I am a little afraid,” said Olivia, who will be attending Countryside Montessori Academy this fall. “I am a little scared because it will be so different now that I am in fourth-grade. I don’t know how to fit in, but I make friends easy.”
Fitting in is no problem with Olivia. She is vibrant and bubbly and her friendship with Alexandra is something to see.
Justice said he has asthma and that bothers him at times, but the girls said he was one of the best swimmers in their age group.
He spent his summer playing four square, a game that can be complicated even to adults. It is a popular playground game that requires only a rubber playground ball, a volleyball, or a tennis ball on a square court with four players. The objective of four square is to eliminate other players. At the Sierra YMCA, it is played in a room they call “The Cage,” and Justice said he had no problem with his asthma.
Alexandra, who will attend Lake Myrtle Elementary, said she will miss the counselors most of all.
“They are so nice to us and never yell at us,” Alexandra said. “My favorite days were in day camp this summer. I had the most fun ever and made so many friends.”
Still, Alexandra said she is a little shy about heading back to school.
“I am bigger and taller than most girls and I don’t want to be the tallest,” she said. “I just want to be a normal kid and that’s how they treat me at the YMCA.”
It was time for the girls to head off to a dance competition where they tried to step on the right places as lights blinked. Elvis was singing in the background and the girls hoped the summer would never end.