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June is Splash Month at the Y

Summer is almost here, and that means trips to the beach, lake or pool with the family.  Unfortunately, many parents don’t see the dangers that can happen at these fun spots near water.

It’s a startling but true fact: drowning is one of the leading causes of preventable death in children. Here are just a few things you can do to keep your kids safe:

  • Always supervise children when they are near or in the water.
  • Ensure non-swimmers are always wearing a lifejacket/PFD when near or in the water.
  • If you have a swimming pool, ensure you have proper fencing and a childproof gate for it.
  • Never leave a child unattended in the bathtub. Drowning can happen in just a few inches of water.
  • Do not allow children to dive in headfirst unless they are properly trained and the water is deep enough.
  • Be careful when swimming near strong currents. It only takes a second to be swept away.
  • Make sure the whole family learns to swim. Swim lessons are included with every YMCA membership!

We believe learning to swim is a critical life skill and that’s why we’re offering free water safety seminars throughout the month of June.  If you need some guidance or reminders on how to stay safe around water, this is a great class for you!

All classes are 30 minutes long and free for adults and children. You don’t need to be a member to participate. Afterwards, you will get a skill assessment card, and information about how to sign up for YMCA swim lessons. If you're not currently registered for swim lessons, contact the membership services desk at your branch to register.


Quiz: Is Your Child Ready for Overnight Camp?

So you’re thinking of sending your child to camp? Camp is a magical and transformational experience, but not all kids may be ready for overnight camp. Take this quick and fun quiz to determine how ready your child is!

1. When your child attends a sleepover she:

a) Takes off with a sleeping bag and you don’t see or hear from her till mid afternoon the next day
b) Calls home three times during the night, but eventually falls asleep waiting for you to pick her up
c) Sleepovers only happen at your house

2. You send your child to have a shower and get ready for bed and he comes out:

a) Smelling like soap, with a minty smile and wet hair wearing a clean pair of jammies
b) Wearing yesterday's jammies with dry (clearly unwashed!) hair but a fairlyclean face and minty breath
c) Looking worse than he went in

3. You go to a BBQ and your child:

a) Puts a little bit of everything on her plate to try, including three things she has never seen before
b) With encouragement tries the pasta salad with peas, but avoids the veggie burgers and broccoli salad
c) Will eat a hot dog with ketchup only (which you had to run home and grab)

4. After dinner, your child:

a) Picks up his dishes and proceed to move, single file, to the sink for washing and then to the dishwasher for stacking
b) After a gentle reminder, takes his dishes to the sink and asks if he should rinse his plate
c) Walks away from the table, leaving his dishes behind

5. In a group setting your child:

a) Looks for the best game to join or starts one herself
b) Watches and listens intently even if not fully involved in the activities
c) Hides behind your legs

6. When faced with a situation your child may not enjoy he:

a) Expresses his feelings, but gives it a try
b) Asks for your help
c) Runs away

7. If your child was to encounter a canoe she would:

a) Push into the nearest body of water and start paddling
b) Examine it and eventually climb on it
c) Wonder what sort of strange object it is

8. When you arrive at the swimming pool, your child:

a) Is first in line for the diving board ready to go
b) Asks you to go down the slide with him for the first couple times
c) The closest thing to a pool your kid will enter is a bathtub

Mostly A’s - Pack those bags! Your child is definitely ready for overnight camp. Your child is likely excited to make new friends, try new things and confident being away from home.

Mostly B’s - Your child is possibly ready for summer camp. Your child is likely cautious but willing to try new experiences, and may just need a bit of time to warm up to new adventures or friends.

Mostly C’s - Your child may not yet be ready for camp. Your child is likely still a little nervous to be away from home. Perhaps start with a YMCA Day Camp, the perfect opportunity to experience adventure without the sleepover component.

Fun quiz aside, you’re the best judge of whether your children are ready for camp!

To learn more about overnight camps at YMCA Camp Elphinstone, 


TIME™ Launches

Did you know that over 100,000 Canadians are diagnosed with MS and more than 400,000 are living with the long term effects of a stroke? For people with these illnesses, maintaining an active lifestyle is often a stressful, lifelong process. The Y is excited and proud to announce the launch of the TIME™ exercise program, an evidence based exercise program proven to help adults with stroke, MS, acquired brain injury and other mobility issues.

TIME™, which stands for Together in Movement and Exercise, starts this month at the Tong Louie Family YMCA and the Chilliwack Family YMCA and is run in partnership with Fraser Health's Community REDi/Outpatients Rehab Program.

TIME™ is a low-fee, group based exercise program and runs for 12 weeks with classes occurring twice a week. Benefits of the program include increased balance and mobility, improved strength, a more positive sense of well-being, and increased social connectedness.

Registration is required. To learn more about the program and eligibility criteria: 


Golf for a great cause this summer

Opportunities like this don’t come along every day: did you know you can sign up a team for the Million Dollar Challenge charity golf tournament and support a great cause at the same time?

The Million Dollar Challenge pairs amateur golfers with Canada’s premier golf professionals in a team scramble event over 18 holes. The course format includes four hole-in-one opportunities to win $50,000, five closest to the pin holes with great prizes, and nine regular holes. Players will have an opportunity to sink a hole-in-one shot for a chance to win $1,000,000!

Pros will be on hand to answer your golf related questions and provide swing advice. Registration fee includes a golf cart, lunch, access to an on-course hospitality tent and a gala reception dinner with silent and live auctions. The tournament takes place on July 13th at the Richmond Country Club. There will be a 1:00 p.m. shotgun start.

Event organizer, Christophe Collins says the Million Dollar Challenge is about much more than golf:  

"All event proceeds go to the the First Tee of Greater Vancouver program which gives kids and youth the opportunity to learn the basics of golf and build their self-esteem at the same time. Thanks in part to the Million Dollar Challenge, golf is a game that all kids can learn, regardless of their ability to pay."

To learn more about fees and how to register, contact:

Christophe Collins, Executive Director, The First Tee of Greater Vancouver YMCA
Tel: 604-622-4953

How to select a personal trainer

It’s great to see everyone in the summer running half marathons, riding in bike races and setting personal fitness goals.  But what’s the best way to get started? Personal training at the Y can show you the way.

If you’ve never worked with a personal trainer before, you might be surprised not only how effective it is, but how much fun it can be! Here are a few tips on how to select a personal trainer that’s right for you. 

1) Credentials  - Be sure that your trainer is certified with BCRPA or equivalent fitness education. These designations ensure your trainer can safely and effectively assist you with your fitness.

2) The trainer’s expertise matches your goals – personal trainers are people too. Each of them draws upon their own personal fitness experience and education to help you. See if their specialties match with your fitness interests. 

3) Communication – Make sure you enjoy talking with your trainer. You will be spending a lot of time with them!  Let them know if you have a medical condition or any physical limitations before you start working with them.  

4) Talk to other Y members   Ask a fellow member if they’ve used a specific personal trainer before and hear success stories.  

5) See if their personality matches with yours – You can have a free personal consultation with any trainer at the YMCA. Talk to them about your personal needs and learning preferences. While some people want to be pushed to their limits by their trainer, others are going to work better with positive reinforcement and gentle encouragement. Your trainer should fit your personality and motivation style.

Here’s just one of our personal trainers! Meet Tony Lam who works at the Robert Lee YMCA.

Tony is a certified personal trainer, a fitness competitor and a Sport Nutrition Advisor. He has always led an active, healthy lifestyle and is passionate about helping others achieve peak performance. He can design a personalized fitness plan to boost your strength, endurance, muscle definition, energy level and overall health. His understanding of biological science helps with body mechanics and muscle movement. He strives to help people achieve their goals in health and fitness by designing unique workout plans.

His hobbies consist of weight training for body competitions, competitive volleyball and tennis. He also loves to swim, and takes Salsa and Hip Hop dance classes. His philosophy: “It’s not easy, but it’s worth it!”

This June, the YMCA is offering 3 personal training sessions for just $129. Ask at the Membership or Fitness Desk for more information.  

Happy Father's Day! 

Did you know that Father's Day started at the Y? As an enduring acknowledgement of her father raising her and her five siblings, Father's Day was established at the Spokane YMCA in 1910 by Sonora Louise Smart Dodd. We just wanted to take some time to say thank you to all the Y Dads for everything you do! Happy Father's Day!