Writing on Stone

Writing on Stone - Y7G

On May 12th, 2016, as we were about to bring our program to a close for the year, we went to Writing on Stone Provincial Park with our Y7G youth. We wanted to take our Aboriginal youth out of their hectic urban environments, and bring them out onto the land of the Kainai Nation.

The bus ride on the way to Writing on Stone was filled with chatter and laughter, as lasting friendships had grown between the youth that had been involved in Y7G throughout the year. As we left the noisy city behind us, I knew that we would be experiencing something profoundly special. The land far to the south of Calgary was still, quiet, and hauntingly beautiful. I watched out the window as the prairie landscape unfolded before us. As we arrived at our destination, the landscape changed drastically. The river at Writing on Stone Provincial park was surrounded by hoodoo rock formations (which legend tells were once people, petrified into the landscape), sacred hills where many had gone on vision quests, and massive rock faces filled with ancestral art. Words truly cannot do justice to the beauty of this land, and as the youth filed off the bus, and gazed over it all, they could immediately see why we had driven so far to take them there. You could feel the land speak to you here, and it would tell you stories of the hundreds of ceremonies that had taken place in this sacred place.

On this trip, we were able to have an elder, Randy Bottle, come out with us and share his knowledge. The youth had already built a connection with this elder, since we had him come out to class many times to work with the youth and help them to grow as young Aboriginal leaders in the community. Randy had been to this territory numerous times and had what seemed like an infinite amount of stories to share with the youth.

Our tour guide, Camina, began by taking us to a path that wound alongside the rock faces that held the famous ancestral art of the Blackfoot people. It was incredible to behold an ancient form of communication that was still withstanding the test of time, over a thousand years later – it was as if our ancestors were sharing their stories with us right before our very eyes. Each picture told a different story, and could be interpreted many different ways by the many eyes that looked upon them. Camina pointed out a strange looking animal and asked the youth what they saw – immediately answers were being shouted out: “pig”, “deer”, “badger”, “beaver”, “buffalo”. Each student, with their unique experiences, had a unique perspective on what the ancestors were trying to communicate. All in all, these pictures all told a story of perseverance – although the rock that they were drawn upon was soft and crumbly, despite the markings of bullet holes from Mounted Police practicing their target shots when they were stationed here, and despite the modern graffiti covering the rock faces, the drawings remained for us to see. I saw this as a metaphor for the resilience of the Aboriginal people and their culture – and I saw this resilience in each and every one of my youth throughout the year as they connected with culture and learned to keep it alive in themselves so that future generations could walk down the same path.

After walking the length of just some of the rock art that was present on this land, we gathered indoors and sat in circle around our elder to hear the teachings that he wanted to offer our youth. We then went around the circle and each student spoke of their experience that day – almost all of them said that they wanted to come back to this land, spend a night or two camped out and receiving the full experience that this sacred land has to offer them. I was happy to see how quickly they connected to this place.

I feel incredibly blessed to have been able to offer this experience to our YMCA 7th Generation youth, and seeing the impact it had on them was well worth it. I hope to be able to share this same experience with future Y7G youth who are looking to connect to land, culture and history in a profound and meaningful way.

Why YMCA summer camps can keep your kids active for life


Officially starting July 4th, this year’s YMCA summer camps are going to provide growth and development through active movement and play with a focus on physical literacy. Physical literacy specialist Seann Mahon has recently joined the Y for one purpose: to help your child build important physical literacy skills.

Seann has a Physical Education and Recreation degree from the University of Alberta and is now working on a second degree  with specialization in elementary physical education. He has international experience, working with physical literacy programs (in Cambodia) with the organization Play Around the World. He was also a YMCA Child and Youth Director in Edmonton and Calgary. Our specialist, Seann, ensures our camps are developed and delivered to guarantee campers are building optimum foundational skills while at camp.


“There will be more exposure on the different ways to move,” says Seann.  “The more exposure a child has to physical literacy, the more likely that child is to succeed and participate in physical activities as a teenager and adult. It sets children up for success. When your child wants to skate or bike or climb in the future, they will be more successful if they have the building blocks of physical literacy. These programs try to combat a growing sedentary culture and YMCA camps provide a creative and fun way for kids to learn and move. ”

Physical literacy and learning fundamental body movements through play will be an even bigger focus of YMCA camps. Seann will provide training sessions to camp counselors through the summer so they can incorporate intentional movement into camps. This will give your child the skills to participate in activities as a youth and adult.

The camp curriculum will encourage more active play through games and activities in an effort to maximize participation and prepare kids physically and mentally for the future.

Sign up for camp! Spots are filling fast.

YMCA Stampede Breakfasts: Which One are You Going To?




Join us at a location near your or do the YMCA stampede breakfast circuit! Free pancakes and a great opportunity to connect with those in your community. See you in July!


Gray Family Eau Claire YMCA

Wednesday, July 13: 7am-9am


Saddletowne YMCA: Genesis Centre

Friday, July 15: 9am-11am


Shawnessy YMCA

Tuesday, July 12:  7am-10am


Melcor YMCA at Crowfoot

Friday, July 15: 7:30am-9am

Finding Time

You’ve packed your bag the night before, filled your water bottle, packed the kid’s snacks and booked her into child-minding.  She wakes up with a fever.  Sigh.

You got all of your paperwork filed, you’ve had your morning snack and have a packed lunch to eat at your desk after a lunch-time run. Your phone rings, and it’s a client crisis that just can’t wait.  Sigh.

No matter what the scenario that you’re hit with, the one thing that gets missed in your day always seems to be you.  For a workout veteran, this can be disappointing, frustrating, changing the mood and course of your entire day.  For a rookie, this can be catastrophic, completely derailing your momentum.

How can you combat this?  Here are five not-so-average body weight exercises that you can do at home or in the office with absolutely no equipment.  Before you even begin, take a moment and focus awareness on your posture.  Hold your core in tight (belly button towards your spine), open up your chest and pull your shoulder blades back.  Bring your chin up and tuck your pelvis under just a bit to protect your lower back.  OK, let’s go!

1. Sumo-SquatTargets the Leg Adductors (inner thigh) – Start with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, toes pointing out towards “10 and 2 o’clock”.  Raise your hands out in front of you as a counter-balance, and push your glutes (bum) backwards, bending at the knee.  Be sure to keep your knees behind your toes and your head up.  If you feel a strain in your lower back, come back to your starting position and reset your posture.  Every time you get to the top of your range of motion, squeeze your glutes tight.

2. Plank Jack/Jump JackTargets the Core, Leg Adductors, Shoulders – Start in a prone plank position, on either your hands or elbows, knees or toes.  Hop your legs out laterally and back in, come to a standing position and up for a jumping jack.  Come back into that starting plank position and repeat.  Be sure to watch that your glutes don’t pop up into the air, as that essentially deactivates your abdominal recruitment.  To make this lower impact, walk out 1 leg at a time in both positions.

3. Roll-OversTargets Oblique Abdominals (Core) – Starting on your stomach, stretch out your arms and point your toes.  Roll over onto your back without using your arms/hands to assist you.  Roll back onto your stomach in the other direction.

4. Plank Kick-BacksTargets the Core, Glutes – Start in a prone plank position, on either your hands or elbows, knees or toes. Tighten your glutes (bum muscles) and slowly lift your leg upwards and back towards the ceiling.  Alternate sides.  Be aware of hip positioning and try to keep the pointy bones on either side of your pelvis (ASIS) pointed down towards the ground. This will help to keep your hips from rolling open to the side

5. Incline or Decline Push-Up Targets the Pectorals (chest) – Start with a basic push-up.  You can do this on either the knees or the toes.  Come down to the floor as low as you can go, and push your body weight back up.  If you’re on your knees, try to keep the fleshy spot just above your knee cap in contact with the floor.  This will keep your hips and glutes down enabling your core to stabilize your body.  Incline: have your hands positioned 6-12 inches higher on a platform.  The higher up you are, the easier the push-up becomes.  Decline: place your feet up on a platform, with hands on the ground.  When progressing from a knee push-up to toe, start with incline, progressing to flat or decline push-ups.

To add intensity, jog on the spot or add a set of jumping jacks in between each exercise. 

No Excuses left, let’s go!

YMAP Student Funds Post-Secondary Education, thanks to CIBC Youthvision Scholarship


“It has changed my entire outlook towards my future.”

CIBC announced today this year’s 30 Grade 10 recipients of the CIBC Youthvision™ Scholarship Program. Valued at up to $38,000 each, the scholarships will help make it possible for these high-potential students to attend college or university and reach their full potential.

Each year, CIBC commits more than $1 million to the CIBC Youthvision Scholarship Program. Since its inception in 1998, that commitment has totalled $16 million to help improve the lives of more than 530 Canadian youth.

YMCA Calgary winner Anosha Riaz says, “When I heard that I was on of the recipient of the 2016 CIBC Youthvision Scholarship, I couldn’t believe it. But as the saying goes that dreams blossom in wakefulness, I saw my dreams turning into reality with this joyous news.Without the support of the scholarship, it would have been quite arduous to see my dream of higher education getting realized. CIBC Youthvision Scholarship has paved the ways for me to achieve my aims of post secondary education. This award has soared my courage and infused a new zeal and zest in  me. It has changed my entire outlook towards my future. Now I can see future prospect quite bright. I am extremely indebted to CIBC for supporting me and others like me to pursue our cherished goals.”


This program is unique in that it begins in Grade 10 and supports the student for up to six years, depending on the length of their post-secondary pursuits. During that time, the students are given annual paid summer internships, dedicated mentorship and funding for tuition. Partnering with the YMCA as administrator of the internship program, and Big Brothers Big Sisters, CIBC Youthvision targets Grade 10s when many are at-risk of losing focus at school due to peer pressure, lack of role models and financial pressures.

“CIBC Youthvision is about investing in young people and giving them the opportunity to nurture their abilities and reach for their dreams,” says Veni Iozzo, Senior Vice-President, Communications and Public Affairs, CIBC. “Each year, we are so impressed by all of the recipients and the accomplishments they have made so far. On behalf of CIBC, congratulations to this year’s winners. We are honored to help them grow in their education and pursuit of excellence.”

The 2016 recipients are:

Jalen Albers-Wallace Hamilton, ON
Jemelia Allen-Brown Oshawa, ON
Cassandra Bernard Coquitlam, BC
Samantha Burridge Prescott, ON
Sarangan Chandrakumar Toronto (Scarborough)
Sarah Chief Saskatoon
Jacob Dalling Vancouver
Amy Dawkins Collingwood, ON
Kingsley Dworin Toronto
Natasha English Guelph, ON
Aiyanna Glenister Saskatoon
Krishnavenkata Gorantla Toronto (Scarborough)
Matthew Goulborn Stoney Creek, ON
Sharon Huang Vancouver
Shahrukh Khan Hamilton, ON
Calleena Kokoski St. Catharine’s, ON
Paulina Martin Port Moody, BC
Jessica Mayhew Niagara Falls, ON
Kiara Overton Edmonton
Maria Pedraza-Kercher Burnaby, BC
Zachary Piette London, ON
Anosha Riaz Calgary
Shamary Stinson Hamilton, ON
Ani Su Vancouver
Joanna Tran Vancouver
Benite Umukundwa Hamilton, ON
Rhea Verma Brampton, ON
Jewel-Rose Marie White Hamilton, ON
Crystal Wilson Mission, BC
Yunni Yang Toronto

About the CIBC Youthvision Scholarship Program

Each year the CIBC Youthvision Scholarship program commits more than $1 million to make post-secondary education dreams a reality for high-potential grade 10 students. This one-of-a-kind program is awarded at the critical time in grade 10, which research shows relieves financial stress, builds confidence and self-esteem and encourages independence by enabling life and educational planning. Now in its 18th year, this program has helped more than 530 students. To be eligible, Grade 10 students must be enrolled in a mentoring program with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada or the YMCA. For more information visit


YMCA Calgary – Celebrating Neighbour Day on June 18!

YMCA Calgary is excited to be joining the vibrant community of Quarry Park in SE Calgary. With two new facilities opening this summer we are busy preparing to welcome new members and participants at both the Remington YMCA and the Quarry Park Child Development Centre.

We can’t wait to meet you and Calgary Neighbour Day gives us a perfect opportunity to say hi to our new neighbours.

When    Saturday, June 18, 2016

Time     10:00am – 1:00pm

Where   Quarry Park Child Development Centre (10702- 18 Street SE)

Please drop by for some family fun. Activities include:

Guided tours of the facility

Play activities for the whole family

Activity sessions to get you moving and shaking

See you on June 18th!

Quarry Park Child Development Centre - Entrance

Quarry Park Child Development Centre – Entrance






Body Shape 101

Not all Fat is Created Equal.

There are two main types of body fat found in our bodies.  Ironically, we tend to focus on subcutaneous body fat, which is the softer fat found beneath the skin.  This is the fat that we can grab with our hands or skin-fold calipers.  Subcutaneous fat is less damaging as it is superficial (closer to the surface), and is less likely to result in major health issues.  Visceral fat is the unseen fat in your body.  It is found deeper inside the body, around your internal organs. It’s a harder fat and has been linked directly to chronic diseases like heart disease, high cholesterol, hypertension (high blood pressure), diabetes, and some cancers.  Visceral fat hides well beneath the surface, we don’t see it, most people don’t know about it, and it’s the body fat we should actually be more concerned about.

Lucky for our health, visceral fat tends to be targeted first during weight loss.  Unlucky for our esthetics, the subcutaneous fat we all see is targeted second.

Wellness Comes in All Shapes and Sizes

We’re all wonderfully unique.  It needs to be known that fitness doesn’t look like anyone or anything in specific.  We all have a “best” version of ourselves, and we can’t ask for any more than that.  In this delicious fruit bowl we call life, the three basic body shapes are apple, pear and banana.

Apples – you are identified by the majority of your body fat stored in your mid-section.  This puts you at the highest risk of visceral fat accumulation, as well as the health risks associated with that.

Pears – you are identified by an accumulation of subcutaneous fat around the hips, buttocks and thighs.  Not to say that you shouldn’t be concerned with visceral fat within your body, you are simply at a lower risk than your friend the apple.

Bananas – you are identified by your long and lean frame.  Don’t be fooled with the lack of subcutaneous fat, visceral fat may still exist but hidden deep and unseen on your body.

Where your body carries weight naturally can be a factor in determining a lot of things for you.  What doesn’t change is how to work with and manage your body type.  Put down the junk food and grab an apple, pear, or banana – and get moving!

Universal Locker Rooms at Remington YMCA

Remington YMCA at Quarry Park is the first facility of its kind in Calgary to feature a universal locker room. The design is similar to a large family locker room you might have experienced in other YMCA facilities in Calgary. It is an open concept, with a few key features:

  • Washrooms and showers remain segregated for males and females.
  • The locker room contains different sizes of private changing stalls
  • This design allows for greater safety and security of patrons.  Parents can bring children of both sexes into the common room and still have a private cubicle.
  • This design meets the legislated accessibility requirements for disabled persons at recreation facilities, and is easier for people who have an attendant of the opposite sex,

Learn more about the Remington YMCA here.

One Step at a Time

Part Two – Putting One Foot in Front of the Other; the Beginning of Cardiovascular Wellness.

Getting yourself moving sounds like an easy step, but for someone who is beginning their wellness journey for the first time, or someone who is starting to work out again after some time off, it can be really daunting.

Try Different Things The first place a beginner heads to when they walk in the door is the treadmill. Keep in mind that there are a lot of different things you can try when getting started, but overall the best place for anyone new to the gym is the place that makes you feel comfortable, safe, and secure.  I’m a fitness professional, and the idea of hanging out on a treadmill for an hour sounds absolutely dreadful to me.  The key to finding a successful cardiovascular program is to change it up and find something that you like to do.  The treadmill might be your favorite place in the gym, others will find the elliptical, track, or bike your happy place.  If you want to try something and don’t know how or are intimidated by it, please ask us!  There are staff working in the weight room at all of our facilities and as active people, we would much rather talk to and help our members than sit at a desk!

Not Everyone is Built to Run Every single one of us is different. Our body’s physiology and genetic code plays a great deal into what our optimal style of workout is.  There are different muscle fibres in each of us that will make certain styles of physical activity easier than others.  If you absolutely dread long distances, try inserting some higher intensity intervals into your workout.  An example of this is to run a lap, do a set of jumping jacks, running stairs, or jump rope etc… in-between resistance training (weight lifting) sets.  So of you don’t like to run, don’t stress! There’s always something else to try!

Find Your Target Heart Rate Zone, and Stay Within It! An individual’s target heart rate zone (THRZ) is based on age.  The easiest way to figure out your THRZ is with this basic equation: 220-(age)= Heart Rate Max (HRM)  This is a number that we should aim to never surpass when doing cardiovascular activity.  Multiply that number by .6 and you will get 60% of your HRM.  Multiply that first number again by .8 to find 80% HRM.  During your cardiovascular workout, you would want to monitor your heart rate and keep it between 60% and 80% of your HRM For example, if you were 25 years old, your math would look like this:

  • 220 – 25 = 195 beats per minute (BPM) as your Heart Rate Max
  • 195 x .6 = 117 BPM
  • 195 x .8 = 156 BPM

This would mean that you want your heart rate somewhere in between 117 and 156 BPM during your cardiovascular workout.

Other Options Hiking groups, team sports or group fitness classes are an amazing way to sneak in a little cardio without even noticing it! It’s fun, it’s interactive, and you can meet new people who are living a healthy balanced life to help keep you on track. Here at the YMCA there are numerous different options to get involved in both aspects.  There are registered and drop-in group fitness classes offered at every branch in the city. We also offer climbing wall classes, swim and aquatic fitness classes, as well as some sport options.  These can differ from branch to branch, so check what is offered at your home branch. A lot of towns and cities have different recreational organizations to help people get involved with team sports as well. In Calgary, a great resource to check out the Calgary Sport and Social Club.  You can join a sport by registering a full team, partial team, or an as individual to make up a full team.

Build the Habit If you miss a day, don’t get discouraged! It’s all about putting one foot in front of the other, and sometimes a stumble will happen.  This is where you need to pick yourself up, dust off those hands and take another step.  Think to yourself the number twenty one. 21. XXI.  It takes twenty one days to build a habit.  Twenty one days to notice a real difference in your physiology. Twenty one days.  Keep putting one foot in front of the other and you’ll hit your stride.  You’ve got this.

Happy Trails!

24th Annual Members’ Dinner

24th Annual Members’ Dinner


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Over 130 members and friends of the YMCA joined us at the Calgary Golf & Country Club on May 18th, 2016 for the 24th annual Members’ Dinner.

We would like to congratulate our new 25-year inductees:
Aldo Argento
Gordon Sawchuk
Geri McLean
Bruce Beynon
Dawn Jones
Carol Sauer
Dave Lewis
Kavan Melton
Donald Woolley
Drew Taylor
Edward Wilson
Elizabeth Natola
Frances Bagley
Jani Long
Gary Lobb
Gary Courtney
Frances Scrimshaw
Thomas Forsyth
Gary Gill
Robert Hallett
Jacqueline Hawkins
Jim Bagshaw
Julie Tooth
John Hecht
Holly Clark
John Poetker
Kurt Kennedy
Karla Castro
Kenneth Peach
Lori Hunt
Landis Jackson
Louisa Jacobson
Sabina MacKenzie
William Brebber
Micheal Medwid
My My Tran
Nancy Jarman-Harries
Peggi McDougall
Peter Roginski
Ramon E. Fosado
Richard MacKnight
Alice Roest
Scott Sarjeant
Stephen Weber
Tim Hudema
Jim Baker
Victor Urban
Wade Melnychyn
Kathy Waterman
William J. Irvine
Aldo Kirk
Gordon Hawkins
Geri Biggar
Bruce Conti
Dawn Klassen
Carol Rodman
Donald Thompson
Dave Yaremko
Kavan Pysmeny
Donald Matsuoka
Drew Nerland
Edward Warner
Elizabeth Kinsella
Frances Van Der Lee
Jani Horton
Gary Mackenzie
Gary Turnbull
Frances Szata
Thomas Brydon
Donald McLean
Gary Murphy
Sylvie Boivin


Congratulations on 25 years of membership!

Thank you to all members and friends who attended the event, it was a wonderful evening of friendship, story telling and catching up for all who attended.

We would also like to thank 48-year member George Fink for being the event patron.