For years the Marietta Family YMCA has been a staple in the community of providing quality athletic programs for area youth that are focused more on learning the game than winning and losing.
Now under new direction with Suzy Zumwalde taking over as the YMCA's executive director, the Marietta Y is looking to continue that mission, just with a little different focus.
In years past the YMCA has offered so many different programs that the quality of the program suffered.
Rather than going with quantity, now the YMCA is beginning the process of making each and every program the best it can possibly be while searching for new programs to add to its list of offerings.
"We're really cutting back on the number of programs we do so the programs we do we can concentrate on them really hard," explained YMCA assistant executive director Mike Bishman, who is overseeing the youth sports programs.
With limited facilities, getting gym time is difficult so spreading out programs will help.
The winter basketball season will conclude Saturday with the final weekend of games for the 87 children who participated in the YMCA's program this year.
Swimming with the Marietta Marlins will continue all the way into March or April if any of the local swimmers advance to the national meet.
The Marlins have done exceptionally well so far this season under head coach Bill Bauer and improved to 7-0 last week at Cambridge.
"They're doing really well. Of course, our coaches are really awesome," Bishman praised. "The kids are just having a blast."
While the YMCA is sticking with the programs that have been strong, it is also looking to expand and find new programs to incorporate area children into.
"We're trying to investigate right now what new programs we can bring to the youth sports," Bishman said.
One possibility the YMCA is looking at is the increasingly popular sport of volleyball.
Girls volleyball in high school is becoming a popular draw as area teams have been enjoying considerable success. This past fall the Marietta Lady Tigers had the second best record in all of Ohio Div. II while Warren and Waterford advanced to the district tournament. In past times the YMCA has offered an adult volleyball league, and the sport could be a nice addition to the Y, Bishman noted.
The YMCA is also looking at possibly bringing back the tee-ball program prior to the summer season to help teach the basics of the game, one of the primary goals of athletic participation at the YMCA.
"We don't really concentrate on the competition part of it. We're more of the everybody plays, everybody wins type league," Bishman said.
While those additional sports could come in the next six months or year, the real question is what does the community want, Bishman said. The YMCA wants to meet the needs of the community by providing the quality of athletics programs expected for area youth.
Quantity will follow after that.
"I want to see what the community wants. That's what we want. What does the community feel is missing out of the Mid-Ohio Valley," Bishman said.
Peewee basketball for three to five year olds will get started Feb. 12 with the spring basketball season getting started March 14 for older kids.
Kiddie Kicker soccer, another popular program, will also get started again in the spring.
Registration fees for any of the YMCA youth sports programs is $36 for members and $54 for non-members. Scholarships are available for families with an inability to pay.