Zumba at MUSC Wellness Center (copy)

Robert Powell leads a Zumba class at the MUSC Wellness Center, which will end all youth programs later this year. 

The Medical University of South Carolina will end all youth programs at the Wellness Center after this summer.  

In an emailed letter to program participants, MUSC announced this month the Wellness Center will be ending all of their youth programs and activities on Aug. 31. This includes their youth swim program, nursery services, family swim and youth summer camp. 

In an emailed response to the Post and Courier, MUSC cited growing membership as a reason for the shift in programming. They currently have over 8,000 members. 

They were also receiving routine complaints from their adult members about children using the center. Those adults would often cite the commotion kids naturally make for their complaints said MUSC Spokeswoman Sheila Champlin in an emailed response. 

"To offer some of the children’s programs, we have had to cordon off portions of the Center, thereby making those areas unavailable to adult members," said Champlin in an emailed response. "At times, it has been inconvenient for members."

They plan to put more focus on programs for MUSC students and adult members of the community. 

"It's pretty much a shock to have the programs cut," said Amy Leaphart, a swim instructor who started teaching swim lessons at the Wellness Center in 2007.  

According to Leaphart, she and other staff members were informed about changes in April. She explained she was shocked because, to her knowledge, the programs have been very safe and a big revenue source for the Wellness Center.  

"We have a waiting list for the program," she said. 

Leaphart and some parents are hoping MUSC will reconsider stopping the program. Tara Denton, a James Island resident, sent a letter to MUSC looking for more information about the decision. 

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In response to her letter, she said MUSC reiterated that they wanted to get back to their core mission of working with MUSC students, staff and adults in general. 

Denton's 4-year-old daughter will be one of the last children to get swim lessons at the Wellness Center this summer.

While the sign-up sheet for swim lessons at the James Island Recreational Center is full, Denton is still hopeful to get her daughter in the pool. 

"It's so important," she said. "We live near the water; it's a survivor skill." 

Reach Jerrel Floyd at 843-937-5558. Follow him on Twitter @jfloyd134.