Tag Archives: impact

Tell us about your YMCA Experience!

Your Opinions Matter. Tell us about your YMCA.

We are excited to launch YMCA Calgary’s Annual Impact Survey. 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.

Because everyone’s opinion is very important to us, both members and the general public can participate. If you are a YMCA Calgary member or participant, or 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 win some cool YMCA prizes! Spend 5 to 20 minutes to provide feedback and get the link to enter the contest. Survey ends December 7.



Help Us Tell A Collective Story of YMCA

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 non-members will have the opportunity to participate. Feedback will help identify ways to  better meet the needs and expectations of all the people who are connected with us.

The fun part of launching this survey is the associated contest – a chance to win a 6-month YMCA plus membership! All survey participants also have chances to win YMCA Filter-2-Go water bottles that allow them to drink filtered fresh water wherever they go.

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!


Ukraine Camp Update

Dobre- den! I would like to apologize in advance for any
English errors I may make in this blog entry – although many of the kids speak
English, my attempts to speak very broken Ukrainian have made my language
skills a bit hazy! Otherwise, life at camp in Ukraine is duzhe class-nah,
chuvak (very cool, dude). We arrived at Lake Swityaz last Friday and were
immediately impressed with how the camp has grown. Analu and I are staying in a
brand new building, there are nearly 70 kids participating (compared to 25 when
Analu was here in 2009), and counsellors are doing an amazing job of leading
the camp. Overall, I would say that a typical day doesn’t look a lot different
than a day at camp in Canada; however, with less tangible resources than we
have at home, I have been impressed by how Ukrainian leaders use their
creativity to consistently keep things fun, entertaining and engaging for

I have also been blown away by Ivanna, the president of
YMCA Volyn, and the presence and influence she has at this camp. Ivanna wakes
up an hour early to take the kids running and swimming. Considering she goes to
bed just as late as us counsellors, and works hard all day as well, it is fair
to say she is quite the impressive lady. She leads discussions with the kids,
and deals with problems in a very calm way that naturally attracts respect. She
embodies the concept of “leading by example”, which has clearly been
invaluable in the development of the Volyn association.

The lake here is beautiful and great for swimming,
however we have been getting lots of rain lately so we have had to be flexible
and adapt to constantly changing weather. Yesterday was Canada day, so Analu
and I had planned many activities. In addition to playing Canadian games and
singing some classic camp songs, we held workshops focusing on diversity and
multiculturalism, as well as First Nations culture in Canada. Despite having to
adjust our plans slightly based on the rain, I think our workshops were fun and
educational for the kids.

Other highlights of camp include a ‘Mr. And Mrs. Camp’
competition, amazing dance workshops (Ukrainian boys are the most impressive
dancers – who knew!) and many laughs over language mixups. Above all, I have
thoroughly enjoyed building relationships with the children and youth here. It
is a great example of how language is not the only means of communication, and
strong relationships can be built despite cultural differences. I notice many
similarities between YMCA Calgary and YMCA Ukraine participants, and how they
feel about being a part of the YMCA. Words such as family, caring, team, and
positivity are frequently used when kids describe the way they feel at about
camp. Many participants have told me that being a part of the YMCA gives them a
unique sense of community that they have never felt. Such remarks make me truly
believe that YMCA values really do transcend borders.

This afternoon Analu and I will teach a workshop about
health, focusing on oral hygiene. I also will teach some yoga for fun! With
only a few days of camp left, I am realizing it is not going to be easy to say
goodbye to the amazing children, youth and leaders we have met. That said, I
wouldn’t trade the experience for anything. I hope everyone is doing well in
Calgary amongst the flooding, we are thinking of you!


Buying New Sports Shoes

In the market for a new pair of athletic shoes? Wanna get a little info before heading to the shops and sifting thru the tons of options out there?

Check out an article on the Real Simple website that has loads of tips to help you out:

“You’re just steps away from a better workout. Here’s how to pick a pair of shoes geared toward your routine and body.”

Read How to Choose Athletic Shoes on the Real Simple website.

12 Reasons Aboriginal Programs Make a Difference

Did you know YMCA Calgary offers free Aboriginal programs and services? The programs and services are offered to people of Aboriginal background and help these folks connect with their Aboriginal roots and other people.

Here are the Top 12 Reasons Aboriginal Programs Make a Difference:

  1. Provide Aboriginal youth and families with a safe place to be together, build relationships and have fun.
  2. Provide Aboriginal youth and families with recreational opportunities several times a week. The rates of preventable diseases such as heart disease and Type Two diabetes are much higher in the Aboriginal community than the rest of Canada. Recreational opportunities can help to reduce this pattern.
  3. Helps Aboriginal people learn about their culture, history and foster positive self identity.
  4. Helps Aboriginal people feel welcomed and included in the Calgary community.
  5. An opportunity for non-Aboriginal people to interact with Aboriginal youth and families in a positive and meaningful way, breaking down prejudice and stereotypes that may exist.
  6. Provide a sense of community and belonging within schools to help Aboriginal children & youth deal with issues as a group instead of as an individual.
  7. Connect students to Elders and traditions that they might not have a chance to experience without the programs.
  8. Increase aptitude for employability skills such as communication, conflict management, leadership, team work, etc.
  9. Create balance in Aboriginal people’s lives through medicine wheel teachings, balancing mind, body, spirit and emotions at home, school and with peers.
  10. Build individual sense of identity to establish self-assurance so they can handle anything the world throws at them because they know who they are as a person, and understand  relationships with family, peers, community and the universe.
  11. Increases young Aboriginal people’s sense of ownership and encourages them to take ownership in everything that they do. Connecting ownership with the four values of YMCA and the 7 Sacred Teachings.
  12. Aboriginal people are the most marginalized demographic in Canada and YMCA’s Y7G program reinforces the notion that students are not destined to the stereotypes conveyed in popular media and school hallways.

Each of these points also help people in YMCA Aboriginal programs become more community-oriented and have the necessary tools to build better, healthy communities.

Eating Green: For You & the Earth

Did you know you can make a positive change for the environment through your eating choices? Eating green can be taken to various levels of impact. Here are eight steps you can take to help the earth while also improving your health:

  1. Eat organic. These foods are produced with significantly less or no chemicals. Not only are you helping your body by eating healthier foods, but you are protecting entire ecosystems (fields, water sources, insects, etc.). Factory farms often have a great deal of waste and some animal meat producers treat the animals in ways that are cruel.
  2. Eat what you have in your fridge. Food bits in landfills release methane gas, which increases global warming. By eating what’s in the fridge, you save on waste. What you don’t/can’t eat, put into a composte. Try not to over-buy to avoid food spoiling in the fridge.
  3. Avoid excessive packaging. Purchase foods that come in minimal packaging that leads to unnecessary waste. (Not to mention all the processing and chemicals that may have gone into making the package in the first place.) If you do need to purchase foods that come in packaging, try to grab items in packages you can reuse, like glass jars.
  4. Buy local. Farmers markets are a fun place to shop and you get the meet the food producers face-to-face. This relationship helps create a sense of responsibility in food producers. Buying local also cuts down on unneeded packaging, processing costs, marketing, shipping, etc.
  5. Start a garden. Growing your own food is fun, and gets you outside and moving!
  6. Choose fast reproducing fish. Anchovies and sardines are good examples of fish that reproduce quickly and are healthy to eat.
  7. Eat raw foods. This helps cut back on electricity costs/gas emissions – depending on your stove.
  8. Cut back on meat consumption. Raising meat can be rough on the environment. Livestock are responsible for a lot of methane gas in the atmosphere which has a significant impact on global warming. Plus, think of all the land and water required to grow the grain to feed animals and the chemicals used on those grains to keep them weed and insect free.

These are just a few ways you can eat green. Have any ideas of your own? Add your comments and share with us!