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.
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: ymca.ca/LocalMOTION
Scotiabank gives $250,000 to build a much needed sport court at the South Health Campus YMCA and
Scotiabank has partnered with YMCA Calgary, AHS and Calgary Health Trust to build a much-needed sport court at the YMCA’s Alberta Health Services South Health Campus. The sport court will provide an outdoor space for young people to stay healthy, develop physical literacy skills, enjoy the comradery of sport and learn essential life skill of teamwork. This donation will go to the Scotiabank Youth Leadership and Recreation Fund, which the YMCA will use to expand and develop child and youth programming and fund program participation through YMCA’s Strong Kids Campaign.
Used for hockey, badminton, soccer, basketball and more, the sports court will be shared by the South Health Campus YMCA, Alberta Health Services and Calgary Health Trust. All three organizations, and the work they do in the community, will benefit from the addition of the sports court to the health facility.
A big step in building a healthy youth culture and positive generation of leaders.
Celebrate Healthy Kids Day
Healthy Kids Day 2017 at the South Health Campus YMCA has been dedicated to celebrating the health of children, youth and families through the opening of the Outdoor Sport Court. Thanks to the generosity of our partners at Scotiabank, the YMCA, AHS and Calgary Health Trust are excited to bring new opportunities for sport and recreation to Calgary’s SE through this court, and through creation of the Scotiabank Youth Leadership and Recreation Fund. The Sport Court is a place for everyone to keep active and enjoy the benefits of being outdoors.
Sunday, April 30, 2017 | South Health Campus YMCA | 12 pm – 3 pm
12:00 – 12:15 pm: Official Sport Court Opening Speeches; Ball Hockey Puck Drop
12:15 – 1:00 pm: Ball Hockey Game; BBQ Lunch
1:00 – 2:00 pm: Ball Hockey Skill Challenge (all ages)
2:00 – 3:00 pm: Basketball Skill Challenge (all ages)
2:15 – 3:00 pm: Futsol Skill Challenge (all ages)
Come earlier (11:00 am) and stay later (3:00 pm) for free
YMCA access, face painting, cooking demos, food and fun for all!
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.
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!
Horseback riding lessons
Camp Chief Hector YMCA
7Y-12Y | $140
Sundays | May 7, 14, 28 & Jun 4 | 2:30-4pm
(no lesson on May 21)
Instruction includes how to groom a horse (brushing, picking hooves), how to tack and untack (saddle & bridle), and basic riding skills in the arena. Time will be split evenly between horsemanship and riding. Participants will learn to feel comfortable around horses while having a fun learning experience.
Register online or by telephone: 403-269-6156 or 1-866-430-9622
After nearly nine years leading the organization through robust change and growth, and a 34-year career with theYMCA, YMCA Calgary President and CEO Helene Weir will be leaving the role effective May 6, 2017.
Ms. Weir became YMCA Calgary’s President and CEO in August 2008. Since that time, she has lead the Association in thesuccessful opening of the Saddletowne and South Health Campus YMCAs. The Saddletowne YMCA is part of the City of Calgary-built Genesis Centre, a partnership with the community, the United Way of Calgary and Area and the Calgary Public Library. The South Health Campus YMCA is a partnership with Alberta Health Services in a purpose-built YMCA in the South Health Campus hospital. This is the first of its kind in Canada.
More recently, Ms. Weir led the Association in being selected by the City of Calgary to operate three new large health, wellness and recreation facilities as YMCAs. The first of the three facilities, the Remington YMCA, opened successfully in July 2016 and the Rocky Ridge YMCA and Seton YMCA facilities are currently under construction. When open in 2018 and 2019, respectively, these 300,000 sq. ft. plus facilities will be the largest health and wellness centre YMCAs in the world. With the development of these new facilities, YMCA Calgary is poised to double in size and considerably expand its impact in the community. In 2016, under Helene’s leadership, YMCA Calgary was also selected to operate the 36,000 sq. ft. Quarry Park Child Development Centre which is licensed for 348 children.
Helene Weir established the Community YMCA branch in Calgary, which provides a variety of community outreach services including after-school programs, language and integration opportunities for newcomers to Canada, supports for aboriginal children and youth and a variety of other programs fostering growth and leadership, particularly in vulnerable populations.
To fund significant growth and impact, Ms. Weir provided leadership to a volunteer cabinet in a successful capital campaign, the Power of Potential, which has raised over $27.5 million to date for new facilities, to improve infrastructure at YMCA Calgary’s resident camp, Camp Chief Hector and to expand YMCA’s community outreach programs.
After beginning her YMCA career with the YMCA of Edmonton in 1983, Ms. Weir spent 13 years working with YMCA Calgary as a Branch Manager, General Manager and Vice President of Operations. She then left Calgary in 2000 to become Vice President of Membership and subsequently Senior Vice President of Operations at the Valley of the Sun YMCA in Phoenix, Arizona. Helene then spent two and a half years as CEO of the Westport Weston Family Y in Westport Connecticut.
Helene Weir has provided leadership to several YMCA Canada and North American YMCA committees. She is the current Chair of the YMCA Canada CEO Technology Committee, the YMCA Canada Global Initiatives Committee and is also the Chair of YNAN, the CEO group of the 70 largest YMCAs in North America. Helene has also provided leadership to International Y partnerships with YMCA Ukraine and YMCA Bogota, Colombia and has represented YMCA Canada at YMCA Europe General Assemblies and at YMCA World Council. Helene is also on the Executive of the World Urban Network.
Helene is passionate about the ability of the YMCA to have a significant impact on communities around the world through opportunities for people of all ages to belong, grow, thrive and lead. In 2011, Helene was recognized as a Global Woman of Vision and in 2015 by WXN Women’s Executive Network as one of Canada’s 100 Most Powerful Women.
Narmin Ismail-Teja, Chair, Board of Directors, YMCA Calgary said, “I have had the incredible pleasure of working very closely with Helene these past years and feel honored and privileged for this opportunity.”
“On behalf of the Calgary YMCA community, we thank Helene for all her work with the YMCA and the Calgary community and wish her the absolute best of luck for future endeavors.”
Helene Weir will next take up a position with YMCA USA as Vice-President, Large YMCA Resource Group working with CEOs, COOs and other senior level staff of the largest 90 YMCAs in the US.
Shortly, the Nomination and Board Governance committee of the YMCA Calgary Board of Directors will commence a national CEO search to fill this important position in the Calgary charitable landscape.
March is the official kick off to our annual Strong Kids Campaign. Our 2017 goal is to raise $1.4 million to provide more than 23,000 subsidized experiences for children and youth in Calgary! Your donation will help kids engage in healthy activities. Throughout the month visit your local YMCA branch to learn more about Strong Kids and join in fun activities to support kids in your community.
A snapshot of activities happening at YMCA’s throughout the city is below. Check with your branch for more details.
South Health Campus YMCA
- Week of March 13th – Push up challenge
Melcor YMCA at Crowfoot
- March 21st – Cycle for Strong Kids
- March 24 – Swimming Strong Kids Event (3-6pm)
- April 2nd – Wibit in the pool and family movie event
- March 20 – 26th Loonie Toonie dive for last week of swim lessons
- March 22nd 8-8:45am Aquafit class – $5 donation class
- March 24th 7:30-9:00pm Grade 6 Wibit – $2 donation per person
- March 31st 5:30-6:30pm Yoga – $5 donation class
Did you know 100% of all Strong Kids donations directly support children and youth’s participation in YMCA experiences!
Part 1 of 4
Being a new parent is one of the most exciting times of life, but it can also be really overwhelming. Understanding what is normal, and what is cause for concern, is something that has to be learned. There is no one-size-fits-all guide to development in infants and children, because no two children are the same.
The same goes for hearing development, but there are certain checks you can do to ensure your child is responding in a manner that is expected for their age. Hearing is key to almost every part of a child’s development in regards to social, emotional, and cognitive function, so even mild hearing loss left unaddressed can hinder their ability to learn speech and language.
How and when hearing develops
Your baby is born with fully developed hearing, and should respond to your voice or loud noises from birth. How they respond will depend on the individual baby’s temperament, with some jumping at every sound and others taking it in stride. For the first three months, don’t worry if your child doesn’t look towards noises, but focus more on whether they respond to your voice and are trying out some cooing noises of their own. This is the most important time for development, and catching hearing loss in this stage means it can be more easily addressed, so be sure to have your baby’s hearing checked regularly.
Around four to six months, he/she will start to follow sounds with their eyes, respond to your tone of voice, and pay attention to music and toys that make noise. If your child passed the newborn hearing test, it does not necessarily mean they are not at risk in the later months and years, so it is important to pay close attention to their development in regards to their hearing. However, babies naturally have the ability to sleep through loud noises, like a phone ringing or a doorbell, which is completely normal. They simply need their sleep.
At seven months to a year, your child will begin to communicate through hand gestures and “baby talk,” and will start to respond to and try imitate certain words. Over the following one to three years, he/she will begin to get a handle on language, and will be able to understand and answer simple questions. Again, no two children are the same, so these time frames are flexible, and if you are keeping up with regular checkups then there shouldn’t be any cause for concern.
What you can do
From a young age, introduce you baby to a variety of sounds to get them used to the noisy world we live in. Reading to your child, singing nursery rhymes, and introducing them to your favourite music (at an appropriate level) are all great ways to start introducing your child to the cadence of language. Far before they understand what you may be seeing, your child will watch your mouth and begin to imitate language, which is a very important part of their development.
If you have questions or concerns about your child’s hearing development, don’t hesitate to visit an audiologist or specialist to ensure there are no underlying issues.
For any questions, feel free to contact Cherie Yanke, Doctor of Audiology at firstname.lastname@example.org
March is quickly approaching- which means the kick-off of YMCA Calgary’s Strong Kids Month!
One signature event will be the Cycle for Strong Kids event on Monday March 6th at the Gray Family Eau Claire YMCA.
This event is open to all. Past participants have included YMCA members, staff and volunteers, local business’s, local cycling groups, etc. The purpose for the event is simple… rally a team together, compete against other teams for calories expended and raise money for YMCA Calgary’s annual Strong Kids Campaign.
Participation is based on two categories, “Pro” and “Not So Pro.” The Not So Pro teams can select an hour time slot that works for your team. The “Pro” teams will ride head to head in the evening starting around 6:30 pm.
The goal of the cycle is to raise funds for YMCA Calgary’s annual Strong Kids Campaign. Team registered will receive instructions on how to set up an online donation page to share with friends and family to raise awareness and donations for the Strong Kids Campaign.
The winning team is determined by the amount of calories expended (tracked by the bike) and the amount of money raised. The winning team will be celebrated at an event following the cycle. YMCA Calgary will recognize any team that raises $1,000 or more with a banner to be hung in the Gray Family Eau Claire YMCA to thank the team for their efforts.
Please contact Gord Beach (Strong Kids Committee Special event volunteer director and cycle organizer) for more information. Once you have your team confirmed Gord will forward race details and timeslot options.
Interested in cycling without a team? Individual participants are welcome! Contact Gord for more information.
If cycling isn’t your thing mark your calendars for April 29 and join us for the YMCA Calgary Family Fun Run at the Eau Claire Plaza. Registration is open https://www.events.runningroom.com/site/?raceId=13977
- Blog - Featured
- Camp Chief Hector YMCA
- Camp Riveredge YMCA
- Community YMCA
- Grade 6 Membership
- Gray Family Eau Claire YMCA
- Melcor YMCA at Crowfoot
- Quarry Park Child Development Centre
- Remington YMCA
- Saddletowne YMCA
- Shawnessy YMCA
- South Health Campus YMCA
- Success Story
- Success Story - Featured
- YMCA News