TAMPA – Ten years ago, there weren’t many children living in the Westchase area. It was a place for young adults living in starter homes and, although there was a boom predicted for the region, it was still a sleepy area.
The corridor, starting at Countryway Boulevard and Sheldon Road, was pretty much empty. And then the Northwest Hillsborough County Family YMCA opened and it’s gotten a little bit busier.
What was once a desolate area on Waters Avenue is now home to more than 2,200 members. When it opened 10 years ago, there were little more than 1,400 members. Today, the number keeps growing along with the activities.
Northwest YMCA Director Ashley Sorensen said that there are more changes on the way as the facility continues to expand the programs during its 10th anniversary. There will be plenty going on to celebrate the anniversary, including the party on Sept. 21 that will run from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. with kids’ activities and group exercise demonstrations. It’s going to be an open house, including use of the pool for nonmembers.
And from Sept. 15 – 22, the cost to join will only be $10.
Sorensen said the YMCA is looking to show off how far it has come since it opened 10 years ago.
“We’ve done a lot of renovations, we’ve added a spinning room, a multipurpose room, we’ve expanded the Kids’ Zone, we’ve got a great preschool program and we have more than 1,000 kids in the youth basketball program. We’ve come a long way,” said Sorensen, who joined the Northwest YMCA after a stint at the Bob Sierra YMCA in Carrollwood.
Sorensen said the future holds a lot more. For now, the Northwest YMCA is concentrating on three things – social skills, youth program and public health. During National Childhood Obesity Month, it is emphasizing the 5-2-1-None program. In other words, children should be eating five servings of fruit and vegetables, watch no more than two hours of television, videos, or playing video games, get one hour of vigorous physical activity, and not eat zero sugary and sweet sodas. To promote the physical activity, every weekend is free at the YMCA.
There are also swim assessments being offered with swim lessons for anyone who can’t pass the swim assessment test.
Sorensen said September is going to be a busy month, even though the kids are back in school. She also said the future is bright.
“We have room to expand and we have a great facility,” she said. “We are looking forward to the anniversary and hope a lot of people come out to see what we have to offer.”
The Northwest Hillsborough Family YMCA is at 8950 W. Waters Ave. For more information, call (813) 249-8510.