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Wilmington YMCA to offer teens free summer access

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Sharon Kaplan/YMCA of Delaware
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Officials kickoff Take On Summer Program at Central YMCA in Wilmington

Teenagers in Wilmington will have a new, free way to get out of the heat this summer -- a free membership at the YMCA.

 

The Take On Summer program kicks off this week, offering kids aged 13 to 18 free access to the YMCA's Central and, in the evening, Walnut Street branches.

 

Christy Shiring helps lead those locations. She says they hope to get kids off the streets and into some new activities.

"Instead of probably just sometimes sitting on the stoop, trying to stay out of trouble, we're bringing 'em here," she says.

 

Typical YMCA guest passes cost $7, with monthly passes for $21. Though that can be pricey for some families, Shiring says plenty still come out every summer. But:

 

"They kind of end up maybe in the halls or just up in basketball, which is great," she says. "But we wanted to give them more opportunity to do more things and also to have some staff who could mentor them."

 

Take On Summer coordinator Gregory Morris says the pool and basketball courts are just "the carrot."

 

"When they come, they'll be exposed to several other aspects of culture, as well -- everything from arts, to discussions with and about the police and the disenfranchisement that all of our kids have with them," Morris says. "And our staff that we've chosen come from very tough backgrounds, so they can talk to the kids directly about that."

 

Wilmington teens can take advantage of those new programs, fitness classes, the YMCA's game room and, of course, pool and basketball, with free memberships through Aug. 29.