Thursday, December 4, 2014

Two Marietta YMCA’s have partnered together to make a difference in the community with its extensive camps and unique education programs.

Sports camps at the YMCA keep on winning

Marietta YMCA’s collaborate to maximize resources

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By Daniel Miller

MARIETTA, Ga. – If your child wants to participate and be involved in sports, both of Marietta’s YMCAs have an abundance of sports camps available to campers.

The McCleskey YMCA and the Northeast Cobb YMCA located within 10 miles of each other have collaborated together in order to provide campers with best sports camp experience possible.

“We have a variety of different sports camps,” sports camp Director Daniel Merriman said. “Each camp offers something new and unique. We have soccer which has the most kids in it, we have basketball camps, flag football camps, volleyball camps, and an all sports camp.”

The half-day soccer camp is held at the McClesky location and is for campers between the ages of 3 and 5 where they learn basic soccer skills. The indoor portion of the camp is held exclusively at the Northeast Cobb location, while the outdoor camp is held solely at the McCleskey YMCA. The outdoor camp takes campers from ages 5 to 12. In addition, there are junior tennis clinics year-round at both locations for everyone to be a part of.

One thing remains consistent in that all the sports camps share the same belief of honoring the four values the YMCA has implemented ever since its existence.

Those core values are honesty, responsibility, caring and respect.

“Camps are driven to put our YMCA beliefs into practice,” Merriman said. “We teach those values through these sports.”

A priority of Merriman and the whole sports camp staff is to make sure of during camp is that each child who participates will have a counselor and coach accessible for assistance.

”Normally the counselor to child ratio is a one to 10 ratio,” Merriman said. “Depends on the number of kids.”

With everything done in a relaxed environment, campers are taught the fundamentals, rules and technique each sport has, all while building teamwork skills.

“We provide a fun atmosphere for the kids and I think the parents see that,” Merriman said.









By Daniel Miller Dec. 3, 2014

MARIETTA, Ga. – Year in and out YMCA’s throughout the country have been a constant staple in providing children, teens and parents with an opportunity to grow.

Two YMCA locations located in Marietta, Georgia, showcase why this long-asting nonprofit organization has excelled. The McCleskey YMCA and the Northeast Cobb YMCA have partnered together to provide kids with a variety of different camps activities, and programs.

Katie Block, who has been the camp director since June 2012, is in charge of the day camps, teen camps, play center and the Y Matters program.










Katie Block (Photo by YMCA)

“There are so many different things that the YMCA offers,” said Block. “For camps specifically, kids really gain friends, ingrain connections, gain confidence, gain maturity and learn character values.”

With the YMCA being a nonprofit organization, it allows  it to do things differently from other places.

“All the partnerships the YMCA has are different,” Block said. “What comes out of them is going to be based on each Y.”

Camp Overview

The McClesky location has several camps it offers to kids of all ages. Half-day camps, teen camps, traditional full-day camps, and specialty full day camps along with sports camps and pre-school programming are all fun experiences kids from age 3 and up should take advantage of year round.

“Each camp is always interesting,” Block said.  “Something new happens every day. It (camp) can change on a minute by minute basis which I love.”

On a daily basis, campers can expect to have an assortment of classes such as dance, archery and gymnastics. These are some of the daily activities that are included in all the specialty camps.

If a child can’t partake during the school year, not to worry,  summer camps are offered at both locations.

“There has been research done that shows that these camps are extremely healthy,” Block said. “It teaches kids how to make friends, how to resolve conflict, how to have healthy adult relationships, and teaches them self-confidence.”

“Y” Matters and The Little School Program

There is a saying when one door closes, another door opens. Well, the YMCA tries to make sure that the door never closes with a unique program called the Y Matters campaign.

“Y” Matters is our campaign for education awareness and funds,” Block said.

Last year the program helped kids in low income households primarily in the Hispanic community who couldn’t afford to go to camp a chance at experiencing camp first hand.

“This campaign is nonprofit, and its promise is to strengthen the community,” Block said.

In addition, the YMCA sponsors the “little school” program which is funded through Y Matters.

“Little School is a unique program,” Block said. The goal of the Little School program is helping kids develop good social and behavioral skills before they enter kindergarten.

Specialty Camps

For all the parents out there, plenty of options exist in choosing that perfect camp for your child.

There is the explorer camp featuring anyone from the ages 5-8 that are both full day and half day. Each camp session has its own themes such as under the sea, Olympics, super heroes, and holidaze amongst others.

Circus began last year is a new camp that has generated a lot of attention. This camp allows campers to collaborate and practice how to unicycle, tumble, magic tricks, face painting. The camp is held at the Northeast Cobb location.

Also included is a teen camp which offers teens ages 13-15 a chance to expand their social, work and leadership skills. The camp is involved in several community service projects and the camp can only have 13 campers.

Team iPhone or Team Android?

By Daniel Miller

In the early days of this millennium, Google and Apple used to be pretty good partners. But ever since Google invented its own smartphone operating system the Android, the relationship between the two companies has been rocky at best. Now, Google and Apple are bitter rivals in just about everything.


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I have always been under the impression that Apple sets the tone when it comes to the latest and best technologies. The number one reason is that Apple seems to have a perfect plan for everything; from the color design to advertising, Apple just knows how to market better and to relate to the era we live in better than Google. The latest thing Apple did to boost its self from Google is offer anyone a $200 trade in for anyone that had good condition 4 and 4s phones.

So which phone is better? After comparing the way each phone handles several important tasks, it was an easy call. Android’s fine but Apple’s even finer. Reaching this decision was not easy.

I’ll start with the Android phone as there features can vary from phone to phone.  The phone has an open-source software, which gives phone makers like Samsung Corp. and HTC Corp. the ability to add their own special tweaks. Basic things such as searching for the settings control is not a challenge. Just pull down the notifications bar at the top of the screen and there it is. Want to add app shortcuts to a screen? Just touch it to view your options.

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Unfortunately for Google, Apple has caught on. The new iOS 7 software has caught up in a big way. It now has Control Center, a menu that pulls up from the bottom of the screen. The Control Center allows instant access to a bunch of vital utilities such as airplane mode, screen brightness, music volume, a timer, and a calculator. It even has a flashlight mode, so there is no need to download a separate app for that. You can do all these things with an Android, but not quite so easily. Advantage: Apple.

Android originally did come up with the idea of posting notifications of incoming messages on a pull-down menu at the top of the screen, but Apple is once again one upping Google. In my opinion the iOS version has always been superior to Android’s and in iOS 7 it has gotten much better.

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I especially like what is called the  “today feature”, which can tell you the day’s appointments, the local weather, and even a preview of what is in store for tomorrow. In this area, the Android has a lot of catching up to do.

How about phone security?  The first thing that comes to mind is t he fingerprint scanner on the new iPhone 5s. It is cool, but the only problem is that a team of hackers have already figured out how to beat it.   Androids also have password protection, too.  But what puts the iPhone over the Android in this category is the Find My iPhone feature.  Having the Find My iPhone app allows users the opportunity to find there lost or misplaced phone and potentially feel a little less stressful along the way.

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The new iOS 7 also just added a kill switch that can remotely lock the phone to make it permanently useless to thieves. But Android has closed the gap on security. Last month, it launched the Android Device Manager, a website where a user can see their phone’s location on a map. How it works is that people can order it to blast out a ringtone, or delete stored information to it. Still for now advantage Apple (for now anyway)

Another feature that both Androids and iPhones do is they have excellent speech recognition tools. Before I switched to the iPhone I had an HTC Sense and to be honest Google Now worked better than the ever so famous Siri. Google Now is great for all kinds of online searching, and it even launches the apps on Android phones with a voice command. But the iOS 7 Siri upgrade has now pushed Apple back into the lead. It is much faster than the previous edition, with a more pleasant, human-sounding voice (female or male). And it has a heap of features that Androiders can only dream of. You can ask Siri to read your e-mail aloud, play a favorite piece of music, or run a hashtag search on Twitter. I have no doubt that Google will soon pull even, but for now, give it up for Apple.

Bottom line is ever since I left the Android world to the iPhone world, I initially believed Android was better all-around and now I believe Apple is better, but not significantly better. The simple things such as screen size, weight of the phone and default wallpapers can ultimately be the deciding factors for many people including myself on which phone to get. That’s all it takes as both these companies have battled one another to steal and pick at each other’s strengths and to try to add and or create any weaknesses.


Mobilization equals Domination

 By Daniel Miller

Social media has transformed the way we live in more ways than one.  


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In today’s modern age of technology everyone is trying to come up with the next great trend that will alter the way we live. The NFL is no exception to that as they have recently released a new mobile app that will allow fans all across the world to watch football games with a smartphone in hand.

For many people, fall goes hand in hand with football as time is spent with family and friends enjoying games, appetizers, and a cold beverage or two.  But what if you can’t always watch your favorite games from home?  


Since its creation, the NFL has always done an outstanding job in marketing and promoting the sport, and with the creation of this app, the NFL has taken another step forward in further enhancing the game experience for all its football fans including myself.

With that being said, Verizon Wireless is the first major phone carrier having this app as they have signed on as the NFL’s exclusive mobile media partner and official wireless sponsor. Now the app is available for iOS, Android, BlackBerry and Windows Phone devices.

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What I like about this is no matter what you have going on, or where you have to be, this app provides fans of America’s number one sport unprecedented access to information about everyone’s favorite teams, players and games. The app brings forth the most recent news and information, including in-depth profiles of current players and draft prospects, team updates, mock drafts, expert analysis, and more. It also allows users to watch NFL Network, including live coverage of the NFL draft. 

Furthermore, the app is especially great for all the Fantasy Football owners out there.   

There are other features to this app as users can buy merchandise from the NFL Shop and tickets from the NFL Ticket Exchanger directly within the app.  The NFL is also latching onto new second-screen experiences via its new app with two features called Thursday Night Football Xtra and A Football Life Xtra that complement the company’s programming. Additionally, a section devoted to NFL.com Fantasy football will let consumers with an NFL.com account log-in to manage their team.

Fans all across the country look forward to seeing their favorite NFL team or teams play each week and what started out as a league of just two teams has turned into a multi-billion dollar industry with 32 teams and millions of fans. Just think for a second of where the NFL was just a few years ago to where it is now.  It’s simply amazing.

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