Health & Wellness

Family-friendly Services Abound at West Essex YMCA

The West Essex YMCA underwent $900,000 in renovations recently.
The West Essex YMCA supports Special Olympics with its own team.

LIVINGSTON, NJ – The West Essex YMCA has always emphasized its service to families in the community, and the facility on South Livingston Avenue continues to stress its role in serving kids and their parents with its menu of programs and activities for 2013.

The full-facility YMCA includes a fitness center, a gymnasium, the Strive fitness center, a pool, a steam room and a sauna, locker rooms for men and women, showers, free weights, child care for children ages 6 weeks to 6 years, family and teen programs, progressive aquatics instruction, recreational swimming, pre-school/youth sports, day camps, adult fitness classes and senior workout programs.

“A year and a half ago, we completed a $900,000 renovation and we now have a state-of-the-art cardio room, a new weight room, and the child-watch room has been updated,” said Helen Flores, executive director of the West Essex YMCA. “The facility can hold so much more than before, and it has been a great boost to membership.”

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Now that spring is in full force, it’s time for families to plan for summer, and the West Essex YMCA will be holding an Open House for Summer Camp on Saturday, April 27 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Y’s progressive camp programs offer a safe and enriching environment for campers to participate in healthy, developmentally appropriate activities and learning experiences. The Open House gives parents a chance to speak directly to a camp director to find out what they can expect from the 2013 summer programs.

Working parents face a constant dilemma with child care. All parents want their children to be in a safe, happy and caring environment where they can learn and grow.

The West Essex YMCA provides care for children from the infant stage through sixth grade. Programs offer children the opportunity to explore, develop and learn under the supervision of highly trained and experienced professionals. The NAEYC accredited child-care program at the West Essex YMCA Peanut Shell Center is designed to promote creative and motivating activities that are designed to help kids enjoy learning. The West Essex YMCA offers families flexible schedules, extended hours and use of both indoor and outdoor play areas.

“We love that the Y offers such a broad array of choices,” said one member parent. “Stimulating toys, good play space, nurturing caregivers, a dynamic curriculum that evolves as your child’s needs change, and the opportunity to partake in a broad range of enrichment classes on-site.”

Studies have shown that high-quality, educational child care programs can contribute to a child’s educational and personal development and helps to build their socialization skills. Parents who are assured their children are in a safe and stimulating environment feel less stress and may even end up being more productive at work.

“Just in our Early Childcare and before- and afterschool programs, we take care of 900 children a day at the West Essex YMCA,” said Helen Flores, executive director of the West Essex YMCA. “Our before-care starts at 7:15 in the morning. We have five before-school sites and 15 afterschool sites.”

In addition, the West Essex YMCA also offers quality Before and After School Programs for grades K-5 in Livingston, West Orange, Caldwell, West Caldwell and Roseland. A Middle School program for sixth-graders is available at the Mount Pleasant Middle School in Livingston. These programs provide children with a safe and fun environment where they can participate in a variety of enrichment activities and receive homework help from experienced instructors.

The West Essex YMCA, through the Red Cross, also offers Babysitter’s Training for pupils ages 11-15. Participants learn leadership skills, how to keep themselves and others safe, how to guide children’s behavior and basic care skills. The next Babysitter’s Training session will be in two parts, May 11 and May 18 from 2:30 to 6 p.m.

The West Essex YMCA takes pride in its involvement in the Special Olympics program.

“Our Special Olympics team just competed (last weekend), and they won seven medals,” Flores said. “The kids have to be able to swim the length of the pool to be eligible. We are so proud of them.”

On Sunday, June 2, there will be a family-oriented bike tour in Livingston, organized by the West Essex YMCA in collaboration with the Bicentennial Committee and a citizen committee of biking and wellness advocates. 

The committee is inviting all children to submit entries in a poster and logo contest.  Submissions will be selected for display on June 2, and the winner of the contest will receive $100 worth of bicycle accessories.

“The tour will be a fun, non-competitive event, with a short course for younger or leisurely riders and a longer course for those who want a little more challenge,” Flores said. “We envision Livingston families enjoying an easy, healthy ride through some of Livingston's neighborhoods, and seeing our town from a different vantage point: A bicycle seat.”


Editor's Note: The West Essex YMCA is an advertiser on For advertising information, please call 908-279-0303 or email

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