Full disclosure: I had no intention of registering my four-year-old twins for Midtown’s new Tennis Explorers program.
I love them to pieces, but these two are “spirited” on their best days and the definition of chaos and mayhem on their worst. And, like many preschoolers, they are very active, very boisterous, and have very short attention spans.
Twinsanity and tennis? Like oil and water, I thought.
Boy, was I wrong.
We’re nearing the completion of our first 10-week, parent-and-child session, and my twins not only love the game, but have also mastered skills I never thought they would stand still enough to learn.
A Different Approach
Tennis Explorers is unique because the emphasis is on fun, movement, and cultural awareness. Midtown created the program with childhood development professionals, so literacy, counting, and social skills are also incorporated with each lesson.
The kids spend the first 5 minutes of each lesson in a “circle time” atmosphere on-court, listening to their tennis coach read them a story about a different country from their Tennis Explorers book. They learn how to say, “Hello” in the language of that country, which was a huge hit with my kids. They’re stilling saying, “Jambo” to people they meet, three weeks after learning about Kenya.
Fun is the Focus
Rest assured that your 3-year-old won’t be whacking around a regulation tennis ball with abandon. Tennis Explorers uses large, easy-to-hit foam balls, and in class, they aren’t even called tennis balls. They are “turtles” for one drill (kids practice hand-eye coordination skills by using the strings of their racquet-the turtle’s “shell”-to stop a rolling ball-the turtle’s body) and a “kangaroo” that needs to find its way into its mother’s “pouch” (a cone) for another.
Outside of the story, the class is kept in constant motion, which is a perfect format for active preschoolers. They work on balance, coordination, both large and small motor skills, and the proper way to hold and swing the most adorable, age-appropriate racquet you’ve ever seen. The racquet was designed especially for Midtown by Wilson and each Tennis Explorer receives one, along with these backpacks.
My kids’ tennis coach flawlessly integrates parent participation with each lesson, as we’re asked to toss the kids balls to hit, or even participate in a balance drill along with our children. Parents aren’t usually able to participate in softball, or soccer, or hockey right alongside their kids, so my husband and I are happy to have the opportunity to join our twins on-court in their first foray into sports.
It took just a single class to hook my kids on the game. By the end of the first lesson, my sometimes surly son was jumping up and down shouting, “I LOVE tennis!” He was even more excited to get his first sticker in his “Passport,” the small green book where kids collect a sticker upon completion of each lesson.
All four of us are looking forward to the next session, which begins next week.
While there are child-only classes on the schedule, where kids work with a pro sans parents as they do in other levels of tennis, I would encourage you to take the class with your kids, or have another caregiver take it with them, at least for the first time around. First, the class was designed this way, but more importantly it offers you a guaranteed 45 minutes of uninterrupted time each week to spend with your preschooler.
And with the fast pace of most of our lives, that kind of time is invaluable.
Has your child taken our inaugural session of Tennis Explorers? Please share what you thought of the program in our Comments section.
Member blogger Kathleen Bush takes over the My Town blog to talk about the many benefits of Camp Midtown as a way to keep your kids healthy, away from their beloved screens, and having a blast this summer.
Warmer weather has finally arrived and with it come the inevitable thoughts of summer. If you’re like many parents, you’ve already begun to plan ways to keep your kids active, happy, and engaged through the upcoming summer months. Luckily, you need look no further than Camp Midtown to ensure quality summer days for children aged 6 to 13.
The summers we remember from our youth are different than the summers our children experience. Kids today reportedly spend an average of 4-to-6 hours a day in front of screens: televisions, computers, and cell phones. The number of hours of screen time sadly often rises, not declines, during the unscheduled days of summer.
In order to continue the active games, social interactions, and learning experiences they crave in the summer months, kids need to be around groups of their peers daily.
That is why Camp Midtown fills such an important need for both parents and campers. While they are enjoying their best days of the year, parents can rest assured that their kids are making friends, mastering new skills, and getting exercise without us having to coax, nag, and entertain them. Rather than meeting an hour a week for a sports class, campers spend each day, all week, with a group of their peers fully engaged in an athletic activity.
Still not convinced?
Here are a few more reasons you should make Camp Midtown a top choice for guaranteed summer fun for your kids:
With a new theme each week (such as Camp Midtown Idol, Inventors Camp, Survivor Midtown, and Junior Lifeguards) your kids will be itching to go to camp every day whether they sign up for one week or all ten. With fun surprises such as a Zoomobile visit (the Gone to the Zoo camp runs July 16-20) and “Winter in August,” (the Winter Wonderland camp runs August 13-17), Camp Midtown never gets boring.
Safety is a Top Priority
We’ve all heard about camps with under-trained counselors, disastrous field trips to amusement parks, and overcrowded pools with questionable safety practices. At Camp Midtown, campers don’t need to take a bus or van anywhere – all the fun takes place in and around Midtown’s resort-like setting.
Says Aquatics Director and Youth Programming Coordinator Tim Auerhahn, “We keep a strict cap on the number of kids in each camp (30-40 campers depending on the week) and maintain a 5:1 camper-to-counselor ratio throughout all activities. Our counselor group is a mix of college students majoring in recreation sports and physical education, as well as teachers who are off for the summer. The average age of our counselors last year was 26.”
With small camper-to-counselor ratios and plenty of staff on hand in all locations, your child is in good hands.
The Pool (of course)
No camp in Rochester has a nicer, private, outdoor pool setup than Midtown. Even on cloudy days your child will never be shivering in the 82-degree heated water. Two swim lessons and free-swim time are offered every day with trained staff and lifeguards, making the pool one of the most popular activities for Midtown campers.
Sports Fun and Development
Technical skills are developed during camp, but the focus of sports at Camp Midtown is fun. Summer camp is often the place where children develop their love for a particular sport. At Camp Midtown, kids receive instruction from top-notch athletic professionals, including certified tennis pros and swimming instructors. Campers enjoy an hour of tennis time daily as well as time spent with basketball, volleyball, large group games, and a sampling of many other sports.
Tim says, “Every week is full of activities designed to be fun and enriching. Camp Midtown is a great mix of tennis, swimming, yoga, Parkour, and themed events run by passionate youth programmers.”
Healthy Lunches and Snacks
There’s no need to worry about your child’s peanut butter sandwich getting soggy in her backpack. Camp Midtown provides its campers with the best lunches and snacks, prepared fresh daily by the chefs at one of Midtown’s two cafes. Parents are able to go over the menu choices with their children in advance and choose the best options, and campers can guarantee that their food will always be nutritious, fresh and delicious. And the club’s awesome smoothies are often provided as a daily snack!
Tim says, “Camp Midtown is a 180 degree turn from the typical Rochester mega-camps,” and from what I’ve seen, I agree. Your child will stay healthy and active this summer. Separated from their screens, and out enjoying the beautiful Rochester sunshine and our gorgeous club, they will enjoy new experiences with their peers, try new sports or refine their skills in their favorites, play games, participate in arts and crafts projects, and have a blast with the fun weekly themes, and not miss their Xbox one bit.
You can find the full camp schedule here, including pricing and theme week information. Non-members are welcome, so your child’s best pal need not belong to Midtown to experience summer camp at the club. Discounts are available for signing up multiple children, or for enrolling your kids in more than one week of camp.
There are spots left in all camps; however, Inventors Camp (July 30-August 3), Winter Wonderland Camp (August 13-August 17), and Camp Midtown Idol (August 20-August 24) are close to selling out, so if you’re interested in these, sign up soon.
We tend to loosen our belts this time of year, figuratively, and sometimes literally.
Maybe we skip a planned workout. Maybe we indulge too heavily at a holiday party. Maybe we have three calorie-laden drinks when we really should have one.
These practices are common. We’re only human. But if you’re looking to kick off the official holiday season on Thanksgiving Day with some pre-caloric burn, there’s no better place to be than Midtown. The club is open from 7am until 2pm. Kidtown is open from 8:30am to 2pm.
Thanks for Giving Power Vinyasa Yoga with Randi and Karyn: A hot and sweaty class of giving and gratitude. Held each year to benefit Bivona Child Advocacy Center, we would greatly appreciate monetary donations.
“It’s a Party” Group Power & Zumba: Rev up your Thanksgiving morning with 50 minutes of Group Power to various party theme songs, followed by Zumba with our awesome instructors.
Feeling Grateful Vinyasa Yogawith Susan S: Cultivate thankfulness and experience the sweetness gratitude brings.
Turkey Burn PilatesMat with Kathy: Strengthen your core and feel the pre-turkey burn.
Pre -Turkey Burn with Missy: 90 minutes on the Keiser bikes increasing watts (or power) by combining resistance (gears) and speed (RPMs). Missy created the playlist for this class entirely from member requests. Work hard and have a blast doing it.
Thanksgiving Ride with Doug H.: An all-terrain cycle class guaranteed to make you sweat.
Turkey Cardio Tennis: Our tennis pros will bring on the burn as you enjoy the fast-paced drills and games of Cardio Tennis before the big feast. All skill levels are welcome. 100% of your $20 donation will benefit The Open Door Mission, and as our way of saying “thank you” for giving, we’ll provide you with a free Cardio Tennis Class.
Tough Turkey Team Obstacle Course with Tim and Vinny: Join us this Thanksgiving for an extreme obstacle course unlike any other. It will be tough. It will be cold. You will get wet. You’ll earn your Turkey before your in-laws wake up, without a doubt. Our Facebook page has all the details. Limited to the first 30 signups, so register soon!
Want to know what to wear? You won’t be able to pick up or abandon clothing during the race. So, if you want goggles in the pool, you should be wearing them at the start. If you want sneakers on the mud course, they’re going with you into the pool. Stay lightweight but prepare for some cooler weather (mid-40s). Compression tops and bottoms, light sneakers, and maybe some gloves will serve you well.
On Friday, November 25th, all regularly scheduled Group Exercise classes will be held. In the past, we’ve cancelled the 6am Cycle Express class, but not this year. So instead of shopping, come work out.
Member Kathleen Hermann takes over the blog today to talk about how you can use your Midtown membership to give your kids the gift of health and wellness.
Take it away, Kathleen!
Imagine that you could purchase the gift of lifelong health or endow it in a will.
What parents wouldn’t sacrifice to secure such a valuable asset for their children?
Unfortunately, we cannot acquire health with cash alone; however, we CAN armor our children against a host of chronic diseases and set them on the right track for a flourishing, balanced life. We don’t have to wait to give this gift – we can start right now!
Of course, there is no lack of obstacles to raising healthy kids. Recent statistics show 1 out of every 3 children in America is overweight. We are reminded of this with every McDonald’s arch we pass, every cartoon character encouraging the consumption of sugary snacks, and every child we pass tapping away on his portable Nintendo.
Now, more than ever, just as we protect our children from tetanus and diphtheria, it is of equal importance to immunize them against the growing childhood disease of obesity.
Here are four ways you can use your Midtown membership to help your children on their lifelong path of health:
Midtown Varsity Programs
The fall session of Midtown Varsity children’s programming is under way. Offered in addition to the excellent sports camps that Midtown offers over summer and school breaks, these classes have many benefits:
They are designed not only for exercise, but also to show our children how to have fun in their physical pursuits and develop confidence in their abilities.
The age-appropriate yoga classes teach body awareness and coordination in combination with giving kids the relaxation skills needed to counter the pressures of modern life
Parents are not just delegated to a tiny waiting room or the sidelines. Rather, we are able to simultaneously recharge ourselves in Midtown’s facilities, making great use of limited time and ensuring both parent and child head home recharged.
Other than a nominal family sign-up fee, these classes are free to Midtown members.
2. The Gift of a Lifelong Sport
Our Midtown Junior Tennis Program is nationally recognized and our Midtown Currents Swim Team excels at local competitions. If you want the best place in the greater Rochester area to get your children hooked with the confidence and skills they need to enjoy these sports, look no further than Midtown.
It was the USTA that coined the phrase, “Tennis, the Sport for a Lifetime.” And it’s true. Because the level of play is controlled by the person playing, children can start tennis in the preschool years and still play competitive singles past their 80s.
In truth, although you should encourage your children to try any sport they show interest in, certain sports have a much earlier “retirement age” after the scholastic years of organized leagues. It’s difficult to find ten people, equipment, and two goals for a lacrosse scrimmage, and rounding up volunteers for a cheerleading pyramid in your 40s will likely be near impossible. However, tennis and swimming will always be available, often for free, in countless parks nationwide. They are not only competitive sports but also lifetime skills you can enjoy through the years.
3. Kidtown and the Café
In most gyms, your snack choices are limited to the five rows in a standard vending machine.
Luckily, Midtown isn’t most gyms.
At Midtown, in addition to myriad healthful choices offered on the full Bon Marche and Gould Street cafe menus, there are choices catered expressly to the tastes, needs and portion sizes of children.
It’s much less tempting to stop for a Happy Meal to appease a hungry whining child on the way to the gym when you know he or she can enjoy a nourishing, appetizing meal right in Kidtown.
The children’s meals are offered with sides such as carrot sticks, fruit, and applesauce; soda is not even listed as a beverage option. There are few eateries that offer a healthy salad as a kids meal option or which serve their kids meal sandwiches on whole wheat bread. Of course, we should expect nothing less from Midtown.
Kidtown is more than accommodating of bagged lunches brought from home and also offers the children fresh water while they play. And play they do. With a kid-sized basketball court, tumbling mats, riding toys, bouncing balls, and access to the gym, my kids often leave Kidtown in a good sweat.
4. Leading by Example
The first step in encouraging a certain lifestyle for your children is believing that it matters.
Your family will sense you are passionate about staying fit and eating right by witnessing your own commitment to these values. When they are young, children accept our convictions without question, but even older children and teens are influenced by what their parents believe and do. That is why the best tool that we have in fighting childhood obesity is staring us right in the mirror. Much more than a celebrity spokesperson or clever cartoon, we have the power to encourage healthy habits in our children simply by our own demonstration.
When I pick up my kids in Kidtown, they often ask me how many miles I ran that day, or if I took a class with one of their friend’s mommies. To them, physical activity is as typical a part of daily living as brushing their teeth.
I can’t help but feel proud to see my example rubbing off when my three-year-old packs her doll in the play stroller and announces that she is taking her baby for a jog, before trotting up and down the sidewalk. I got the same feeling watching my five-year-old challenging herself to swim “laps” like the “grown-ups” in Midtown’s pool this summer.
Watching how they are forming habits at a young age further reminds me of the importance of introducing fitness and healthy living in their lives now. I know that the example I set will be the key to enforcing these values.
Luckily, most days setting that example is as simple as going to Midtown.
How do you encourage your kids to lead healthy, active lives?
A discussion on our Facebook page last week resulted in some interesting member feedback. I asked what kind of information you would like to see featured. Among other suggestions, many members mentioned healthy eating tips and recipes, staff profiles, and member success stories.
The club puts a high value on input from members, and as a result, you’ll soon see many of your suggestions included in our daily social media output.MORE
Prior to my first TNT lesson, I had never swung a tennis racquet.
I’ve shuttled my four-year-old daughter’s racquet to and from the club since last September. She’s in the club’s Junior Development program, taking lessons from (Saint) Peggy Schuster, also known as “The Most Patient Pro on the Planet,” and loving every minute of it.MORE