Monday, December 4, 2023

Local YMCA plans to open new childcare options

Parents in the Historic Triangle might have a new source for before and after school childcare in the next year.

“The need was so great and it was increasing year by year that we felt that we needed to provide that resource for the community,” said Jordan Canaday, team coordinator of team development for the RF Wilkinson YMCA.

Until 2015, the Wilkinson Family YMCA offered before and after school programs. But the off-site preschool program had to move into the facility that year and left the organization with too little space for both programs.

But after a number of parents and members expressed their desire for before and after school programs at the YMCA, facilitators decided to make a plan to reinstate it.

Canaday said now that the program has adequate resources, such as more transportation, both programs can now be accommodated in the facility.

By the start of the next school year, Wilkinson Family YMCA hopes to have a set plan and schedule approved to restart the program.

“We are currently in the planning phase to see what schools to work with and steps to take to get approved by the association office,” he said. “As a facility, we are ready. It’s just about getting to those next steps.”

The association for the Wilkinson Family YMCA is through the Peninsula Metropolitan YMCA, which oversees 13 other facilities, according to the organization’s website.

So far in the planning process, organizers have been able to work with York County Public Schools to make a transportation plan for students from Waller Mill Elementary and Queens Lake Middle School.

The program expects to have at least 30 students but has a limit of 50. Students will range in age from four to 14 and be separated by grade level. Before, school programs would from from 6 to 9 a.m. and after school programs would go from 3 to 6 p.m.

Set prices for the program are not yet determined but Canaday said YMCA members will pay a lower price and even the non-member price will probably be lower than average childcare.

The facility already provides childcare for parents during unexpected school cancellations, like snow days, and during the holidays. Canaday said that might be different from a lot of care facilities, especially for when parents have to look for childcare at the last minute.

Canaday said what makes parents really desire a new after school and before school program is the quality of care and attention the children receive.

On average, children in the program are overseen by a number of caretakers over the one to 10 requirement. The programs are planned based on age level, interest and the organization’s core values: caring, honesty, respect and responsibility.

“That’s one thing that the parents love,” Canaday said. “We have those guidelines of what they expect as a kid and there’s a sense of faith and honor that we have. We don’t expect that just from kids, but the staff as well. It makes sure everyone is on the same page.”

The is no set date for when the program will begin — Canaday said he is confident it will be within the next year.

Alexa Doiron
Alexa Doiron
Alexa Doiron is a multimedia reporter for WYDaily. She graduated from Roanoke College and is currently working on a master’s degree in English at Virginia Commonwealth University. Alexa was born and raised in Williamsburg and enjoys writing stories about local flair. She began her career in journalism at the Warhill High School newspaper and, eight years later, still loves it. After working as a news editor in Blacksburg, Va., Alexa missed Williamsburg and decided to come back home. In her free time, she enjoys reading Jane Austen and playing with her puppy, Poe. Alexa can be reached at

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