Category: YMCA News

YMCA Calgary Community Involvement

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.

YMCA Calgary Wins Best Non-Profit Entry in Calgary Stampede Parade



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!


Stampede Breakfasts 2017

Stampede Breakfasts

Swap your gym wear for Stampede wear and come say howdy!


Join us for a tasty Stampede breakfast at one of five locations from July 11 – 14.

Stampede Breakfast Schedule:

Shawnessy YMCA  | 400 – 333 Shawville Blvd. SE  |  Tuesday, July 11 | 7-10 am

Gray Family Eau Claire YMCA  | 101 3 Street SW |  Wednesday, July 12 | 7-9 am

Remington YMCA  | 108 Quarry Park Rd SE  | Thursday, July 13 | 7-9 am

Melcor YMCA at Crowfoot  |  8100 John Laurie Blvd NW  |  Friday, July 14 | 7-9 am

Saddletowne YMCA  |  80-7555 Falconridge Blvd NE  | Friday, July 14 | 9-11 am









Bring the whole family and enjoy pancakes and healthy treats.
See you there!



Shannon Doram selected to serve as YMCA Calgary’s next President and CEO


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.  

How to Protect and Assist Hearing with Up to Date Technology

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.

YMCA Calgary Sport Camps

A multi-ethnic group of elementary age children are playing various sports together at the gym. They are smiling and looking at the camera.

YMCA Calgary is now offering basketball, football, soccer, multi-sport and golf camps! Check out the descriptions and dates below and see what camp would work for your child!

YMCA Basketball Development Camp 

8:30am – 4:30pm

Hit the court this summer!  In this week-long camp, you will learn the fundamentals and strategy of the game of the basketball.  You will get an introduction to disciplined training to help develop basketball-specific skills and will also enjoy plenty of game play.  You will build their expertise in the sport of basketball, learn sportsmanship and fair play.  A fun and active way to build a love of the game of basketball.

Adventurers – Ages 10-11

July 4-7 – Course Code 117368

July 10-14 – Course Code 117369

July 17-21 – Course Code 117370

July 24-28 – Course Code 117371

July 31-August 4 – Course Code 119792


Challengers – Ages 12-13

July 4-7 – Course Code 117590

July 10-14 – Course Code 117591

July 17-21 – Course Code 117592

July 24-28 – Course Code 117593

July 31-August 4 – Course Code 119793


Talk to member services and book your child in for a basketball camp today!


Football Camp – at the Melcor YMCA at Crowfoot:

8:30am – 4:30pm

Learn to play football like a pro!  In partnership with Tom Higgins, former pro football player and coach of the Calgary Stampeders, the YMCA will be offering a coed non-contact football camp.  You will learn the fundamentals of football including football positions, rules and strategy of the game, and sportsmanship.  Through various drills you will also strength, speed and agility.  A fun and active camp that will result in positive growth of all athletes – in mind, body and spirit.  No previous football experience is required.

Explorers – Ages 8-9

July 4- July 7 – Course Code 125476

August 8- 11 – Course Code 125477

Adventurers – Ages 10-11

July 17 – July 21 – Course Code 125478

July 31-August 4 – Course Code 125479

Challengers – Ages 12-13

July 10 – July 14 – Course Code 125480

July 24-July 28 – Course Code 125481


Talk to member services and book your child in for a football camp today!


Soccer Development Camp (offered at the Shawnessy YMCA)

8:30am – 4:30pm

Learn to Bend it like Beckham in this summer.  During this week-long camp, you will learn soccer fundamentals, strategy and the rules of the game.  You will develop and refine your learned skills through disciplined training and game play. You will learn true sportsmanship and build new skill in a fun and fair play environment!  No previous experience required.

Adventurers – Ages 10-11

July 17-21 – Course Code 124464

Challengers – Ages 12-13

July 17-21 – Course Code 124465


Talk to member services and book your child in for a soccer camp today!


Multisport Development Camp-

(South Health Campus, Remington and Gray Family Eau Claire)

8:30am – 4:30pm

Try a new sport each day!  In this week-long camp, you will learn the foundations for different sports and get an introduction to disciplined training.   You will participate in a variety of sports including basketball, soccer, floor hockey, volleyball and more, as well as build your fitness through a conditioning component.  Participants will learn about the principles of sportsmanship and teamwork and build a love for all sports.  All skill levels and abilities welcome.  Sport options may vary by branch.

Remington YMCA

Adventurers – Ages 10-11

July 10 – 14 – Course Code 125623

August 21 – August 25 – Course Code 125622


Gray Family Eau Claire YMCA

Adventurers – Ages 10-11

July 24 – 28 – Course Code 125578

August 14 – August 18 – Course Code 125579


Challengers – Ages 12-13

July 17 – July 21 – Course Code 125580

August 8 – August 11 – Course Code 125581


South Health Campus YMCA

Challengers – Ages 12-13

July 24-28 – Course Code 125577



Golf Camp (offered at the Remington YMCA)

Ages 10-13, 8:30am – 4:30 pm

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a professional golfer?  Live the life this summer with the PGA Pros at Inglewood Golf Course and the YMCA team.  During this week-long camp, you will spend the mornings at the Inglewood Golf Course learning the fundamentals of grip, posture, putting, and short and long-range shots, then bus back to the Remington YMCA for wet and dryland cross-training with the Y’s personal trainers and aquatic team. A fun, active camp and a great introduction to the sport of golf.  Participants should wear appropriate active wear for the training activities and weather (jeans are not permitted at the course).  All golf equipment and transportation to and from the golf course is provided.

July 10-14 – Course Code 125624

July 17-21 – Course Code 125625

July 24-28 – Course Code 125626

July 31-August 4 – Course Code 125627

August 14-18 – Course Code 125628

August 21-25 – Course Code 125629


Meet the Strong Kids Fun Run Race Director, Ken Skea

With the Strong Kids Fun Run coming up it is a great time to introduce our new Race Director, Ken Skea.  Ken played various sports growing up but he first started running 25 years ago at a fundraiser for his son’s play school.  Ken started with 5-10 km races and quickly moved on to the longer distances – competing in several marathons and even ultra-marathons!

As a dedicated YMCA member Ken was asked to work with the Gray Family YMCA Youth Running Club.  The club runs out of the Gray Family Eau Claire YMCA every Tuesday afternoon from 4:15-5:15pm.  Ken is passionate about inspiring the youth to be active in whatever their pursuit; be it running, hiking, biking or swimming.  As a coach he wants to remind you that it is the first 10-15 minutes that are the toughest – but afterwards you will feel rejuvenated!

Heading up the Strong Kids Fun Run was a perfect fit for Ken.  When asked about the route he said: “It’s the best location!  The kids run around Prince’s Island Park right along the pathways – so no need to worry about being on the road.  It really is the best location for a fun run!”


Join us! Run on April 29th; 5km, 10km or a 1.5km Fun Run!

Register online at: www.

Will earbuds damage my hearing?


50301508 - closeup modern headphone on phone media portable

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 all love heading out for a run with some of our favourite songs to pump us up and set our pace. Music and exercise are a great combination, but can it damage your hearing?

Smartphones and earbuds (or earphones) have become a part of our everyday lives, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but they have to be used with caution. Sound levels and duration of use are the two most important contributing factors when using earphones responsibly.

Over-the-ear headphones have largely been considered the safest option as they sit over the ear, rather than directly in the ear canal, but this is not necessarily true. Again, it all comes down to sound levels, so perhaps the more important factor is whether or not they block outside noise. If external audio, from a busy street or the gym, is making its way through, it can cause a person to up the volume to block it out. Instead, a pair of headphones that block out noise will be the safest choice, as it encourages more responsible listening.

Most smartphones can blast music at 120 decibels, which is equivalent to a rock concert, and can cause nerve damage in less than a minute, eventually leading to noise induced hearing loss. No matter how much you love to rock out to that dubstep while on the spin bike, it’s just not worth permanently damaging your hearing. The solution: Turn it down. You’ll find your hearing adjusts to the level of sound, so set it to what is comfortable in a quiet room (shouldn’t be more than half of your phone’s capacity), and then lock it to max out there.

The second contributing factor is the duration of use. If you are listening at a level of 90 decibels it may not be a problem for a short period of time, but over hours of continuous use it becomes equivalent to a blast of 150 dB to your hearing. So, be sure to give your ears adequate breaks, switching to the car radio or stereo at home rather than always resorting to earbuds.

The best way to reduce the risk of noise-induced hearing loss is not to discontinue use of earbuds, but learn to use them responsibly. It is worth it to invest in noise-cancelling earphones, which are designed to seal off your ear canal and block out any outside noise. They promote lower listening volumes as the music isn’t competing with any background noise. Custom earbuds are also great option, as they are molded to fit perfectly to your ear canal and are even more effective in serving as a sound block.

For more information, please contact Cherie Yanke Au.D. at

YMCA Partnership in Bogota, Colombia


YMCA Calgary CEO Helene Weir and CFO Jhamily Estrada spent a week alongside our colleagues from Edmonton visiting our YMCA partnership in Bogota, Colombia.  It was the 39th year of our partnership which is an amazing accomplishment.

The YMCA in Bogota has a very significant impact on the lives of the children, youth and adults in their programs. One of the unique things about the YMCA is our connection to YMCA’s in other countries around the world and we can always learn from those we partner with. The Bogota YMCA builds their prevention programs on a foundation of developing skills to cope with the difficult life situations their children and youth may be living in.

Through the children they also work with the parents. The prevention programs are the programs that our partnership supports. The YMCA runs programs in very difficult neighbourhoods in Bogota which is a city of 10 million people. They run half day before and afterschool programs that focus on the prevention of the sexual exploitation of children and the prevention of children and youth getting involved in gangs.

The YMCA builds resiliency to help the children and youth to face the future with hope. The programs are run in safe YMCA spaces that provide a reprieve from the challenging life on the streets. The leadership skills and self worth the children and youth develop are critical to having a better future.

Our partnership with YMCA Bogota will celebrate 40 years next year so more details to follow on that later in the year.The partnerships we have with YMCA Bogota, and YMCA Ukraine, are a special part of being the YMCA.



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YMCA Celebrates Canada’s 150!

YMCA Canada is celebrating Canada’s 150 through our LocalMOTION program.  Help us celebrate Canada through our fun online challenges and learn more about Canada’s railroad history and YMCA’s involvement.


How to Participate

Complete one or all of the challenges (and share!) for a chance to win monthly prizes and a grand prize of VIA Rail’s “The Canadian” trip for four.  Each challenge you complete counts for an entry.

Contest runs until July 31, 2017! 

For more information visit and to get started visit:


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