It has been about three weeks since 27-year-old Courtney Woods of North Las Vegas started leading Power Hour, a high-intensity workout class for teens at Skyview YMCA.
“We get a lot of 13- and 14-year-olds as of now,” Woods said. “We do a lot of jumping jacks, a lot push-ups. We just want to get them moving and keep them moving. It’s all about keeping them engaged. When you’re out of school, you lose a lot of tools — social engagement, reading and writing skills, physical activity. We’re getting them out the house, keeping them engaged.”
The class came about after a discussion involving Woods; Ray Fraser, executive director of the Skyview YMCA; and a few others, Woods said. The organization also is offering a hip-hop dance class and an art program called Paint and Playlist.
Fraser said he and faculty members at Skyview were looking for ways to engage students who’d signed up for the Summer Teen Engagement Program (STEP), which is offered through a partnership between the YMCA and North Las Vegas.
Through July 31, teens ages 13-17 can enroll in STEP and receive free membership access to the YMCA’s facility and summer programs. The free membership lasts four months.
“When you put a program like this together and engage them, it’s really amazing what kids will do,” Fraser said. “It’s really only been going on since the last week of May and in that time frame, we’ve gotten over 160 kids who’ve come in here and taken advantage of the program. That’s proof inthe pudding that this was very much needed for teens. It’s getting utilized very well.”
For many of the kids in the program, it’s a chance to build communication and mentorship skills, according to Woods.
“A lot of the kids who come here lack guidance and an older male role model to give them structure, even if it’s just them visualizing it,” Woods said. “That’s a big deal to me. I get an hour and a half three days a week, and I try to make the most of it. I try to be more of a mentor to them than anything.”
To sign up, Fraser said, teens can visit the facility any day of the week with a parent to fill out a membership registration form.
“Our goal was for teens to really utilize this,” Fraser said. “It’s one thing to offer something and hope people take advantage, but we really wanted to make sure kids and families in the community know this is available.”
For more information about STEP membership or to register for the program, contact Ray Fraser, executive director of Skyview YMCA, at 702-998-9101 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.