Stevie Goes to ASPIRE at the Greater Marco Family YMCA

I want you to remember your first car that was a stick shift. OK, now think back about your driving lessons and how you learned how to shift the gears. The car was in neutral to start and you had to push the clutch in to put the transmission into first gear. Remember the grinding, screeching sound the gear made when you didn’t push the pedal in far enough or not at all. Ah, what memories.

I sometimes think of the Greater Marco Family YMCA as a car, maybe a Chevy, maybe a Ford and I am happy to report the transition from summer camp to back to school and the start of the legendary ASPIRE program at the Marco location and at Manatee Elementary School went so smooth like shifting the gears of your automobile as if your were an expert driver.

You may ask yourself “What is the ASPIRE Program?” The answer is complex, yet simple in its understanding.

First of all is the YMCA Mission Statement “To put Judeo- Christian principles into practice through programs that build a healthy spirit, mind, and body for all.

Second is character development. The four main core values taught in our program are: Be caring, be honest, be responsible and be respectful.

The ASPIRE (After School Program for Inspiration, Recreation and Education) program has as its foundation the YMCA Mission Statement and the four character development traits.

The program has many different activities that promote a healthy lifestyle and allow the children the right to make selections that interest them.

Each day will include a snack, sporting events, creative arts and homework assistance. Parents don’t have to worry as the children are escorted by trained staff from school to the YMCA to take advantage of the Y facilities.

Each day this week and throughout the school year we will meet at the Charter School Patio/ Community Room and walk to the Y ASPIRE Clubhouse where we take part in sports like Basketball, Dodge ball, Soccer and enjoy making various craft projects . All this crammed into each “Funtastic” afternoon.

The ASPIRE program is available from school dismissal to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and also available on early release and full days off from school.

You do not have to be a Greater Marco Y member to join the ASPIRE program.

Fees are very affordable and require a $45 registration fee and $30 a week for Y members and $40 a week for community members. Monthly program discounts are also available.

The Greater Marco Family YMCA ASPIRE Program wants you!

If you need more information about this program please contact Family Services Director Stephanie Pepper at 239-394-3144 ext. 203 or email at

Sign up today at the Customer Service desk.

Adult co-ed volleyball playoffs continue next Monday at 6 p.m.

Jukebox Productions vs. Dolphin Tiki Bar. At 7 p.m. the Marriott will take on Naples Bobsled. The Championship Game is scheduled for 7 p.m., Sept. 14 as the Y will be closed on Labor Day, Sept. 7.

See you at the Y!

The Greater Marco Island Family YMCA provides this column to keep you the readers informed about the group. If your club or organization is interested in submitting a column or content, please contact Editor Bill Green at

© 2009 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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