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Back to School Guide

Where has the summer gone? If you have school aged kids, you are no doubt as busy as can be, frantically trying to settle into yet another school year. With that in mind, we’ve compiled a few resources, which will hopefully help you have a more smooth transition to the school year routine.

First things first, have you arranged child careMany schools offer in house before and after school care that is very convenient. If your child’s school doesn’t offer this, contact your local Child Care Resource & Referral program to help find what child care options exist in your community. They can help explain your options, assist you in finding a facility that serves your school, and even explain financial assistance options which may be available to you. Be sure to inquire asap, as some programs have lengthy wait lists  

Returning to school can be exciting for children, but it can also be a little scary as they wonder what a new school year will bring. Anxiety BC has produced a great tip sheet, Helping your Child Cope with Back-to-School Anxiety, which discusses common worries and provides strategies to help you support your child.

And how about school lunches (we can hear you grunting now!)? Sometimes, making them nutritious, tasty and safe can be challenging. The Government of Canada offers tips on how to prepare healthy options, including both grab and go and cafeteria options.

Walking or biking to school is a great way to squeeze in some light physical activity, but it’s important to cover some basic safety tips at the start of the school year. Healthy Families BC has recently released a few great blog posts to check out, including a Back-to-School Walk & Bike Route Planning Guide and Pedestrian Safety Tips to Teach Kids. Both posts offer ideas on how to keep kids safe on the journey to school. Road Safety for your kids, produced by ICBC, is another useful link that offers great tips on teaching kids to be safe pedestrians

Looking for a quick all in one? Fraser Health Authority has compiled a comprehensive Your Healthy Back to School Guide, which covers a range of topics, including anxiety, nutrition, sleep, immunizations and more.  

The Y wishes your family a happy and healthy 2016/2017 school year!

Looking for Employment?

We are pleased to announce the return of three amazing employment programs:

Youth Skills at Work: for job seekers ages 15-30, this program provides four weeks of paid workshops, training and certifications, followed by a 12-week work experience placement. 

Youth BEAT: for job seekers ages 15-29 experiencing mental health challenges, this program helps you breakthrough to employment and training, and get the confidence, skills and experience needed to kick-start a career.

Youth Works: for job seekers ages 15-29, this program offers one-on-one support with experienced career advisors, training and work placements that include mentorship.

Experience Works: for job seekers ages 45-72, this program provides the training and support necessary to gain the confidence, skills and experience needed to secure and maintain employment. 

Every year, YMCA employment programs like these help hundreds of Lower Mainland job seekers find and keep a job. Here’s a recent success story from Elizabeth, who found successful employment after participating in the Youth Works program:

“Have you ever felt like finding employment was just impossible? Or you have no idea where to begin? I did, until a few months ago. But while looking online for employment opportunities, I stumbled upon an advertisement for the YMCA Youth Works employment program.

After being accepted into the program with 11 other young job seekers, I began learning about the skills needed to get a job while taking courses related to my career goals. I then realized that my struggle to find employment wasn't because I had no experience or because I wasn't capable, I just needed more knowledge. 

If I hadn't attended the YMCA Youth Works program, I might still be struggling, instead of having the skills needed to find work and the knowledge of how to keep a job. The program has played a huge part in my success today.

It doesn’t matter how old you are or how much experience you have, YMCA employment programs can help everyone. The YMCA Youth Works program was a great experience for me. If you do your best in it, you'll get the best out of it.”

To find out more about how these programs can help you or someone you know, click here or contact 604-685-8066.

Join us for Y Talks


Community impact is happening all around us and it's being led by people just like you!

We would like to invite you to join us on September 29th at Hive Social Innovation Hub for Y Talks—an evening of community impact stories from some of Vancouver's most passionate changemakers. The evening will feature short talks from the special guest speakers Rachel Aberle, Donovan Mahoney, Patrick Rmeily, Christian Cowley, Teesha Sharma and the Y’s own Anuschka Naidoo. There will also be a silent auction with pieces by local artists.

Event Info:
Thursday, September 29th
Doors: 6:00 p.m. program starts at 6:30 p.m.
HiVE Social Innovation Hub (210-128 West Hasting Street, Vancouver)

Y Talks is proudly presented by the YMCA Young Leader’s Council— a group of dedicated, passionate young volunteers and staff at the YMCA of Greater Vancouver. The YLC is pleased to present this event with support from the Endowment Fund of the YMCA of Greater Vancouver.

Roll with something new this fall

Fall is a great time to try something new. We challenged one of our members, Krystell Peralta, to try a new activity at the Y this fall. Here's her story:

Getting to the gym can be a struggle. But for anyone who’s sustained a serious injury, all you dream of is being healthy enough to get moving again.

About two years ago I hurt my lower back when I slipped and fell. I wasn’t able to exercise at all. It honestly was the most frustrating period of my life. 

I’m a determined person so I worked extremely hard to get healthy enough to be active. I can’t describe the joy I felt just being able to walk on a treadmill again. It’s been a long journey and now that I am able to go to the gym on a regular basis, I really want to ensure I don’t injure my back again. I try to maintain proper form when doing any kind of exercise.

As a member of the YMCA, I really enjoy drop-in fitness classes such as Bootcamp and Zumba. I’m also looking forward to trying the new rolling class called Roll With It this fall.

However, one area that’s always been a bit intimidating to me has been the heavy weight area. All those machines seem a bit foreign to me. Plus, the last thing I want to do is derail my health with another injury.

So I decided to get Personal Trainer Jesus Pabar to show me the ropes. From the shoulder press machines to the free weights, he greatly expanded my workout options. He showed me a ton of exercises that I never could have learned on my own. With his expert guidance, I was totally comfortable trying squats and deadlifts without putting my back at risk.

Not only was it a great workout, he made it fun. He also helped me set realistic goals given my busy schedule. 

Sometimes it’s the little things at the gym that can be intimidating, so I appreciated him filling me in on the weightlifting etiquette when the area is busy. Insider knowledge makes all the difference!

So what’s next? Now I’m ready to inspire some of my fellow nursing students on the joys of weightlifting. Breaking out of my routine has really expanded my fitness interests. See you at the gym.

Look for the new drop-in fitness class Roll With It. If you haven't tried rolling before, it increases blood flow to your muscles and improves your range of motion. Check the schedules to find a time at your membership centre. 
Trying to find a way to reach your fitness goals? Get started with a personal trainer today! Learn tons of new ways to improve your fitness experience. We are offering great pricing on a variety of packages. Ask at Fitness Desk for more information. 

Join us Thanksgiving Weekend for Family Camp!

Already looking forward to the next long weekend? Thanksgiving is just five weekends away—yahoo! Our breathtaking overnight camp, YMCA Camp Elphinstone, located in Gibsons (just a 40 minute ferry ride from Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal in West Vancouver), is offering Family Camp over the Thanksgiving long weekend, October 7th to 10th.

Not only will we take care of the cooking (and dishes!) of a full turkey dinner with all the trimmings, we’ll keep the whole family having fun with festive fall-themed activities, and of course, our camp favourite activities like archery, climbing, ropes courses, canoeing and more.

Our cozy heated lodges, equipped with a central lounge (and fireplace!), are a great way to enjoy the Pacific Northwest in the fall. We also offer private cabins for multiple families to share if desired.

Join us for a great way to have a mini city escape vacation with the whole family! Click here to register today or learn more.

Countdown to the Megathon

Sign up the YMCA Megathon and feel like a superhero for a day

Have you ever wanted to make a huge difference in the life of a vulnerable child? Sign up for the YMCA Megathon. 

The event takes place on November 5, 2016 and it's your chance to challenge yourself with fitness activities and raise funds to ensure all kids grow up strong. When you join the YMCA Megathon, you're helping the 1 in 5 children that need financial assistance in order to participate in Y programs. 

All funds raised will go directly to the kids and families who need it most.You can sign up on your own or as part of a team. All four Greater Vancouver Ys (Chilliwack, Surrey and Robert Lee and Langara in Vancouver) are hosting the Megathon, so choose the location nearest you and get in on the great fun for a great cause.

Registration is free when you raise a minimum of $150. Early birds who sign up by October 15th and raise a minimum of $150 will also be entered in the draw to win a personal training session.

Watch and share our YMCA Megathon video here:

Hope to see you there!