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.

Teen Night Rocks at Shawnessy YMCA!

Bring a friend for FREE on January 13!  Teen night resumes on January 13 at Shawnessy YMCA and we want you to bring your friends.  Swimming, ping-pong, foosball, Wii, dancing and basketball are just some the activites available!  Come out Friday nights from 7-10 and have a great time.  Keep checking in to learn about our special events.

Teen Night at the Eau Claire YMCA

Looking for something for your TEENS to do over the holidays?

Join us at the Eau Claire YMCA for a $3.00 drop in of supervised Teen activities. Choose from basketball and other court sports, ping pong, squash, racquet ball, weight floor, running track and swimming.

A safe and healthy environment for your teens. Teen Nights at the Eau Claire YMCA will run both December 23rd and 29th.

YMCA Childcare – Children and Centres are Growing!

Saddletowne YMCA Child Development Centre – preparing for our January 3, 2012 opening!

YMCA Child Development Centres offer programs that meet and exceed Provincial licensing standards.  Currently 88 children each month benefit from engaging in YMCA Canada’s Playing to Learn curriculum.  Staff members use reflective practices to ensure that the experiences children have in the program are based on their interests and provide an optimal environment for learning.  Each day is filled with activities and adventure that has children and staff exploring their world together.

We are excited to be preparing for our newest childcare centre to open on January 3, 2012 as part of the Saddletowne YMCA located in the Genesis Centre of Community Wellness in NE Calgary.  Soon, we will be able to help another 48 young children to belong, grow, lead and thrive! 

Meet some of the Saddletowne YMCA staff members as they feature a couple of the childcare centre’s child friendly features:

Merle Clarke, Childcare Director – trying out a mini shopping cart

Nikol McDonald-Robart, Youth Director – checking out a toddler sized, in-centre washroom

For information and registration please contact Merle at 403-781-1699.  Space is limited.

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 confirms the benefits of 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.

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!