Category: Blog

Michelle Green, Fitness Instructor: Empowers and inspires every day!

We often hear the voice of Michelle Green, YMCA Calgary Fitness Instructor, in the gym at Gray Family Eau Claire YMCA. Michelle has been a part of the YMCA Calgary community for six years and continues to inspire and empower not just the people that take her fitness classes, but everybody around her.

She develops strong relationships with all members and truly pushes them to be the best they can be during their time in her classes. “I watch my participants come into a class and completely shut out the outside world. They work out for that full hour and then they leave almost as different people,” says Green. “They start to see changes in themselves which then causes them to empower everybody around them because people are so impressed by their changes.”

Michelle was a stay-at-home mom and out of work for 15 years. Absolutely terrified to go back to work, she says the instructors and staff at YMCA Calgary made it easier. “The instructors and staff embraced me and welcomed me with open arms. I was able to be myself.”

“The instructors here are the ones that empower me every single day,” says Green. “I get to watch them grow and change; I get to help them become the instructors they want to be. Seeing them grow and become these amazing instructors, and seeing their classes grow just because they are so liked, is truly remarkable. They constantly push and challenge me to work harder and be more creative,” says Green with a smile. “The instructors here are phenomenal, and they truly get me. I have become a better mom and more mindful of people because of them.”

Michelle makes a solid effort to connect with her class participants and gets to know them on a personal level. “I had a gentleman come into a registered class that I taught, and he was very unfit. He was a couch potato and smoker and was unable to get past the warm-up. He ended up lying on the floor laughing since he couldn’t believe how hard the class was,” Michelle recalls.

“I got to know him. I sat down with him and told him to keep pushing as there was a reason why he came to this class. I told him if he wants to see changes, he is going to have to work for it. After that, he came back to every single class for months and months and went from being a very unfit person to a U16 Soccer Referee. He is now a top Canadian Soccer Referee,” says Michelle. “This was a huge accomplishment for him. He wrote me a letter thanking me for all the changes I made for him. To this day, this person is still really close to my heart as I got to see him change so much.”

Our Fitness Instructors, like Michelle, try their best every single class to empower their participants to be the best they can be. They truly care about helping their members meet their fitness goals and will support them as best they can. If you have a Fitness Instructor that has empowered you, please share it with us by emailing: communications@calgary.ymca.ca.

Learn more about our fitness programs here: https://www.ymcacalgary.org/program-descriptions/


Self-care tips: Why yoga can help you unwind.

Self-care tips: Why yoga can help you unwind.

By: Alix W.

“Relaxing” and “parenting” are oxymorons when you think about it. When your kids are little, you are solving never-ending problems – when your kids are older, you are scared witless about how they are solving their never-ending problems. The older your kids get, the more time you have to relax, but it can still take a concerted effort to get it rolling. Like with any skill, relaxation comes more naturally, the more regularly you practice it–, the more disciplined you are building up a relaxation routine, the easier it gets. Here are some self-care tips for you! Yoga classes are the perfect opportunity to unwind – the calm, dim environment means your senses aren’t assaulted as they might be at the kitchen table or in the car. When you register for a yoga class you can start building in a regular relaxation practice around the rest of your schedule, setting a solid boundary that you are taking time specifically for yourself.

Not convinced? Here are three ways that even the most casual yoga can help you unwind.

Forces You To Take Time For Yourself – even if you don’t love yoga, even if you just lay on your mat and savasana for 75 minutes, what it gives you is permission to be uninterrupted, and permission to relax. No little minds are asking you rapid-fire questions, no emails are lighting up your phone, and there are no crumbs to sweep from under the kitchen table (again.) You have 75 minutes, trapped in a room with nothing to do but think about yourself.

Forces You To Be Aware Of Your Breath – trust me, there is no judgment here. As a mom of three kids I have taken a nap in a yoga class, even if you’re laying there barely participating, you can’t help but hear the instructor (no matter how much practice you have tuning your kids out.) Following the instructor’s rhythm with your breath will bring you a different awareness, allowing you to feel how your breath flows through your body and subtly releases tension. As the class goes on, you might find yourself starting to savor those moments where the breath is the focus of your practice, and those moments might begin to make their way into your everyday life.

Forces You To Shower After – or not, whatever! But if you do choose to take a shower after yoga class, try to do it at the gym where you can enjoy it by yourself. How many times a week do you try and shower, only to be interrupted by little ones who need to use the potty, something crashing and breaking or your phone ringing. Showering is a significant part of self-care– a shower is a physical and mental chance to refresh and start anew. If you’ve had a tough day, or if you’ve had a tough week, a shower, clean soap and even blow-drying your hair, if you’ve got the extra few minutes, can set you up for a better start.


Shane Homes YMCA at Rocky Ridge Teen Night

We are excited to announce that starting January 10, Shane Homes YMCA at Rocky Ridge will be launching a weekly Teen Night! Our Teen Night was created to provide an opportunity for youth to interact with others similar in age, in a safe place. The program is a free drop-in program with a YMCA Calgary membership, and each evening will feature different activities.

Schedule for Teen Night

Multi-Purpose Room #2 (Meet-up spot for Teen Night)

• 5:00 pm – 5:30 pm: Youth aged 12-14 may gather in multi-purpose room #2 for snacks, icebreakers and short games.

Gym #2

• 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm: Organized sports activity for youth aged 12-14. Each week will feature a different sport, including but not limited to: Soccer, Basketball, Floor Hockey, Gaga Ball,
Bocce Ball, Dodgeball, Kickball, Capture the Flag and more.
• 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm: Youth aged 12-14 Open Gym*
• 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm: Youth aged 12-17 Open Gym*

Youth Centre

• 7:00 pm – 9:30 pm: Open Youth Centre for youth aged 12-17. In the Youth Centre, youth will have the chance to socialize, enjoy some free food, play board games/ card games, ping-pong, air hockey, foosball, and listen to music. The activities offered will be changed from week to week and will include time for the youth to plan activities on their own.
If you or your teen have any further questions, please contact Shane Homes YMCA at Rocky Ridge directly at: 403-351-6673.

*Open Gym time provides an opportunity for youth to have their own space without skilled/intimidating adults and younger children.


Transitioning Back To School – Connecting With Your Kids

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. 


Stampede Parade: YMCA Calgary Float

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.


Impact of exercise on mental health

 

 

In honour of Mental Health Week, YMCA Calgary wants to remind everyone the importance physical activity plays in both mental and physical health.

It is proven that daily exercise will improve your overall well-being.   What is also known, is that the type and intensity of exercise doesn’t matter. Daily physical activity, whether it is an intensive boot camp, an hour-long swim or a 30-minute walk, will significantly improve your mental health

Many of us face stress throughout our daily lives in our work, family, finances and relationships, which can negatively effect our mental health.   Incorporating daily physical activity into your routine will:

  1. Increase your energy
  2. Improve your mood
  3. Reduce stress
  4. Improve self-esteem
  5. Reduce depression and anxiety
  6. Improve both mental and physical health and overall well-being

Information was referenced from:  https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/publications/how-to-using-exercise. To read more about how exercise can help your mental and physical well-being click on the link above.


*NEW* Family Outdoor School – Outdoor education for Homeschoolers

Camp Chief Hector YMCA is pleased to announce a new program 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 is offered in June 2018. This program is a great way to get unplugged, reconnect with your family and get into the woods with your children.

Click HERE for full details

Registration is open NOW!
403-269-6156 or 1-866-430-9622

CAMP CHIEF HECTOR YMCA
Family Outdoor School
June 11-14, 2018
1st Adult  $285   |   2nd Adult  $100   |   5Y – 17Y  $260   |   0-4Y  FREE

 


Are You Strong Enough to Support Strong Kids?

November is Strong Members for Strong Kids Month.

 

What does that mean? It means anyone interested will have the opportunity to engage in feats of fitness and pledge dollars for every rep/inch/second they complete, all in the name of raising funds for the Strong Kids campaign! One day per week throughout the month of November there will be a “Strong Members” booth set up in the lobby of the Gray Family Eau Claire YMCA where you can stop by to see how strong you are for Strong Kids.

Through philanthropy, the YMCA and our donors are removing barriers to help children, youth and families live healthier lives and achieve their full potential. Our annual Strong Kids Campaign gives children and youth the opportunity to participate in YMCA programs that positively influence their health and well-being and connect them to a caring community. 100% of all Strong Kids donations directly support participation in YMCA experiences. In 2016, YMCA provided 23,000 subsidized experience and the need has only increased in 2017!

The specific days and themes of our Strong Members for Strong Kids campaign are listed below with the booth open from 6:30-8:30am, 11:00am-1:00pm, and 4:00-6:00pm each day. Whether you come at the crack of dawn Mondays or lunch time Thursdays, there will be a day and time where you’ll have the opportunity to have fun and show your strength for Strong Kids!

Schedule

Wednesday November 1– Push Ups, reps per minute.

Thursday November 9– Skipping, reps per minute.

Friday November 17– Jump Height, inches jumped.

Monday November 20– Plank, seconds held.

Tuesday November 28– Wall Sit, seconds held.


Have you downloaded the YMCA Calgary App yet?

New-App-blog-header

This Calgary YMCA App will enhance your YMCA experience.  Here are some of the features that you can enjoy:

  • First choose your home branch (Example: Melcor YMCA at Crowfoot)
  • See Facility information such as branch hours, location and contact information
  • Set up your Membership Card under Check-in.  Once you do this you can use your phone to scan in!!
  • See the most up to date facility drop-in schedules.  You also have the ability to set a reminder in your calendar to attend your favorite drop-in classes
  • Review the most recent program guide
  • Connect with us on Social Media via the App
  • Receive facility notifications (ie. schedule changes, closures etc).  Please see the attached information sheet to see how to ensure that you are only receiving notifications for the branches that you are interested in.
  • Get updates on your Grade 6 Membership. View monthly calendar and posters for events. 

If you have any questions or require further assistance with this App please feel free to pop into your branch and speak with a Member Services Representative.

 


Ticket to Wellness: A Healthy Ladies Night Out

Join us for a FREE facility wide ladies only event at the Saddletowne YMCA. This event is designed to introduce ladies in our community to the fun and healthy benefits of exercise, in a non-intimidating environment. As this is a facility wide event, our facility will be restricted to women only during these hours.

Bring a friend or family member and join us for a fun night full of a variety of exciting activities!

Ticket

Click here for the schedule of activities!


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