Summer Fun for Families Affected by Cancer

February 20th, 2018

As the Outreach Coordinator for UNC-Chapel Hill’s chapter of Camp Kesem, Gabe Gonzalez, longtime Granite Falls Camp Counselor, is looking for any families that would be interested in attending Camp Kesem, a weeklong summer camp for kids with parents who currently have or have had cancer.

The organization is entirely run by college students who, as counselors, put on an incredible experience for the kids, allowing them to engage in activities such as archery, kayaking, swimming, and of course, s’mores by a campfire. The entire experience is absolutely FREE for the families and completely fundraised by the counselors over the academic year (check out Gabe’s fundraising page). Camp Kesem is meant to serve as an escape of sorts from whatever the kids are dealing with emotionally at home.

This year, they are growing their chapter and actively trying to recruit new campers, so if you know any families that have had a parent affected by cancer that you think would be interested in attending Camp Kesem or you want to get involved, please send Gabe an email or refer them to his email address at uncchapelhill.outreach@campkesem.org.

Youth Programs Change- Letter from Susan

February 6th, 2018

There’s some changes coming to the Youth Programs Department in the next few months. Read the note below from our Youth Programs Director, Susan Bayer.

February 6, 2018

Dear GF Families and Friends,

I wanted to write you and let you know what’s stirring in my heart as you will undoubtedly hear that I will be resigning from my position as Youth Programs Director later this year. First of all, it’s all good news for me and my family. I am choosing to leave our incredible program in order to find out what God has in store for my family and me. For years, I’ve thrown my life and full energy into this role with so many other aspects of who I am being pushed to the back burner in the process. It has gotten to the point where I have to choose whether or not to continue bearing this awesome weight of responsibility or take a step back and figure out what the next phase of my family’s life is going to look like. This was one of the most difficult decisions of my life. I love Granite Falls Swim and Athletic Club, the Youth Programs in particular, and I love your kids. I’m so sad to go, but I’m honored to have been a part of such a special place that has always felt like family. My desire is to see the program continue to grow and for those who remain and come after me to build upon all the good we have experienced for years.

Since even before opening day of the Club in July 2009, I’ve been an employee of the Youth Programs Department and have seen the Department, along with the Club, grow in unimaginable ways: from just a handful of kids in KidZone to an average of over a hundred per day, 20 kids each month at Parents’ Night Out up to 50, a Junior Camp Counselor program that strives to build the Youth Programs team of the future, a handful of small summer camps to 52 weeks of camp per year.…it has all been absolutely indescribable with amazing staff, epic memories, fantastic parents, and the best kids from around this area all being a part of it. God has been SO faithful in how he has blessed the Youth Programs Department and my life through it and it has been my privilege to play a small role and have a front-row seat to a place that is so unique in how it epitomizes loving and caring for each other. I now understand the word “bittersweet” a little more deeply than I could ever have before.

I also wanted to reassure you of the future of the Youth Programs Department. We already have been and will continue to work hard to make sure all aspects of it do not miss a beat in the transition. It is my desire for all the programs this year to be the best ever. I am confident that the Youth Programs team will remain as committed as ever and I will, if asked, be available to assist with anything the new Youth Programs Director and team may need.

I hope that Granite Falls Swim and Athletic Club will continue to be my family’s center of community in the years to come and I hope to run into you all and share with you my excitement for the future. Thank you for your support as I’ve tried to provide a safe, fun, and engaging program for your kids over the past 9 years.

With much love,

Susan Bayer
Youth Programs Director
Granite Falls Swim and Athletic Club

Don’t be THAT Parent

January 23rd, 2018

You’ve started off the New Year with a bang when it comes to your workouts. You’re sticking to a schedule and showing up. You’re making progress…seeing old clothes fit again, watching the number on the scale drop, feeling energetic and able to keep up with your kids…speaking of kids…there goes a sneeze…wait for it…nose being  blown…aaaaannnnnddddd…

”MOM!  I don’t feel so good!” OH NO! Panic sets in as you realize you won’t be able to go to the gym because your child has to go to the KidZone while you work out and you can’t possibly bring him since he is sick. But, wait, you think, is he really that sick…it’s only an hour…he’ll be fine…right?


Don’t be THAT parent. You know the one. The one who forgets to think about how quickly germs can spread to other kids, not to mention staff, from shared toys, shared spaces, and shared bodily fluids. (Don’t get all grossed out.  I’m only, mostly, talking about sneezes, noses wiped on arms, fingers and toys in mouth type of shared bodily fluids.) Your workout can wait or you can be creative and try an at-home workout (Google is your best friend for this).

In case you are unsure, here is an excerpt from the KidZone Parent Manual to guide in you in your “should I bring my child to the KidZone when sick” decision. Please decide wisely.

When should I keep my child at home?

Please be sure to use good judgment if your child is demonstrating any signs of sickness. We want to keep our other children and staff healthy. Please do not bring your child if he/she are exhibiting signs of the following as you will be asked to take him/her home for the best interest of all parties:

  • A fever at or over 100.0 degrees F within the last 24 hours
  • A continuous runny nose or cough that is not allergy related
  • Diarrhea or vomiting within the last 24 hours
  • Undiagnosed skin rashes, sores or other conditions
  • Sore throat
  • Any other contagious symptoms within the last 24 hours

Carolina for the Kids

December 26th, 2017


Tuesday January 2nd will be KidZone Carolina for the Kids Coin Collection Day – All KidZone kids (AM and PM) are encouraged to bring in any spare change they have and donate in the container Isabella will have in the KidZone. Let’s see how much money KidZone kids can raise in one day!

Please click here to go directly to the Go Fund Me page.

Carolina for the Kids Homepage

M.A.C. Gift Card Drive + Community Coat Drive

November 21st, 2017

We have two wonderful community charity drives this month. Please read below and don’t hesitate to email us if you have any questions.


Many of you are familiar with our charitable partner, Mercy for America’s Children (M.A.C.). They are a local, non-profit organization founded by club members, Pam and Mac Taylor, that supports foster care families and promotes adoption through the foster care system.

Mercy for America’s Children works especially hard this time of year to ensure the kids have a happy holiday season. While you may see many toy drives around town, often the teens in foster care are overlooked. Granite Falls would like to help them out again this year by asking for gift card donations to age appropriate stores. Smaller increments are best ($5 or $10) so that they can be shared with the most teens possible. Stores like GameStop, Target, Walmart are GREAT! They also love iTunes and Google Play.

The next time you are out shopping for your family, take a moment to think about these kids that face many struggles and obstacles. If you feel compelled to help, please pick up an inexpensive gift card and drop it off at the front desk. We will collect them through December 23rd.

Last year we were able to donate many gift cards that were well received and much appreciated. Thanks in advance for your generosity!

We are also collecting coats for a Community Coat Drive. Please drop off your new or clean, gently used coats (adult and kids’ sizes) at our box in the front foyer. You can drop off coats until Friday, December 8.

Thank you in advance for helping our local community members.