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Athens YMCA announces 2024 field trip program

The Athens YMCA field trip program was designed to give schools a local, affordable, and high energy field trip that meets at least one Georgia Standard of Excellence (GSE) and supportssocial and emotional development. This program evolved after witnessing youth struggle with social skills, behavior, and meeting grade level milestones even 3 years out of the pandemic. The direct correlation between social and emotional learning and cognitive development became obvious. Athens Y field trips give elementary aged children the opportunity to exercise these skills while learning. Since the program was piloted in spring 2023, 543 students from 6 different schools in the Clarke, Oconee, and Jackson County areas have experienced “the best field trip ever!”

Grade level teams are guaranteed three main rotations in their custom 2-hour field trip. The first is a fitness component led by an Athens YMCA Fitness and Wellness instructor. Fitness classes are catered to each age group with an emphasis on developing fine motor skills and exploring muscle groups. The second is a health component led by a Piedmont Athens Regional Community Educator and Safe Kids Representative. Each grade has a specialized health class that aligns with GSE’sin health education. The third component of the field trip is rule number one at the Athens Y: HAVE FUN! Students are introduced to classic YMCA games such as “Human Bowling” and “Noodle Hockey” and a variety of spaces. Two additional rotations can be integrated into field trip visits to promote self-guided, exploratory learning and play. Robot kits encourage collaborative learning and allow students to be curious and creative while exploring pattern recognition, colors, and directions. Silent disco gives students the autonomy to choose the music they listen to and adjust the volume to participate in a dance party in a way that is comfortable to them. Seeing kids light up and enjoy learning makes this program special. After a Pre-K teacher’s visit, she emailed, “I was so moved by how kind your entire staff was, how well they adapted activities, and how much joy emanated from the kids.”

The Athens YMCA is excited to expand this program and schedule field trips for the 2024-2025 school year. For more information on the program (health class GSE units, cost, time frame, etc.), please visit their website, athensymca.org/field-trips.

 

About the Athens YMCA

The Athens YMCA has been an indispensable part of Athens-Clarke County and surrounding communities for more than 166 years. The Y is one of the nation’s leading nonprofits strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Each year, the Athens YMCA actively engages nearly 11,000 people of all ages, backgrounds, races, cultures, faiths and abilities – regardless of income. Visit athensymca.org to learn more.

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