PITTSBURGH (July 1, 2016) – For many kids, summer vacation may mean spending long hours lounging on the sofa watching TV, surfing the internet or eating junk food. But boring days will get a lot more exciting for Pittsburgh kids when the YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh’s “Y on the Fly” van rolls down the street, suddenly transforming the neighborhood into a pop-up summer camp. And if the kids are really lucky, they might catch the “Y on the Fly” van on a day when Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Francisco Cervelli is joining in on the fun.
Made possible with funding from PNC, the “Y on the Fly” van will bring a mobile version of its summer camp experience, which includes fun activities and healthy snacks, to kids throughout Pittsburgh, particularly in “recreation desert” neighborhoods that lack a YMCA or other safe options for recreation.
“The YMCA firmly believes that every kid deserves to experience the healthy, simple joy of outdoor play during the summer,” said Kevin Bolding, president and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh. “The YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh provides hundreds of kids every summer with a healthy, fun and educational summer experience through our residential and day camp programs. Thanks to the ‘Y on the Fly’ program, we will be able to bring the summer camp experience to many more kids in areas where we do not have a physical building.”
Pittsburgh Pirates Catcher Francisco Cervelli supports the YMCA’s efforts to ensure healthy summer fun for kids in all parts of Pittsburgh, and will join the YMCA at Y on the Fly mobile locations when possible throughout the summer.
“The Y’s summer-long program brings to life everything I love, including physical activity and health eating,” said Francisco Cervelli. “I’m excited to join the YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh for the Y on the Fly program and bring health, wellness and play to so many families in our great city.”
The “Y on the Fly” van will make two stops per day every weekday for 10 weeks this summer, visiting community locations such as libraries, parks, food bank distribution centers and many other community spaces. With the van loaded full of balls, parachutes, nets, hula hoops, jump ropes, games, sidewalk chalk and other fun activities for kids, Y on the Fly will offer at least 60 minutes of activities at each stop. Following the activities, YMCA counselors will spend 30 minutes making healthy snacks with the kids, then giving them easy-to-follow recipes to take home.
“Y on the Fly aligns with our commitment to strengthen the communities in which we do business and to help our employees live healthier and more productive lives,” said Lou Cestello, executive vice president and head of PNC’s Regional President Organization. “By collaborating with local agencies and other Pittsburgh companies, we have the opportunity to educate and inspire children and their families to adopt a healthier lifestyle.”
The YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh and PNC expect the pilot program’s success here in Pittsburgh to initiate the rollout of Y on the Fly in other cities across PNC’s footprint.
Additional sponsors, such as Comcast Internet Essentials, also have stepped forward to support the YMCA’s efforts to expand its reach in underserved neighborhoods.
“We’re proud to support Y on the Fly’s inaugural summer and help bring recreational opportunities directly to local children in their neighborhoods,” said Christine Whitaker, senior vice president of Comcast’s Keystone Region. “Besides bringing fun activities and healthy snack options, Y on the Fly will provide information about our Internet Essentials program, Comcast’s commitment to closing the digital divide by providing reduced-cost high-speed internet service to families who qualify.”