The YMCA of Centre County Bellefonte branch is once again offering the GREAT girls program for girls in grades six through eight.
The program, Girls Respecting Each other And Themselves, offered for the past two years, promotes self-esteem and self-respect, said Cameron Frantz, teen services director of the YMCA of Centre County. An added portion offers the girls varied ways to improve their physical fitness.
The program is free. It meets from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. on Mondays for six weeks, beginning Jan. 23, at the Bellefonte Middle School.
Why is this type of activity offered? Because girls at this age are dealing with many issues as they begin to grow into young women. The first focus, promoting development of leadership skills that will help them lead a healthy life, includes a lesson each week.
For example, the lesson in week one is: Me! Me! Me! It deals with the questions, Who am I? What do I like (and dislike) about myself? What person would I most want to be like?
Other weeks topics include: Valuing Us, Family and Friends, etc.
The physical aspect is handled by offering a different form of fitness each week. For example, Frantz said, on the first week the group may go for a run. During week two, they may do yoga, and on the third week the activity may be Zumba.
This way the girls can try, and hopefully adopt, exercise methods that work for them and that they might continue in later life. Frantz said that she gives the girls activities they can do at home, so they dont have to go to a gym. And she often changes the curriculum to adapt to the group of girls who sign up.
The YMCA has been trying to offer more after-school programs for the middle-school age students. She said currently only one middle school in State College drops students at the Y. That is being addressed as the Y will offer this program in State College in January 2012 and in the Moshannon area in February 2012.
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I received information from a longtime Bellefonte native who has written a novelty Christmas song that is getting a lot of play on YouTube. In collaboration with Jack Servello, guitarist and song writer, Bill Dann has written the lyrics for several songs over the last few years. His latest was written after a visit to his doctor when he wondered what would happen if Santa had his blood work and body fat index checked.
The result is Fat Free Santa. To hear it, go to YouTube and type in Fat Free Santa.
Dann lives in Howard now and his songs include Stand Back and Marvel at the Cross, Heroes Close to Home, and Today We Add the Blue, which he performed at the Veterans Day observance at Bellefonte Elementary School in November. Merry Christmas everyone!
Connie Cousins writes a weekly column about community news in Bellefonte and other Nittany Valley communities. If you know of news, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.