YMCA no longer a part of Boyle schools’ programs

Published 8:22 am Friday, March 31, 2017

Discussion goes to board in April about expanding existing after-school programs to be run by schools 

The after school program at the Boyle County Schools will be changing next year, as the Wilderness Trace Family YMCA will no longer be a part of it.

“The elementary schools next year are planning on making the program bigger — they want to serve more kids,” said Jody Gilpin, interim executive director of the Wilderness Trace Family YMCA.

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The YMCA, she said, just didn’t have the capabilities to provide what the school wanted.

Gilpin sent a letter to the Boyle County Fiscal Court early in March, notifying them of the change.

Currently, Woodlawn Elementary School hosts an after school program, provided by the Wilderness Trace Family YMCA, that serves about 10 children, said David Young, assistant superintendent of the Boyle County Schools. The after school program has been going for several years, he said.

There are other after school clubs at Woodlawn, as well as clubs at Perryville and Junction City elementary schools, which focus on music, art, physical fitness and more.

He said they had been hearing from parents over the past few years that they would like the program to be expanded, maybe even all summer, to be something like what they do with Black and Gold Academy in the early summer.

“That’s been such a positive experience for so many kids,” Young said. 

He said the district was in the “exploratory phase” on what to do for the after school program next year.

“We’ve done two things: applied for a grant — we weren’t able to get the grant — and sent out a survey, to see what the interest level would be,” Young said.

About 70 of those surveyed had expressed a desire for an after school program, from elementary through middle school. Another 35 said they might be interested.

“We’re going to talk with the board and talk with the schools. It looks like there’s enough interest to dig into it further,” Young said.

They were also asked if they would be interested in a summer-long program — nearly 100 said yes.

“We couldn’t pull that off for this summer,” he said.

The discussion will be taken before the Boyle County Board of Education in April.

The Danville Independent Schools had a similar program with the Wilderness Trace Family YMCA up until two years ago, when they took the reigns on their own after school program, launching Admiral Academy for the 2016-2017 school year.

Besides the after school clubs, the YMCA has most recently offered swim lessons and has a team that operates out of Centre College and the McDowell Wellness Center, Gilpin said. They also had a “Healthy Kids” event, partnering with the schools, and hope to be continuing that, along with other events throughout the year. 

“We still have a good partnership with all of the schools,” Gilpin said. “We will still be in the community, still be helping anyway we can.”