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Wednesday
Jun222016

Gearing Up for the Summer

June marks the beginning of Bike Month.  For the remainder of this month and the lazy hazy days of summer, you will see kids on bikes….biking to school, biking to see their friends, or biking to the nearest park with their family.  It is important everyone stays safe.  
Cycling, whether you are a child or an adult, is not only a fantastic method of exercise but cost-effective as well. As more bikes enter the road, cyclists are at a greater risk of injury so the Ontario Medical Association has taken the initiative to provide Ontarians with information on how to stay safe, while living an active lifestyle.
Below are a few simple rules to follow.
  1. Wear a helmet that covers the full top of your head. 
  2. Follow all traffic laws. 
  3. Know your traffic hand signals
  4. Do not text and bike! Keep focused on the road   
  5. Pay attention to your surroundings
For more information check out @ParachuteCanada
Follow these five easy steps.  Have fun and be safe! 
Happy summer from the YMCA of Western Ontario

 

Wednesday
Jun082016

Brooke’s Water Safety Tips! 

Brooke has been a competitive swimmer for 26 years, has coached competitive swimming for 8 years, and has been a lifeguard for 10 years! Needless to say, she is extremely experienced and passionate about water safety.
 
Here are Brooke’s top 3 tips to keep safe around water this summer (and always):
 
#1 Always swim with a buddy.
#2 Make sure you know your water. Check the wind, current, depth before going in.
#3 Ensure gates and doors are closed around water. 
 
Brooke has a story to tell about tip #3: 
“Recently I was teaching lessons at the Y when a parent came to me and told me about what had happened to their infant. Their child had crawled into a backyard pool and was found unresponsive… no pulse… it was very scary. Fortunately the parents knew CPR and resuscitated their child. It was extremely traumatic and could have been different by just closing the gate to the pool. The mother said to me ‘What you do matters’, every child needs to be educated and feel safe around water. Thank-you!”
 
I am so proud to work at the Y and help families become water safe and smart!  
Wednesday
May112016

Experiential learning, what is that? 

Experiential learning, what is that? Well after I visited YMCA Spencer Lodge, I got to find out! Being a kid, when I think of education I envision a classroom filled with students sitting at their desks, which is low on the fun scale!  However at the Y, I had the opportunity to learn educational concepts by stepping OUTSIDE the classroom.

Being active really excites me. When I am not in school I enjoy spending time outside running around my local park playing sports with my friends, and often do not return home until it is dark. Outside I have the freedom to be carefree, which is a feeling I never thought you could have while learning, but boy was I wrong! It was early Monday morning as my parents drove me up to Spencer Lodge, and through my window I saw a sea of other kids all gathered together. As I walked up, a little nervous, I could not have imagined the amazing experience the day would bring.

Spencer Lodge is dedicated to providing kids with a hands-on interactive experience so that kids like me, can learn while HAVING FUN. Exercises in the program only last 75 minutes before you rotate onto another, keeping you constantly moving and learning. It was exciting to go from learning about animals one minute, to tackling the Climbing Wall designed to help kids develop positive group relationship skills all through hand foot cut outs.My favourite activity of the day was the “Animal Game”. We learned through role play, how to survive the different threats facing the environment and wild animals. I decided to be a Deer, the best of all the animals! Working with other kids, we explored the grounds to find out the food sources our animals needed to eat to survive. It was exciting to see how the environment impacts animals!

While the exercises were fun to take part in, the lasting experience was the friends I made that day. All the kids I met were kind and as excited as I was to be outside. I remember when we each were taking turns on the climbing wall; all the kids would cheer each other on. It was wonderful to have that support, making the experience all the more memorable! By the end of day when my parents came to pick me up, I did not want to go home!

Spencer Lodge’s experiential learning program was undoubtedly the most intriguing learning activity. To all the kids out there who want a fun way to learn, while being outside, check it out today!

Wednesday
Apr272016

Dream It. Live It. Teach It. 

My Y Story – Kathy Brown

A Y story is a personal comment, story or message about your involvement in the Y. They are meant to be shared and celebrated whether they are big or small they are personal successes and allow us to connect our experiences and share with others what is possible.

I heard it explained once as a developing fund so everyone can enjoy a Y experience and in collecting these stories it helps remind everyone that a donation is not always a financial gift it is a personal gift to someone in need.

Some times the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the biggest step of our lives.

My name is Kathy Brown. I am very happy to be able to tell my own personal Y story with you today.

Not only did the Y help me accomplish many of my goals but they also gave me opportunity to help and inspire others to achieve theirs.

If I had a formula for success it would be laid out in a math equation:
-    4 years in new community
-    + 3 year membership at YMCA that included various full body workouts Boot camp, Group Power, Cycle, Group Fight, Zumba and Yoga
-    +1000’s of healthy recipes and thought out meal planning
-    +100’s of daily inspirational quotes and goal setting
-    +10 challenging road races including a duathalon
-    Numerous training courses and countless hours of research

And at last 50lbs shed and kept off!

They equal to a Group Fitness Instructor and Wellness Coach

Our new community- With a new 2 storey home, going upstairs left me huffing and puffing. This is when I decided there must be a change and luckily for me the Middlesex Centre YMCA had opened.

Our membership- As difficult timing had it, we actually started on a family assisted membership my husband had lost his job and was starting to re-school. The membership staff was helpful and friendly and did not make me feel uncomfortable when we discussed financial issues.

The Y provided for our family in many ways for that I am truly thankful. A safe and fun environment for my children, with great child and youth staff, which allowed me to participate in classes. The group setting was perfect for me as I was surrounded by friends and positive encouragement from amazing instructors. It wasn’t easy but consistency and persistence was the key. I lost the weight and my energy soared and I started to feel differently about myself. I began to dream about who I wanted to be and how to get there.

I still remember the day Mr. Mike Lampman strolled over to the 3 ladies on the treadmills, I being one of them. He asked if we had or would consider being a volunteer like maybe instructors and though I didn’t think  he really was speaking to me…. I thought about it….and how I could start to give back to the Y. Another goal for me to strive for a group fitness instructor and what did I choose…Group Fight… Nothing less than a feat in itself!

We had a change in GM’s and I was introduced to Soy. I told him” I want to earn a Wellness Coach jacket” Which in thinking about it now is funny as he didn’t know me very well and I guess I should have let him put down his move in boxes. Once again, he and the Y believed in me and put me on the right track of courses and the outcome, I stand wearing my own Wellness Coach jacket today.
This is one of my most rewarding job positions as I really get to know our members and follow their progressions and see them conquer their goals.

I also got involved with the YMCA Sweat for Strong Kids campaign last year. I set the goal of cycling in 3 consecutive time slots in hopes of raising as much money as possible. I survived and I raised over a thousand dollars from the community.

The road races- I continue to participate. My favorite being Jordan’s Runway Run at the London airport which is another great fundraiser for YMCA Strong Kids in September.

My weight loss journey started out walking with a great friend who says one day” lets run to the next house Kathy” then the next… I remember the feeling of accomplishment of eventually making it around the block. We took on our 1st race a 2K Halloween Haunting I came in 2nd in my age group. I am proud to say I returned this year and ran the 10k and again held my place for 2nd.

Becoming staff as an instructor and taking other roles of Boot camp which I strive for the Christina legacy to continue on Tuesday mornings at 6am. She was the first one I text Guess who got the Boot camp class? A regular seasonal boot camper she’d call me, I guess I have to come to work this winter.

Then a position as membership services representative opened  and I jumped at the chance as I love to greet people and get them excited about being at the Y and share all the Y has to offer them. As many of you know me, I may be considered a bit of a social butterfly…

Which my passion for the Y, lead me to my newest endeavor Y Brand Culture Committee ambassador.
My experiences with the Y have been incredibly empowering and has propelled me into a completely different lifestyle. I feel healthier, happier and I still get great pleasure from setting fitness goals and working towards them.

Yet, the Y is so much more than fitness. The Y’s impact is felt every day when an individual makes a healthy choice when a mentor inspires a child and when a community comes together for the common good.

A heartfelt thank you to the Y, family, friends and co-workers.

Wednesday
Apr132016

Volunteering at the Y

Volunteering. Whether you are a retired or a busy university student with only few free hours a week to spare, volunteering at the Y is an exciting opportunity that many choose to take part in hoping to make a positive difference in their community.

The Y is dedicated to fulfilling its mission of promoting the healthy development its residents mind, body, and spirit which could not be achieved without the help of our committed and hardworking volunteers! At the Y there is something for everyone. If you are interested in volunteering, the Y works to find roles that fit your talents and interests, so you get the most out of your time as a volunteer. From providing assistance to toddlers or infants in the Y’s child care centers, assisting with food preparation, conducting swimming lessons, or even supporting new immigrants to London, the opportunities are endless!

At the Y approximately 500 volunteers donate their time and knowledge and it is people like you that allow us to continue to offer an inclusive space for people to exercise and pursue a healthy, active lifestyle.

From personal experience, the Y has had a significant impact on my life. Being a recent university graduate with a communications degree, the world social media and writing are key aspect of my daily life. I never thought the Y would offer opportunities that would allow me utilize my writing expertise, but I was pleasantly surprised.

During my time as a volunteer at the Y, I have been able to work in their Marketing & Communications department assisting in the creation of the organization’s website blog, as well as proofreading and organizing marketing materials. Getting an inside look into the world of marketing has been incredible, and I owe it all to the Y!

If you want a chance to promote active living and are eager to make a difference, than look no further.

Volunteer at the Y today!

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