Category: Melcor YMCA at Crowfoot

OPENING! Saddletowne YMCA Opens Saturday!

YMCA has gotten the thumbs up from our construction company to open the doors of Saddletowne YMCA in northeast Calgary. This new YMCA location opens on Saturday January 7 at 7am. There are a few spaces still under construction, but for the most part, the facility will be open for full use.

Get ready for:

  • Two swimming pools
  • Hot tub
  • Steam room
  • Gymnasium
  • Three multi-purpose studios
  • Weight floor
  • Rock climbing wall
  • Running track
  • And more!

Don’t forget the official Grand Opening Celebrations for the Genesis Centre of Community Wellness take place the weekend of January 14 & 15. Festivities start Saturday at 11am in the Commons area and continue all weekend long. Everyone is invited and no RSVP required.


YMCA Fact: Immigrant Services since 1870s

  • As far back as the 1870s classes were held to provide training to help citizens and immigrants find work.
  • In the 1930s, the YMCA initiated strategies to support unemployed by providing job counseling and training programs to teach skills.
  • The recession of the 1980s generated a host of additional employment, training and literacy programs for youth and adults, including unemployed youth at risk.
  • In the 1990s, the YMCA, with the private sector and federal government, launched a national youth internship program, to help give unemployed youth work experience. The Y’s settlement services continue to assist new immigrants in becoming oriented to life in Canada.
  • Did you know YMCA Calgary has an Immigrant Services area? Click here to find out more.


YMCA Fact: Swimming Since 1888

The Y has been teaching swimming since the first Y pools were built in 1888. In 1906, a Y staff member started a revolutionary style of swimming by teaching groups swim strokes using land drills before going into the water.

Even the military relied on the YMCA’s new swim instructions with WWI soldiers using land drills to learn strokes and survival swimming by wearing 60 pounds of gear in deep water. During the 1930s, the Y developed Canada’s first national standards for drown proofing, resusitation and scuba diving as well as test standards for swimming lessons that are still used today.


YMCA Fact: CDN Universities

Concordia University was originally founded by the YMCA of Montreal when it formed the Montreal YMCA Schools in 1926, which later became Sir George William University (named after the founder of the YMCA), before taking on its current name.

The YMCA of Ottawa saw a need for higher education and started Carleton College in 1942 as a post-secondary institution, open to everyone, with full-scale day and evening classes. The College later became Carleton University.

The YMCA of North Toronto was instrumental in the development of York University in 1959.


YMCA Fact: Basketball Invented at YMCA

Basketball was invented by Canadian YMCA Physical Director, James Naismith in December 1891. He was given just two weeks to come up with an indoor game that would amuse students more than standard calisthenics.

Hanging peach baskets to gymnasium balconies, Naismith tacked 13 rules to the wall and unveiled his game to the students. The game was an instant hit. The peach basket was quickly replaced by a wire basket with a hole in the bottom, through which a broom handle could be inserted to pop the ball out, after a bucket had been scored.


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.”


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.


Fitting in Exercise

When the calendar page flips over to December, it often becomes clear that the little white slots aren’t looking too open! Families contend with many concerts, games, parties, activities and events that are out of the norm and certainly put a dent in any “free” time they have.

The busy season is no reason to put one’s exercise program aside. Although January is a very busy time for fitness facilities, why not get a jump start on healthy choices by continuing to work out in December? There is no rule that says it has to be a full hour; if you’re short on time then a shorter workout may be in order.

One of the hottest things in fitness right now is metabolic training. It is a short, challenging and effective workout that will take you from walking in the front door and walking back out again in half an hour. The key with this protocol is that the work phase is, indeed, HARD. Following a warm up of five to ten minutes is a set of intervals. They can be one minute on, one minute rest or can use other timing options. The important thing is that the work phase is an all out-hard as you can-earn your rest effort!

When deciding what to fit into your busy December, don’t forget that fitness can fit into your schedule. Just set aside that short period of time and then work hard!


Trainer’s Tips: Exercise during the Holidays

December and January are two months where people often go from 2 different extremes with their nutrition and exercise habits.

In December, many people “slack off” on their workouts and eat whatever they want over the holiday season. In January, people are determined to get back in shape, stick with their diet and continue to exercise regularly 2-3 times per week.

If you are a regular exerciser, remember that completely falling off the wagon by not exercising and throwing your diet away over the holidays can destroy several months of hard training. The less you slack off, the less amount of time it will take to get you back to your pre holiday shape.

If you do not regularly exercise and you are thinking about making that New Year’s resolution to start an exercise plan, think about starting now. In January, there are going to be many new members at fitness clubs that want to start a program. If you want to get a head of the crowd, sign up at the gym now before everyone else does. The holiday season is actually a great time to start a fitness program because gyms are usually quiet. You can establish a routine during your holiday time off without being overwhelmed by the crowd in the New Year. Exercise can help relieve some of the stresses associated with the season.

When it comes to your diet, there is no need to overindulge over the holidays but there is no need to not have fun either. It is perfectly fine to treat yourself now and again but don’t go overboard. Treat your body like a high end sports car and only put the best fuel in your body. If you are looking at making some serous gains in your fitness levels, proper nutrition is key. Eat for performance and not for pleasure.


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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