Rye YMCA Blog

Happy 70th Anniversary, Rye Y Summer Camp!

Playing kickball in the 1970s

In 1948, the first Polaroid camera went on sale. The World Health Organization was established. NASCAR held its first race for modified stock cars at Daytona Beach. And the Rye Y started a summer day camp that has given generations of children the opportunity to make friends, learn new skills and grow in confidence, all in a safe, fun environment.

Seventy years ago, there was no Brookside or Pa Cope Pool. (Pa Cope himself was very much alive and leading the Rye Y.) The first campers enjoyed swimming at Playland and kickball, softball and badminton outside the original old house, in a field where the parking lot now lies.

By the 1990s, the Y’s facility had grown, but still posed a challenge for camp staff, who took over the building during the summer months. During that time, Penny Cozza, the Y’s Membership Engagement Associate, led a group of three and four-year-old campers. She recalls the logistics of moving young children from one floor to another and one activity to another throughout the building before the major expansion of the early 2000s.

“We would meet downstairs for drop-off and greeting time. We proceeded to the pool for swim lessons and then moved outside for craft classes and snacks. If music was scheduled, we went to the upstairs lobby, where Ellen Watermelon entertained the children. Rainy days took us upstairs to the third floor for movie time and songs

Today, the Rye Y summer camp serves approximately 1,500 children a year, offering seven different camp programs for ages 3-16 at the Rye Y and Osborn Elementary School. Through our Y Cares Financial Assistance program, we make sure that every child who wants to attend camp is able to, regardless of their family’s ability to pay. Thanks to the generosity of our donors, the Rye Y awarded over $240,000 in financial assistance to 200 campers last year alone.

The world has changed a lot since 1948, and so has the Rye Y’s summer camp. However, our core values remain the same. As one Y Cares family told us “The Y camp’s emphasis on respect, caring, honesty, and responsibility challenges [our children] daily to grow into caring, honest and responsible people.”

We want to hear your Rye Y summer camp story!  If you’ve ever been a camper or a counselor at the Y’s day camp, send your reminiscences to Lisa Tidball at lisa@ryeymca.org.

1963 Day Campers


Fall 2018 Program Guide online!

Click here to view the Fall 2018 program guide.
Fall registration starts August 1 for Members and August 8 for Non-Members.
Youth aquatics registration not available online – click here for typeable registration form to mail, fax or drop off at Member Services.
Programs start September 8.

Summer Programs

Click here to view summer program brochure.  June 23-August 18.
There is still limited availability in our summer programs.  Click here to register. Online registration is not available for youth aquatics classes. Click here for registration form.


Rye YMCA’s Annual Report

Click here to view our 2017 Impact Report

May is National Water Safety Month


 Teaching children how to swim and be safe around water is one of the most important life skills parents can help their children learn. It not only saves lives; it builds confidence. 

  • Research shows that participation in formal water safety and swim lessons can reduce the risk of drowning among children 1 to 4 years of age.
  • Participation in swimming helps teach children at a young age to strive for physical achievement.
  • Water safety and swim lessons promote a lifelong enjoyment of swimming, encourages healthy living and the prevention of chronic diseases.
  • Learning to enjoy activities in and around the water nurtures social-emotional, cognitive and physical development.

 The Rye Y is committed to giving our surrounding communities the tools needed to be safe around water through various programs such as:

  • Safety Around Water : Free for non members and members
  • Swim Lesson Program for children and adults
  • Competitive and Non Competitive Swim Team
  • Water Safety Workshops in local community schools for grades Pre K-5  grade
  • Community Water Safety Workshops at various times through the year

In Safety Around Water, kids learn what to do if they find themselves in the water unexpectedly.

  • Children learn fundamental water safety skills that include the concepts of reach, throw, don’t go; what to look for in a safe place to swim.
  • Jump/Push/Turn/Grab teaches a child to push off the bottom of the pool as they are submerging to get back up to the surface while turning to grab the side of the pool.
  • Swim/Float/Swim teaches children to swim a short distance on their front, roll over onto their back to rest, and then roll on their front to continue swimming to safety.

Click here to view a video  about the Rye YMCA Safety Around Water program.

Join us for our upcoming Safety Around Water Workshop June 19-22.  Limited availability, register now!

Ages 3-5, 4:00-4:30pm:  Click here to register.

Ages 6-9, 4:20-5:00pm:  Click here to register

YMCA Swim Lessons

The Y is “America’s Swim Instructor” and the most accessible community resource to prevent drowning and encourage a lifelong enjoyment of swimming.

  • The Y introduced the concept of group swim lessons more than 100 years ago (1909).
  • Each year, the Y teaches more than a million children invaluable water safety and swimming skills.
  • As one of the largest community-based organizations in the country, the Y owns or manages over 2,000 pools.
  • Thanks to its size and reach, the Y is in a unique position to help bridge the gap in the delivery of swim lessons and water safety education in the U.S.—especially in underserved communities.
  • In addition to water safety and swim lessons, the Y is a leader in competitive swim, and has been for more than 100 years when the first national YMCA swimming records were filed in 1907. 

Y Swim Lessons continue to evolve to better meet the needs of the people they serve.

  • The latest evolution of Y Swim Lessons accommodates students of varying abilities to help foster a sense of achievement as swimmers’ progress between levels.
  • Through this approach, advanced swimmers flow more easily to higher levels while swimmers who need more instruction can learn at their own pace.
  • This results in more confident swimmers who stick with lessons and develop a love for swimming that can last a lifetime.

Through competitive aquatics programs, participants experience achievement, feel a sense of belonging and build supportive relationships. 

  • Swimming also motivates children to strive for self-improvement, teaches goal orientation and cultivates a positive mental attitude and high self-esteem.
  • Swimming also teaches life lessons of sport and sportsmanship, so that children can learn how to work well with teammates and coaches and how to deal with winning and losing. 

The Rye Y will be hosting a Water Safety Workshop to give families the opportunity to learn more about being safe in and around the water as we approach the summer months! This 2 hour special workshop will be classroom and pool based to give children and their caregivers the opportunity to practice water safety together. Please make note that children must be accompanied by a caregiver to attend the event. This workshop is designed for parents, grandparents, babysitters, etc. that would like to learn more about how they can be safe around water.

Saturday, May 12 from 2:00-4:00pm

Pre-registration is required, spots are limited.  Click here to register.

The Rye Y is also committed to the safety of all of our patrons through various trainings for our Aquatics staff!

  • All lifeguards are certified in American Red Cross Lifeguard/CPR/First Aid
  • Various opportunities for training throughout the year
  • Required in service trainings


Changes Coming – Safety First!

Safety is the #1 reason why every person entering the Rye Y must CHECK IN.

Everyone entering the Y MUST check in at the Member Services Desk.

ALL members must check in using their membership card, the Rye Y app or last name.
ALL others must check in using a sign-in sheet.
Thank you for helping us keep everyone at the Rye Y safe!
Click below to download our free mobile app:
iPhone users – Download on the App Store
Android users – Get it on Google Play
Member Services staff will help you enter your membership barcode in the app.


Pre-School Enrichment Program

Registration now open
In Person only

The Rye Y is launching a new Pre-School Enrichment Program for children 3-5 years old in September. Participants may choose between a morning or afternoon program on Tuesdays and Thursdays (2 day) or Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays (3 day). All participants must be potty trained. Weekly activities include:

  • Swimming
  • Enrichment
  • Movement
  • Music
  • Sports
  • Art
  • Cooking

Morning and afternoon participants registered for transportation will be bussed to/from Christ Church Nursery School (CCNS). Participants not being bussed will be picked up/dropped off by parent or guardian at the Rye YMCA. Bus seating is limited to 19 registered participants to/from CCNS on a  first come, first serve basis.

Session A (September 12-January 25)
2 day AM or 2 day PM -Tues & Thurs
Family: $2160; Youth: $2376; Non-Member: $2592
Add-on transportation: $180

3 day AM or 3 day PM – Mon, Wed & Fri
Family: $3240; Youth: $3564 Non-Member: $3888
Add-on transportation: $270

Rye Y staff are selected for their strong character, maturity, enthusiasm and commitment to the Y values of caring, honesty, respect and responsibility. Staff are First Aid and CPR certified and undergo a rigorous hiring process including multiple references and a background check. Upon hire, all staff must complete several child abuse and safety trainings. Safety is our first priority.

Click here to view a flyer with sample schedules and details.
Click here for printable registration form


Spring 2018 Program Registration

Session 4 Program registration has started. Programs start April 8.
Click here to register  Please register for youth aquatics classes in person. Click here to view program guide

Join Us for Community Service at Rye Nature Ctr!

The Rye Y’s Togetherhood Committee is teaming up with Friends of the Rye Nature Center for a family-friendly day of service in the woods. Enjoy a morning of outdoor planting on Saturday, April 14, 10 am – Noon. For ages 5 and up. Click here for details and to sign up.  For more information, contact Denise Woodin.