It can be difficult to find affordable activities for families, whether you have one or two children, or a house full. I have avoided gym memberships for a while because typically individual memberships are expensive as is, long before you even start adding up the cost of childcare for all the kids.
When I began anticipating Summer vacation and trying to research all the camps and classes and activities around Tulsa, I was also keeping a close eye on the budget. Seeing signs for Free Youth Sports outside my neighborhood YMCA became very appealing. I knew there had to be a catch, so I went to check it out.
As it turns out, there’s not much of a catch. To qualify for free youth sports, you just have to be a member at the Y, and I was amazed to find out how reasonable the cost was. A household membership for up to two adults and their dependents (no matter how many) is only $71.25 per month. You don’t pay extra childcare costs, and the kids are automatically eligible for the free sports programs.
If $71.25 is still out of your price range, YMCA has a Membership for All program, which considers your income and circumstances and adjusts your membership fees based on that. The YMCA is a non-profit community service organization and has a long standing history of providing a safe and healthy place for children and adults in Tulsa to relax and have fun. When I inquired about membership and costs, the staff was extremely helpful in explaining prices as well as explaining clearly that the organization doesn’t want anyone to be turned away by cost. She even explained that if one didn’t qualify based on stated income requirements, that he could include a letter describing any extenuating circumstances that may make it difficult for him to afford the full price.
That’s a cause I can get behind! I signed up that very day and am so happy to support such an amazing organization. Six membership cards for the Honeybee Mama six pack!
My seven-year-old was with me when we signed up at the Thornton facility off of 51st, between Sheridan and Yale. I can’t begin to tell you how excited he was to play basketball with the other kids in the gym while I filled out paperwork. I can see him becoming one of those kids that spends his afternoons on the courts with his friends!
In fact, basketball is the sport he and my five year old, Alec, decided to play this Summer!
All of the teams are coached by parent volunteers and it’s truly a group effort. Everyone is there to have a good time, learn teamwork and get some exercise. At their first practice, there were a lot of tongues sticking out as they concentrated on dribbling the balls. There were also a few falls and lots of tears. I think that’s to be expected when five year old kids are playing sports, though!
One night, my husband was even able to substitute for the coach, who had a family emergency. I have to say I don’t think there are many things cuter than my cute husband coaching my cute boys in basketball! Except maybe baby toes.
Beyond youth sports, we have had a great time visiting the different facilities and trying things out. My 12 year old is old enough to go through the teen program where he is taught how to use all of the equipment and can be allowed to use the workout equipment without adult supervision. The little ones love the child care centers where there are crafts, video games and in some facilities great play equipment! I even brought my littlest into a Zumba class once because he loves to dance and he was welcomed with applause. There are even daycamps, specialty camps and sleep away camps, though we haven’t signed up for those this time around.
The first time I drove up with our 12 year old, he said, “Hey this place reminds me of that song, “Y-M-C-A!” I told him that song was written about this place and he was blown away. Yeah, it’s a pretty fun place and we’re proud members!
See you around town!