Kids ‘flying’ during YMCA’s Avalanche Camp

Published: Feb. 21, 2023 at 4:25 PM EST
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - Some children are somersaulting their way through winter break. It’s all part of Avalanche Camp at the Watertown Fairgrounds YMCA.

The week-long camp combines aspects of both gymnastics and ninja obstacle courses.

Kids hop, bear crawl, and somersault their way through a series of courses.

“We ask them to run around and jump over things like maniacs but we teach them to do it safely,” said Janet Bleu, YMCA program director.

Avalanche Camp is based on another 10-month program, but over one week coaches take the best bits and help their students stick the landing.

Even though some participants are gymnasts outside of class, the program’s director says she has a different goal in mind.

“The laughter and the fun. Hearing the kids as they leave a station or rotation say, ‘Oh, that was fun,’” said Bleu.

A real hit for at least two kids swinging from bars for one main reason.

“They kind of hurt my hands but I like holding on and trying to pretend I’m flying,” said Gavin Smithers.

Flying has been a lifelong dream for 10-year-old Lacy Hogan. When she started gymnastics a couple of years ago, she found a way to tap into that feeling.

“My mom sort of wanted me to start gymnastics so I tried it. I said, ‘Wow, that’s really fun. I feel like I’m flying when I touch the bars,’” she said.

While Avalanche Camp is only a week long, many of the kids join the 10-month program so they can take flight all year long.