Our YMCA Calgary street team has been in many communities across the summer telling people about all the great things the YMCA has to offer and the opening of Shane Homes YMCA at Rocky Ridge. It has been a great summer meeting neighbours in so many different communities across Calgary!
Carolyn, what is your YMCA story and why are YMCA classes so important to you?
First of all I need to start with a tragedy that hit my family. My wonderful husband of 33 years had suddenly passed away of a heart attack in January 2011. It was devastating. I got myself into some counseling to deal with the post-traumatic stress of his death. I joined a yoga class at the Shawnessy YMCA a year later to deal with my stress and anxiety. It was effective, but I didn’t get to do the last yoga class as I had a serious injury which brings me to March of 2012.
I was coming down stairs and missed three or four of them. I realized something was definitely wrong when I tried to get up and fell. At the emergency room they told me that I had completely ruptured my Achilles tendon. They put me in a cast for five weeks, then a walking cast for another six weeks and I needed a cane for another few weeks after that.
In the later stages of my recovery, my physical therapist and chiropractor both suggested that getting in the water would be very beneficial for my recovery. I came into the Shawnessy YMCA and inquired about their aquatics programs and found a gentle aqua fit class in the afternoon that worked very well for me.
I tried it out for a few weeks and found that I loved it. The participants and aqua fitness instructors were so friendly and helpful – I felt right at home. I found my walking was getting stronger and the YMCA classes were helping me deal with the anxiety of losing my husband. After reaping the benefits of the program for a year, I decided to start looking into becoming an instructor because I loved the activity.
YMCA Calgary is taking proactive steps to ensure the health and safety of all our program participants during the wildfire situation that has caused smoke and haze to settle over Calgary and area for an indeterminate period of time.
These precautions include:
- Appropriate revisions to programming, particular outdoor activities, at Camp Chief Hector YMCA, Camp Riveredge and at all our Centres of Community across the city
- Adjusting building systems to minimize the effects of particulates within facility air handling units
- Active monitoring of recommendations from Alberta Health Services, Alberta Environment and Park, Parks Canada and other agencies providing guidance during the situation
Through YMCA Calgary’s own health & safety policies, we have empowered our staff to employ their training and expertise to ensure that planned activities are fully considered in light of the ongoing situation. We are paying particular attention to the well-being of participants who have disclosed that they may have respiratory challenges.
Please don’t hesitate to ask your program lead or facility leadership should you have any questions about our response. We will also update our response to the situation as necessary through public channels, including YMCA Calgary’s Facebook and Twitter accounts.
YMCA Calgary also understands that many communities have been evacuated due to the wildfires, particularly in British Columbia.
In response, YMCAs in both B.C. and Alberta are opening their doors to people impacted by the wildfires. The YMCA has 27 health and fitness locations in Prince George, Kamloops, Victoria, Kelowna, Vancouver, Surrey, Calgary, Edmonton, Wood Buffalo, Lethbridge and Medicine Hat.
Evacuees simply need to visit any B.C. or Alberta YMCA with identification that includes their photo and home address to participate.
All YMCAs in both British Columbia and Alberta are opening their doors to people impacted by more than 220 wildfires burning across the province of BC. The YMCA has 27 health and fitness locations in Prince George, Kamloops, Victoria, Kelowna, Vancouver, Surrey, Calgary, Edmonton, Wood Buffalo, Lethbridge and Medicine Hat.
“We invite evacuees to visit the YMCAs listed below to shower and clean up, rest in a safe space or take part in a drop-in program like swimming, fitness classes and after school programs,” says Amanda Alexander, CEO of the YMCA of Northern BC. “We know that the province and many of BC’s children and families are in a state of emergency right now and we welcome all people impacted by the wildfires to find refuge at the Y.”
Evacuees simply need to visit any BC or Alberta YMCA with identification that includes their photo and home address to participate.
Melcor YMCA at Crowfoot, 1800 John Laurie Blvd NW, 403.547.6576
Gray Family Eau Claire YMCA, 101 3rd Street SW, 403.269.6701
Remington YMCA, 108 Quarry Park Road SE, 403.351.6678
Saddletowne YMCA, 180-7555 Falconridge Blvd NE, 403.237.2393
Shawnessy YMCA, 400-333 Shawville Blvd SE, 403.256.5533
South Health Campus YMCA, 4448 Front Street SE, 403.956.3900
Castle Downs YMCA, 11510 153rd Avenue NW, 780.476.9622
Don Wheaton YMCA, 10211 102nd Avenue NW, 780.452.9622
William Lutsky YMCA, 1975 111th Street NW, 780.439.9622
Jamie Platz YMCA, 7121 178th Street NW, 780.481.9622
Eagle Ridge Community Centre, 2-301 Sparrow Hawk Drive, 780.743.9600
Westwood YMCA, 221 Tundra Drive, 780.790.9622
YMCA of Lethbridge, 515 Stafford Drive South, 403.327.9622
Downtown YMCA, 150 Ash Avenue SE, 403.527.4426
South Ridge YMCA, 644 Spruce Way SE, 403.528.1631
Kelowna Downtown YMCA, 1011-505 Doyle Avenue 250.491.9622
Kelowna Family YMCA, 375 Hartman Road 250.491.9622
H2O Adventure & Fitness Centre, 4075 Gordon Drive 250.491.9622
Downtown YMCA, 400 Battle Street 250.372.7725
John Tod Centre Y, 150 Wood Street 250.554.9622
YMCA of Northern BC, 2020 Massey Drive 250.562.9241
Victoria Downtown Y, 851 Broughton Street 250.386.7511
Langford Westhills Y, 1319 Westhills Drive 250.386.7511
View Royal Eagle Creek Y, 110-25 Helmcken Road 250.386.7511
Robert Lee YMCA, 955 Burrard Street 604.689.9622
Langara Family YMCA, 282 West 49th Avenue 604.324.9622
Tong Louie Family YMCA, 14988 57th Avenue 604.575.9622
Maggie is an amazing 8-year-old who just recently did something extraordinary. Maggie has an incredible imagination and spends her time dreaming up ways to make our community a better place or even just a little more fun. It was this passion that lead her to forego the usual birthday party traditions and throw a 50/50 party. For her 8th birthday she asked everyone to donate a small monetary gift whereby half would go to a present for her and the remaining would be donated to our Strong Kids Campaign. The response was overwhelming and Maggie raised enough money to send one child to Camp Riveredge, even kicking in a little extra herself to do so.
In her words, “Riveredge is the best camp ever and I want all kids to be able to go even if they can’t afford it. So that’s why I am donating my birthday money to YMCA Calgary to help send 1 kid to this amazing camp”
With generations of family history at the YMCA it is no surprise that Maggie has been a part of the YMCA since birth. With her parents, she has even volunteered at Camp Chief Hector. It was though this experience that Maggie gained an appreciation and understanding for our Strong Kids Campaign, seeing firsthand how much joy can come from helping kids go to camp.
While she valued her experience at Camp Chief Hector immensely, Maggie’s true love is Camp Riveredge. Struggling with anxiety herself, the ability to enjoy the outdoors and the magic of camp while still returning home every night has meant the world to her.
Thank you so much Maggie for your generosity and your incredible gift to another child who otherwise would not be able to afford a camp experience!
Did you know you can now make gifts in honour, memory or celebration of someone on our website? Donate today and join Maggie in her dream of making our community a better place.
At our Annual General Meeting on May 3rd, we were pleased to announce that we have reached our Power of Potential Campaign goal to raise $30 million dollars to expand our impact across Calgary.
The Power of Potential Campaign was launched in 2014 to support the capital needs to operate three new city-built facilities, expand community programing and upgrade infrastructure at Camp Chief Hector YMCA. The new facilities include Remington YMCA in Quarry Park (2016), Shane Homes YMCA at Rocky Ridge (2018) and Seton (2019).
With the successful completion of this campaign we are excited to move forward on critical projects targeted to meet the growing needs of Calgarians.
Thank you to all our Power of Potential donors, campaign cabinet volunteers and partners who have made this dream come to life.
Throughout the Calgary Stampede, YMCA Calgary staff members have been and will continue to be present and involved in community events across the city. This week we got to meet with Mayor Nenshi and Premier Notley at community events across the city. This city is so important to us and we will make sure that we are always a presence in Calgary.
On Friday, July 7, YMCA Calgary participated in the 2017 Calgary Stampede Parade to kick off the city’s festivities. A group of over 25 YMCA volunteers and staff members sang and danced their way down 9th Avenue to the YMCA song and engaged the crowd as they pushed the float along the route. Thanks to the energy of the these individuals, YMCA Calgary won top prize for non-profit entries in the parade.
Thank you Calgary Stampede!
The Board of Directors of YMCA Calgary are pleased to announce that Shannon Doram has been selected to serve as YMCA Calgary’s next President and CEO.
Currently a YMCA Calgary Vice President of Operations, Doram provides leadership and oversight to YMCA’s core health, fitness and aquatics facilities, as well as all wellness programming.
Along with her previous experience in the health sector, Shannon has dedicated her career to health, wellness, and community-building.
“The Calgary we want is one of diversity, inclusion, wellness and learning,” says Doram. “Calgary’s ‘Vital Signs’ (published by The Calgary Foundation) shows that while we’re well on our way, there is still a long way to go.”
“Early childhood education, indigenous issues and community connection remain top, yet unfinished priorities for Calgarians. The YMCA is positioned to play a critical role in meeting these, and many other, important needs. We must be connected to our youth, families and seniors, driven by excellence, and constantly evolving. We are ready to build a healthier Calgary.”
Doram holds a Bachelor of Kinesiology from the University of Calgary and a Master of Science in Health Promotion Studies from the University of Alberta’s School of Public Health. She previously held roles with Alberta Health Services and the Alberta Ministry of Health. She’s also volunteered for the Alberta Public Health Association.
“Shannon has the experience, energy and passion to take on the responsibility of supporting the hard-working team of more than 950 staff and 1500 volunteers at the YMCA,” says Narmin Ismail-Teja, past chair of the YMCA Calgary board, current director, and chair of the CEO selection committee. “We are excited to have a leader of Shannon’s caliber take us into a period of significant and intentional growth to serve more Calgarians in every quadrant of the city.”
“There is nothing more rewarding then helping our citizens, whatever their circumstance, to belong, grow, thrive and lead through the YMCA model,” says Howard Shikaze, YMCA Calgary Chair of the Board. “We are thrilled Shannon has deepened her commitment to this meaningful work at the YMCA.”
Shannon Doram begins her new role immediately.
Health and wellness is often defined by physical strength or cardio ability, but there is so much more to well-being than just that. Hearing health is crucial to overall health and the volume of your music may be jeopardizing your ears. We caught up with Audiologist Cherie Yanke Au.D to discuss this important topic and the following is what she had to say.
We live in an exciting time, with advancements in technology shaping and affecting our daily lives, but, unfortunately this modern world is also a very noisy one. We are constantly bombarded by sounds that may be causing hearing loss, but with no immediate pain or symptoms, it often goes unnoticed. In fact, one third of all cases of permanent hearing loss could have been prevented, but it is noticed too late.
The first step in protecting your hearing is through education. We may be diligent in getting our eyes tested, or ensuring we visit the dentist on a regular basis, but most of us take our hearing health for granted. If you work in an atmosphere with constant noise, regularly listen to music through earbuds, or even sit in traffic for a few hours a day, then you are at risk. Due to the fact that hearing loss, in most cases, is gradual over time, it can simply become your new normal. So, making use of proper hearing protection when necessary, practicing safe hearing habits, and having your hearing checked regularly will ensure you won’t have any surprises down the road.
Loud noises, whether in a short intense burst or subtler over an extended period of time, force their way into the ear and if piercing enough, can dislodge the small bones of the middle ear, or damage the tiny hair cells lining the inner ear. Everyday sounds, like a vacuum cleaner, hair dryer, motorcycle, lawn mower, and traffic, can all cause damage over time without the proper hearing protection.
It’s not as if we can cut all noise out of our lives, and in many occupations like construction, emergency services, or military personnel, it’s simply unavoidable. This is where it’s up to you. If you are a festival hopping music lover, then it’s time to protect your hearing if you want to continue to enjoy music in the years to come.
There are a variety of options available for hearing protection, including many with new filtering technology. These will allow you to have conversation normally, but block out or lessen sounds of at a certain hazardous level. In other instances, such as headphone use, it’s up to you to use the technology responsibly. Limit the level you can set your smartphone to, and be sure to give your ears plenty of rest. Remember that damage accumulates over time, and is very hard to self-diagnose.
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