Get your game on
By Susan Shinn
All right, kids, are you ready to get your game on?
You better be, ’cause you’ve never exercised like this before.
Xrkade is the centerpiece of the Buck Hurley Youth Center at the J.F. Hurley Family YMCA. The $1.5 million youth center, a gift from the Hurley family, opens Wednesday.
Xrkade combines fast-paced video games with exercise ó exergaming, if you will.
“They won’t even know they’re exercising,” says Kenny Seagle, the Y’s facility services director who will serve as youth center coordinator.
With nearly two dozen pieces of equipment, Xrkade has video games with which kids will be familiar ó featuring snowboarding, boxing, skateboarding, dancing, motocross, kickboxing and more.
“Kids will be right at home,” says Sandy Flowers, the Y’s executive director.
The youth center also includes a gym for members ages middle-school and younger. The addition has restrooms and additional storage space.
All members must go through a one-hour orientation before coming to Xrkade. You can sign up now at the front desk.
Eventually, classes will be offered by age and gender, but for now, Seagle just wants to get everyone through orientation.
Orientation includes a 15-minute instruction period, followed by 45 minutes for play.
Because everyone must go through orientation, Seagle says, “It’s not gonna hit the ground running as fast as we would like.”
The Hurley Y is the second Y in North Carolina to get Xrkade. The other Y is in Avery County.
When school is in session, adults may use Xrkade. There will also be family time scheduled.
Both the gym and Xrkade will be supervised at all times by Y employees or “coaches.”
Xrkade hours will be 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Friday; 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday; and 1-5 p.m. Sunday.
Xrkade is available for birthday parties.
“My son Andrew is going to have his birthday party here, and he’s already going crazy,” says Ester Marsh, whose son will turn 8 on July 3.
Russell Walker, 18, a senior at North Rowan High School, was among a group of youth members who got a sneak peek of the Xrkade last week.
He and a friend played Gran Turismo.
“Whoo! I loved it,” he said, dripping with sweat after pedaling during the game. “It’s good exercise. The kids have something to do now. I’m tired now!”
Youth basketball games will be played in the new Y. The goals can be lowered automatically from 10 feet to 8 feet, and the court divided for practices.
Seagle also notes that cheerleading competitions and adult dances may be held here.
The gym will also serve as the home base for summer camp.
The former Fun Zone for children ages 5-10 has been moved to the front of the building. The computer room was left as is, and there’s now separate nursery space for infants and toddlers.
“This is opening up a lot more space for everybody,” Flowers says.
Marsh says that the Y has tried various programs aimed at kids ó with no success.
She knows Xrkade will be different.
“It’s new and fun and they’re moving while they’re doing it,” she says. “It’s at the right place and the right time.”
For more information about the Buck Hurley Youth Center, call the J.F. Hurley Family YMCA at 704-636-0111.