While July 1st is a time of celebration and rest for many, YMCA Calgary would also like to recognize how challenging a year it has been. There has been a lot to be thankful for, but this is also a time to pause and reflect on where we have been, and where we want to be as a country.
In recent months, we have witnessed the discovery of the remains of 215 children buried on the grounds of the Kamloops Residential School, the 104 remains uncovered at the former site of the Brandon Residential School, and the 751 remains found at the former site of the Marieval Indian Residential School at Cowessess, Saskatchewan, all with the knowledge that many more discoveries are to come. In the same time period, we have also witnessed the Islamophobic attacks in London, Ontario, and a documented rise in Anti-Asian hate crimes. This is not the Canada we want to be.
We have a lot of work to do to live up to the promise of the Canada We Want. The Canada We Want is a place where oppressive and systemic barriers have been removed and replaced by opportunity. And we know a lot more work, by a lot more people and organizations, including ours, is needed to get us there.
As one of Canada’s largest service charities, the YMCA has a role to play in fostering social inclusion. Over the last year YMCA Calgary has been expanding our focus on anti-racism and addressing systemic discrimination, including creating learning opportunities for staff and volunteers and working with community partners. We will continue to invest in these efforts and engage in listening, learning, and improving, to ensure that the YMCA is a space that is safe and welcoming for everyone.
Canada continues to grow and develop as a country, and we can choose what kind of country we want to be. By fostering belonging and inclusion in our organizations and in our communities, we can be the Canada We Want.
Here’s to building that better future, while never forgetting where we’ve been.
By: Tyson Moore, Health and Fitness Supervisor, YMCA Calgary
Chances are, most of you reading this have had some serious changes to your exercise routine over the past 4 months. The good news is that now that gyms across the country are opening again, we all have a chance to make some serious positive changes for ourselves and others when we get back to the gym floor. Here are 5 things to focus on when you’re ready to hit the weights again:
1) Focus on Improving Gym Culture
Fail videos, staring at anything wearing leggings, “Do you Even Lift Bro?”, fat-shaming.. mainstream gym culture wasn’t exactly the best role model for inclusivity prior to lockdown. Now more than ever is the time for us to be kind, ask for help, and respect differences between yourself and others. With enough focused effort and consideration, we can rebuild gym culture into a place for #goodvibesonly.
2) Focus on Yourself.. the Right Way
Let’s not sugarcoat it, most of us go to the gym for ourselves only. While that’s definitely an appropriate mindset to have, it’s important to consider your mental well-being when focusing on yourself. If you get excited just to have a distraction-free workout and clear your head, you’re going to do great in your first days back. If you come to the gym beating yourself up because you can’t lift as heavy, or you’re busy focusing on how your arms/belly/everything have gotten too flabby, then you’re probably not going to have a very good time. Instead, focus on having fun, trying new things, and feeling positive about anything you accomplish in the gym!
3) Focus on Training Light for a Few Weeks
Studies have consistently shown that when you take a long break from training (15+ weeks seems relevant, doesn’t it?), you are going to lose some strength and muscle mass, while possibly adding on a bit of body fat as well. Thankfully, most of the research also shows that a return to baseline where you’re able to improve on your performance again is only around 5-6 weeks. This means you might have to train a bit lighter for 3-4 weeks before you start ramping up the intensity to pre-lockdown levels. If you focus on frequency as your primary goal setter (ex. How often you go to the gym), and resist the temptation to go all out in your first week back, you’ll be back to where you were in no time.
P.S No matter what you do for your first workout, there is a very good chance you are going to be SORE… so be prepared to have a recovery plan as well!
4) Get Your Rear in Gear – Focus on Your Backside!
Unless you had a pullup bar installed at home and were doing glute bridges while watching Netflix, your posterior chain (back of the body) is going to need some extra love in your return back to the gym. Focus on adding in more sets of exercises like glute bridges, deadlifts, pulldowns, hamstring curls and prone bench rows to balance out any excessive sitting that may have occurred in the last 4 months.
5) Focus on Focusing – Try a Yoga Class!
While it’s going to be tempting to quickly burn off any lockdown calories accumulated with high intensity activities only, you might want to focus on your mobility and your stress levels to make sure your body can handle everything you’re about to put it through. Yoga classes are a terrific choice for your first activity back in the gym, as you can expect a full-body check-in of how your entire body is feeling with slow, easy movements. Perhaps more importantly, the class will also provide an opportunity to take your face away from your phone, which can welcome some much-needed stress relief and relaxation that might be in short supply at home these days. Find where a fitness class is being offered by viewing our drop-in fitness schedule here www.ymcacalgary.org/drop-in-fitness
Guest blog by Calgary Counselling Centre
Over the past couple of months, we’ve heard words and phrases like “unprecedented” and “uncertain times” in the news, social media, and all other forms of communication. These words are repeated so much because they are very true – we’ve never experienced anything like what we’re going through right now. We’re experiencing a collective sense of anxiety and unease on a global scale. Our lives have been altered and each of us is struggling in a different way. Whether it’s the person that has lost their job, the parent that is trying to juggle work and home-schooling their child, the person living on their own and feeling lonely, or the person that has lost someone they love. We each have a story of how COVID has impacted our lives.
Perhaps one of the most difficult parts of the pandemic for all of us is the unknown. We don’t know how long this is going to last and when things will go back to normal, go back to what we’re comfortable with. Consistency, routine, predictability – we thrive on these things and right now the things that we can predict are in short supply.
To cope with the uncertain, we need to be deliberate with our thoughts and actions and make choices that prioritize our well-being.
Recognize and accept what you can and can’t control.
There are many things in our lives that we can’t predict and have control over. This is especially true during this time of crisis. We need to make a choice in how we approach these situations. Accepting that what you are feeling is normal can help alleviate some of the discomfort and uneasiness we feel. It can also help to make a list of the things that are and things that aren’t in our control. Here are some examples:
What you can’t control:
• The thoughts and actions of others
• How long the changes the pandemic has brought will last
• How others treat you
What you can control
• Your thoughts
• Your reactions to situations
• How you treat other people
Focusing your time, thoughts, and energy on what is in your control can give you a sense of empowerment, even in the most unpredictable of situations.
Look for the opportunities.
Even in times that seem the darkest, there is hope and there is opportunity for growth. Look for ways to grow and improve your life in this time. Spend time reflecting on the parts of your life that you enjoy and how you can do more of that, and the parts that aren’t working and what you can do to change it.
Find ways to give yourself a feeling of accomplishment, even if it’s small. Check things off your to do list, clean out a room in your house, walk a little farther than you did yesterday. A sense of progress doesn’t have to come from huge tasks to be meaningful.
Be deliberate in looking for the positives.
In times of stress and uncertainty, it can be so easy to fall into negative thought spirals and allow the worry to take over. We need to consciously choose alternative ways of thinking. There is a quote from Fred Rogers where he said:
“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’”
We have the ability to choose this attitude and focus on the positive, loving, wonderful things that are still happening around us.
Our current situation may be frightening and frustrating, but if we make the effort to harness our ability to be resilient, we can come out the other side of this, stronger and more at peace.
It’s okay to feel anxious, uneasy, angry, or whatever you’re feeling right now. If you’re struggling, we can help – learn more.
March 14, 2020
Every day, we are reminded of the changing landscape as the world deals with coronavirus (COVID-19.) Throughout this period, YMCA Calgary has closely followed guidance from the World Health Organization, Health Canada and the Government of Alberta.
Our YMCA facilities are gathering places for community life all over Calgary and in the Bow Valley. Our YMCA is guided by the core values of honesty, respect, responsibility and caring. It is through this lens we are approaching this evolving situation and working to ensure the YMCA continues to be safe and welcoming.
As a precaution to help limit the spread of the virus and support the community’s efforts to promote physical distancing, YMCA Calgary is increasing its response in the following ways:
Membership Hold Option
- Our flexible membership hold option, which allows members to suspend/place memberships on hold for up to 2 months, has been extended to 3 months.
Health, Fitness and Aquatics
- South Health Campus YMCA location ONLY is closed until further notice. This is a request from Alberta Health Services to limit non-essential access to its facilities. Learn more here.
- We will be reducing capacity in all drop-in classes to maintain appropriate physical distancing for participants.
- We have indefinitely closed all YMCA hot tubs, steam rooms and climbing walls as a precaution.
- We have cancelled all AquaFit and Gentle Fitness classes until further notice as these are popular with seniors, a more vulnerable population to the virus.
- Fitness equipment has been managed to maintain physical distancing. This will mean turning off some pieces of equipment, as an example.
- All birthday parties booked at YMCAs have been cancelled until the end of April. We will be in contact with you to schedule a new date or to arrange a refund. No further birthday party bookings will be taken prior to May 1.
Facility Rentals (including ice, pool, gym, theatre, meeting rooms and Camp Chief Hector YMCA)
- All events over 250 participants (including any spectators) are cancelled. We will be in contact with you to schedule a new date or arrange a refund.
- For events under 250 participants, we have relaxed our cancellation policy for March and April. All rentals may be rebooked without penalty, or cancelled with a full refund.
- Rentals for May and beyond remain unchanged at this time (existing rules apply). This will be reviewed in early April and further guidance provided at that time.
Here at the YMCA we are:
- Encouraging frequent hand washing.
- Encouraging cough and sneeze etiquette.
- Cleaning common areas more frequently and deepening our efforts in cleaning and disinfecting surfaces with hospital grade cleaning products.
- Cancelling all domestic and international work-related travel for YMCA staff.
Please help us by:
- Staying home if you or your family members are sick (this includes if you are taking medications to mask symptoms such as fever, coughing or shortness of breath) and calling 8-1-1 (Health Link.) While COVID-19 is mild in most cases, people with underlying medical conditions are at most risk. While you may be okay, others in our YMCA community may not. We ask that you consider the health and well-being of not only yourself, but those around you.
- Washing your hands before and after entering program areas, after using equipment or before sending your child to a program.
- Covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue or your elbow, and disposing of tissues immediately.
- Placing dirty towels in the towel bins.
- Wiping down machines and equipment with disinfectant before and after each use.
If you would like more information on the Coronavirus, please refer to the Government of Alberta website at https://www.alberta.ca/coronavirus-info-for-albertans.aspx
Thank you for your commitment and support for our YMCA team members working in our communities every day. We will get through this, and we’ll do it as a community.
Yours in wellness,
President and CEO
This week a plane crash in Tehran, Iran killed 176 people, including 63 from Canada.
YMCA Calgary has since learned that one of the victims, a 19-year-old Western Canada High School student named Arshia Arbabbahrami, was a member of the YMCA Calgary family.
A participant in the YMCA Achievement Program (YMAP), Arshia was a valued and loved member of the program that provides leadership and teamwork opportunities for newcomer youth in our community.
For two years, Arshia faithfully attended every YMAP session and was known as a young man that always made an impact with his smile and positive attitude.
Since learning of this loss, YMCA has provided Arshia’s fellow YMAP youth, volunteers and staff with resources to help them cope with this difficult news.
YMCA Calgary extends our deepest condolences to Arshia’s family and friends and everyone affected by this profound tragedy.
President and CEO
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
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.
YMCA Kids In Motion & Day Camps Food Drive
August 13, 2018 – August 17, 2018
This summer marks the 18th Annual YMCA Kids in Motion and Day camps Food Drive. During the week of August 13-17, campers will have the opportunity to explore philanthropy and learn the value of getting involved in the community during our Calgary Food Bank drive. Campers will visit local communities to deliver flyers and collect donations for the Calgary Inter Faith Food Bank.
Over the past 18 years YMCA Calgary has raised over 200,000 lbs of food. Last year campers supported local communities by collecting 10,620lbs!
If you’d like your camper to participate in our Calgary Food Bank drive, register them for an August 13-17 camp. This applies to all Camp YMCA camps which take place at all seven health and recreation locations.
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