Blue Water Area YMCA after-school programs resume Friday

After-school programs at the Blue Water Area YMCA resumed Friday after a week-long hiatus due to an issue with Michigan licensing and regulatory affairs.

Programs were suspended Monday after a local licensing consultant visiting the YMCA after-school program noticed an old sign referring to a program that does not exist at the YMCA. The consultant saw this program as a problem and decided to shut down after-school programs, said Josh Chapman, president and CEO of the local YMCA.

Chapman said the YMCA requested a waiver from LARA to allow programs to operate for the remainder of the school year. The waiver was approved by regional LARA leaders, allowing programs to resume on Friday, he said.

Chapman said the YMCA’s child care and summer camp programs are state-licensed. Although her after-school programs are unlicensed, Chapman said they operate through a state exception than most other local organizations that provide child care.

The YMCA has been licensing all of its extracurricular sites since July 2021 and is awaiting final approval by LARA.

Chapman said after-school programs provide significant academic, social, and physical enrichment through physical activity, drama, art, and STEM activities.

“(These programs) provide a safe space for children to be out of school,” he said. “They provide a space of love for children who are out of school, and they provide a space for character development after school, which is a game-changer.”

The YMCA also provides child care services so parents can work and earn money to support their families, Chapman said. While programs were suspended, the YMCA received numerous phone calls and emails from concerned parents, showing how important after-school programs are to the community.

Several requests for comments to LARA were not returned.

For more information on YMCA programs, visit bluewaterymca.com/.

Contact Laura Fitzgerald at (810) 941-7072 or [email protected]

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