SCAY Family Guide

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Mission:  Our mission is to provide swimmers of all abilities the opportunity to reach their fullest potential as both swimmers and individuals in a positive, confidence- building environment. We believe that age-group competitive swimming offers a wonderful opportunity to learn the values of sportsmanship, dedication, commitment, responsibility, and hard work. The Aqualion family, directed by professional coaches with parental support, provides a fun atmosphere that allows for an exciting, wholesome, constructive environment for character development and competitive achievement in a healthful sport that offers lifelong enjoyment. 
Message from the Head Coach:  Welcome everyone to another exciting season of Aqualion swimming. I’m really looking forward to working with the children to help them be the best swimmers they can be. Through hard work both individually and as a team, we will be successful. But, even more important, I hope that each child who is involved in SCAY swimming learns from the four core values of the YMCA: caring, honesty, respect, and responsibility. I am most proud of our swim team members when they are good teammates and good sportspeople, as well as doing their best as swimmers.  Should you have questions throughout the season, please feel free to contact me via e-mail or by phone at 237-7717. 
Joel Blesh, Head Coach 
 Message from the SCAY Parent Organization: 
 As we begin another swimming season with its many activities, we’d like to take this opportunity to welcome the new swim team members and to welcome back the returning swimmers and all their families. Without the support of the fantastic Aqualions Swim Team Family, this program could not work. Through the hard work of current and former Aqualions we have been very fortunate to provide our swimmers and their families with a great many perks.  (Pizza parties, t-shirts, entry fees, banquets etc.)  We hope to continue to provide these perks again this year.
 Swimming is an exciting sport but also one which takes a lot of dedication from both the swimmers and the families. Whether it’s carpooling to practice every day, working at the swim meets, or helping to make one of our great social activities happen, it all happens because of you. We work hard but we have a lot of fun and I think you will find the SCAY Aqualions family to be worth the investment! 
 I encourage you to look over these materials including the family expectations and should you have any questions, please feel free to contact Coach Joel Blesh or any of the Board members with any questions. 
 Thanks and have a great year!  SCAY Parent Organization 
Board Members: 
Dan Willis, President

Chris Adams, Treasurer

Colleen Andreychick, Parent Volunteer

Eva and Matt Gerhart, Parent Volunteers 

Ken Hillsley, Cenkey Rep

Jodie Roberts, Parent Volunteer

Heidi Borgel, Parent Volunteer

Joann Johnson, Volunteer Coordinator

Tim Wenrich, PA State Championship Meet Director
Affiliations:  The State College Area YMCA is affiliated with YMCA National, which establishes rules and regulations for the conduct of YMCA competitions.  SCAY is also USA-Swimming affiliated. Participation in USA-Swimming is optional and requires additional registration fees. USA Swimming is a national organization that promotes swimming by creating opportunities for swimmers and coaches of all backgrounds to participate and advance in the sport. USA Swimming membership is comprised of swimmers from the age group level to the Olympic Team. The SCAY swimmers that join USA swimming tend to be those who possess advanced skills and motivation to compete at a higher level. 

YMCA Swim League (CENKEY):  SCAY is a participant in the CENKEY YMCA Swim League, which provides opportunities for competitive meets against other league teams. Dual meets are typically held on Saturday mornings throughout the Fall/Winter season beginning in December and running through February. A league championship is held in February with all teams competing. The meet schedule will be distributed and posted as soon as available on the website:

 Swimming Seasons:  The Aqualions swimming program is broken into three “seasons”:  Fall/Winter Mid-September–Late March  Spring-Late April – Early June  Summer Early June – Early August 
 A one-week introductory clinic for swimmers new to SCAY takes place at the beginning of the Fall/Winter season. New swimmers are welcome at any time throughout the season(s). 

Swimming Groups: Children are slotted into practice groups based upon their skill level and age. Each fall, a clinic is held to assess the skill levels of swimmers new to SCAY for the Fall/Winter season. Assignments for mid-season, spring & summer seasons will be based on the coaches’ evaluation of skill at that time. The groups and “typical” age levels are:  Group  Cubs/Pride  D1,D2,D3 Junior/Senior 
Fees: The fee for the Aqualions program supports the general operating expenses of the program including the salaries of the coaching staff who provide your child(ren) with the personalized attention that is the basis of the program. The fees for each season differ. The winter swim season covers almost 7 months of swimming. These fees are paid directly to the Y. 
 In addition, each swimmer in Aqualions must also be a member of the State College Area YMCA. Youth, individual, and family memberships are available with a variety of payment terms. For further details on the benefits of becoming a member of the YMCA, see the full YMCA brochure available at the YMCA, 677 Whitehall Road, State College, by calling 237-7717, or visiting the website at 
Invitational Fees: These are fees charged to enter your swimmer in an event.  There are no fees associated with Dual/Tri meets however invitational and special meets do charge.   The team has historically paid these fees through our fundraising efforts and we intend to do so as long as our funds permit.

Practice Schedule:  The practice schedule for fall/winter season 2017-2018 is listed on the website. Check emails and the website for updates:  
Swim Meets:  A final schedule of swim meets will be developed late September and posted shortly thereafter. The meet schedule will be distributed and posted as soon as available on the website.  Swimmers are encouraged but not expected to compete in meets. Coaches will determine the line-up of swimmers registered for these meets to maximize the individuals’ performance in their best events as well as the team’s overall performance. Swimmers will swim all events at some time during the season. Dual meets are typically held on Saturday mornings throughout the Fall/Winter season beginning in December and running through February. 
District & State Competitions:  We are also a member team of the Central Pennsylvania District that establishes time standards for involvement of swimmers in Districts.  SCAY Aqualions are part of the Central District. The PA Central District YMCA championship normally follows the league championship by approximately two weeks (early-March). Swimmers must meet the minimum district swimming time for each age group. The most up-to-date district championship Information and qualifying times will be provided during the season. Please check the Aqualions webpage for further information.  Swimmers qualify for the PA State Championships (States) based on performance at Districts. The top six swimmers in each event from each district advance to States with the next six fastest from across the 3 districts also advance.

 Winter & Summer YMCA Nationals:  In addition to the state championships, swimmers may qualify to participate in Winter or Summer Nationals. Minimum national times in each event are established annually and swimmers must meet or better these times in order to compete. These competitions are not dependent upon the results of the district or state meets. Information on National qualifying times is available on the website and also will be provided during the season. 

Additional Meets:  Non-league meets are held throughout the year for differing age groups and at a variety of sites. These can be either YMCA events or USA Swimming events. We will keep you informed as meet information becomes available throughout the year. In the case where a large number of swimmers are attending the event, coaches will also assist at the meet. For 2017-2018 the SCAY Parent Organization will cover registration fees for YMCA meets and USA meets on our calendar, please be mindful that the team is paying for these events when registering and only register if you plan to attend. Registration information and deadlines for meets outside our league schedule will be sent out as it becomes available. 
Team Wear:  Each swimmer is required to wear a SCAY team suit and cap (girls) for all swim meets. SwimOutlet will be hosting a team site for you to order your team suit directly! Additional SCAY logo team wear is available for parents & swimmers to purchase including sweat suits, tee shirts, carrying bags, etc. Other items such as goggles are available for purchase as well. Information on the specific items available and associated prices will be provided early in the fall season. Again please check the Aqualions page and emails frequently for this information.  Many deadlines are firm and additional quantities can’t be ordered.  Please be prompt.

Team Conduct:  The Aqualions family prides itself on having an excellent reputation of team conduct and pride both at meets and at practices. We are often “guests” at facilities and each individual’s actions are a reflection on the SCAY Aqualions team. Swimmers and family members should always conduct themselves in a manner that reflects the high standards that comprise the Aqualions program. 

Communications:  We use a variety of methods to try to make sure swimmers and their families receive information about what’s going on. These include:  • E-mail notifications: e-mails are sent frequently to update on a variety of topics including meets, practice, and other special events. Please make sure we have your preferred email address, check your e-mail often (daily), as this is our primary means of communication.  •  Swimmer Folders: each family is given a folder (mailbox) that is kept in the filing cabinet in the main lobby (near the bulletin board) at the YMCA. This is used for items which can’t be sent via e-mail such as notes specific to your family or swimmer.  • The SCAY website: posts all written communications, meet schedules, practice schedule changes, swimmer event times, volunteer sign-ups, as well as a copy of all e-mails sent by the coach and SCAY president. If your e-mail isn’t working, just check the website for updates! The website also contains important information such as volunteer opportunities for parents and driving directions to the sites.  • SCAY Aqualions bulletin board: The board is located across from the vending machines at the YMCA. It provides both general and specific information about meets and upcoming events. It also features photos of the coaching staff, team events, and “Swimmers of the Meet.”  If you have additional questions, please don’t hesitate to ask one of the coaches or any board member for further information. 
Volunteer Opportunities:  The activities of the SCAY Aqualions couldn’t happen without lots of help from volunteers, so all families are expected to volunteer at most events. Our volunteer coordinator this year is JoAnn Johnson. She will make sure that all volunteer positions are filled prior to the meets so that the meets run efficiently.  JoAnn will be contacting you if you have not signed up for a position before any meet your child is attending. 
Please ask the volunteer coordinator or any experienced team parent if you have questions about any positions. We can help you find something you enjoy and feel comfortable with. We are very happy to train volunteers for any position they are interested in trying! 

Activities:  In addition to the competitive swim meets, SCAY provides plenty of opportunities for swimmers to have fun as a group and get to know other individuals and families within the Aqualions family. We’ll let you know throughout the year as activities are planned. For example, our annual Late-Night is held in weekend of January and includes games, competitions, and food for swimmers and parents to enjoy. We also welcome your input and suggestions for additional activities for swimmer & family fun. 

Fundraising:  There are two main needs for additional funds: 1) to pay for team-related expenditures such as equipment for practices, YMCA meet entry fees, and meet operations, and 2) to help subsidize special swimmer activities such as the annual swimmer banquet. 
 We are very fortunate to now need only one major fundraiser per year. The PA YMCA State Swimming Championship is the culmination of the year for YMCA competition in Pennsylvania. SCAY (along with Bellefonte YMCA) is the host for the State Championship held at the Penn State Natatorium. This event requires a large number of volunteers to make it a success. Every family is expected to help in some way, even if they do not have a child swimming in the meet. States is held at the PSU Natatorium one weekend in March! This is a huge meet, and it is fun to make it happen and be a part of the excitement. 

Family Expectations: 
• Each family is expected to register their swimmer with the YMCA and complete the Google registration form found on the team webpage.  It is also expected that parents will read the weekly notes and know deadlines. 
 • Each family is expected to sign up for meets in a timely manner. Parents, please also communicate with the coach to avoid errors.   If signed up for a meet it is expected that your swimmer will participate in the meet.  Relays rely heavily on everyone attending.  If there is a chance of a no-show, please let your coach know as soon as possible. 
 • Each family signed up for a meet is expected to volunteer in some capacity at each meet your family attends. (One job consists of either set up before the meet, working one half of the meet, or tearing down after the meet.)   Areas you can help: Concessions, Timing, Scoring table (Colorado System), Officiating, Seating, Set up, Tear down
    • Each family is encouraged to make a concession donation for each home meet.  The concession coordinator will send an email the week of each home meet with what items are needed.
  Examples: Fruit, Donuts, Bagels, Pasta Dishes, Muffins, Ice
 • Each family is expected to make a pre-season donation of the following beverages. Place these near the team filing cabinet. 1-24 Case of water 1-12 Pack of Brand name soda  1-12 Pack of 12 oz. Gatorade
 States (March):  Please Note STATES is our Largest fundraiser of the season.  Without full participation we would not be able offer many of the perks!
 • Each family is expected to make a concession donation for the States Meet.
 • Each family is expected to sign up for at least two shifts at during the States Meet Weekend.