As a parent of two young kids in Toronto, I feel lucky to have access to a wide variety of family fitness initiatives, parent and tot classes, creative kids programs, daycares, diverse schooling options, and summer camps. Our mailbox gets inundated with flyers for amazing new sessions on a daily basis. I try to manage our family schedule with a mix of: programs for the kids, things we can do as a family, and fitness or creative pursuits that are just for my husband and/or me.
But one thing I’ve discovered is that it’s rare to find all of those things in one place. I’m not one to over-schedule my kids and I try to coordinate programs with both my kids together or within close proximity, but I still spend a lot of time traipsing all over the city between one family activity or another. And my own—and my husband’s—workouts or creative pursuits require an entirely separate schedule.
Recently, I spent an afternoon as a guest at the Prosserman JCC in North Toronto, and the very first thing that struck me—aside from the amazing facilities—was how many programs, for all ages and stages of family life, are available in the one location.
The focus on family fitness and community at the Prosserman JCC is reflected in the wide variety of children and family programs they offer, the family events, the educational sessions for parents, and seniors, and through the fitness and health centre initiatives. The facility also boasts a full daycare, preschool, and kindergarten program housed in a large, bright, and colourful space. On top of this, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that a very busy sports league for kids, youths, and adults also exists.
All it takes is one look at the children and family program schedule to see the diversity of classes offered at the centre. The Prosserman JCC has developed incredible programs—my personal favourite is Glowga (Glow in the Dark Yoga mixed with hip-hop dance!)—but they also complement their own sessions by partnering with well-known companies in the community, like Pedalheads and Whimz, to run classes within the centre.
I had just missed a Total Body Sculpt class when I arrived, but I had a chance to workout at the fitness centre. The change rooms are fresh and clean, and the gym has all the state-of-the-art cardio and weight machines you’d expect in a newer facility. As I was running on the treadmill, all I could think about was how awesome it would be to drop the kids off at a class like the Great Treasure Hunt while I worked out or took one of the group exercise classes. And another amazing bonus: if you have a child enrolled in the daycare, preschool, or kindergarten program, you get a Fitness and Health membership for free.
If fitness isn’t your thing, there is a ceramics centre, a cooking centre, and a variety of creative arts classes for all ages. There is also the FUN ZONE, a room full of books, toys and activities where parents can play with their young kid(s) before a class begins, while waiting to pick up a sibling from their class, or on a rainy day when you need to get out of the house. Finally, there are numerous lounges and multi-media rooms, where people can hang out, attend a mom’s group or participate in one of the many workshops the centre offers.
Another big draw for me—as a parent—is that the Prosserman JCC holds birthday parties, which you can base on themes from the different classes they offer. (Glowga would be my first pick!) They offer everything from puppet or SuperHero parties to In the Mix parties (where kids create and film their own dance and music videos, and get to take home their video on a USB key bracelet—so cool). AND with all the parties, the JCC will coordinate everything for you, right down to invitations, food, decorating the room and ordering the cake. You just have to show up. (Note: major parental happiness factor right there)
My last stop on the tour of the centre was the head office of The Jack and Pat Kay Centre Camp. This unique summer camp has been running for over 25 years and has recently expanded to two locations, in Toronto and Vaughan. Having just started my summer camp planning, I was impressed by the quality of the camp programming and the enthusiasm of the Camp Director, Phil Faibish. He attended the camp himself as a child and a counselor, and his passion and commitment to continue providing amazing summer experiences for the campers is evident.
Phil’s experience at The Jack and Pat Kay Centre Camp seems to embody what the Prosserman JCC is all about: providing excellent programming that appeals to families of all ages while creating a diverse community that reflects the city we live in.
With a name like Fitzsimmons, I’m clearly not Jewish, and wanted to make sure that I could still sign up for all of the amazing programs at the centre. Thankfully I was assured that this is a place that is inclusive, caters to the community, and has a variety of offerings that people from all ages and walks of life can enjoy.
Live in the Toronto area? You could win!
YMC and Prosserman JCC are giving away a Family Fitness & Fun Prize Pack valued at $1,100!
One month Family membership to the Prosserman JCC health club
Two weeks for your child to attend The Jack and Pay Kay Centre Camp
One family and child program