2015 Winter Camp at Camp Chief Hector

Come to camp in the winter!

Skate on Dew Drop Pond, carve ice from Lake Chilver and discover your camp during the winter. Play outside in the snow and on the ice – skate, hike and build snow forts. Then come inside to warm up and enjoy a satisfying meal. Bring warm clothes, skates and a helmet, bedding, toiletries and pyjamas. Bring nordic (cross-country) ski gear if you have it.

Winter Camp 325

Winter Camp | 10-13Y
Camp Chief Hector YMCA
Jan 30 – Feb 1, 2015 | 7pm Friday – 1pm Sunday

Fees include shared, indoor accommodations, meals, and activities.

*Return transportation is available from the Crowfoot YMCA in Calgary at no additional cost.

To register, call 403-269-6156 or 1-866-430-9622.

Caring and Respect Shine Within YMCA Child Development Centres

Young children are naturals when it comes to giving hugs and expressing their fondness for the special people in their lives. They are also very willing, and able, to contribute to the happiness and well-being of others through their kind actions.

Children aged 19 months – 6 years attending licensed YMCA Child Development Centres learn about and practice our four core values – respect, caring, honesty and responsibility. Caregivers provide opportunities for children to practice demonstrating these qualities as well as identify and celebrate situations in which children have done so.

The holiday season easily lends itself to providing ways for all of us to demonstrate the core values of respect and caring. Our childcare centre staff, volunteers and children support this by –

  • hosting family events so families can connect with one another
  • having children and caregivers work together to create seasonal room and centre decorations
  • having children prepare thoughtful cards and gifts for others
  • supporting families in need through branch and centre initiatives such as Adopt-a-Family
  • honouring cultural differences within program activities
  • recognizing the many ways that people celebrate the season

For ideas on how to further develop core values within your child here are some examples of how children in our centres demonstrate respect, caring, honesty and responsibility.


  • Taking turns
  • Listening when someone else is talking
  • Using words to solve a problem rather than physical actions


  • Inviting another child to play
  • Comforting a friend who is upset
  • Helping another child to accomplish a task they are struggling with


  • Telling the truth even when it is hard
  • Letting a caregiver know if a toy has been broken or a piece lost
  • Learning to differentiate between their imagination and reality


  • Cleaning up toys and equipment when they are done playing
  • Storing personal items in their locker
  • Following the safety guidelines that are in place

Wishing you and your family warmth and joy this holiday season.



Winter Break Day Camps: The Colourful Side of Winter

The snow is finally here and it is beginning to feel like winter, but don’t keep that as a reason to stay cooped up indoors.  Start your planning now for the winter break and get you and your kids out of the house!

The winter break is not a time to sit at home, it is a time to run, play, and be free from a busy school schedule (it is also a great way to un-schedule some time)!  Youth between the ages of 3-13yrs can visit their local YMCA and spend their day swimming, climbing, learning new games, playing sports, making new friends, creating art…

Speaking of art, let us explore this one area a little deeper.  Everything seems so white outside right now, but what does that mean?

White: Is associated with authority, sterility, spaciousness, purity, and nausea?  White florescent light and white walls causes eye fatigue and ill feelings.


That last part doesn’t sound too good.  White light is made up of different colours though, let us teach you a bit of what they mean…

Green: Gets creative juices flowing, is the symbol for growth, both physically and psychologically, and sparks our creative side.  It causes us to think outside the box.

imgp1323Yellow: Is a mood lifter.  It has been shown to make people more lively and talkative as well as improve focus and concentration.

Red: Hurts exam scores and is associated with a fear of failure.  It is linked to success.  It is a very dynamic colour, where it has been shown to increase respiration and heart rate, intensity and energy.

Blue: Makes us feel comfortable in a room, causing people to stay longer.  It has a soothing effect, slows heart rate, and boosts your ability to think outside the box like green.

Purple: Is seen as girly, fun, and innocent.  It is just softer version of red so it is not all calming.


This is only some of the new things to explore this winter break.  Dig deeper, explore the world, get active and try something new to find your colourful YMCA Day Camp experience.  YMCAs across the city are offering Day Camps throughout the winter break from 8:30am-4:30pm, with Pre-Care and Post-Care options available.

Dates this year for camps are December 22, 23, 24, 29, 30, 31 and January 2.  Days are $33 for members and $37 for non-members.

Open your eyes to the world around you and let us help you explore your colourful side with the YMCA Winter Break Day Camps.  Check out our program guide here!

Get moving (partially to stay warm) and register for your YMCA Day Camp experience today!


New Exciting Programs for 2015

Now that January is here, it’s a great time to resume a healthy active lifestyle. YMCA Calgary offers a variety of programs for all ages and fitness levels. You can still find all of your favourite programs plus get inspired with some new choices to keep you moving towards your 2015 wellness goals!

Self Defense at Crowfoot
Bellyfit® at Saddletowne
Western Dance at Eau Claire
Tae Kwon Do at South Health Campus YMCA
Preschool Yoga at Shawnessy

Please call Member Services at your branch for more information and to register.

western_000036427002Large  martial arts_000008268517 Little Boy Smiling Legs crossed_116743813

YMCA Shawnessy Profile: Trudy Halvorsen

Trudy head shot

Name: Trudy Halvorsen

Position: Childcare Director, Shawnessy YMCA

Years at YMCA: 10 years with the YMCA, 4 years as childcare director in Shawnessy.

Describe your role:

I look after both the child care area and the child minding area. I’m the liaison between management, my team, the parents and the children. I help maintain the health and safety standards and help make sure we can meet the needs of our members and volunteers.

What made you choose the YMCA?

What it stands for. I love that there’s a solid four core values and that when we are in any situation, those four core values are displayed. I love that we’re passionate about helping kids, youth and everybody else, and that we focus on building community.

What makes the YMCA childcare different from other centres?

I think our staff sets us above and beyond any other centre. They have an amazing amount of personal experience to bring to the table, and when you add that to the training and what we stand for, it brings a strong team together to deliver quality care.

How has the YMCA positively impacted your life?

I’ve brought my children up on the four core values – respect, responsibility, honesty and caring. There’s also the drive to want to be a part of something bigger than standard childcare. At the YMCA, we have the opportunity to do so much more in the community.

What has your best experience here been?

I have two. My general story with the Y is one. I opened the childcare centre at the Y in 2002 and then went on maternity leave in 2004. I didn’t come back right away, but when I was ready to come back in 2012, it just so happened that the person I trained to take over my position was leaving to raise her small family, so I applied and ended up getting the position. Not many people end up in the same job, same desk and the same position after they’ve left for a few years. I think it speaks to how I feel about the Y because I honestly don’t think I would work anywhere else in childcare.

My other best experience is the feedback about the impact we make as a team. We see it when a child is able to stack 10 blocks this week when last week they could only stack five, or when a child realizes that two plus two is four. It’s that light bulb going off.

What is your favourite thing about working at the YMCA?

It’s different every day. I’m excited to work with the people that I work with, they’re a fun group of people. Our team here is absolutely phenomenal. Not just in childcare but the whole team within the Shawnessy Y.

What would you say to someone thinking about joining the Shawnessy YMCA?

You are about to experience something incredible, so be open to what we have to offer and the experiences you’ll gain here.

A Parent’s Perspective of the Eau Claire Child Development Centre

Contributed by Michelle Whitney

Emilia with her Mom, Michelle, in front of her new school

Emilia with her Mom, Michelle, in front of her new school

My daughter, Emilia, started kindergarten this September. It was a bitter sweet moment. She has been a cherished part of the Eau Claire daycare and we both miss the daycare that was her second home. Both of us started our day warmly greeted by staff and made to feel like we were welcomed and belonged.

Various stations would greet the children; some days it was a dress up, circus, restaurant or a veterinary clinic. Other days the children would get their bathing suits on for swimming lessons and pool play time. Children participate in outdoor activities either on a field trip or on the outdoor play structure. My daughter loved field trip days – she travelled to the zoo, Home Depot, pet stores, the library and even a farm! Tanya, her teacher, loves the park and Emilia would regale me with the great adventures they had.

Below freezing days would see the children upstairs in the YMCA gym participating in games and performing tumbling activities. Plus 15 adventures ensured everyone stayed warm but had the opportunity to get moving.

I loved the open door policy – I would travel upstairs and have lunch with my daughter and her friends and teachers. Communal meals and snacks were such an important part of socializing.

The daycare follows the YMCA Playing to Learn philosophy which, as an educator, I find to be an effective way to engage and educate children. Children would express an interest in an activity and the rest of the week would be centred on that activity. For example, the children were interested in babies. Tanya brought in baby food for the children to taste test, which proved to be quite funny. The children studied a baby’s actions to determine it’s needs, learned about human development and about safety. This activity also taught the children about empathy.

My daughter was very well prepared for kindergarten. Children thrive on structure and stable environments. She takes pride in knowing that it is appropriate to put your hand up if you would like a turn speaking in a group. She understands the importance of ‘indoor’ and ‘outdoor’ voices. She can write her name, knows her alphabet and can count to twenty. Fine and gross motor skills were practiced at the YMCA through a range of play-based activities. She was allowed to freely express her imagination and felt safe in taking risks. Through physical activity she has become agile and confident.

I would highly recommend the Eau Claire YMCA centre to any parent. In fact, I was responsible for referring a parent whose child starts next month. The staff are well trained and professional but are also warm and empathetic. They do not hesitate to smother my daughter with hugs when they see her come back for a visit. I was confident that if she scraped her knee she would be gently snuggled and her hair stroked until she felt better. After all, as a parent this is all we want for our child – to know that they are loved.

YMCA Calgary operates licensed Child Development Centres in our Eau Claire, Saddletowne and Shawnessy locations. We are preparing to expand our impact with new centres in YMCA facilities in Quarry Park, Rocky Ridge, and Seton. These amazing new spaces will help us support young children to belong, grow and thrive!

The Joys of Winter Running

I love winter running. I love putting on 4 layers of clothing and trekking through the snow for many kilometers. Some call me crazy, but it is a whole new fitness experience and a truly beautiful way to spend part of your day.

Winter running takes some getting used to and the first run is always the hardest, especially if you make the mistakes that I did!

My first winter run, I had no idea what to wear. I thought a t-shirt, a hoodie, shorts and sweatpants would suffice because you always warm up a bit in a run. However, at -15C this set up was not going to be enough.

I started the run a little chilly, but that is almost always a great way to start a run as you will not overheat. I hit about 3 kilometres and realized that I was not warming up at all. By 5 kilometres, I felt like a giant Popsicle…a giant, unhappy Popsicle at that. At 6 km, I questioned my life choices and wondered why on earth I did this to myself.

As I passed the 8 km mark, I was under 2 km from my house. It is at this point when all runners have non-running thoughts. “This is horrible! Why would I go for a run today?! The outdoors is a terrible, evil place. I bet McDonalds wouldn’t be cold right now! I should have just ordered pizza and watched Netflix in my bed. I am throwing out my shoes the minute I get home. AAAAHHHH!”

fun run runners

A father- daughter running team during 2014 Eau Claire YMCA Family Fun Run & 10K

Good news folks! I made it home and I didn’t have any adverse medical condition upon arrival! However, I did learn the biggest lesson of my running career. If you are going to start winter running, you need the right gear. I HIGHLY suggest going to The Running Room, getting long running pants, winter running hat, and an excellent windbreaker. I promise I am not being paid by The Running Room to plug this in the article. I just believe in the products that they offer. For a small investment, you will be protected from the cold and you will be able to be successful as you tackle this new, satisfying challenge.

Living in Calgary, we have all come to terms with having three seasons: Winter, Almost Winter, and Construction. You either hide from winter or you go out in it! To avoid the monotony of continuous treadmill use and get into the great outdoors more, I suggest becoming a winter runner. The first few runs are tough, but getting out into nature has incredible mental and physical health benefits. You will feel amazing that you are tough enough to stand in Mother Nature’s frosty grasp, laugh, and run faster than the cold winds.

Get Ready for Winter with Exciting Program Options

yoga_000021075850 Zumba Toddlers Playing

You can always rely on YMCA Calgary programs to help promote healthy lifestyles and build spirit, mind and body for children, youth, adults and families.

Registration for Winter Programs begins on November 24 for YMCA members and on December 15 for the general public.

Winter Day Camps – Need something for your child to do during Winter break? Winter Day Camp registration has begun! Sign-up your child for a week of fun at your YMCA location.

This Winter, make sure to reserve a spot in one of our wide variety of recreational Programs and Winter Break Day Camps!

Lead A Friend to Health and See the Rewards


The Lead a Friend to Health promotion is back and for all the right reasons. From the goodness of your heart… help others start a healthy lifestyle!

From November 1-30, referring members receive a special thank you gift from YMCA Calgary when friends join. When your friends sign-up, you receive YCredits!

Use your Y Credits towards:

  • Experiencing the Plus Locker Room
  • Registering for a new program you haven’t tried
  • Trying 5 different programs with a Flex Pass
  • Discovering new heights with Indoor climbing programs
  • Enjoying worry-free workouts using YMCA Babysitting Services

Helping others start a healthy lifestyle is a wonderful way to build healthy communities together. Share your YMCA experience and encourage friends, colleagues and family to join.

Promotion runs November 1-30. Visit Member Services at your YMCA Location to get started.


Your Opinion Counts!

We are very excited to launch YMCA Calgary’s online annual impact survey! Because everyone’s opinion is very important to us, both members and the general public can participate.

Your feedback on your experience at the YMCA will help identify ways that we can better meet the needs and expectations of all the people who are connected with us.

If you are a YMCA Calgary member or participant, or a parent or guardian or a member or participant, or feel you have a connection to YMCA Calgary: we’d love to hear from you.

The fun part of launching this survey is the associated contest. All survey participants also have chances to winsome cool YMCA prizes!

Spend 5 to 20 minutes to provide feedback and get the link to enter the contest. Thanks for sharing your YMCA experience with us. GOOD LUCK!

Click here to access the survey!

Anytime during the year, you are also welcome to fill out an online comment card to let us know how we are doing. Thank you for being a part of our YMCA community!