Bob Sierra Summer Kickoff Party

Yippee! Schools out! It’s time to trade the school books and calculators for something so much more fun, a baseball glove and bat or a cool dip in the pool. If you follow that up with a cool glass of lemonade, you have the formula for a successful vacation. Summer is here again. I bet you didn’t think it would ever get here, did you?

So, what are you and the kids going to do for your Summer vacation? Have you considered visiting your local YMCA? Like the song says, “It’s fun to stay at the YMCA!” I don’t know about “stay” but it certainly is fun to play there. If you live in the Northdale area, the Bob Sierra North Tampa Family YMCA is just a short drive from almost anywhere in the Greater Carrollwood area at 4029 Northdale Blvd (813 962 3220).

If you visit the main facility, you’ll be greeted by friendly, courteous staff to assist your every need or you might even say “hi” to Bart Cape, the friendly, outgoing Center Executive Director. He oversees all operations, employees and more than 80,000 square feet of combined facilities, spread across two locations, the main Y and the Bob Sierra Youth and Family Center. You can hear the pride in his voice as he explains the upgrades of the recently completed $2.2 million renovation. It was more than just a facelift!

What does this mean to you? Gone are the drop ceilings that create an institution-like environment that makes you feel claustrophobic. Everything is open, colorful and has that “new car smell.” No matter where you look, there are things to see and do.

The main Y has something for everyone. Do you want to get some real exercise? Try racquetball. There are four courts to choose from! If you enjoy working out, there are separate areas for working with anything from free weights to state-of-the-art exercise machines to target different areas of your body. It’s a good way to get that body looking good in your swimsuit … AGAIN!

The Group Fitness Studio offers a variety of exotic sounding courses like: Just Weights, Cardio Sculpt, and Zumba to Bodyflow to Bodypump and Bodycombat, to name a few. With names like that, I guarantee you a workout. I did … just by typing them!

If that “Zen” moment is what appeals to you, visit the Mind/Body Studio. Pick your kind of yoga and enjoy. Choose from regular or Gentle Yoga, Vinyasa Yoga or Enhanced Fitness, senior fitness and arthritis management classes which began today.

If you like to pedal on a bicycle and go nowhere, this is the place for you! Spin classes include Cycling and Power Cycle, to Interval Cycling and Silver Spin. They even have Pedaling for Parkinson’s courses to help alleviate symptoms. Every group course has a certified instructor to help you get the most out of your workout.

Another perk to consider is their “Kid Zone” where children, from infants and toddlers to 12-year olds, are supervised by professional caregivers while you enjoy several blissful, stress-free hours at the Y. There are separate areas for older children to access the Internet with their laptops.

Families are not overlooked by any means. Group activities, each month, give them a chance to grow together, with barbeques and other organized activities. Equally friendly Rick Sandman is the sports director for the Bob Sierra Youth and Family Center. It is located just a short distance from the main facility, at 4015 Ragg Rd. Along with Rick, aquatics director Katryna Morrall, Bart Cape’s staff also includes James Dineen who oversees regional youth development.

Want to have some fun? Why not try one of the two huge pools? The one at the Youth and Family Center boasts three huge interconnected water slides! How’s that for having fun? Why not also sign up for Y Summer Camp? Bob Sierra’s has several great ones. There is a traditional day camp for the younger ones but if you are too old for regular camp, try their Teen Camp.

Their brochure notes: “You are never too old for camp. Teen Camp offers Summer enrichment experiences which allow campers to explore incredible activities and interact with new friends all while having fun.” That certainly beats sitting home and vegging out on the couch, doesn’t it?

A Yelp review says it all. No matter where you live, the local YMCA is great!” Another online review agrees: “My happy place. I’ve been coming here for 10 years and love everything about it!”

As Bart noted, “within the wellness industry, we are all inclusive … from the cradle to the grave.” Young, old, boys, girls, men and women, the Y is the place to be. Maybe I should point out, on the Y’s printed brochure, “For Youth Development, For Healthy Living, For Social Responsibility,” they overlooked the most important element … FOR HAVING FUN!!!

Visit the Bob Sierra North Tampa Family YMCA at 4029 Northdale Blvd or call 813 962 3220 for more information.