In case anyone doesn’t know, I have 3 young kids. Two of my kids are old enough to want to play in the water and swim and be goofy in the summer. In an effort to keep them safe, I enrolled them in swim lessons at the lake through our local YMCA.
What a joke.
If you are thinking of signing up for YMCA swim lessons, I URGE you think again. I know that each branch runs things differently, but the organization as a whole here seems completely flawed. I mean, do you think of “high-end” fitness club when you think of the Y? Probably not. I didn’t. I always thought the YMCA was supposed to be a family-focused fitness and entertainment center with affordable prices, a variety of classes and a strong community-focused atmosphere. In reality, it’s more of a daytime country club for rich women that can leave their kids with the nanny while they go “work out”. The yearly membership cost for a family is over $1,000 in my area. Classes or activities for the kids cost extra on top of that. There’s really not a lot that’s covered 100% in the membership price aside from the gym. They have a pool, but there’s only a few hours of open swim each week. Not exactly a bargain and not exactly affordable for families. They have financial assistance, but like most programs in my area, you have to be basically living in poverty to qualify. Middle-class families can’t get assistance and most likely can’t afford a membership either.
Anyway, enough about their outrageous pricing. My bone to pick with them is about their swim lessons. I signed my 2 oldest kids up for swim lessons at the local lake. The lessons are taught by the YMCA.
We’ve had 5 lessons so far, though to be fair, there was a severe thunderstorm warning during 1 of those lessons, so nobody went. There are no makeup classes.
For the 4 classes that we went to, there has been more kids than floaties. There has always been at least 1 child left on the beach either gleeful that they didn’t have to go in the water or crushed because they were excluded from the group. This past time, that child was my daughter.
The instructor strapped floaties on the kids, but didn’t have one for my oldest daughter. So they left her. Standing. On the beach. Alone. They took the other kids into the water and never even looked back. She ran back and forth between the beach and the water, up to about her ankles a few times before stopping, hanging her head down and crying. I immediately went up to her (which we aren’t supposed to do) and asked what was wrong. She told me her teacher doesn’t like her and doesn’t want her to go with the other kids. And then she broke down. Apparently when she was running back and forth from the beach to the water she was trying to get her teacher’s attention to find out what to do. The teacher never even looked back.
I was pissed. I tried to get the teacher’s attention and she ignored me too.
My other daughter, who was with the other teacher, came out of the water wearing half a floatie. She was crying. The half-floatie wasn’t enough to keep her head above the water. I had 2 crying kids, 2 oblivious teachers and half a floatie between the two of them.
I stayed on the beach with the kids during the lesson, waiting for one of the teachers to ask why the girls weren’t participating. Neither did. At the end of the lesson, I took the half-floatie off, tossed it in the bucket and left.
I tried calling the YMCA’s program administrator to remove them from the class and get a refund. I’m not paying for someone to exclude my child. I couldn’t reach her by phone and her voicemail said email was better. So, I sent an email to her asking to remove my kids and get a refund. Not enough equipment. Too many kids. Exclusion and hurt feelings. I listed everything that had happened that day and made sure she knew it wasn’t just my child, that it happened EVERY SINGLE CLASS because the classes were too full.
A full day went by with no response. I emailed again. She returned my message with a snotty reply about not being in the office much in the summer because she “has kids too”. It must be nice to have a job that you don’t actually have to report to or do, but still get paid for, simply because you have kids. I have kids and I work from home. I respond to emails right away and I have an email alert set up on my phone so I know when I get a new message, regardless of what I’m doing. That way, I can care for my kids and be a reliable employee. How novel!
Anyway, her response said that she was unaware that there wasn’t enough equipment for the class. What? The teachers couldn’t say anything? It took a parent complaining to bring it to the attention of someone that there wasn’t enough equipment to go around? How does that even make sense?
She went on to explain that each teacher can handle up to 6 kids, so they don’t need to add another instructor. Clearly, the teachers can’t handle 6 kids each, since they couldn’t even figure out that there weren’t enough floaties for all of the kids in the class. that’s telling me that they definitely have TOO MANY KIDS.
She then said she could do the paperwork for me to remove my kids and bring it to the Y this weekend (4 days from now) if I wanted to remove them. No mention of a refund. I asked about whether or not I could get a refund, and fortunately, she said I could.
So at least 1 good thing came of the situation. I’ll be ordering some floaties online and we are going to be making a point of taking the kids to the lake more this summer to get them used to the water on our own. Maybe when they’re older and can function more independently, we’ll try swim lessons somewhere else.