YMCA Stop discriminating against young children

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My children and I have a membership with the local YMCA in our area and have attended almost daily since we signed up. Both my children also have participated in the awesome child care programs within the YMCA such as summer camps and child care rooms designed for active parents.

After being with the Y for nearly six months, I received a promotion at work and had to start attending the other YMCA in our area. My boys loved this new child care room as it was much larger and the toys were more suitable for older children. They loved the staff that worked with them for the hour I trained in the gym, and as far as I knew they enjoyed them as well. I let staff know of my sons recent ADHD diagnosis and that we were going to start a low dose of medication to hopefully help with his academic struggle the past few years.

The issues began when the child care staff had to tend to an infant baby at the same time as my two children ages 4 & 6. After finishing my workout one evening, I went upstairs to pick my children up. As soon as I walked into the room, the child care worker started frantically shouting about how awful my children were behaving and stating "they're done". This belittling happened not only in front of my children but also in front of other children and adults that were in the room. 

I was confused as to why I was not notified to stop the issues since I was right down stairs. Regardless, I was notified after that night that my children were suspended from the YMCA programs for the rest of the week. I did not bring them back for about a weeks time. When I did their behaviors were perfect and was told by the same worker that they were "Two perfect little angels". A couple days later I signed them up for the Christmas break camp, as they have previously attended the camps with no issues.

Immediately after signing them up I received a text from the lady in charge of the child care programs. This text was very unprofessional and stated that my children "Only have one shot" to behave. I knew from that moment that they were singling my children out.

Camp started off great! They were doing awesome field trips and having a blast as always. Until a couple days in when my oldest son hit his brother in the back of the head with a tennis racket. Not exactly sure what children that age were doing with a bunch of tennis rackets, as I am sure no organized sport was being taught. However, I was notified when picking them up and my child was punished for his behavior.

The next day I receive a call about an hour after I dropped my children off. My oldest son, yet again, hit his brother with a tennis racket. This time in his face, which lead to a trip to the ER for stitches. The YMCA had to notify the state of the incident since it resulted in an ER visit. I was then told by the staff the state gave them a write up for staff not following behavior plans with my child by allowing him to have a tennis racket the following day, knowing the previous days events.

The next day I received a letter stating my son was "suspended from all child care programs". I was not given an opportunity to fix anything or to work with the Y to help fix any of the issues.

Since this did not sit well with me, I reached out to the CEO to see if we could reach some common ground. After a few emails back and forth I was told that the Y doesn't feel as though they can control my son and feel removing him from these programs was necessary in his case. I had also requested to view the video from the incident but was told they were unsure if they had video from that incident. Which also did not sit well with me. 

I feel that the YMCA staff could have prevented the issues mentioned above and kept my child as well as the other children safe if staff were more attentive and trained adequately. I am not defending my sons actions by any means, however I do believe that with proper staff training the ER visit could have been avoided.

Please sign my petition and join me in telling the Lakewood & Jamestown YMCA as well as the YMCA of the USA that discrimination and singling out unfavorable children is unacceptable. I am asking them to provide all children even those with disabilities reasonable accommodations and an equal opportunity to participate.



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