Ten-year-old Brent Henderson was wearing a black shirt with lettering about a wrestling tournament Saturday, perhaps indicative of one sport he enjoys.

But it was a different sport he was playing at the YMCA during its “Try the Y Day,” held to acquaint the community and the membership with the newly renovated Y.

Using a piece of chalk, Brent rubbed the end of a cue stick as he prepared to play pool, a sport he started about a year ago after watching others play. “It’s a little bit different,” he said of pool. “I like to do sports,” he added of why he chose to go to the Y. He said he not only wrestles, but plays basketball and football at Saegertown Elementary School.

His goal Saturday, however, was to “try to get all the balls in the hole,” he grinned. Henderson goes to the Y about three times a week and enjoys other things there, such as the rock climbing wall.

His sister, Brianna, 6, watched her brother for a while before joining in. It wasn’t the first game she had played at the Y, however. “I like the rock (climbing) wall,” she said, but added she also enjoys soccer, fooze ball, checkers and other games. “It’s really fun,” she said of activities at the Y.

While these children were pla-ying pool, a group of others were playing basketball in the gym while others were swimming.

Betty Smith of Cochranton, however, was using the time for a specific purpose. Wearing a headband and sweat bands on her wrist, Smith was wearing shorts and a sweatshirt as she worked the Nautilus machines. “I don’t want to get osteoporosis,” she said of why she works out five or six times a week.

“This is wonderful,” she said of the Y and its new equipment. “It’s the best it’s been in 10 years,” she added. “In the last year, I have seen a real positive change.”

She noted the aerobic room has been renovated as has the women’s locker room and other improvements made throughout the facility. “It’s tremendous.”

Steve Bennett agreed with Smith. “It’s awesome,” he said of a new yoga class he attended Saturday. “It’s a terrific class,” he said. “It lets me quiet my mind and calm myself,” he said. A mental health counselor, Bennett said the classes and the programs at the Y are a “valuable resource to the community. I enjoy it so much.”

Program Director Paula Majors said it was a busy place Saturday as members came to see the new equipment and non-members came to see what the Y is all about.

One new piece of equipment is cardio equipment, which has individual television screens, allowing the person using it to watch television while working out. “Just bring your own ear phones,” Majors grinned.

Although the facility is called the YMCA, the Young Men’s Christian Association, women need not feel inhibited about joining, said Smith. “There’s a lot of women here,” she said, noting the facility has a lot of equipment and programs not available elsewhere.

“It’s the state-of-the-art technology,” Majors said. In addition to the yoga classes, other classes include Pilates, which is stretching exercises good for one’s posture and to have “great abs,” said Majors.

“It’s a family facility,” she said, noting there are games and equipment for all ages. In addition to the regular games and climbing wall, youth and teenagers have access to a computer cafe and billiards. Tutoring is also available.

Free baby-sitting is offered to members for children ages 6 months to 8 years of age. Hours are 5:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday; and 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

“We welcome people to come and try it,” said Majors of the Y.

New classes will start in January and include: Hip Hop dance, Hatha Yoga, swim lessons, gymnastics, indoor soccer, volleyball league (for skills of all levels) and a basketball league.

She noted most of the programs are included in the membership fee, but there may be an extra fee for special classes.

Memberships are available at five levels: Family, $38.75 per month; Senior or single-parent family, $33.25 a month; Adult, $28 a month; Senior adult or college student with identification, $22.40 per month; and Youth (to age 18), $13 per month.

Scholarships are available for those needing financial assistance.

New hours now include Sunday from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. Other hours are from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Friday; and 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday.

n More information: Call 336-2196; or e-mail at www.me-advilleymca@zoominternet.org or visit www.meadvilleymca.org.

Jane Smith can be reached at 724-6370 or by e-mail at jsmith@meadvilletribune.com

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