The Oral Report

Standing up in front of the class was never so much fun!

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Location: River City, United States

The rantings and ravings of a mom of three wonderful girls as she finds new love while working like a dog and shaking her fist at the system. You know. Pretty much like everybody else.

Thursday, March 08, 2007


It's fun to stay at the Y-M-C-A!

It's fun to stay at the Y-M-C-A!

If the staff shows up, you can get to work on time...

I've been having a little problem lately with some folks at the YMCA. And now, well, now I'm...what's the word...actively...yeah, that's it...actively working to correct the problem.

Our local YMCA offers a childcare program where they basically have staff on site at the school before school starts and after school to take care of small children who are not old enough to stay at home alone yet. I am not sure if this is a nationwide service that the YMCA offers, but clearly, with the advent of two-income families, it's a niche that they saw and have filled it. At least, locally.

My older daughters were in this program when they were younger and it worked very well for our family then. The beginning of this school year (last fall) was the first time my youngest girl has been involved.

Overall, it's worked pretty well.

However...lately, we've been having a problem.

The program starts at 7AM and ends at 6PM each day that school is in session. There are special options when school is not in session, but I fill those gaps with teenagers that are ready made at my place. The kids get breakfast at the school and an afternoon snack after classes are out. Homework assistance is offered (but we don't take advantage of that option, as I like to keep tabs on that myself), and otherwise, there are arts and crafts, games, sports, and just general playtime. So, the kids usually enjoy it, as well.

I seem to be having an issue with the staff at our school, though. Early in the year there was no problem. But with the onset of winter, the morning staff seemed to find it more and more difficult to get to the site on time. In fact, we had a two week stretch in January where they were late 7 out of 10 school days. Unfortunately, this is a 'thing' for me.

My job starts at 7:30AM. And I work downtown. It's at least a 20 minute commute from the school and that is with traffic on my side. Add to that that I have one of my teens that I also drop off in the morning and that dips a little more into that (maximum) ten minute window.

My bosses generally try to be flexible with me if I'm a little late. I can make it up at lunchtime or by staying a little late, but if I say past 5:30 in the evenings, then I can't get back to get my daughter by the time the YMCA program closes. (Not to mention the fact that by 5:30, I'm definitely ready to get outta work!) It's tricky, tricky business, I tell you.

Now I didn't say anything to the staff in January for 6 out of those 7 days. Oh, I grumbled to myself and my teenager heard about how frustrated I was because I was "going to late to work AGAIN!!!" But, well, I like the girl who runs the program at my youngest daughter's school. And I've gotten along well with her from the beginning of the school year. So, you know, I was trying to cut her a little slack.

On day seven of that stretch, I asked her if something had changed, as I hadn't been able to drop my daughter off at 7AM for several days at that point. She said she had had to run by the YMCA's office and did not offer so much as an apology for the situation over the previous many days. She also indicated that it wouldn't happen again.

A few weeks went by and I really thought the problem, whatever it had been, had been corrected. Sometimes, I really delude myself trying to give people the benefit of the doubt. I just so badly want to believe that people are better than they are. Anyway, as you can imagine, it happened again.

This time, she was substantially late. It happened to coincide with a day that I had been quite ill and I'd tried to drop [Kid 3] off, but had to bring her back home and wait it out a bit. On that morning, I called the YMCA's director and left a message. I was told, by the young lady answering the phones, that they were aware of the situation and that the director herself was en route to the school.

As I understand it, YMCA staff did not arrive until 7:35 that morning. I took my daughter back and dropped her off at 8:20. The story, that day, was that the regular on-site manager had become very ill and was rushed to the hospital.

She was back at work the next morning. But I'm sure that's coincidental.

The next week it happened again. Not 35 minutes late, but 10-15. I didn't call the director then, but I have every time since then. That has been four more calls.

The last two times (one of which was today...hence the rant), the on-site manager has contacted the school cafeteria staff to cover her until she can get there.

Monday, the story was that her car wouldn't start. The director advised that she'd gotten a call from the girl at 7AM. See, that doesn't work for me. Did the girl not realize before 7AM that she wasn't going to be at school on time? She could have contacted the director at 6:45, when she'd (presumably) discovered the problem as she was making an attempt to get to work on time. The director could have gotten someone there on time. Uh uh. In fact, the director advised me that the on-site manager had told her, at 7AM, that she had the site covered. She had no idea that it was not with a YMCA employee.

When I showed up, a couple minutes after seven, we knocked on the door to no avail. Some five minutes later, the lunchroom staff came to see if anyone was waiting outside. My bet is that that is when they received the call. However, even the director acknowledged that the lunchroom staff (who are employed by the school) were NOT supposed to be put in this position.

I know the YMCA director realizes how fed up I am with this crap. I'm paying $65 each week to have someone watch my daughter from 7AM until school starts at 9AM, and then again from 4PM until I get there between 5:30 and 6PM.

But I'm getting inordinately upset about this. I should NOT have to keep dealing with this. It has been going on for two months now. I've made the director aware of the problem (as have other parents, I know) and yet they don't seem motivated to correct the situation.

Today, I have contacted the school. When their staff assumes the responsibility for watching the children in the morning, they are not only prevented from doing the job the school system pays them to do, they also assume the liability (for the school system) for any injuries or problems that occur when those children are there. Also, does the lunchroom staff have to be trained in CPR? Because I know the YMCA staff does. And sure, you may think I'm just exaggerating the significance, but I'll note that I have a child who was injured at an after school YMCA site and that she has the scar to prove it. Things happen. And I've seen it firsthand.

I am not, though it may appear that way, on a mission to get this young lady fired from her job. I need the YMCA to provide the service I'm paying them to provide. Plain and simple. I need this for my child, but I also need this so that I do not continue to be late to my job, thereby jeopardizing my own future employment.

Now, if they can somehow convince this girl to show up on time, I'm happy to work with her. But if they can't, they need to find someone who can get to work on time. And they need to find that someone, NOW.



Blogger Tony Collett said...

If there are other parents that are inconvenienced by this, I would suggest a pow-wow with them, and possibly organize at least enough to provide a united front to the YMCA to let them know that this situation needs to be fixed.
And doesn't the YMCA get some funding from the United Way? And don't the United Way usually solicit donations through businesses? Perhaps contacting some of their funding sources about this situation might get some help. Or asking around at work for recommended alternatives.
And there's the letters to the editor of the paper and at least one TV station in each market has a "call for help/on your side" feature that this might interest them.
Hope that helps.

3/08/2007 9:35 PM  
Blogger AaA said...


On the one hand, it's really cheap, and you get what you pay for. On the other hand, what you're paying for (according to their promises) isn't being delivered...


3/12/2007 1:27 PM  

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