By ALEX SPONSELLER The YMCA of Greater Providence recently retained Bridget Hayes as its Sports Program Director for local branches. Hayes has been with the Y since September and her focus has been primarily on reintroducing sports programs to the state
By ALEX SPONSELLER The YMCA of Greater Providence recently retained Bridget Hayes as its Sports Program Director for local branches.
Hayes has been with the Y since September and her focus has been primarily on reintroducing sports programs to the state and finding new ways of expanding the club’s offerings for the future.
“The YMCA has really tried to expand its sports program offerings at all of their facilities to try to meet the demand that the COVID pandemic has presented us with. Schools are limiting before and after school activities, kids need programs, we are trying to get kids outside and to beef up the current opportunities to meet what the families need,” said Hayes.
Part of this expansion includes a greater public outreach to those in the community, as well as getting creative when dealing with COVID-related restrictions.
“We are certainly looking to promote what we are doing. It’s clear that many people surrounding our communities are not aware of all that the YMCA does. We are limited in terms of how many programs and the number of people due to the restrictions, but we are working around that to offer more programs and expand our outreach. We want to work with communities and figure out, ‘OK, what do we need,’” said Hayes.
Hayes added: “We’re just starting to ramp things up. We are coming back with our skills and drills at Kent County YMCA, we will have more basketball opportunities coming up. We are preparing to introduce what we will be offering during the winter months. It’s definitely ongoing and as a result, we’ve had to move different groups into different spaces to accommodate everyone.”
Although the pandemic has presented many issues for the Y this year, it has also opened its eyes to other opportunities for growth moving forward, including the potential use of outdoor spaces.
“People are excited to come back and excited to be there. We’re excited to grow programs long term. One big benefit that we have found is that a lot of outdoor space has been underutilized. At Kent, we have two new beautiful fields that will be ready next spring and we will be using those for all sorts of outdoor activities. We also have beautiful new outdoor basketball courts that have gotten some good use during the pandemic. It has been great getting kids back involved, and I think next spring we will start seeing people want to be outside longer,” said Hayes.
Hayes has always been passionate about youth athletics and hopes to build a strong culture throughout the Ocean State with the YMCA and its surrounding cities and towns.
“I look at it as a great opportunity. There is so much potential and so much room for growth for the YMCA and our communities. My focus has been working with children and sports for so long, I didn’t even know all of the opportunities the Y provided, I wasn’t aware,” said Hayes. “So to be part of this and to help build the Y community, to have maybe high school players and coaches get involved and volunteer and really help those who are in our programs, that is the goal moving forward.”