All posts by Trisha Loehr

Trisha Loehr

About Trisha Loehr

Trisha Loehr is friend of the YMCA and an editor, writer, and reader who blogs about editing, writing, and reading at

Adopt a Family 2014 in Full Swing

It’s that time of year! Tis the season to celebrate the joy of giving from the heart. Bring warm holiday cheer to children and families through the Adopt a Family program.

Each winter YMCA Calgary runs an Adopt a Family program for families in our community who need a little extra help during the holidays. It is an opportunity for our staff, members, and participants to provide meaningful gifts to families in need.

Help provide much needed items to children and their families by picking up a gift or two.


How does Adopt a Family work?

The Adopt a Family displays in each YMCA Calgary location have gift tags that list the age, gender, family, and a suggested gift item.

All you need to do is:

  1. Take a tag (or two!) that describe the gift items you’d like to purchase
  2. Go shopping
  3. Bring the unwrapped gift and tag back to your YMCA location by noon on December 15
  4. YMCA staff will then wrap and deliver the presents just before Christmas

It’s that easy!


These donations bring smiles to the faces of parents and children, providing happy holiday memories. Thank you to everyone who has already donated!

Thank you for your generosity!

For more information or to donate, contact your YMCA Branch today.

*Please note: All 2014 Adopt a Family families have been selected.


Photo Album: 50 Reasons to Get Active

Earlier this year we started a fun campaign on Twitter. Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday we posted an image with a reason to get active.

Our goal was to inspire you, our community, to get active and participate in positive, energetic activities in your daily life.

It’s been a fun journey to discover what resonates with our Twitter followers and why people and families choose to exercise, play games, and do activities together.

Check out all of our 50 Reasons to Get Active images on our Facebook page.

50 Reasons 1

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to join in on other fun initiatives like 50 Reasons and get timely updates on what is happening at your Y.

Don’t forget to comment on Facebook on your favourite reason to get active!

And now, head out and #getactive!


50 Reasons 2

Your Opinion Counts!

We are very excited to launch YMCA Calgary’s online annual impact survey! Because everyone’s opinion is very important to us, both members and the general public can participate.

Your feedback on your experience at the YMCA will help identify ways that we can better meet the needs and expectations of all the people who are connected with us.

If you are a YMCA Calgary member or participant, or a parent or guardian or a member or participant, or feel you have a connection to YMCA Calgary: we’d love to hear from you.

The fun part of launching this survey is the associated contest. All survey participants also have chances to winsome cool YMCA prizes!

Spend 5 to 20 minutes to provide feedback and get the link to enter the contest. Thanks for sharing your YMCA experience with us. GOOD LUCK!

Click here to access the survey!

Anytime during the year, you are also welcome to fill out an online comment card to let us know how we are doing. Thank you for being a part of our YMCA community!

It’s Our Right to Play!

November 20 is National Child Day.

This day is a celebration of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Canada and countries around the world celebrate this day as a reminder that we all have a responsibility to ensure children’s rights are observed.

You can read about the rights of all children here. This treaty is the most comprehensive treaty in support of children and was signed and ratified by more nations than any other human rights document in history.

This year, our National Child Day theme is “It’s Our Right to Play!” It is based on Article 31 of the Convention, which says “Children have the right to relax and play, and to join in a wide range of cultural, artistic and other recreational activities.”

Play is an integral part of childhood. It is how children learn, develop, and grow.

At YMCA Calgary, we will be celebrating National Child Day in the following ways:

  • Lots of play! Games, colouring and crafts, sports, and more.
  • Staff and volunteers in children’s programming will wear blue to show support for the rights of children.
  • In November, our social media feeds (Twitter and Facebook) will share quotes, information, and tips about the importance of play and how to play.

To learn more about National Child Day and the other activities happening in and around Calgary, check out

Let us know what fun things your family is doing to celebrate National Child Day and the child’s right to play by tweeting us a note or photo with the hashtags #YYCPlay and #NCDAlberta!

‘Twas the Night

YMCA Calgary has been chosen as the charity of choice for ‘Twas the Night, Calgary’s largest holiday celebration and after-hours shopping event!

‘Twas the Night will be held on November 27 at the downtown shopping centre, the CORE, and all donations collected will benefit YMCA Strong Kids.

Kick off the Christmas season and enjoy a fun night of shopping filled with:

  • special deals from retailers
  • a performance from Juno nominated artist Matt Dusk and his big band
  • a walk down a red-carpet hosted by eTalk’s Tanya Kim
  • FREE parking
  • Spectacular tree-lighting with special lighting effects and pyrotechnics (including a 45-foot Christmas tree!)
When: Thursday, November 27, 2014 | 6:30 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Where:  The CORE (TD Square/Holt Renfrew) Valet entrance at 751 3 St SW (Remember, the valet parking is FREE!)
How: RSVP at
What to wear: Feel free to dress holiday retro chic a la the glamorous 1960s. Prizes will be awarded for the most impressive retro-themed attire.

The event is open to all, and is free to attend, although donations are encouraged. Donations can be made online when you RSVP, or  in person at the door.

Last year ‘Twas the Night raised over $60,000 for local non-profit organizations. Let’s see if we can beat that record to help even more Calgary kids get a YMCA experience through the YMCA Strong Kids Campaign!

We are Hiring Lifeguards and Swim Instructors – Apply Today!

Join Us! YMCA Calgary is hiring Lifeguards and Swim Instructors throughout the city.

As a member of our aquatics team you will have a fun, exciting, and rewarding job that builds up your leadership skills. You’ll help others everyday – from providing a safe pool experience to all, to teaching children how to swim.

Perks include:

  • Flexible hours – a great opportunity to make money while in school
  • Team environment
  • Training opportunities
  • Free YMCA Membership


At YMCA Calgary we are:

  • Passionate about our work
  • Building healthy communities
  • Part of a strong team – we are welcoming and support one another

Interested? It’s easy to apply! See

Are you a parent with a child in swim lessons?
We would love to talk with you about how your child can start on the path to becoming a lifeguard or swim instructor. Youth 14 years and older have the opportunity to volunteer with our aquatics team.

Are you currently finishing your certifications or thinking about a job in aquatics?
You can volunteer as a swim instructor with us – this is a great opportunity to see if this is the right job for you.

Contact us at to find out where you’re at in the process, and what you need to do next.


Eau Claire Swim Team Success

Last month Eau Claire YMCA Masters Swim Team did a mighty fine job at the FINA World Aquatic Masters Championships in Montreal. The event saw more than 9,000 athletes from around the world competing in swimming, diving, water polo and synchronized swimming.

“It was a great experience with a great group of people, watching some impressive swimming,” says Carli Tyson, one of the swim team members.

Our Eau Claire members represented well in their categories and won a few medals as well, including a Top 10 in Age Group win. The team includes:

Carli Tyson (1 medal)
Dave de Vlieger (2 medals)
Jorge Rivas (3 medals)
Steve Milchak
Samantha Warwick
Aimee Gabriel
Graham Daw
Kerry Creelman

They are a registered team with Swim Alberta and train 2-3 times throughout the week in Eau Claire YMCA’s pool. The team does a few local meets each year. The World Aquatic Masters Championships run every 2 years.  If you’d like to join the team, let Carli know.

ECY Swim Team 2 Masters Provincials

Back to School – For Parents


There are a few key things to think about as the kids go back to school. By taking some time to set up some healthy habits, parents can make sure you are healthy and available for your kids when they need you.

Routine Preparation – Before school starts, figure out the best time for your family for things like packing lunches (is it the night before or the morning of?), doing laundry, signing permission slips and setting timetables for things like who showers first. This can make mornings and evenings run just a little more smoothly with less stress – and leave more time for quality family fun.

Schedule Sleep – The kids have a firm bedtime during the school week and so should you. By making sure you get adequate sleep, you’ll be healthier and more present when you’re with your family.

Snack Healthy – Healthy, balanced meals are important. But so are snacks. When you put healthy snacks like apples and yogurt in your kids’ lunches, pack some for yourself too. You’ll be less likely to run to the newsstand for a bag of chips and more likely to feel lighter and less groggy by the end of the work day.

Move More – Find ways to energize yourself with exercise and make them into quality time with your family. Do you like running? Go for a jog – or better yet – go play a game of tag with the kids.

By focusing on your own health as well as the health of your kids, back to school can feel a little less stressful, a little less chaotic, and a little more fun.

Post- Workout Eats


Post- Workout Eats

Post-workout snacks are important to help your body recover from exercise. Give yourself a boost of energy and your muscles the tools they needs to repair and rebuild. Get some protein and some carbohydrates within 2 hours of working out.

Some great post-workout eats are:


Chocoloate Milk
The newest craze in post-exercise snacks. Chocolate Milk is packed with carbs and protein along with calcium to strengthen your bones. And it’s oh, so tasty.


Blend it!
Make a smoothie with berries, bananas, spinach and milk for a tasty, and cool, treat to cool you down and fuel your body’s recovery. Want some more protein? Add a bit of peanut butter to the blender.


Apple & Cheese Please
Another of my favourite snacks – it’s just enough to quiet the little tummy rumble, and it’s a great combo of sweet and not so sweet. Apples are filled with fibre, just make sure you eat the peel too.


Turkey & Cheese
Need something a little more filling? Some roasted turkey, Swiss cheese and a pile of veggies between whole wheat bread will fill you with good carbs, fibre, protein and vitamins.


Quinoa Salad
Quinoa is packed with fibre and protein. Mix your favourite veggies with this grain instead of a pile of lettuce for a tasty, filling, and recovery-boosting snack or meal.


Studies have shown that eating after exercise is important for insulin sensitivity levels, which impacts how the body takes sugar from the bloodstream into tissues for fuel. Give your body the fuel it needs by eating balanced, whole food snacks after hitting the gym.

Don’t forget to keep drinking water before, during and after your workout. The body gets dehydrated faster than normal when exercising because of the moisture loss from sweating.

As always, listen to your body. Learn to recognize what food makes you feel good before and after your workout.


apples and cheese
*Photos: Flickr – Katie Earley John Watson

Food Drive SUCCESS!

Thank you Calgary! Your generosity is amazing.

Once again, Calgarians have shown their care for this city and community.

Our Kids in Motion and Day Campers planned to raise 8,000 lbs of food for the Calgary Food Bank this week.

We haven’t even finished weighing, and we’re already at 10,682 lbs! That’s a lot of food!

[Update: Tuesday, August 19 – With boxes from the branches, our total food collected is 11,442 lbs!!! Thank you, Calgary!]

If you’d still like to donate, drop off food donations at any YMCACalgary location before Monday, August 18 or contact the Calgary Food Bank directly.



Check out our photo album on Facebook for some shots of excited kids, big bags of food, and smiling Food Bank staff!



Did you know, one family in Ogden donated 500 lbs of rice! Jenna, a YMCA staff member, drove over and picked up 25 sacs of rice because they were too heavy for the campers to carry down the block.

On some streets during the food collection there would be a dry spell of a long line of houses with no donations. But when campers saw one of those white food bank bags, their excitement was huge and they would all race to see who could get there first and what kinds of tasty treats were being donated to help feed other kids.

In Huntington Hills, campers and volunteers from Eagle Well Servicing loaded 1120 lbs of donations into an SUV. Then our friends at Eagle bought an ice cream treat for the hard-working campers.

Eagle Well Servicing also donated nearly 1000 lbs of food, purchased and collected by their staff.

Southland Transportation donated a bus to help some of our Kids in Motion campers get around and hand deliver food donations to the Calgary Food Bank.



At the Y, we’re all about community-building and leadership.

Day camps are no exception. We want to inspire the kids who spend their summer with us to be healthy and active, community-impacters, and influential leaders. Community service projects like the Food Drive are a big part of this.

Yes, the kids are young. And yes, the food drive is a small part of their camp experience that is full of other fun, exciting things.

But we do believe it makes an impact on the kids, and helps them understand the power and importance of helping others.

Rabbitt is a Discoverers counsellor at Eau Claire YMCA. Her campers are 6 and 7 years old and she thinks the repeated discussions and activities about the food drive have made sense to them.


“During snack time on Monday, we talked about the fact that some kids can’t afford snacks and that is why the food bank is important,” Rabbitt says, “Then when we were handing out the fliers and bags on Tuesday we talked about how those of us who have snacks can help other kids get snacks. And then, on Thursday when we go out to pick up the food, it clicks for the kids who didn’t understand it yet.”

For Rabbitt, connecting the task or cause to something the campers understand, like snacktime, helps it make sense.

“Repeating it a lot during the week helps them understand. Most of them get it and are excited to help,” Rabbitt says.

For some campers, the food drive is a game, but for many, it is a tangible opportunity to learn about their community and helping other kids – because after all, 42% of people who use the Calgary Food Bank are children.