Category: Kids

YMCA Engages Young Leaders!

 YMCA Calgary Volunteer, Dalmy Baez, has been chosen to sit on the World Relationships Committee.

For the first time in recent memory, two young YMCA leaders have been chosen to join the World Relationships Committee.

Engaging young leaders is a key component of our Plan Y strategy. The YMCA National Board is particularly interested in strengthening the under-30 volunteer voice in connection with governance and our international work, which is what led to the creation of two new positions on the World Relationships Committee (you may remember our call for applications back in October).

Chaired by Rob Reid, Vice-Chair of the National Board, the World Relationships Committee provides strategic guidance to YMCA Canada’s relationships within the global YMCA network. After reviewing applications from across the country, the selection committee (which consisted of Rob Reid; Ida Thomas, YMCA Canada’s VP, Children, Teens and Young Adults; and Mary Anne Roche, YMCA Canada’s VP, International Development & Relations) chose Carla Acosta of the YMCA of Greater Toronto, and Dalmy Baez of the YMCA of Calgary to bring a young leader’s perspective to the Committee. Both are appointed until May 2013.

Carla is a full-time student at Toronto’s York University pursuing a double major in Environmental Studies and International Development. She is a volunteer with the YMCA of Greater Toronto’s International Program, assisting with the development of educational resources.

Dalmy is the Resource Coordinator for Longview Systems in Calgary. She is a volunteer with the YMCA of Calgary’s International Committee, and a former participant in the “Mano a Mano” leadership development program (a collaborative initiative of YMCA Canada, YMCA of the USA and YMCA Mexico).

The two recruits recently underwent an intense orientation in advance of their first World Relationships Committee meeting, held on Dec. 2 in Montreal. Says Dalmy, “my first committee meeting truly proved to be a phenomenal experience. I came away inspired about the role the YMCA plays on an international level and excited about the prospect that I might have an impact on this movement. I am very much looking forward to my future with this committee.” Carla was equally inspired, saying, “This opportunity has given me the chance to become engaged with my global community, to voice my concerns and to actually make an impact in the world.”


Research Shows the Benefits of Summer Camp

Benefits of YMCA Summer Camp

Families have been sharing with the YMCA for years their observations that their children return from camp with strong friendships, greater maturity, good health and a love of the outdoors. Now there is research that confirms these stories.

The Canadian Summer Camp Research Project identified five areas for review: social integration and citizenship, environmental awareness, attitudes towards physical activity, emotional intelligence and self-confidence and personal development.

Funded by Canadian Camping Association/Association des camps du Canada (CCA/ACC) and the University of Waterloo, the project concludeds 5-years of research that included 16 camps from across Canada and over 1200 campers.

The research data show an increase in all five areas that were reviewed. A summary of the project and many other useful resources can be found on the CCA/ACC website.

Camp Chief Hector YMCA is an accredited member of the CCA/ACC, as well as a member of the Alberta Camps Assocation and the International Camping Fellowship.


Family Fun Holiday Activities

Hanging Ice Ornaments – Steve MacDonald, Youth Director Shawnessy YMCA

Find a handful of plastic containers (hummus, sour cream containers etc) and fill about half way with water.

Add a little food coloring.

 Search for a backyard nature collection: pine cones, fun shaped rocks, or maybe a nice healthy leaf from an indoor plant.  Next, place your nature items in the containers half filled with water. 

Submerge the end of a long piece of strong string or twine in each container.  You can either place them in your freezer, or outside if it is cold enough! 

When your natural artifact is frozen, carefully take the ice out of the container, and hang your ice ornament outside: from the porch, from a tree, wherever you like.


Holiday Eating

Eating healthy food and avoiding weight gain during the holidays can be a challenge.

If you are doing the cooking, try these healthy substitutions:

  • When baking with butter, margarine, shortening or oil, substitute half the amount called for with apple sauce or prune puree.
  • Cook with chicken broth or canola oil instead of butter.
  • Substitute two egg whites or 1/4 cup of egg substitute for a whole egg
  • For fruit canned in heavy syrup, substitute fruit canned in its own juices or water, or fresh fruit.
  • When using any dairy, look for the lower fat option, substitute yogurt for sour cream
  • For ground beef, substitute extra-lean or lean ground beef, chicken or turkey.
  • Instead of regular mayonnaise or salad dressing, use reduced-calorie mayonnaise and salad dressings.
  • Use low-sodium or reduced-sodium versions of any soups, sauces, dressings or crackers or canned meat, fish or veggies.
  • Replace regular table salt with herbs, spices, or salt-free seasoning mixes or herb blends.
  • Try using whole-wheat or whole-grain bread, rice and pasta.
  • When baking, replace 1/2 the white flour with whole-wheat flour.

Avoid overeating at the company party. Plan ahead!

  • Eat a snack before the party to avoid facing all that delicious holiday food on an empty stomach.
  • Exercise earlier in the day and burn off some of those calories in advance.
  • Identify some favorite foods and plan ahead to indulge in a few of those items while filling up mostly on raw veggies and other, lighter items.
  • Drink plenty of water. Often you feel hungrier if you are thirsty. Also, avoid the alcoholic beverages – they encourage you to munch as you are uninhibited.
  • Find a coworker who also wants to avoid that holiday weight gain and agree to help one another resist temptation.

Don’t over do it at a big dinner. Avoid overeating by:

  • Drinking plenty of water during the festivities to keep feeling full.
  • Try to concentrate on non-food activities. Watch the big football game, catch up with cousins from out of town or play a game of chase with the kids in the backyard.
  • Bring a lighter holiday recipe to the event to introduce family to the idea.
  • Fill up on the lighter and healthier items on the buffet table. Pick pretzels instead of chips, fruit rather than heavy desserts and grilled or baked meats instead of fried items.
  • Use the smallest available plate to avoid piling up large portions of anything.
  • Don’t go back for seconds.
  • Politely refuse to take home leftovers, especially of rich, fattening holiday food.

Most likely we’ll all indulge a little. Don’t feel guilty. Keep up with your exercise routine to burn off some of the extra calories consumed. If you aren’t already exercising consider trying to add a 30-minute walk to your schedule, even if it’s only three days a week. With a little planning and a few smart recipe tips, healthy holiday eating doesn’t have to be outside your grasp.


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