Written by: Alix W.
For most parents, back to school has a bittersweetness to it. The long, lazy days of summer are amazing. Water fights, sunshine, bubbles, watermelon for lunch, there’s a relaxed feeling in the air. Kids read books upside down on the couch, the only gear you need is flip flops and hats, and no one needs a bath, they’re running through the sprinkler every day. There’s no rushing from place to place, the sun boosts everyone’s mood, and you have the chance to create some real memories together as a family. But by the end of August, kids get bored, parents run out of ideas – everyone is ready for new company and the school year to begin.
While the transition back to school is welcome, it can also be challenging for some families – mixed emotions, routine defiance, a decline in connectiveness and more.
For families where both parents work, maybe your routine wasn’t all that disrupted by summer. Your kids might have had a blast at our YMCA Calgary Summer Camps and are used to the morning hustle, bagged lunch and full days. In that case, your family might be ready to tackle the long days of school, after school care and the routine that comes with it. For other families who just went with the summer flow, the transition may not be that easy.
Every family, every kid is different, and there is no fix-all solution to make the transition easier. For my kids, I try to add a little closure to summer, which can allow them to process the idea that we’re moving on to the school year. Create a summer photo album, and print off all your favourite photos from the last few months. Every evening spend a few minutes looking at your summer pictures and talking about what you liked best about summer. It’s an excellent way to relive some memories and then branch into talking about what they are most excited about for the school year. It also is a great routine to keep their mind off heading to bed a little early.
Once you are back in the swing of school, freshen up your regular routine:
- Find new lunch options and switch them up often
- Build a fresh play list to sing along to on the way to school
- Listen to some new podcasts on the way home
Our annual “transition routine” has helped my family keep our fun summer memories alive, easily transition back to the school and continue to develop those important family connections we build over the summer months.
Can you remember the first time you went to a sleepaway camp, how scared and excited you were to be away from home? Homesickness is common at overnight camp. Many campers miss home at some point during their stay. These 8 tips can prepare your camper for homesickness:
1. Learn more about the camp with your camper so they can anticipate what it will be like
Why not plan a visit to the camp that your child will be staying at? You can also take your child and attend a pre-camp information session. Doing this will help ease some of the uncertainty your child is feeling before going to camp. It also provides a wonderful opportunity to connect with your child and build excitement around the activities that await your camper.
2. Plan a sleepover for your child
This is a good way for a child to learn exactly what it will be like to be away from home. Make it a game that you and your child can play, pretend that they are going off to camp, help them pack for their experience and remind them to only call home if there is an emergency. Don’t be afraid to provide some examples of what an emergency is.
3. Talk to your child about homesickness
It is okay to talk about homesickness with your child. However, encourage your camper to take the challenge head on and that this will be a fun adventure where they will learn lots and make lots of friends. We understand sending your child to camp is a challenge for the parents as well, but it is important that you don’t let them see your uncertainty if you are feeling that way. Show to them that your confident they will be able to overcome the challenge and have a lot of fun. Encourage them if they are feeling homesick to talk with their counsellor, friends, write a letter home or hug their favorite stuffed animal. If your child is anxious about how he/she will get a hold of you, let him/her know that the counsellor knows that you are just a phone call away if needed.
4. Use a calendar to show the amount of time your camper will be away
It is important to go through the calendar with your camper before they leave. This way you can show them how long they will be away from home. The visual will help the child feel more comfortable. Also, do not plan any family-fun activities while your camper is away, this can cause the camper to feel like they are missing out on something fun while away from home.
5. Help your camper get excited about camp
Once you have shown your camper the dates they will be at camp. It is your job to start getting them excited about camp. Talk about camp regularly, start showing them the activities they will be doing, ask them what they are most excited about and be just as excited as they are about it. Remember, building that excitement before is crucial! Plus, you will get just as excited for your child’s adventure as they are.
6. Pack a personal item to remind your child of home
Sending a personal item such as a photograph or a stuffed animal will help the child feel more comfortable when away from home.
7. Send pre-stamped, pre-addressed envelopes and paper for your camper to write letters
This will provide an opportunity for your camper to write a letter home when at camp. Sometimes just writing down their thoughts and sending it home will help ease the homesickness.
8. What to do at drop off…
Avoid making comments that may reflect your anxiety around sending your child to camp. Phrases such as “I hope you’ll be ok” or “what will I do without you” may leave a child worried that something bad might happen to them or their parents which can lead to homesickness. Instead show how confident you are in them by saying “I know that you’re looking forward to a lot of the activities at camp. I can’t wait to hear your stories!”
Overnight camp is a wonderful experience for your child to learn new skills, more about themselves and make lots of friends! Don’t let homesickness get in the way by using these 8 tips to prepare your child (and yourself!) before heading to camp.
Information was referenced from: https://www.albertacamping.com and our Camp Chief Hector YMCA staff.
With summer around the corner, many of us will be heading to the water. Whether you or your kids plan to enjoy the lake, river, ocean or your shallow backyard pool, it’s important to understand how to stay safe around the water.
Contradictory to what most people think, drowning victims don’t thrash, wave and yell while struggling. Drowning is unexpectedly quiet and can happen in seconds. Keep yourself and your kids safe with the following water safety tips:
- Learn to swim
Swimming is a life-saving skill and helps give you and your child confidence to be around water. YMCA Calgary has swim lessons for all ages, and each of our swim lesson include a water safety component. Keep in mind, even if your kid has done swimming lessons it does not mean you shouldn’t be supervising them when they are around water.
According to Lifesaving Society, Swim to Survive is the minimum skills you need to have if you accidentally fall into deep water. This standard is the first step to being safe around water. This standard skill sequence includes:
- Roll into deep water
- Tread water for one minute
- Swim 50 metres
- Always swim with a buddy
Even a great swimmer can get in trouble when out in the water. It is important to swim with a buddy as they will be able to call for help if you get in any trouble.
- Use lifejackets and other floatation devices
We recommend always wearing a lifejacket or other floatation device when outside in uncontrolled water. Lifejackets are designed to turn a person over from face-down to face-up. A personal floatation device will keep a person floating, but not necessarily face-up. Please review our video as our Aquatics Risk Specialist demonstrates how to properly fit a lifejacket.
- Supervise children/adults at all times when in or near water
It is important to always watch your child when around water even if they know how to swim. This means putting down your cellphone, book or anything that might distract you. The Lifesaving Society recommends a supervision ratio of at least 1 adult for every 2 young children, and 1 adult for every infant. One way to help with this is be engaged with your child, come up with games you can play together when near the water.
- Review and discuss risks before entering the water
You might be familiar with one body water from last summer, however, things change during the winter we never know how the water changed. Before entering any bodies of water make sure you walk through the hazards with your children. It is important to look for any river currents, ocean rip currents, the temperature of the water, if the water is shallow or unclear and if there are any underwater hazards such as vegetation and animals.
- Drink plenty of fluids so you don’t get dehydrated
Many people forget to drink water when they are swimming. Even though you are in water, you are still working out, it is important that you are drinking enough water. Dehydration can still occur, which can lead to muscles cramps. This can be dangerous especially when swimming and can lead to drowning.
- Know your limits
Even though you might be a strong swimmer make sure that you are not overworking yourself. Don’t be afraid to stop and take a break if you are starting to get fatigued. This is important for children as well, encourage them to come out of the water for a bit and rest.
- Cover water containers when not in use
Ensure kiddie pools, buckets, and other sources of open water are covered when children can access and there is no supervision.
All information was referenced from the LifeSaving Society and Jen Swail, Aquatics Risk Specialist with YMCA Calgary. To learn more about how to be safe around this summer please go to www.lifesaving.org
We hope you have a fun and safe summer this year!
National Drowning Prevention Week is July 21—27, 2019
Drowning doesn’t look like a splashing call for help. It is deceptively quiet and can happen to anyone – even to the most skilled swimmers.
Join us at the YMCA for the Lifesaving Society’s National Drowning Prevention Week – a week dedicated to raising awareness of the signs of drowning and what you can do to prevent it.
Some of our locations will have special programming during this week. See below for details on programming, locations, dates, times:
Shawnessy YMCA | Life Jacket Fitting & Relay Race
July 24 | 11:30 am (lobby)
Visit our fitting station to learn how to fit a life jacket (PFD) properly, then participate in our fun relay!
Brookfield Residential YMCA at Seton | Life Jacket Fitting
July 21 – 27 | 12 – 4 pm (lobby)
Visit our fitting station to learn how to fit a lifejacket (PFD) properly
Shane Homes YMCA at Rocky Ridge | Life jacket Fitting
July 24 | 1 – 2 pm and 5 pm – 6 pm (lobby)
Visit our fitting station to learn how to fit a lifejacket (PFD) properly
Remington YMCA in Quarry Park | Wibit Public Time & Water Smart Learning
July 26 | 5 – 7 pm
Enjoy time on the Wibit – our fun water obstacle for ages 5+ – and learn more about water safety
All Swim lesson participants | Water Smart Activities
July 21 – 27 | 9 am – 12 pm & 4 – 7 pm (pool deck)
Swim lesson Participants will learn and practice water safety
Gray Family Eau Claire YMCA is hosting free Friday Fitness Classes for the months of July and August.
Join us at Gray Family Eau Claire YMCA every Friday at 12 pm in July and August for free fitness classes. A new class to try every week for free!
Here is an overview of the programs Gray Family Eau Claire YMCA will be offering:
- July 19, 2019 – Kickboxing: Fight to get fit! Work to hone your cardiovascular fitness, muscles and motor skills using a variety of kickboxing moves.
- July 26, 2019 – Group Blast: Group Blast is an energetic cardio workout using the STEP to train fitness, agility, coordination and strength. It will get your heart pounding and sweat pouring as you improve your fitness, agility, coordination, and strength with exciting music and group energy.
- August 2, 2019 – TBD
- August 9, 2019 – Cross Training: Cut workout boredom and get with a variety of cross-training exercises. Challenge and improve your agility, core and fitness level through plyometrics and sports drills.
- August 16, 2019 – Yoga in the Park: Find your inner strength and balance as you de-stress in this calming class. You will improve your flexibility, strength, balance and body awareness through a series of breathing exercises and poses.
- August 23, 2019 – Cycle: Up your cycling skills! Come prepared for a cardiovascular workout that emphasizes proper form, technique and safety. Challenge your endurance and stamina with hills, climbs and sprints.
- August 30, 2019 – Tabata Drumming: Come join us for a SMASHING good time. This fun cardio workout will get your heart pounding.
**All events are subject to change. So please stay tuned to our website for updates!
The YMCA Calgary float demonstrates the action, community-building, and fun that makes the YMCA what it is. A variety of activities children, youth and adults can experience at the Y are illustrated with figurine outlines that can be any person from anywhere, emphasizing our inclusivity and our welcoming of all people. They are playing basketball, lifting weights, running, doing yoga, skateboarding, playing music, canoeing, and hiking.
All the figures are placed on, in and around colorful ribbon-like pieces that intertwine to demonstrate the community-building that occurs when children, youth and adults gather together to participate in activities they enjoy. The ribbons also intertwine in and around the acronym YMCA to demonstrate how the Y has activities within its Centres of Community but also around the city in 60 different sites including community centres and schools.
These ribbons gather together at the front of the float to create a push bar for the people pushing the structure. The float is in the shape of a Y and is led by large YMCA logos, a recognizable symbol of welcome, community – a safe space. The basketball backboard at the back of the float symbolizes the ingenuity of the YMCA (basketball was invented by Canadian James Naismith at a YMCA in 1891) and the constant flow of new ideas and activities at local YMCAs around our city, our country and in 120 countries around the world. The words around the base of the float are YMCA key concepts supporting our mission – learn, grow, belong, thrive, lead, volunteer and work. They speak to the vision of YMCA Calgary, that our communities will be vibrant and healthy because children, youth and adults belong, grow, thrive and lead.
On March 8, 2019, join us at these YMCA locations as we celebrate all women in our community. Each of these locations will have unique programming throughout the day for women of all ages.
Here’s an overview of events happening March 8:
For further details on time, registration, or any questions you may have – please contact your branch directly.
Remington YMCA in Quarry Park:
- Women’s only Zumba® – 1:45pm to 2:30pm
- Guided Meditation session – 2:45pm to 3:30pm followed by a Women’s focus Nutrition Tea and Talk time
Gray Family Eau Claire YMCA:
- Women’s only Small Group Training – 11:15am to 12:00pm
- David’s Tea Tasting – 11:15am to 1:30pm
- Various Women’s only group fitness classes (Check the schedule on our app or website for more details)
- Women’s only Yoga – 1:15pm to 2:15pm
South Health Campus YMCA:
- Women’s only Climbing – 9:30am to 10:30am
- Women’s only Yoga – 10:30am to 11:30am
Shane Homes YMCA at Rocky Ridge:
- Women’s only Yoga – 9:00am to 10:00am
- Women’s only Zumba® – 10:30am to 11:30am
- Women’s only Zumba® – 6:00pm to 7:00pm
- Women’s only Yoga – 7:15pm to 8:15pm
- U of C Nurses will be on site from 5:30-8:30 taking blood pressure and discussing Cardiovascular Disease Awareness
Melcor YMCA at Crowfoot:
- Women’s only Resistance Training – 8:30am to 9:00am and 3:00pm to 3:30pm
- Made Foods Pop-up and sampling – 11:00am to 1:00pm
- Davids Tea sampling – 1:30pm to 4:00pm
- Women’s only Basketball – 3:00pm to 3:30pm and 5:00pm to 5:30pm
- Women’s only Yoga – 4:00pm to 4:30pm
- Fashion Show – 7:30pm to 8:30pm
- Women’s only Belly Dancing – 8:30pm to 9:00pm
**All events are subject to change. Please check with your branch or view our schedules.
Calgary AB – A $120,000 investment by First Calgary Financial in the YMCA Achievement Program (YMAP) means youth who are new to Canada will belong, grow, thrive and lead through impactful YMCA experiences, including improving their financial literacy.
The YMCA Achievement Program (YMAP) is an afterschool program that supports newcomer youth in Calgary. YMAP supports high school aged youth refugees, immigrants, international students and second-generation Canadians, representing over 50 different countries. This program provides opportunities for students to develop in all areas essential to a positive and healthy integration into Canada, while maintaining and celebrating their culture of origin.
Through this partnership, First Calgary Financial will not only provide $120,000 towards the YMAP program but also give additional support through volunteer engagement. For example, in conjunction with Financial Literacy Month in Canada (November), First Calgary Financial employees are kicking off their volunteerism by providing financial literacy workshops to every YMAP program in the city.
“Our youth are growing up in an age where spending is easier than ever, and debt is becoming a way of life,” says Shelley Vandenberg, President of First Calgary Financial. “Through our partnership with the YMCA, our employees will be helping over 300 youth learn money skills that are often not addressed at this crucial age. It’s something we’re passionate about at our credit union, and it only makes sense to give back in the communities in ways we know best.”
Over 350 youth will benefit from this opportunity, learning necessary financial skills to support their future planning.
“The opportunity to create more awareness and understanding of an important life skill, money management, perfectly complements the YMAP program which has been running for over 25 years, says Shannon Doram, President and CEO of YMCA Calgary. “Thank you to our trusted partners at First Calgary – both their leadership and staff – for their commitment to supporting newcomer youth in our diverse and evolving city.”
About YMCA Calgary
YMCA Calgary is a charity dedicated to building healthy communities. For 116 years, YMCA Calgary has been committed to nurturing the potential of children, youth and families, promoting healthy living and fostering social responsibility within the community.
About Connect First Credit Union
Connect First Credit Union offers its members a full range of financial products and services through trusted local brands and a community-focused approach to banking. Connect First is Canada’s 7th largest credit union, with over $5.4 billion in assets. Proud to employ over 700 Albertans, Connect First serves 120,000 members through 42 branches in central and southern Alberta, under the brands: First Calgary Financial, Chinook Financial, Mountain View Financial and Legacy Financial.
Camp Chief Hector YMCA offers Outdoor School for families who homeschool their kids.
FAMILY OUTDOOR SCHOOL is an exciting opportunity for the whole family to experience Outdoor Education at Camp! This 3-night, 4-day Outdoor School experience runs from June 10-13. This program is a great way to get unplugged, reconnect with your family and get into the woods with your children.
Registration is open NOW!
403-269-6156 or 1-866-430-9622
CAMP CHIEF HECTOR YMCA
Family Outdoor School
June 10-13, 2019
1st Adult $285 | 2nd Adult $100 | 5Y – 17Y $260 | 0-4Y FREE
Last week we did a poll on Twitter to see how many people planned to register for a fall program. 22% are still unsure.
While there are lots of ways to keep active and maintain your level of fitness independently, there are some excellent benefits to taking a program. Some benefits of program participation are:
• Adds variety to your workout routine, reducing the repetitiveness that often comes with exercising independently (which leads to exercise drop-outs)
• Helps provide motivation and accountability through the power of a group and an expert instructor
• Leaves work out planning to the instructor – no pre-planning required!
• Provides progressive challenge, allowing you to improve your level of fitness over a short period of time
• Like small group training, provides supervision of exercise form, reducing the risk of injury and ensuring you receive the FULL benefit from each exercise
• Provides new exercises and form you can incorporate into your own fitness routine
• Provides instant social connections and an opportunity to get to know people in the community with like interests
Still unsure? Tell us why.
Learn more about our programs here: https://www.ymcacalgary.org/program-descriptions/
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