YMCA ready for new year; options available for Orange County residents

Published 12:08 am Friday, January 5, 2024

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PORT ARTHUR — The YMCA of Southeast Texas is ready for those who are thinking “new year, new you.”

To incentivize that action, officials with the organization are waiving the registration fee for new memberships through January.

YMCA CEO Kevin Pearson said they want to support people to action, so there is no joining fee at the time.

The YMCA, located at 6760 9th Avenue in Port Arthur, has activities for members of all ages, from youth to senior citizen.


The YMCA of Southeast Texas serves six counties and has after school programs at schools in the Port Arthur, Nederland, Port Neches-Groves, Bridge City, Orangefield and Little Cypress-Mauriceville school districts.

Some upcoming activities added to YMCA’s calendar are a Parents Night Out Feb. 10 with a Valentine’s Day theme and a family skate night March 16, said Jody Moore, director of division advancement and marketing for YMCA of SETX.

Pickleball hours have been extended in 2024 to 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. And the YMCA now has outdoor basketball courts that can be used for practice while teams practice inside, Pearson said.

Kevin Pearson, CEO of YMCA of Southeast Texas, said organizers are seeing a lot of clients since the start of the new year. (Mary Meaux/The Leader)

Other ways to get active in the year is with swim lessons.

The facility has a heated pool, so swim lessons are offered year round. There are classes for parent and child, preschool, school age, teens and adult, as well as family swim lessons.

Last year, Y on the Westside was launched in Port Arthur, focusing on elementary age students and families.

The programs are run in conjunction with Port Arthur Community Foundation and partnerships with New St. John Missionary Baptist Church and Mount Sinai Missionary Baptist Church.

Pearson said the program at New St. John church is going well, but there’s some difficulty getting participation at Mount Sinai church.

The hours at Mount Sinai have been adjusted to 3:30 to 5 p.m. to make the opening time a bit closer to the time school ends.

There is no indoor gym facility at Mount Sinai, which may be a deterrent to participation, Pearson said.

During the programs at the two churches, there is homework help, STEM projects, open play and dinner.

With the new year comes new rules for the Pass Class.

Effective this year, any child under the age of 18 who wants to use the YMCA without a parent must go through a Pass Class with their parents.

Pearson said the class is basically orientation of the YMCA’s mission, values and rules. The child and parent take a tour of the facility, go through the different areas and learn what they can and cannot do.

“It’s just to educate children and parents about expectations and good behavior at the YMCA. It’s a youth-development function,” Pearson said.

The class is in response to the behavior of some teenagers during the summer and informing them of the rules.

For more information on any of the programs offered at the YMCA of Southeast Texas call 409-962-6644 or visit ymcasetx.org.

— Written by Mary Meaux