Super Stars surpass the challenge
MUNCY – Dressed in colorful bright green tee shirts, the Super Stars of the East Lycoming YMCA gave a big boost to the Y’s annual campaign during their Fitness Challenge Saturday morning.
The group has raised nearly $2500, all within a couple of days. “And we’re not done yet,” exclaimed Pat Merrifield, Chair of the annual Strong Kids Campaign for the YMCA. “This is the most fun class I have ever seen,” she said of the Saturday morning Super Stars classes. “They are strong and powerful. They are truly superstars.”
With the kick-off last Thursday, the Y’s goal is to raise $20,000 this year and these Super Stars gave it a good start. The campaign will run until the end of March.
Faith Lazorka, one of the participants, said that she has the best brother ever for helping her with the campaign during the fitness challenge event. Participants had to engage themselves in one hour of fitness, non-stop.
The program started 4 years ago according to Branch Executive Director, Mark Casson, with the help of instructor, Diana Logan and her three daughters. “It’s a need in our community,” he said.
The program helps to build self esteem and leadership skills for special needs children. “It gives them confidence to be in front of people,” Casson pointed out as the kids did a free style dance and each had a turn to be leader in front of the class. “They love the drumming, and if she forgets anyone, they will remind her.” Diana Logan knows all 55 of them by name.
There are two classes. The first one is held from 10:15 to 10:45 a.m. for ages 3 to 11, and the second one follows at 10:45 until 11:30 a.m. for ages 12 and up. They use drums, stability balls, circle dances, and parachutes with lots of activity and lots of clapping. The music never stops as Logan directs routines through a wireless microphone. Logan’s daughter Amber is a participant and her other two daughters who are special education instructors, assist her. Casson said the group started with just a few, about 5 to 7 kids and now it has grown non-stop, especially the second class. “They’re a gift to me every Saturday morning,” as Logan commented on their exceptionality. “We encourage them to speak for themselves. They want to be like everyone else.”
“When they first started, they were very shy,” Logan added and encourages non-verbal participants to advocate for themselves as well. The program will run until mid-May.
This entire facility does great things for kids. “We don’t turn anyone away if they need us,” Casson added. The Super Stars program is free and the money raised will help go towards this class and other similar programs for special needs children. In fact, other organizations are starting to look at the East Lycoming YMCA to set up similar classes which foster not only immense excitement, but movement and balance. “We build friendships too,” said Casson. “The Y is always a safe place for all of us.”
Logan said they get lots of support from staff, parents and the local community. There is a possibility this program can go to schools for emotional support and autistic children with working support teams for parents. Logan and her daughters have done demonstrations to educators at Susquehanna and Bloomsburg Universities.
“No one is disabled. We all have abilities. Our group is really appreciative of what the world is like,” Logan replied.