BASKING RIDGE, NJ – The Somerset Hills YMCA is pleased to announce a program that offers free Y memberships to seventh grade students at local schools within the Somerset Hills YMCA service area. As part of this program, seventh graders will have access to both of the Y’s Mt. Airy and the Riverwalk branches, including the Wellness Centers, three pools, the rock climbing wall, the basketball gym, and group exercise classes specifically tailored to teens. Additionally, they can take part in many activities geared toward their age group, such as the Y’s Teen Scene nights, an innovative adventure program, and volunteer opportunities. The program begins September 29, 2013.
 
 
As a cause-driven, community organization, the Y is focused on nurturing the potential of every child, improving the health and well-being of our community, and providing opportunities to give back to neighbors. The Y’s Seventh Grade Membership Initiative provides opportunities for teens to cultivate values, skills and relationships that lead to positive behaviors, better health and educational achievement. The program allows seventh graders to get together in a safe environment and participate in wholesome activities that encourage healthy living.
 
The health of adolescents and the adults they will become can be linked to the health-related behaviors they adopt as children, according to a Villanova University Study reported in the Journal of School Nursing. Seventh grade can be a critical time in the life of an adolescent who may be faced with opportunities to experiment with and participate in health risk behaviors.

 
“Our hope is that this program will help promote self-esteem, healthy habits, and self-regulation through enriching activities at a pivotal time in the lives of young teens,” said David Carcieri, President and CEO of the Somerset Hills YMCA. “We see the programs and activities as having life-enhancing values but, from a young person’s point of view, they see them as simply fun.”
 
Local seventh graders who are interested in a free membership are required to attend an orientation to learn about opportunities, safety and the Y’s general membership rules. Students can select from the following orientation dates: Sundays, September 29 and October 13 from 4-5pm; Tuesdays, October 1 and October 15 from 4-5pm; Thursdays, October 3 and October 17 from 7-8pm. Orientations will be limited to twenty participants; if needed, a waitlist will be created for additional orientation dates.
 
To download the Seventh Grade Membership application, visit www.somersethillsymca.org click “Programs” and then “7th Grade Membership”. To register for an orientation, bring the completed application and a copy of the student’s 7th grade schedule for the 2013-14 academic year to Kate Russo at the Y’s Mount Airy branch, 140 Mount Airy Road in Basking Ridge.
 
For more information, please contact Kate Russo at 908-766-7898 x590 or krusso@somersethillsymca.org.