Albany YMCA (Albany, CA)
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I am looking for a place to have my son's 4th birthday party
and would like recent feedback about the Albany Y for a
birthday celebration and would this age group group be
appropriate for this place.
We just had our 2-year-old's birthday party there, and it
was great fun for all ages (we had kids there ranging from
age 1 to 8). We loved the people who coordinated the
activities like parachute time and singing (which took about
a half-hour of the entire two-hour party). They really kept
me on the schedule, and helped me determine when to do what.
We had been to a 4-year-old's birthday party last year there
and knew it was the perfect place for us. And we got great
feedback after the party from guests. Feel free to email me
for more info. Alexandra
I want to have my daughter's 5th birthday party in August in a space that would
allow for several tables for crafts and refreshments. I would like to handle most
of it, unless there's a restaurant that would give us a private room and allow
space for crafts. I prefer indoors but close access to outdoor play space would be
nice too. It would be for about 15 children and their parents. Any suggestions?
House too small for party
We have loved having our daughter's birthday parties in the Kindergym room at
the YMCA in Albany. I'm guessing that other YMCA locations have this kind of
space too. Your daughter's friends won't be too old to use the equipment at 5
years old and there is plenty of room for adults to attend too. We didn't set
up tables for crafts but we did have tables for snacks and cake away from the
wooden gym floor so crafts would probably be OK too. So nice to have so much
room to run and to not have your house destroyed in the process! Cheers!
house too small for party too
My child attends the Albany YMCA Kids Club in the morning. My
child says the Director yells at them. I was wondering if
any other child has brought this up to their parents? Or if
anyone has any insight they'd like to share.
My child has attended the Albany Kids Club for many years (now
in 4th year). In both his experience and from my personal
observation, the YMCA staff are nurturning, kind, and
responsible. The director of the morning program is a warm and
gentle person. Like any adult responsible for taking care of
children, she does sometimes have to redirect children's
behavior. Your child may be having a hard time with a new
person redirecting his/her behavior or that of others
(especially if your child is very low-key him/herself and
rarely needs redirection). Kids are sensitive and sometimes
misinterpret and miscommunicate cues from others. But remember
that there is quite a mix of children, some of whom really need
a lot of guidance from adults regarding their interpersonal and
By the way, if you have any concerns about the YMCA, the Site
Coordinator will surely address them with you.
a fellow mom
My son was in Kids' Club last year in kindergarten. He started
very late in the year, so was feeling quite shy and anxious. The
morning director, whom you were asking about, was very
accommodating with any requests I had to help in my son's
transition. I know that she would be willing to help your child
feel more comfortable, if you have any input for her. The
Program Director of Kids' Club
is also very open to feedback, so if you just want someone to
help sort out what's really going on, she's another great
resource. I would also like to share that whenever we arrived at
the Kids' Club Center (I arrived at varying times when they
didn't necessarily expect to see parents) what I saw was
appropriate behavior for staff who work with children. There
were times that I heard the AM director raise her voice to be
heard above the happy chatter of the children, but it was
definitely not yelling. However, each child is an individual and
responds differently to the octave or tone of others' voices.
That is why I recommend that you discuss your concerns with the
AM Director herself or with Alicia.
Happy YMCA Mom
Hi! My daughter will be starting Kindergarten in Albany in the
Fall and I am looking for after school care 3 days a week. I'd
love to hear recent experiences people have had with both the
Y's Kid's club program, Albany Children's Center and the local
on-site care at Marin. I'm looking for a program that is
interesting and fun for the kids with plenty of supervision
(especially if it's mixing 5th graders and Kindergartener's).
Thanks so much!
Hi, I'm here to give you some feedback about the Albany YMCA
program. I actually work for the Berkeley Y, so for me,
choosing the Albany Y was a no-brainer. My children have been
in the Albany YMCA Kids Club program from kindergarten up until
now (middle school program for my oldest). The staff are well-
trained, conscientious, and practice the YMCA character values
of caring, honesty, respect and responsibility. Albany schools
have such varied schedules that many times kindergartners
aren't around the older kids that much. You mentioned concern
about being around 5th graders, but the Y program is K-3 in the
same building, 4-5th graders are at a different site
altogether. The director, Alicia Butler, has always been very
open to feedback. That was important because my two boys are
not easy. One takes a long time to adjust to transitions, the
other has ADHD. The two children are incredibly different and
need to be handled quite differently. The staff were very
accomodating and worked with me to find solutions when
necessary. The Albany Y program also has quite flexible
scheduling, and as a working mom that was very necessary. Good
luck finding the right choice for you!
Re: Albany Middle School after school programs
As the director of the Albany YMCA Kids' Club program, I have some
information about our own program to share. Most of the children in our
after-school Kids' Club programs are K-5th grade, but there are two sites
(one each in Berkeley & Albany) for ''older'' kids. The Marin School Kids'
Club site is where the 4th-6th graders from Albany go. Typically, there
are mostly 4th & 5th graders there, but it is open to 6th graders, too.
The daily program consists of homework time, outside sports/games,
crafts, free play, and a healthy snack. Transportation from the middle
school to the site is not provided as it is for the elementary kids (so the
AMS kids usually walk or parents organize other transportation.) It's not
a drop-in program, so enrollment is required and if a child does not show
up -without parent notification- the staff call the parents and school in
an attempt to track the child's whereabouts. For more info, call the
YMCA at 525-1130 or visit the website at www.baymca.org.
I also know that AMS has been providing after-school classes, so you
can call the school to ask about those. Good luck next year.
Re: Fun gym for 13-month-old
We enjoyed the Kindergym/babygym classes at the Albany YMCA at that age. Open
to non-Y-members. It's drop-in, so there's no commitment. They offered it 2-3
times/week. Berkeley Y also has kindergym, but i'm not sure if they're open to
I've only used the Albany Y childcare twice so far, so my experience is
limited. There's usually one childcare provider on hand who sits in that
small room adjacent to the gym. The care is fine, but my daughter didn't
enjoy it because the first time there were only two very small children in
the center; the second time, she was alone. There's no kindergym available,
though there is a small outside area (just cement, no grass or sand).
So, despite my concerns about how busy the Berkeley Y gets, I'm going to
stick with it. We've used them three times so far and my daughter has had a
great time, even though she doesn't know any of the kids. She loves the
kindergym, there's lots of toys and art, and a computer she'd like to try
Plus, I think because of the concerns voiced by many parents, the Y is
cleaning up its act a bit. Parents must leave their Y identification card
with the center for security reasons. I also noticed that they use a walkie
talkie to communicate with the provider in the kindergym area, letting
him/her know that a child is arriving with her parent or another provider.
They also seemed very attentive to me when I arrived.
I didn't use the Y when my daughter was younger because she refused and I
was worried about the lack of security and what I perceived as the
inattention very young children--and infants--received there, particularly
in the kindergym area.
Although the childwatch room is small, my 2 girls (5&1/2 & 3&1/2 yrs)
consistently enjoy going there - they call it "kid play". It can get crowded
during morning aerobic class times, can be a bit hard on not accomplished
walkers (linoleum floors) but the different ages of kids seem to sequester
themselves well. One problem, they arn't licensed to change diapers, so
they'll come get you from your workout as needed, and once you're in there,
your workout is probably done. The staff is very caring - mostly experienced
moms, and there are many times when it is not crowded.
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