Impact of exercise on mental health



In honour of Mental Health Week, YMCA Calgary wants to remind everyone the importance physical activity plays in both mental and physical health.

It is proven that daily exercise will improve your overall well-being.   What is also known, is that the type and intensity of exercise doesn’t matter. Daily physical activity, whether it is an intensive boot camp, an hour-long swim or a 30-minute walk, will significantly improve your mental health

Many of us face stress throughout our daily lives in our work, family, finances and relationships, which can negatively effect our mental health.   Incorporating daily physical activity into your routine will:

  1. Increase your energy
  2. Improve your mood
  3. Reduce stress
  4. Improve self-esteem
  5. Reduce depression and anxiety
  6. Improve both mental and physical health and overall well-being

Information was referenced from: To read more about how exercise can help your mental and physical well-being click on the link above.

National Volunteer Week 2018 – Sanam Adjigol

Branch: SHY

Name: Sanam Adjigol

Position: Preschool/ Volunteer instructor

Number of Years Volunteered: 2.5

Number of Volunteer Hours in 2018: 10.5

How has the nominee been a YMCA Calgary Ambassador?

Sanam has been a volunteer both here and at ECY. She promotes the Y when she talks about what she does – from being a preschool volunteer instructor teaching kids to being a day camp counsellor being a friend when needed to campers. Promoting people to join and have fun.

How does the volunteer engage in the YMCA Calgary Community?

Sanam is always talking about the Y to parents and friends. She lets them know about whats being offered, from programs to the camps where she is a counsellor.

How has the nominee built positive relationships?

Sanam gets down on the participants level and finds out about them. Making them feel welcome and giving them that extra hand when they need it. Either to make new buddies or to help kids with their first time away from parents.  The students rush in to tell her about that they have done that week.

In what ways has the nominee exceeded the expectations of their role?

Sanam jumps right in and takes care of any situation. She lends a helping hand to fellow volunteers and other branches when needed.

National Volunteer Week 2018 – Lynda Johnson

Branch: Quarry Park

Name: Lynda Johnson

Position: Reception/Front Assistant

Number of Years Volunteered: 2

Number of Volunteer Hours in 2018: 28

How has the nominee been a YMCA Calgary Ambassador?

Lynda has always been a true ambassador for the YMCA. She knows what the YMCA’s values are and she demonstrates these values, not only when she is here, but in her life daily.

How does the volunteer engage in the YMCA Calgary Community?

Lynda always has a smile and greets everyone. Everyone expects to see her when they arrive on Tuesdays. She is a part of our family.

How has the nominee built positive relationships?

Lynda always has a smile for everyone. She interacts with staff and families alike. She makes people feel welcome and at home. Lynda takes on any task that needs to be done.

In what ways has the nominee exceeded the expectations of their role?

Lynda is always willing to help with anything, and with very short notice, if necessary. She has offered to come in and put in extra time if we need her. We rely on Lynda and we know she will be there for us.

National Volunteer Week 2018 – John Anderson

Volunteer of the Year Response

Branch: ECY

Name: John Anderson

Position: Group Fitness Instructor

Number of Years Volunteered: 26

Number of Volunteer Hours in 2018: 25+

How has the nominee been a YMCA Calgary Ambassador?

John was one of the first Y people I met when I started working here. He was (an always is ) welcoming, encouraging, and cheerful. He left the most positive impression of an organization I was already excited to be a part of. John talks about the Y like a family.

How does the volunteer engage in the YMCA Calgary Community?

John teaches lunch hour fitness classes at least two days per week, and on the others he attends them as a participant! He is a fixture in this facility between the hours of 11:30 and 1:00pm, choosing to spend his time engaging with staff, members, and other volunteers.

How has the nominee built positive relationships?

John is one of our most longstanding and respected volunteers. He recognizes every participant by name, takes the time to get to know and help new faces in the crowd, and does it all with a smile.

In what ways has the nominee exceeded the expectations of their role?

John stepped well outside his comfort zone in 2017. While his background and experience is in teaching typical hi/lo and cardio classes, John decided to leap into the MOSSA Group Blast training head first. This time consuming and occasionally frustrating class brought out the best in John, and the extra time and effort he puts in to learn and teach releases himself, as well as ensure members are getting the most out of each class, is so appreciated!

National Volunteer Week 2018 – Hassan Rizwan

Branch: Community YMCA

Name: Hassan Rizwan

Position: Math Tutor

Number of Years Volunteered: 2.5

Number of Volunteer Hours in 2018: 8

How has the nominee been a YMCA Calgary Ambassador?

Hassan is a great ambassador for the YMCA because he has a very positive attitude towards the YMCA and it is easy to see that he enjoys being a tutor. He sets a good example for his students because they sense his positive attitude which helps them to enjoy coming to tutoring as well.

This semester the tutoring program has been low for students at Hassan’s site. In response, Hassan has served as an ambassador for our program by encouraging his students to get their friends to apply for the program. Indeed, one of Hassan’s student’s friends has now started attending tutoring.

How does the volunteer engage in the YMCA Calgary Community?

Hassan volunteers as a high school math tutor for students with an academic and financial need. Hassan takes his commitment to the tutoring program seriously. He is very reliable and always shows up early to his tutoring sessions. Hassan is also very genuine in his desire for his students to succeed. He frequently suggests resources that are available to help his students and he stays very up to date on the world of math. He suggests joining other youth programs within the YMCA community to his students to help them be more rounded individuals.

How has the nominee built positive relationships?

Hassan is a very genuine, up front, and honest person. His students quickly respond to his genuine character, and this helps Hassan to be able to build quick connections with his students. During the Strong Kids campaign, we had games for the students and volunteers to participate in during the session. Many students were shy at first about playing the games. Hassan went out of his way to encourage his students to play. His students had a lot of fun playing the games and it served as a bonding experience for them.

Hassan is also able to build positive relationships by meeting students at their level. Last semester, Hassan helped another tutor’s students for one session. This student was often disinterested in math and was sometimes difficult to motivate. The student told Hassan that she didn’t have any math homework, and she said she wasn’t interested in working on math. Instead of being annoyed, Hassan spent over a half hour just playing X’s and O’s with the student and even taught her some strategies for the game. As a result, the student was able to enjoy a positive experience and benefit from a positive mentor-ship from Hassan.

Hassan’s relationships with his students have been so positive that they keep wanting to return to be tutored by him. Indeed, this semester one of Hassan’s previous students specifically requested to work with Hassan and stated that she wanted to attend the day that he would be at tutoring.

In what ways has the nominee exceeded the expectations of their role?

Hassan exceeds the expectations of his role as a math tutor through his genuine selflessness. When he comes to tutoring, his focus is on what is best for his students and not on his own personal wishes. For example, Hassan is always ready to step up when needed. If other tutors are away, he is always willing to fill in and help their students without any complaint. He will also help other tutors when they are having difficulties teaching a certain topic and ask for his help.

National Volunteer Week 2018 – Wendy Hahn

Volunteer of the Year Response

Branch: Melcor YMCA at Crowfoot

Name: Wendy Hahn

Position: Fitness Intructor

Number of Years Volunteered: 5 hours a week

Number of Volunteer Hours in 2018: 50

How has the nominee been a YMCA Calgary Ambassador?

Wendy is one of the most dedicated people to the YMCA community, her passion to fitness and sharing her expertise with all new instructors and participants

How does the volunteer engage in the YMCA Calgary Community?

Wendy volunteers with passion, integrity, knowledge, and dedication to people

How has the nominee built positive relationships?

Wendy is a big help for new volunteer instructors helping them to become successful. She voluntarily spends numbers of hours to help them build confidence, right technique of exercise programs in all levels.

In what ways has the nominee exceeded the expectations of their role?

Wendy never counts her hours she spends at YMCA. Wendy is always there when someone needs her support and expertise.

*NEW* Family Outdoor School – Outdoor education for Homeschoolers

Camp Chief Hector YMCA is pleased to announce a new program for families who homeschool their kids.

FAMILY OUTDOOR SCHOOL is an exciting opportunity for the whole family to experience Outdoor Education at Camp! This 3-night, 4-day Outdoor School experience is offered in June 2018. This program is a great way to get unplugged, reconnect with your family and get into the woods with your children.

Click HERE for full details

Registration is open NOW!
403-269-6156 or 1-866-430-9622

Family Outdoor School
June 11-14, 2018
1st Adult  $285   |   2nd Adult  $100   |   5Y – 17Y  $260   |   0-4Y  FREE


National Volunteer Week 2018 – Annie Walker

Name: Annie Walker

Branch: Camp Chief Hector

Position: Mountain Haven Volunteer

Number of Years Volunteered: 8

Number of Volunteer Hours in 2018: 35


How has the nominee been a YMCA Calgary Ambassador?

Annie has been involved as a member of the YMCA community for well over 40 years. Her love of Camp Chief Hector has made her a true promoter of how being in the outdoors, challenging one’s self and being surrounded by role models can be life changing. The Mountain Haven Program has been impacted by Annie’s dedication for over the last twenty years. Mountain Haven provides women and children who have been impacted by domestic violence, with an opportunity to connect, building community and create family memories in the outdoors. Annie has a way of creating a sense of community and empowering the women within a very short time frame. Over the years, it is not uncommon for our partnering agency staff or a returning camper to ask if Annie is at camp.

How does the volunteer engage in the YMCA Calgary Community?

Annie engages with some of our most vulnerable ‘campers’. Right from the moment that the women meet Annie she is working at creating a safe space for the women to feel comfortable for the adventure that has been planned for them. Annie is one of the most non-judgemental, engaging and caring volunteers at camp. Her warmth and genuine care is a key to making the women feel safe; whether it be from assisting the mothers in getting their children comfortable with the camp counsellors, to her encouraging words as the mom’s try the giant swing and right through to leading a gentle session of yoga and breathing.

How has the nominee built positive relationships?

The Camp Chief Hector Mountain Haven program has a limited time to build trusting relationships with the moms and children who attend. Annie volunteers with the complete intention of helping to build memories for the women to feel empowered and reenergized when they take the bus back to Calgary. Her humour and her laughter help to bring the women out of their city comfort zone and put them in a place of wanting to experience the magic of the outdoors. She is simply just amazing; we know that she loves this program.

In what ways has the nominee exceeded the expectations of their role?

Annie is not guided by just one role in Mountain Haven. If she’s sees an opportunity to make the program better for that moment or day she will move into action. For example, on one particular windy and cold afternoon the women expressed how cold they were on the swing. Annie took it upon herself to get the Old Lodge nice and warm, set up yoga matts and run a relaxing session with the moms. The mom’s talked about this for the rest of their weekend. Annie is a mentor to the seasoned Mountain Haven staff and volunteers and she brings a calming energy to the whole program.

National Volunteer Week 2018 – Allan Hathaway

Name: Allan Hathaway

Branch: Shane Homes YMCA at Rocky Ridge

Position: Volunteer Coordinator – Member Services

Number of Years Volunteered: 10+

Number of Volunteer Hours in 2018: Unmeasurable

How has the nominee been a YMCA Calgary Ambassador?

Al has been instrumental with the successful opening of the new Shane Homes YMCA @ Rocky Ridge. His countless hours and dedication to the Member Services Volunteers has been invaluable.  He has taken the lead with coordinating and training the volunteers as well as available to come into the branch help at a moments notice.  It was important to Al that all the Member Services Volunteers were representing the YMCA brand with pride and integrity, because of this it was not uncommon to see him making a personal effort to work with all of the volunteers at all hours of the day.

How does the volunteer engage in the YMCA Calgary Community?

Al and his family, have made themselves available to participate in community outreach events, where they are engaging with children and helping them with coloring and crafts.  Since he also volunteers in the preschool department, he has the opportunity to connect with our various YMCA Members.

How has the nominee built positive relationships?

Willingness to help in any situation and sharing experience/knowledge has most certainly contributed to the positive relationships that Al has formed.  We all know Al and the love he has for the YMCA.  His passion for this organization and the people herein, keeps him engaged and excited to be apart of what we are building in this city.

In what ways has the nominee exceeded the expectations of their role?

On top of working an unmeasurable amount of hours at both Shane Homes YMCA and the Melcor YMCA, Al has most recently used his carpentry skills to build a mailbox for the new Shane Homes YMCA!  A beautiful piece of work and a fantastic addition to his legacy at the Y!


Parent & Camper Info night – Camp Chief Hector YMCA – Overnight camps

Wednesday, March 14, 2018
7 – 8:30 PM
Gray Family Eau Claire YMCA
101 3 Street SW, Calgary

Join us on March 14 at the Gray Family Eau Claire YMCA for our annual Information Night. Find out about camp activities, meals, bedtimes, homesickness and more. Meet some camp leaders, and have your questions answered by the Camp Director.

Event includes
– Slide Show
– Games for younger children (counsellor led)

We encourage new campers and their families to attend if they are in the Calgary area. Everyone is welcome! RSVP not required.