By Kathy L. Collins

Area YMCA’s are about more than just a place to work out or go for a swim. The Campo Family YMCA for instance offers a host of activities such as The Needle Craft Happy Stitchers Club.

This club is for members of the YMCA and meets on Mondays from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. This club is perfect for anyone who likes to knit, crochet or hand sew. Beginners and all skill levels are welcome.

This club was suggested by YMCA member, Debbie Wieder who said, “I was looking for others who crochet.” There is no cost to join but you must bring your own tools and materials. Wieder said, “The group is all about comradery.” Wieder added, “I love to crochet. I find it very relaxing.”

Another member, Maggie Horvelt said, “We have lots of fun in the group. We trade patterns and help each other.”

In addition to having fun and feeling a connection with one another, the group provides a great community service. The members produce lapghans (knitted or crocheted blankets) which are given to members of the YMCA who participate in the cancer survivors LiveStrong program. Wieder explained why the group does this. “Everyone has been touched by cancer. The people who receive the blankets love them,” Wieder said.

Horvelt said, “As someone who spent years in a wheelchair. I can tell you that the blankets come in handy. When you cannot get up, you get cold. Cancer patients who have to sit in a room waiting for chemotherapy get cold too because of their condition, and the blankets help keep them warm.”

The group is also producing little red hats that will be donated to the American Heart Association for their Little Hats Big Hearts program. The hats will be given to newborns born in the month of February. There are eight hospitals in the Tampa Bay area that are participating. The group’s hats will be donated to All Children’s Hospital.

Kavita Marballi, AOA Coordinator for the Campo and North Brandon YMCA said, “Groups like the knitting club encourage members to come together, make new friends and learn something new.” Marballi added, “There groups form an essential component of a well-rounded set of offerings that promote the development of mind, body and spirit.”
For information on this club and others offered at the Campo Family YMCA, please visit www.tampaymca.org/campo/.