Thursday, January 13, 2011

All Hail to the Boys and Girls Club

Photo: jen_maiser via Flickr

The search for affordable kids' activities continues. Despite our longterm best efforts (we started when they were just babies) Prissy and Paul don't swim. As we say at our house, this is a safety issue, and therefore non-negotiable. But what to do? All the pools in our town are private, have a waitlist, and require a several-thousand dollar initiation fee, sponsorship by an existing member, and expensive annual fees. There is no public pool.

A friend of mind mentioned that the local Boys & Girls Club give swim lessons free. Free. I wasn't sure I believed it. Our kids belong to a different B&G Club, which is a bargain for other reasons (reasonable summer camp fees), but charges for swim lessons.

My friend turned out to be right. For the price of an afternoon off from working waiting in line for 2 hours (there is no online registration), I got my kids into lessons.

Of course, that just began the battle, as Paul wanted nothing to do with swimming. So I did what any harried working mom would do. I bribed him. The reward? A trip to Dunkin' Donuts after every swim lesson. Nevermind the irony of following a healthy activity with a supremely unhealthy one. Guess what? After the first lesson, he LOVED swimming, and even, on occasion, declines the bribe trip.

But it gets better. It turns out that this particular club ALSO has free dance lessons. So Prissy, who had to stop her ballet/jazz/tap lessons when the unemployment fairy first visited our house three years ago, is now happily dancing jazz one evening a week. For (yes) free. And instead of $50 or more for costumes, we paid $5 for a tie dyed T-Shirt. Instead of shelling out $45 for family recital tickets, we sat on risers in the common room at the club for nothing. And I have to say, she had just as much fun, and I think learned just as much as when she was in the pricey dance studio.


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