NAUGATUCK — The Naugatuck YMCA has a new program for children in the middle — middle school that is.
The YMCA recently launched its #Go2y program, an afterschool program dedicated for children in grades five through eight.
Cathie Mauritz, community development director for the YMCA, said there are a lot of programs geared for younger children and the high school offers plenty extracurricular activities. However, she said, there isn’t as much available for children in middle school.
So, with a $10,000 grant from the Connecticut Community Foundation, the YMCA revamped its youth room downstairs and bought new equipment, including a traverse climbing wall as well as Foosball and ping pong tables.
“We decided to give them a home that they can call their own,” Mauritz said.
Aside from fun and games, the program also offers organized classes like Zumba, martial arts and Yoga. As the program develops, Mauritz said, the children will play a role in determining what activities are added.
A handful of children were taking advantage of all the redesigned youth room has to offer on the afternoon of May 15.
Chris Sansone, youth coordinator and alternative camp director at the YMCA, oversees the youth room and program. He said the program focuses of getting and keeping the children active, even the Wii games available to play are those that force players to get moving.
Sansone also has plans for future events, such as an Ultimate Frisbee tournament.
“It’s all about the kids being active and having something to do,” Sansone said.
For those middle school students in the youth room last Thursday, there was no place they would have rather been.
“It’s awesome, you can do anything really,” said Aaron Lapham, 12, a student at Hillside Intermediate School.
Derrick Jagello, 12, a Hillside student, and Tyler Demoura, 11, who attends Cross Street Intermediate School, agreed the new program is a fun time. Both want more middle school students to participate to help the program grow and to make sure it keeps running.
“We really need to get the word out,” Demoura said.
The program runs Monday through Friday with different activities and open time in the youth room scheduled throughout the week. The fee is $2 a day for non-members of the YMCA, $1.50 a day for program members and free for full members. Parents must fill out a consent form for their children to participate. For more information, call the YMCA at (203) 729-9622.