Tag Archives: families

Get Ready for Winter with Exciting Programs

yoga_000021075850 Zumba Toddlers Playing

This Winter, make sure to reserve spots in our wide variety of Programs and Winter Break Day Camps!

You can always rely on YMCA Calgary programs to help promote healthy lifestyles and build spirit, mind and body for children, youth, adults and families.

Our Winter Programs will be available online by the end of the week!

Keep your eye out on the website, Facebook and Twitter.

Registration for Winter Programs begins:

  • November 23 for YMCA members
  • December 7 for the general public

Winter Day Camps – Need something for your child to do during Winter break? Winter Day Camp registration has begun! Sign-up your child for a week of fun at your YMCA location.


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 www.nationalchildday.ca.

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!

Healthy Kids Day

HKD web banner

Sunday, June 1 | 10am to 1pm | all YMCA locations

YMCA Calgary warmly invites you to join us for Healthy Kids Day. This FREE annual community event runs at all of our locations. YMCA staff and volunteers along with various community partners will host a variety of fun, engaging activities, games and information for children, youth and families to become healthier in spirit, mind and body.

At the YMCA we believe when children, youth and families build healthy habits into daily living, it contributes to a stronger community.

Watch for more information and scheduled activities to be displayed at locations.

Crowfoot YMCA schedule
Eau Claire YMCA schedule
Saddletowne YMCA schedule
Shawnessy YMCA schedule
South Health Campus YMCA schedule





Healthy Kids Day at the Eau Claire YMCA

DK3_2770   Toddlers Playing

Join in all the fun planned for Healthy Kids Day on Sunday, June 1 from 10:00am to 1:00pm at the Eau Claire YMCA.

Take part in loads of fun activities and make sure to see all of the great choices at our family resource fair:

  • Day camps and Outdoor Day Camps at Riveredge information booth
  • Sugar Content Awareness table
  • Calgary Public Library
  • Passport Station (awarding prizes for full passports)
  • Healthy Snacks
  • And much more!




Healthy Kids Day

YMCA Healthy Kids Day is a free annual community event hosted by YMCAs across Canada in June. An action-packed event for the entire family, YMCA Healthy Kids Day places special emphasis on how healthy living can be fun and providing families with simple tips and resources to live healthy every day.

The YMCA believes healthy kids are the foundation and future of healthy communities. That’s why we offer programming and advocate year round for the healthy growth of children and youth in spirit, mind and body.

Raising healthy children is a community effort, and the YMCA is your community partner in nurturing the potential of kids.

Join us from 10am to 1pm on Sunday, June 1 for an engaging day of fun and exciting activities for holistic health!


Pow Wow Drum and Dance has Connected My Family to Our Culture

drum and dance

Like many Metis people, my family only recently began to connect with who we are and where we come from.

My name is Stacey, and this is my Y story.

I have two children, they are 5 and 7 years old and they have a burning desire to connect with their culture. We found out about the Community YMCA’s Pow Wow Drum and Dance program and can’t get enough of it.My little girl loves learning hand drum songs and my son will sit around the big Pow Wow drum all evening. Earl, our Drum Keeper is his hero.

My kids talk about going to Drum and Dance all week long. Whenever it is cancelled due to a holiday break or bad weather, we are so sad. We love going to Pow Wow Drum and Dance. It brings us together as a family. It has changed our lives for the better, giving us the opportunity to connect with our culture and with each other. We get to explore our culture and do physical activity. It’s always full of laughter and makes us so happy when we can be there.

We are learning learn songs, dances, how to drum, and other aspects of our indigenous culture. With this new community of other indigenous people, we are learning the importance of oral tradition and storytelling, feasting, making offerings, and respecting things that are sacred (like drums).

My kids are bringing these lessons home, teaching the songs to other kids on their school bus, and showing the value of their culture to the people around them. They are often found singing songs or naming animals in Ojibwa, Cree and Blackfoot.

Drum and Dance has ignited the passion in our veins and love in our hearts to follow who we are. From the bottom of our hearts – miigwetch.

Giving My Kids Opportunities Beyond My Imagination

girls at camp

I was working in a hotel as a housekeeper. I was a single mom with two young kids, Colton and Amber. Their father left the picture shortly after they were born, and I was living pay cheque to pay cheque, trying to make sure my kids had food on the table and shoes on their feet. The thought of registering them in after-school soccer, summer camps or dance classes had never been an option. I just couldn’t afford it.

My name is Tracey, and this is my Y story.

One morning, a coworker and I were cleaning a hotel room and we began to talk about our kids. I told her the struggles I was experiencing – not being able to give them the opportunities their friends had. She told me about the YMCA and how she was able to register her kids in summer camps. Over lunch, I called the Y and talked to a camp coordinator about financial assistance and camp options. A few months later, I sent both Colton and Amber to their first experience of summer camp.

I remember the first day I dropped Amber off at the bus. She was really nervous as we drove up to the meeting place and got her signed in. It was amazing how warm and welcoming everyone was to both of us right away.

Amber is an adult now – she went to camp for seven years. Those experiences allowed her to grow an amazing foundation that has given her a passion to work with others and be a leader. It’s great to see that she still keeps in touch with the friends she met years ago at camp.

Colton first went to Camp Chief Hector YMCA when he was seven years old. He was more scared than Amber his first time – they even had to rearrange his room so that he could sleep close to a counselor, and he kept a flashlight on throughout the night. Colton has always been a very withdrawn, reclusive boy who easily gets upset and angry. Each year, I couldn’t believe he actually lasted through the whole week. The counselors were amazing with him; they gave him the male support he needed and helped him grow self-confidence.

Camp Chief Hector YMCA has changed the lives of my kids and encouraged wonderful changes in our family. Without the financial help from YMCA Calgary, I never would have had the funds to send them to camp and they would not have the solid foundation for adult life that they gained through those experiences.

Camp Chief Hector Gave My Kids A Sense of Purpose

This story was originally posted in 2009. It’s such an inspiring story, we had to share it again.

Camp Chief Hector

I recently received an email from my daughter Juliette who works for the Community YMCA. The end of her message read, “YMCA Calgary: We build strong kids, strong families and strong communities.” As I look at my family today, I see four strong kids and a united strong family that continues to reap the rewards of YMCA programs.

My name is Amanda, and this is my family’s Y story.

Our journey with the YMCA began some 15 years ago when our family life was turned upside-down. I was sitting down to a cup of tea with a friend when the phone rang. My husband, the breadwinner of our family, had broken the law and would be taken away from us. Suddenly a single mom of four young children, I knew that our lives would never be the same.

I was passionate about parenting. I adored my children and wanted nothing but the best for them. How would I be able to give them everything I dreamt of, as a single mom in dire financial need? I remember all the clichés – every cloud has a silver lining, the darkest hour before the dawn.

For us, there were some silver linings. Our true friends came to the forefront. One such friend, Chris, told me there was a way to have the childhood experiences I wanted for my children. I visited the South YMCA and applied for subsidies that would send my two eldest to YMCA Camp Chief  Hector. I felt ashamed and embarrassed to reveal our family’s financial status, but the applications were approved. Juliette and Alistair could to go to camp for $35 apiece instead of $800. I couldn’t believe there were angels out there who cared enough to support my family.

As a mother, helping my children achieve a sense of purpose is part of what it means to be a parent. A sense of purpose is just what Camp Chief Hector instilled in the lives of each of my kids.

When I picked them up from camp that first summer, Juliette came running across the field in her oversized blue rain boots and borrowed rain jacket. “Mummy,” she said, “I want to be a counselor and a leader one day.”

When they were old enough, my youngest sons attended Camp Chief Hector too. Clifford, the middle brother, described it as “an initiation into manhood,” and he hasn’t been the same since, shifting from drugs and poor choices to a life of purpose and direction. I knew there had been a change in Christopher, the youngest and painfully withdrawn, when I read a letter he sent home.

“Mum,” it read, “I am having so much fun. You know how I am shy? Well, after the first day I have made some friends. In fact, we are already ‘tight.’” Tears of joy rolled down my cheeks.

Today, our journey with YMCA is stronger than ever. Juliette and Alistair both work with the Community YMCA, helping to build strong communities for our future. All four children are still involved with Camp, either as alumni, volunteers, staff or campers.

I do not know where we would be if it were not for the generosity of YMCA Calgary’s Strong Kids donors and the amazing, gifted staff. YMCA truly does build strength in people, and in families.

Adopt a Family in Full Swing

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.

Every year YMCA Calgary participates in Adopt a Family, allowing our staff, members and guests to provide meaningful gifts to families who need a little help during the holiday season. It provides much needed items to children and families in our community.

Every branch has family units listed by age and gender. The Adopt a Family displays in each branch have gift tags with the age, gender, family, and suggested gift item. All you need to do is take a tag, go shopping, and bring the unwrapped gift and tag back to your branch. YMCA staff will then wrap and deliver the presents just before Christmas.

These donations bring smiles to the faces of parents and children, providing happy holiday memories.

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

Each branch has a deadline for gift drop-off:
Camp Chief Hector – December 16, noon
Crowfoot – December 19, noon
Eau Claire – December 19, noon
Saddletown – December 18, 10am
Shawnessy – December 9, noon (complete)
South Health Campus – December 19, 4pm

Thank you for your generosity!

Shopping for gifts.

Celebrating Community!

Saturday, June 8th was a great day here at the
Saddletowne YMCA.  We kicked things off in the morning with a Stampede
Breakfast put on by the amazing folks at the Stampede Board.  Our parking
lot was turned into a western wonderland as hundreds of people came out to
enjoy the traditional pancake breakfast as well as many other fun activities
such as chuck wagon rides and rope making.  Traditional square dancing
was present along with an infusion of local NE culture with the Punjabi Dance
Troop  preforming  as well.
In the evening Saddletowne Y staff had the chance to support
our friends in Martindale as they celebrated 25 years of their local community
association.  As relative newcomers to the NE, we have received great
support from the local community associations and  were happy to attend
this special event.  Community building does not happen through a single
individual, association or organization and we are extremely pleased to part of
this collective community in the North East.  We hope to celebrate many
more years of collaboration in our community!