By Audrey Spencer
The Cove Herald
With school out, local youth are turning to the basketball courts of the Armed Services YMCA Family Center in Copperas Cove to stay busy.
"We're averaging anywhere between 50 and 60 kids a day," said Doreen Vasseur, director at the ASYMCA Family Center, located at 501 Clara Drive. The center typically only sees about 20 children per day after school hours.
"All the college-aged kids are here, too," said Vasseur. "We've got them all the way up to 24 years old now."
Most of the people coming into the ASYMCA during the break are looking to play basketball, said Vasseur, so no special programs have been added to the usual lineup.
"We just got the floors stripped and waxed and they look beautiful," said Vasseur of the center's basketball gym.
Others come to the center to play video games, study or work out.
Ryan Fletcher, an 18-year-old student at Copperas Cove High School, said he comes to play basketball to prepare for the Amateur Athletic Union this summer.
"(The YMCA) is enclosed, there are all kinds of kids, and it's somewhere to hang out instead of walking the streets," said Fletcher. "It's too cold for that now. It's very friendly here. They make sure there's no foul language. It's one of my favorite places to come."
Adult supervision makes local parents feel at ease sending their children to the center during the break.
"I had a parent say that she lives just up the street and her son can walk over here and she doesn't have to worry about him," said Vasseur. "It gets him out of the house and off the computer."
Vasseur sometimes steps in to make sure younger and older patrons are sharing the basketball court, much to the appreciation of younger children.
"It's a real good gym," said Jordan Govan, 12. "Some people wouldn't let us have as much fun as Doreen does."
Jordan and his friend, Brandon Parton, 12, said they come to the center every day, even during school to play basketball.
"Our friends are up here," said Parton.
Besides winter break, the center sees increased activity on Saturdays and during the summer.
"It's crazy, but we like it that way," said Vasseur.
The ASYMCA offers a number of programs for different ages and registration discounts for city and state employees, teachers, senior citizens and active military. Regular hours are from 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday. This Saturday, the facility will close at 3 p.m., but will resume regular hours on Monday.
Contact Audrey Spencer at email@example.com or (254) 501-7476.