Memorial Day is coming up and this is the time of year people begin opening their pools for the Summer. To ensure your family has a happy and safe Memorial Day and a great Summer packed with Swimming, here are some tips to help keep you and your family safe all season long!
Here is some helpful advice from Club Fit Briarcliff Aquatics Director, Ruth Garcia!
If you are a pool owner, make sure your pool is surrounded by an adequate fence or barrier to protect your family as well as potential wanderers.
Children should start learning to swim around 2.5 years of age. We recommend starting even sooner with infant/parent classes to get them acclimated to the water.
If swimming in an unsupervised area, make sure you have another person with you. Children should never be unattended.
Do not consume alcohol while swimming. It impairs coordination, judgement and your ability to function normally in an aquatic environment.
Use Coast Guard approved gear and non-inflatable pool toys and swim aids. Inflatable floatation devices pose an increased risk of drowning as they are prone to popping. We also do not recommend using mermaid-like/uni-fin fins. This new trend is cute, but not necessarily safe as it positions the body in an unnatural way and has the potential to cause a distressed swimmer.
Be sure to protect yourself from harmful UV rays. Here are some suggestions from the American Cancer Society on how to stay safe in the sun!
Why “Play” Matters
By Club Fit Briarcliff Assistant General Manager, Ted Gilsinger
Don’t underestimate child’s play. It may look like leisure time, but when children are playing, fighting imaginary dragons or organizing a game of kickball, they’re actually developing crucial life skills and preparing their brains for the challenges of adulthood. The bad news, child development experts say, is that free playtime has been shrinking for children over the past three decades.
Play teaches kids to play nice! Research published in the Early Childhood Education Journal in 2007 revealed that both free play and guided plan can help preschoolers learn awareness of other people’s feelings. Playing also teaches kids to regulate their own emotions, a skill that serves them well as they move through life. “You get to try things out with no consequences,” said Kathy Hirsch-Pasek, a child development psychologist at Temple University. “Play allows you to wear different hats, to master social rules and that’s huge.”
Play allows children to use their creativity while developing their imagination, dexterity, and physical, cognitive, and emotional strength. Play is important to healthy brain development. It is through play that children at a very early age engage and interact in the world around them. Play allows children to create and explore a world they can master, conquering their fears while practicing adult roles, sometimes in conjunction with other children or adult caregivers. As they master their world, play helps children develop new competencies that lead to enhanced confidence and the resiliency they will need to face future challenges. Undirected play allows children to learn how to work in groups, to share, to negotiate, to resolve conflicts, and to learn self-advocacy skills. When play is allowed to be child driven, children practice decision-making skills, move at their own pace, discover their own areas of interest, and ultimately engage fully in the passions they wish to pursue.
The Club Fit Summer Camp aims to promote a healthy active life style while fostering the benefits of play. Our full-day campers build new friendships all summer long while engaging in a multitude of developmentally aligned activities. Campers from kindergarten through 8th grade have the opportunity to try out new activities such as yoga, tennis, karate, and Zumba, each taught by certified specialists. In addition, campers are encouraged to build positive relationships with their peers and counselors through a variety of sports and gym games where sportsmanship is key. Energy Camp is dedicated to fostering a spirited summer community through camp-wide events like weekly theme days and special events all summer long.
Club Fit’s Summer Preschool Program aims to attend to the whole child by nurturing their psychological, social, emotional, and physical needs. Through a daily morning circle routine, campers will engage with picture books and develop both their number and time sense. In addition, circle time is an opportunity for our young campers to develop meaningful relationships with their peers and teachers. As a community dedicated to the health and physical well-being of our program participants, preschool campers will also engage in a variety of gross-motor activities such as Super Soccer Starts, Quick Start tennis, movement through music, and daily swim.
By Summer Camp Co-director and School Teacher, Kristyn Reczek
Get kids off devices and into an active lifestyle! They may just thank you for it!
In today’s society, most of us rely on technology to communicate with our friends and family. Cellphones, iPads, and computers have become such a large part of all of our lives, including even our youngest children. Kids today are using various types of technology to learn from, play on, and stare at. Although, there are many benefits from our ability to use technology so readily, we should also want to show our children how beneficial it is to put down our technology devices and be active. “Regular physical activity in childhood and adolescence improves strength and endurance, helps build strong bones and muscles, help controls weight, reduces anxiety and stress, increases self esteem, and may improve blood pressure and cholesterol levels” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
During the school year, kids are allotted time for activity during physical education. Over the summer months, camps can provide a great source of physical activity for our kids. Educator, author, and psychologist Dr. Peter Scales stated “Camp is one of the few institutions where young people can experience and satisfy their need for physical activity, creative expression and true participation in a community environment.” Activity during a camp day can include playing games and sports, dancing, swimming, or even just running around. But, camp can also help children to build healthy social skills. Camps help children to interact with friends but can also help them to interact with new peers that may turn into new friends. Many children of today find friends not only in school but also online, through social media websites and even by playing video games. Camp provides them with the opportunity to interact face to face with peers to create new friendships.
Summer camp is a fun and interactive way for kids to put down their cellphones and iPads, step away from their computers and enjoy physical activity with some old friends and maybe even some new ones.
Beyonce enters a room and people holler “B!!” or “Queen Bey!!” Justin Bieber hits the stage, and followers scream “Biebs!!” or “JB!!” And when Chris Becker strolls into the energy center, his fan base is equally animated. Unlike Beyonce and Bieber, Becker has no nickname. Still, the sound of children calling out to him is sweet music to Chris’s ears.
“When I walk into the energy center and the kids are like, ‘Chris, Chris’ — and they want to hang out with me — it’s such a rewarding experience,” he says. “It’s hard to call it ‘friendships’ when you’re talking about 2 or 10-year-olds — but there’s a real connection, there’s a bond between us. I love the kids here, I really do.”
Chris Becker has worked at Club Fit since the summer of 2011. Initially hired to work as camp counselor to four and five year olds, Chris returned periodically to work at the club during breaks from his studies at SUNY Buffalo (where he majored in early childhood education). Since December 2013, Chris has worked nights and weekends at the club while pursuing his masters in elementary and special education at Mercy College. The only thing consistent about Chris’s schedule is that kids are involved…otherwise, it’s up for grabs. Sometimes Chris is watching infants in the nursery. Sometimes he’s monitoring older kids after school in the energy center. And sometimes he’s hosting weekend birthday parties. That’s the task he enjoys the most.
“Parties are fun; there are so many different options. You could do a two-year-old’s birthday party — where there’s a maze and then you go into the bounce castles — or you could do a 12-year-old’s birthday party where you’re playing dodge ball and capture the flag,“ Chris says. “I like seeing how excited each kid gets.”
The oldest of three children, Chris grew up in Mahopac. He says that a few excellent teachers he had along the way inspired him to want to work with kids. His education on how to handle children has occurred on multiple fronts. Through college classes, substitute teaching, and interactions with kids at Club Fit, Chris learned that to successfully manage children you must a) be patient, b) have the confidence to lead, c) be quick on your feet, and d) be compassionate and empathetic.
“I feel like being able to interact with the kids on their level is really important because the way you interact with one kid is different than the way you interact with another,” he observes. “If one kid has a very strong personality, you’re going to deal with him in a different way than a kid who is very sensitive or shy. I think [working] camp and birthday parties have helped me out most by making me a leader of 20 kids. I have to be completely in charge.”
One thing no one is completely in charge of is life; life has a way of throwing curveballs at us. That certainly happened to Chris. Although he didn’t play baseball in high school, Chris pitched on a college development team and wound up receiving an offer (and academic money) from Clark University in Worchester, Mass. Enter… curveball. “I turned it down because I tore my Tommy John (elbow) ligament,” he says. “But everything happened for the best. I was able to find a different athletic path and still be able to compete.” That path turned out to be running. Chris is a marathoner whose best time is 3 hours and 50 minutes; his goal is to get under 3 hours and 30 minutes. He finished 103rd out of 450 runners in the Brooklyn Marathon and plans to run the New York City half marathon in March.
Chris’ s professional and personal plans for the future are simple. Ideally, after completing his masters, he’d like to land a teaching job somewhere in the Yorktown, Mahopac, Putnam Valley area. And he’d also like to settle down. “A bunch of my friends want to travel the world and do all these crazy things — I just want to have what my family has: A very stable house, dog, kids, family — that’s what I want,” he says. “ I just want the traditional family.”
Know this: The Club Fit family is proud to call Chris one of our own. And if you enter the energy center on any given evening, you may hear loud, verbal evidence that this is true. “Chris, Chris, Chris!!”
One of the best possible early career opportunities as a mature teen or young adult is becoming a certified Lifeguard. Here are 5 reasons why Lifeguarding might be a great fit!
1. Developing Leadership Skills:
Being charged with People’s Safety is no light matter. A lifeguard must be responsible, alert and assertive when they see warning signs or unsafe behavior. Being in a position like this, means there is truly no option to be timid. Even when certain rules may be difficult or touch on sensitive subjects, a lifeguard must find a way to communicate and enforce them. When a lifeguard begins his or her career, they may not feel 100% about their leadership qualities, but after a few weeks to a few months, you can see that persons’ sense of self-worth and leadership grow.
2. Increased Communication and People Skills:
For many of the same reasons mentioned in number 1, lifeguards must interact with people. Even when they are not in their comfort zone. A good lifeguard will know how to handle unsafe behavior, aggressive patrons, or potential dangers/threats to swimmers. Everyone is certainly different in their approach to communicating these issues to patrons, but their job requires them to do so. This allows them to develop their personal communication skills and etiquette, helps them to speak up, and in many instances helps them to make more mature decisions.
3. Improved Self-Confidence:
Being a lifeguard is a position that requires a great deal of responsibility. Lifeguards are responsible for the safety of all patrons under their watch. This means enforcing rules and guidelines, noticing the first signs of distress, making sure the surrounding areas are safe for swimmers and even saving peoples lives when it comes to that. This can really boost self-confidence. Doing a job they know is keeping people safe makes them feel good about the work they do! Plain and simple.
4. Working as part of a Team:
Lifeguards often work together. Whether it is at an indoor facility, outdoor rec center, Lake, River or Ocean. In most of these environments, working as a team is key. Not only do the use those communication skills, but their is often an understanding about who needs to do what when there are multiple guards on duty. Lifeguards may be a different stations and will often have to follow a rotation. Now their coworkers are counting on them to stick to that rotation to avoid on the job fatigue. They are also responsible for watching different “zones” of the water or elements within their facility/settings. This means their must be a mutual understanding of the division of zones and who is responsible for which. Sometimes, a lifeguard will even need more than just him or herself to perform the rescue depending on what the circumstances are. This requires an incredible amount of focus and teamwork. Finally, most places that employ lifeguards require what is known as “In Service Training”. These are cooperative trainings that simulate potential real-life scenarios in which a guard may have to participate in. It always requires working together and role-playing rescue situations.
5. Lifeguards Possess Desirable Skills for Future Careers:
Let’s face it . . . navigating the job market can be tough when someone is just starting out. Being a lifeguard gives you skills that other professionals and hiring managers like to see in potential employees. Teamwork, Self Confidence, Communication and Leadership are all vital skills that are often not learned in school. They are learned through life experience. Lifeguards certainly have a jump on their competition when it comes to possessing these skills and they can often adapt to their surroundings by leveraging those very skills.
The question is not why you should become a lifeguard, but more importantly, why you shouldn’t?
Summer Camp is something kids look forward to all year long! So, it’s never to early to start researching the best fit for your child. We hope you will consider Club Fit your home away from home (during the day) all Summer long!
1 – Climate Controlled Facility – Rain or shine our campers have the best camp experience EVERYDAY!
2 – Daily hot & healthy lunch is included – One less thing for you to worry about!
3 – Extended Care – As early as 7:30am and as late as 7pm!
4 – Daily FREE Swim – For an additional fee Instructional swim is also available with our fantastic Water Safety Instructors.
5 – Early Registration discounts – The earlier you register the more you save!
6 – FUN – We guarantee your child will have endless fun all summer long!
7 – Flexibility – Come for 1 week, 2 weeks, or the whole summer, you choose. Our registration options are a la carte
8 – Specialists – We have the best Tennis Pro’s, Water Safety Instructors and Soccer Coaches available to your child all summer long
9 – Theme Days – Carnival Day, Mad Science Day, Color Wars & Lego day are just a few of our exciting theme days.
10 – Not just a Camp – Our membership options provide you and your entire family with access to everything Club Fit has to offer!
We’d like to take a few minutes and introduce you to two extraordinary long time members of the Club Fit team: Ashley Di Salvo and Kristyn Reczek. They are also going to be the Camp Director Rockstar duo this Summer! These lovable, talented and accomplished ladies will be the ones making sure your kids have the time of their lives this year!
Meet Kristyn Reczek!
I grew up in Mahopac, NY where I attended high school, playing a variety of sports including basketball and field hockey. Throughout high school I worked as a part of the Mahopac Sports Association, recreation league, as a coach and referee. I discovered my love for working with children as well as athletics in one place. Through my work in high school, I realized that I wanted my work with children to become my career. After graduating from high school, I attended Pace University where I received Bachelor’s degrees in education and mathematics as well as a Master’s degree in special education. I now work as a math teacher at Somers High School where I work with children in a classroom setting but enjoy that I am able to have a work experience with kids in an athletic setting, at Club Fit.
As I began my college career, I also began working at Club Fit. I have been a part of the Club Fit staff since 2008 when I began working in the Energy Center. I was able to again combine my love for working with children with my love for athletics. In 2010 I became an Energy Camp counselor and then took on an administrative position the following year. Being a part of Energy Camp is a one of a kind experience. I am excited to start this new position as an Energy Camp Co-Director along with Ashley and am looking forward to yet another exciting summer!
What I love most about Energy Camp is getting to meet new campers and counselors every year as well as seeing those that are returners. I also love Pizza and Ice Cream Fridays and afternoons with DJ Hopeton! I think it is important for kids to come to camp, but especially ours, because we have campers from a wide area and we can help kids form friendships that they may never have formed in a school setting. I also enjoy that we provide our campers with a variety of activities so they may be able to try something knew that they never would have tried before, like kickboxing or zumba or tennis etc. I would love to continue working with Energy Camp for many years to come and see it evolve and grow into an even better camp than before.
My personal philosophy is to always do what you love and believe in what you do. I have always loved working with children and I am so happy that I have been able to do so by working at club fit. I am so excited to be working with camp at a director level this year because I am really able to make our campers truly enjoy their summers through the program that I have helped create along with Ashley!
Meet Ashley Di Salvo!
I grew up in Garrison, NY where I played basketball and lacrosse at Walter Panas High School. After high school, I attended Penn State where I discovered I wanted to be a teacher. Following four years of Blue & White pride at Penn State, I took a year off to travel before completing a Masters of Literacy Education at NYU. Currently, I teach at the Windward School in White Plains. I love that I get to spend my extra time at Club Fit where I get to not only support a healthy lifestyle but I also get to spend time engaging with children outside of the classroom through our camp programs.
Six years ago I began working at Club Fit Jefferson Valley as a camp counselor. I spent two years there before transferring to Briarcliff where took on a different role as the Assistant Camp Director. Now, as we eagerly wait for warm weather to grace us, I am looking forwarded to taking on yet another new role as a Camp Co-Director with Kristyn Reczek!
This will be my 7th summer with Club Fit and I love that I’ve had the opportunity to work at both clubs as well as both a counselor and a director. I feel like this has given me perspective on how to interact with parents as well as how to understand what it’s like to be a camp counselor. I strongly believe that great counselors are what allow campers to have memorable experiences.
I love summer camp because it provides children with an opportunity to explore new interests and to often step outside of their comfort zone. I love that summer camp gives kids a place to make new friends outside of their schools and to find role models in their counselors.
My long term aspirations are linked to my personal philosophy. I always try to go with the flow and keep my mind and heart open to new opportunities, experiences, and ideas. I believe that by doing this, we allow ourselves to continuously grow and discover new passions therefore creating a future that is open to change. I think that if we teach children to have this mindset, they will have endless opportunities to experience all life has to offer.