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December 30, 2020
Photo: Crystal Bush and her six children; (from L to R) Brooklyn, 10, Brice, 1, Bristol, 5, Bridget, 7, Brody, 4, and Brock, 2.
“For us, there’s so much more hidden value inside the YMCA that people don’t recognize,” says mother of six and YMCA member of nearly a decade, Crystal Bush. “There are so many things that make the Y important to us.”
Because she homeschools her children—Brooklyn, 10, Bridget, 7, Bristol, 5, Brody, 4, Brock, 2 and Brice, 1—Bush comes to the Y up to five times a week. “It’s nice for me to have a break and put at least five of the kids in the child watch area,” says Bush, whose eldest daughter sometimes joins her in group exercise classes. “It’s like family, it’s like home here.”
Her daughter, Brooklyn, describes feeling really happy when the Y reopened and she was able to see some of her old homeschool friends. “We get a little bit of free time and when the free time is over, we’ll start stretching and then we’ll get split up into groups and each leader will take us. One day we even went to the pool and swam,” Brooklyn says. “I’ve done the climbing tower. We’ve done arts and crafts, gaga ball, nature walks – it’s a lot of fun.”
Bush says she didn’t worry about returning with her six children once their Y reopened.
“First of all, there is a risk every time we step outside. You have to choose what risk you’re willing to assume. I feel safer at the YMCA than I do going to the grocery store just because I see what the YMCA has been doing, the extra steps to ensure everybody’s health and safety here. I see the child watch workers constantly cleaning the toys. I see (the Y) trainers on the floor constantly wiping things down. There’s nowhere else I go that I see the level of cleanliness that takes place than the YMCA.”
There are also other perks that come along with a Y family membership, like Parents’ Night Out, which Bush and her husband, Mike, take advantage of. “We put the kids in here and we did a date night to help foster the love in our marriage and that’s important for our kids to see. It’s important for them to see that physical activity is important to us and our marriage is important to us,” she says.
The couple were Y members even before they had children. “We made a decision a long time ago that the Y is not a want; it is a need,” says Bush. “It’s just always been a special place in our hearts. We appreciate the Judeo-Christian principles that the YMCA is founded upon, and the charitable things that they do inside the community makes the YMCA an organization that we want to support.”
The YMCAs of Tampa Bay are committed to providing the cleanest wellness centers for you to REENERGIZE your fitness routines and a safe environment for kids to REENGAGE in activities like sports and swim lessons. The Y’s friendly, welcoming team is ready to help you RECONNECT with friends. Depending on your location, check out the special January offers at www.tampaymca.org, www.ymcasuncoast.org or www.stpeteymca.org to see how the Y can help you RESTART strong in 2021.
*Presented by the YMCA
About the Author:
Kelli Biandudi is the Communications Manager for the Tampa Metropolitan Area YMCA. She lives with her family in downtown Tampa. When she’s not promoting the good work of the YMCAs of Tampa Bay, she’s busy working out at them and trying to keep up with her 5-year-old son, Koa.