Thursday, February 6, 2014

The YMCA Trip

Making parenting decisions is hard.
Regular or organic milk. 
Skateboard or no skateboard. 
Movie with violence or movie with sex. 
Trip to the YMCA or no trip. 
This last one has had me struggling lately.
Zoe has a half day of school on Valentine's Day. 
The YMCA that is 4 towns over (it's a rural thing) is offering a Meridian Play Day that afternoon. 
From 12-4:00 the kids can go and use the pool and I guess the other facilities there. 
No real information was given to us and we were told (by Zoe and the flyer she brought home) that we had to make a decision NOW so she could have a place on the bus to get there. 
I had no time to ask about...chaperones. 
The flyer said that there is room for 70 kids, but you can still drive your own child if the bus spots get taken up. 
So how many kids does that make?
And whose watching over these gazillion 8-11 year olds?
I asked one mom and she said "the chaperones are the YMCA staff."
That's a paid employee, not a chaperone. 
And the kicker was order for her to go we had to sign a waiver saying that the YMCA would not be responsible if anything happened to our daughter while she was there. 
So, I'm paying you a fee to use your facilities (albeit a very small fee) and for her to be driven there by the Y and if she gets hurt playing basketball or drowns in the lazy river or chokes on a frito or the bus crashes into a semi on the two lane road that gets her there, who's responsible?  
I let my daughter go to a week long summer sleepover camp (since she was 6 years old) and I'm completely comfortable with that. 
I have let my daughter go to nature camp for 3 hour classes.  
No problems. 
I have let her go with her school teachers on field trips that take her to towns farther away than four towns. 
No problems. 
So, why is this YMCA play day bothering me?
Why doesn't any facility ever want to be responsible for anything?
Accidents happen, this I understand. 
But how do I know there's going to be adequate supervision of these kids? 
The bullies will be there. 
The kids who are too rough in the water. 
The kids who call names and push you when you are running in the gym. 
Who's going to look out for this?
The Y employees will have too many children there to adequately keep an eye on everyone. 
And if something does happen, they take zero responsibility for it happening.
I really try to be a free-range parent. 
But something about this makes me leary. 
I understand everyone else she knows is going. 
But I've never been a follower. 
And we have said "not this time."
I do feel bad about this. 
I want her to be free to play with her pals. 
I think it's the water stuff that has me worried. 
And the mean girls. 
Zoe is only going to be 3 days into being a 9 year old when this event happens. 
She's very mature, but will she have it in her to know what to do if she gets upset and there's no adult to go to that she knows and trusts. 
What if she wants to come home.
I told her we will do something else that day together. 
I wish I had a crystal ball that I could gaze into to see what would happen if she did go. 
But, I don't. 
Everyone wants to protect their child from all of the bad stuff. 
And we do allow her to go out on her own. 
We have, I believe, outfitted her with good life skills. 
But, I don't know anyone at this place. 
In order for me to be comfortable I have to know that someone is going to care abut my child and won't let her disappear into the crowd. 
I'm at odds with myself even now as I write this. 
Parenting...the hardest job I'll ever have. 



  1. It is the hardest job ever.
    For what it is worth, I think there is something to be said for "mommy intuition" and that we have those feelings for protect our kids.

  2. Why don't you contact the YMCA to get answers to your questions? Or visit the
    facility and meet the staffstaff that will be supervising the children. The staff might be moms and dads, too.

    1. I have been to this Y with Gigi on a field trip. It's just teenagers and random adult staff. And I got the flyer after school and had to send it in the next much pressure.

    2. Bummer, then following your intuition was the best decision. Zoe will understand that one day.

  3. Maybe a family swim day instead sometime?

    1. We are going to see The Lego Movie on Valentine's Day instead!!