YMCA Spin for Strong Kids – March 3

It’s time to kick off the 2014 YMCA Strong Kids Campaign! This year we’ll hold another signature cycling event to raise $1.5 million to benefit 25,000 local youth and children.

Spin for YMCA Strong Kids will be held on Monday, March 3! Sign up to ride a stationary bike for a 30-minute spot (or more) and start collecting pledges. Raising donations for YMCA Strong Kids means that children and youth have positive experiences, make healthy choices, feel connected with others and learn the skills required to become leaders.

Visit your YMCA branch to sign up. Don’t miss out on the fun!


LINC Students Welcome Girl Guides

On Wednesday, February 19th, South Health Campus LINC students hosted the Girl Guides Group #109 for a special multi-cultural evening.

Students from Jessica’s evening class worked very hard to prepare for the event, which was held at the Shawnessy YMCA Family Centre.  The LINC class planned and facilitated a fun icebreaker game that got everyone talking and laughing, and then we had a chance to chat and mingle over delicious snacks from various countries.

The highlight of the evening was making cards for ICU patients at South Health Campus. LINC Students and Girl Guides paired up to decorate beautiful cards with stamps, stickers, glitter, and “get well” messages in a variety of languages.

The LINC students and Girl Guides learned about each other’s countries, and had fun making something to brighten someone else’s day! The LINC students got a chance to practice their English with new friends and really showed off their leadership skills throughout the evening. The Girl Guides even earned a “Multi-cultural Awareness” badge for participation in the event.  What a fantastic and fun evening!

Movies Can Inspire Movement

Children smiling

Have you seen the new Disney animated movie Frozen? I loved it! And when I saw Active For Life’s blog post on it I was so excited I had to share.

Their blog post, titled “7 ways ‘Frozen’ can inspire kids to move” gives a collection of ways that you can play with your kids while talking about their new favourite movie.

The Little Mermaid and Finding Nemo can inspire swimming.

Beauty and the Beast can inspire dancing.

Toy Story can inspire imagination and games like hide and seek.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas can inspire sledding.

The Incredibles can inspire running and jumping.

Ratatouille can inspire help preparing meals.

Cars and Cars 2 can inspire running and pretending to be like race cars.

Dora the Explorer can inspire hiking through the neighbourhood or the nearest park.

What are your kids’ favourite movies? How can you use them to inspire movement, imagination and play?


Need a weekend get-away? Join us for one of our upcoming family weekends at Camp Chief Hector.

At Camp Chief Hector, there are a variety of activities to choose from to create a unique weekend away for the whole family. Campers can try things like horseback riding, hiking, high and low ropes courses, group games, arts and crafts, a climbing wall, and join in on evening campfires. Our daily child care program also enables parents to leave children ages 3 to 5 with staff while taking part in activities themselves. Prices include accommodations, activities, and meals.

Spring Family Weekends
May 9 – 11 | Fri 7pm – Sun 2pm
June 13 – 15 | Fri 7pm – Sun 2pm (currently full – may be waitlisted)
Adults $185 | 12-17Y $130 | 6-11Y $105 | 3-5Y $80 | 0-2Y free
Registration now open.

Fall Family Weekend
Sept 19 – 21 | Fri 7pm – Sun 2pm
Adults $185 | 12-17Y $130 | 6-11Y $105 | 3-5Y $80 | 0-2Y free
Registration begins March 3, 2014

Click here for details including pre-registered and drop-in activities, accommodation options, packing lists and more.

To register, or for more information, call 403-269-6156 or toll free 1-866-430-9622.

Eau Claire Women’s Plus

Women’s Plus locker room will reopen tomorrow! The new floors are in and we are currently just waiting for it to dry. A huge thank you to all our members for your patience and understanding!

Exercise Class Try Outs #1: Yoga

I’ve decided to do something a little bit out of my comfort zone – Try out different fitness classes offered at YMCA Calgary locations.

I will document my experience in each new class here on the YMCA Calgary blog.

Group yoga class

Yoga – Passive

I was invited to participate in a lunchtime yoga class. The program guide describes it as:

Tune in to your true self and find peace and belonging within. This yoga class will guide you through slow poses, breath work and meditation in a serene atmosphere intended to create calm, restore energy and promote healing in mind, body and spirit.

I was a little hesitant. I’ve never taken a real yoga class before. I’ve done yoga at home with friends following a video, I’ve done yoga-like classes at the dance studio I danced at when I was younger, but never a real yoga class.

Thankfully, my coworkers who invited me to come along were very welcoming and even set out a mat for me while I changed.

The instructor was very welcoming, came over and introduced herself. The other participants in the class smiled or said hello, or just focused on their breathing and relaxation while lying on their mats waiting for the class to start.

Yoga-passive is a slow moving class focused on breathing. I found it easy to follow along. The instructor demonstrated each pose or movement while describing it in a soft voice. I felt both relaxed and invigorated during this class. I felt like I got a workout but didn’t feel tired like I had just gone running or weightlifting.

Some of the poses were easy for me. Others were more difficult. But looking around the room I did not feel out of place – everyone else was good at some poses and not so good at others.

I’ll be honest though – yoga, even passive yoga – is still a workout.

I was sore for a couple of days after this class. The workout comes from moving and lifting your bodyweight in poses like downward dog.

I think I’ll continue with yoga – I like that it is a stress-reliever, a relaxation, and a workout all at the same time.

Check out this infographic to find out more about the benefits of yoga.

Pirate Treasure Hunt

Written by Monica Kranz, YMCA Administrator

As parents, teachers, aunts and uncles, and even as people without kids, we all know that children’s interests and moods can change on a dime. One day, their stuffed dragon is their most prized possession and something they can’t even imagine leaving the house without. The next day, they want nothing at all to do with it.

It can sometimes be difficult for adults to organize games and activities for children with so many different interests (especially when they vary on a day to day basis). Childcare staff at Saddletowne YMCA Child Development Centre, however, have done exactly that.

A Saddletowne YMCA Pirate

For the past few weeks, staff and Room 2 children (aged 3 – 4.5 years), have been on a treasure hunt – a pirate themed one that is! When staff discovered a strong interest in pirates amongst the group, they jumped on the idea to create a rich play experience. They placed arrows all around the centre, created costumes, and hid treasure for the kids to find. When kids arrived the following morning, there was excitement in the air.

“What’s that?” asked Rudra, when he first saw pieces of fabric, necklaces and paper towel rolls on the table. “We are going treasure hunting, and these are your pirate costumes”, said Ritu. “Treasure hunting!” yelled Sebastian and he quickly put a necklace on and took the longest paper towel roll. When everyone was dressed up, the children proceeded into the hall. “Look Ritu, that’s an arrow! Let’s go!”, said Snena when she noticed some arrows pointing towards the office. When they reached the front of the office, Pratik noticed an arrow pointing to the staff room. “There!” he shouted and pointed with his paper towel roll. “Look, there’s another arrow!” Peyton exclaimed. Rudra was the one to notice a cluster of arrows on the cupboard in the staff room. It was agreed upon that the treasure must be hidden in the cupboard. “Open it”, said Sebastian excitedly. When the children opened the cupboard, they found a delicious bag of candy. “Yeah! We found the treasure”, stated Sebastian as he put the candy in his pocket. Play experience provided by Ritu Bhagirath and Nadiya Tretyakov, Saddletowne YMCA

Ritu and Children Treasure Hunting

With a small amount of material and a lot of creativity, Ritu and Nadiya maximized a common interest within the group of diverse individuals. They put together an activity that allowed the children to utilize their imagination, while promoting creative expression and fostering social and cooperative play. Most importantly, they created an activity that the kids will talk about for days, and one which is providing the foundation to ensure their continued enthusiasm for learning the way they learn best – through play!

For more information about our Child Development Centres please visit


Winter Photo Walk

Frozen River by Jordan Loehr

The other day my husband and I went for a walk.

It was a sunny, only slightly chilly day. We had spent most of our weekend on the couch being lazy and knew we needed to get some exercise in and take advantage of the nice weather.

So my husband grabbed his camera and off we went to the Bow River Trail.

We walked, we scampered, we slowly meandered. We just enjoyed each other’s company and the unique winter scenery of ice, snow, trees and flowing river.

We stopped often to take photos of trees, of the downtown core in the distance, of the ice and snow.

Have you ever gone on a photo walk? Grab a friend, your significant other, your kids, and a camera and just head out. Start walking down your street or along a pathway nearby and take photos of anything that draws your attention.

Photo walks don’t have schedules or plans. They just capture life. Snow, ice, trees. Smiles, playfulness, footprints.

Go ahead, try it. It’s a fun, free activity to enjoy the company of friends and the beauty of our city.

Saddletowne YMCA’s TEEN NIGHT February 14, 2013

Looking for something to do this February 14, 2014…

Saddletowne YMCA is definitely the place to be!

This Friday evening we will be having Music and lots of it, we are just looking for dancers and lots of them to dance to the beats.

So grab your crew and meet us at the Saddletowne YMCA.

$3.00 admission for youth 12-17 years old starts at 1 pm.

Come for the “off the hook”music stay to use the amazing climbing wall.

Teacher’s Convention Camps at the Saddletowne YMCA ( February 13 and 14)

If you are still looking for something fun and active for your children to do Thursday and Friday of this week, we still have space in our day camps!

Every day your camper will swim, climb on the climbing wall, have reading time in the library, play active gym games and create cool crafts.

Space is limited and filling up quickly!

Please contact 403-237-2393 for more information.