YMCA of Greater Louisville


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Together We Can Do So Much More: YMCA Annual Campaign

If you’ve come and visited us in the past few weeks, there’s a possibility that you’ve heard our staff, volunteers and/or members talking about our Annual Campaign. But what is the Annual Campaign? Why is it so important, what does the money go to and what can you do to help?

What Is The Annual Campaign?

The Y is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides a number of services to the Greater Louisville community. Although the gym, swim lessons and youth sports might be some of the first things that come to mind, we have so many other services and offerings like:

  1. Safe Place Services, which provides kids and teens with a place to go and the support they need during a time of crisis.
  2. Y-Now Mentors, who work with at-risk youth who have an incarcerated parent.
  3. The Healthy in a Hurry Corner Store Initiative, which provides financial and technical assistance to corner stores in lower-income neighborhoods that are interested in selling fresh and affordable fruits and vegetables.
  4. Our LIVEStrong Program, which empowers cancer survivors to live life on their own terms.
  5. The YMCA Newcomer Academy Program, an after school academic and sports program for middle and high school immigrant and refugee children who attend the ESL Newcomer Academy.
  6. The Black Achievers Program, which motivates teens in grades 8-12 to pursue high educational and career goals so they can reach their full potential.
  7. The YMCA Weight Loss Challenge and the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program, which help people develop maintainable, healthy lifestyle habits.
  8. And so much more!

Our Annual Campaign is our fundraising campaign to make sure the Y’s facilities and services remain accessible to everyone in our community.

Why Is The Annual Campaign Important?

The money we raise during our Annual Campaign goes to a number of different areas, all aimed at strengthening the foundations of our community.

The money we raise during our Annual Campaign goes to a number of different areas, all aimed at strengthening the foundations of our community.

Strengthening community is our cause. We make sure that everyone who needs the Y has the opportunity to learn, grow and thrive, regardless of age, income or background. We do not turn anyone away because of an inability to pay. However, we are only able to do this because of your generous support.

Where Does The Money Go?

Your donation doesn’t GO anywhere. We make sure that 100% of your contribution stays in your community, right here in your own neighborhood. Last year, the Y provided over $5 million of support to more than 10,000 families and individuals in the Greater Louisville community. You may not know it, but your donation might be helping someone in your group exercise class afford a membership. It might be helping your friend’s child play youth soccer or attend summer day camp. It might be providing a teen in crisis food and shelter for a night.

What Can Your Gift Do?

We are extremely thankful for every donation we receive, and every bit helps us on our mission.

Here are just some examples of what your gift can do:

$50 (less than $0.50 a day) can save a life by teaching a child how to swim and about water safety.

$75 ($1.50 a week) allows a family to keep experiencing the Y for 2 months during a hard time.

$100 (less than $9 a month) provides a teen in crisis with food and shelter for the night so they don’t have to stay on the streets.

$250 (less than $21 a month) allows 4 children to have a place to go after school that is safe, nurturing and fun for 1 week.

$500 (about $9 a week) gives 6 kids the chance to learn new skills and make friends playing 1 season of youth sports.

$1000 provides 2 campers with the outdoor experience of 1 week at Camp Piomingo.

How Can You Help?

Each and every contribution goes a long way in helping the Y continue to provide and expand its services in the Greater Louisville community. You can talk to any staff member at any branch to donate or to learn more, or, if you prefer, you can even donate online.

But our services depend on more than just dollars…there are numerous volunteer opportunities available, from working with teens with the Y-Now Program or the Newcomer Academy Program to coaching youth sports to helping in your branch’s Annual Campaign Fundraising efforts.

Every gift makes a difference. Everyone has a role to play. Together, we can achieve so much more.


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The Y Community: Here For You

YMCALast week, we offered 5 tips on how to stick to your New Year’s Resolution. Tips are great, but sometimes you need more than just tips. That’s where the Y can help!

Accountability, continued interest and confidence are three keys in a person’s success in ac

hieving any goals, whether it’s fitness-related, work-related, family-related or anything in between. Here at the Y, 

Toolsnothing makes us happier than to see people reach their potential and achieve their goals, and we do everything we can to provide you with the tools and welcoming atmosphere that are so vital to fitness success.

First time in the gym and have no idea where to start? Many of our branches offer FREE Wellness Appointments! Set up a time to meet one-on-one with one of our Wellness Coaches and they can answer your questions and help you come up with a workout plan that is tailored specifically to you.

Getting bored with your workout? Think about trying out one of our FREE group exercise classes! With hundreds of classes offered across our branches ranging from aqua fitness to cycling to yoga and everything in between, there is something for everyone! Not only will your workout be pre-planned and led by a certified instructor, you may become good friends with your classmates in the process! Don’t know what class might be a good fit for you? Just ask! Our Wellness Coaches and members would be more than happy to offer recommendations based on your goals.

Looking for something a little more intense? Many of our branches now offer Boot Camps, TRX Training, Triple Crown Running, a Weight Loss Challenge and more. These highly-structured programs can really give you a renewed sense of motivation. Want more personal attention? Our personal trainers would be thrilled to work with you!

And don’t forget, working out doesn’t have to come in the weight room or on the track. Shoot some hoops, hit the pool, play racquetball, just get your heart pumping!

The Y Family
When you join the Y, you’re not just joining a gym; you’re joining a community, and you’re becoming part of a family. From the first time you ever walk through our doors, it’s our mission to make you feel welcome and comfortable. Have a workout question? We’ll happily answer it for you! Looking for a workout partner? We can help you find someone. Need a minute just to talk and unwind? We’ll listen. And the best part is, it’s not just our staff that wants you feeling welcome. Many of our members love seeing new faces and want you to be a part of their Y community too!

Forming relationships with staff and fellow members goes a long way in keeping you motivated. A simple text from a workout partner saying, “When do you want to go to the Y today?” can be the difference between going to the gym and skipping a day. Knowing that you’ll be greeted with a smile and a happy, “Hello, John, how was your day?” every day by the staff makes it so you want to come back. There’s an atmosphere of caring accountability where if you miss a few days, you will be missed.

At the Y, we grow stronger together each and every day, and we are here to help you grow stronger in spirit, mind and body in 2014!

 


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A Resolution To Stay Motivated

Congratulations! You’ve managed to successfully keep your New Year’s Resolution of going to the gym and getting in shape for three weeks. But the first few weeks are the easy part. The hardest part of any lifestyle change is staying motivated and focused after the initial thrill. You’ve had a long day in the office, you need to make dinner and the kids have basketball practice. It becomes so tempting to say, “I’ll just go to the gym tomorrow.”

Here are 5 tips from Annabelle, one of our Wellness Directors, on how to keep yourself motivated.

  1. Make it fun: Workouts don’t have to be a bore or a chore! Try a dance class, give yoga a shot, don’t be afraid to mix things up and add some variety to your routine. Doing something you enjoy can help take your mind off the workout itself.
  2. Track your progress: Use an app on your phone or keep a workout log to see how you are building your workouts. It’s much easier to stay motivated when you can actually see results. Tracking progress can also help tell you when it’s time to take your workout to the next level or when it’s time to try something new.
  3. Set a goal: Remember your SMART goals! But goals don’t have to “I will lose 10 pounds” or “I will run a 7 minute mile.” Buy a pair of jeans that you want to fit in to, or sign up for a fun run to give you a real, tangible reason to work out.
  4. Reward yourself: Do something for you when you reach your goal! Buy a new workout outfit, pick up a new gadget, do something you enjoy! You congratulate others when they achieve something; don’t be afraid to congratulate yourself!
  5. Find a buddy: The gym doesn’t have to be a scary or intimidating place. Bring your kids, significant others or a friend and deepen your relationships while you get healthier. And if you get on a fairly consistent gym schedule, you’ll even have a chance to make new friends and form new relationships with people you meet there!

 

Be sure to come and check back with us next week when we talk about some of the specific ways the YMCA can help you stay motivated and meet your fitness goals!


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The Y: We’re More Than A Gym; We’re A Cause

When someone says “The YMCA,” what’s the first thing that comes to mind? A gym? Swim lessons? The Village People? Well, we are a gym. We do give swim lessons. We are the focus of a late 70s song. But we’re also so much more! We’re child care and we’re future leaders. We’re group exercise classes and we’re nutrition advice. We’re LIVESTRONG® and we’re volunteers. We’re a community and we’re a cause.

You’ve seen it before; “The Y: We’re for youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.” But what exactly does this mean, and what do we have to offer?

Youth Development: Sure, we have our swim lessons, but we have so many more offerings for young people in our community! We offer childcare for children of all ages, with our all-day Child Development Centers and our School-Age Child Care Program that offers before-and-after-school care for kids during the school year. Our Youth Sports offerings range from soccer to basketball to lacrosse, volleyball and plenty more, and all help kids make new friends while having fun learning how to play and work together as a team. Summer Day Camps keep kids busy and active during those summer months when they are out of school, while our overnight camp at Camp Piomingo is a life-changing experience for many who attend.

We also have a number of opportunities for your child to grow as a leader with our YMCA Black Achievers and Youth Achievers Programs, our Metro Youth Advocates Program and our Teen Leaders Clubs. Learn more about our Youth Development Programs now.

Healthy Living: In addition to our workout equipment, we offer a number of group exercise classes, ranging from Aqua Fitness to Yoga to Pilates, many of which are FREE for members! Our Boot Camps and TRX classes are excellent ways to add some variety to your workout. Looking for something more personalized? Set up a complimentary Wellness Appointment with one of our wellness coaches, or sign up for a session with one of our personal trainers.

Being healthy is more than just working out; it’s about developing healthy lifestyles. We have Nutritional Counseling, and programs like the YMCA Weight Loss Challenge, the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program and the LIVESTRONG® Cancer Survivor Program to help you on your path to a healthier life. Find out more about our Healthy Living offerings.

Social Responsibility: At the Y, strengthening community is our cause. Whether through services we provide for youth and families in crisis with our Safe Place Program, our Adult Day Health Center,  the Chestnut Street Family YMCA Transitional Shelter, our involvement with the ESL Newcomer Academy, our community advocacy and more, we are always looking to provide support to our neighbors. Learn more about our dedication to Social Responsibility.

We invite you to become part of our cause today!


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Be SMART in 2014

photo201005_0007_18_previewThe New Year is almost here, and that means it’s time to start thinking about your New Year’s Resolutions.  Eat healthier. Go to the gym. Lose weight. Spend more time with family. Be a better employee. They all sound like great ideas on January 1, but so often, it seems like they get lost in the daily hustle and bustle just a few weeks in. So the question becomes: How do I create a New Year’s Resolution that isn’t just going to fall by the wayside by the end of January? It’s easier than you might think: Be SMART when setting your goals.

SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic and Time-Bound.

Specific: The more specific your goal, the better your chances of achieving it. Think about what your resolution means. What does it mean to “Get in shape?” What does it mean to “Be a better employee” or “Be a better parent?” The answer is different for every person, so make these goals specific to your life.

Measurable: Part of being specific is having ways to measure your progress toward your goal. It’s easy to lose motivation if you’re not able to track your progress. Instead of just saying, “I’ll go to the gym more often,” think about saying, “I’ll go to the gym 4 days a week.” Instead of telling yourself you’ll eat better, say “I’m only going to eat fast food two meals per week.” Want to spend more time with your family? Make it a goal to eat dinner as a family three times a week, and set aside one weekend a month for family activities. Having measurable goals make it so you can hold yourself accountable.

Actionable: Make sure your resolution is actionable. That is, be able to form an action plan for your goal. If you want to lose weight, what actions will you take to achieve that goal? If you want to eat healthier, what actions will you take? If you want to spend more time with family or be a better employee, what steps will you take? Often times, people have ideas of what they want, but they don’t have a good idea of how to get what they want.

Realistic: Everyone has limitations, and you need to recognize your limitations when thinking about your resolutions. Maybe it’s not a realistic expectation that you can go to the gym for 2 hours 5 days a week. Then try for 1 hour, 3 days a week. Maybe schedules are hectic and you can’t sit down three nights a week to eat dinner as family. Then shoot for one or two nights a week. If you set a goal that you can’t realistically reach, then it will be much harder to stay motivated.

Time-Bound: Give yourself a deadline, and stick to it. Think about breaking your long-term resolution into shorter time periods. Instead of saying, “I will lose 15 pounds by bathing suit season,” say “I will lose one pound per week.” Stick to the one-pound per week plan, and you’ll be 20 pounds lighter by the time the end of May rolls around. Having shorter-term goals make the achievement of your long-term resolution a much less daunting task.

Still not sure what a SMART goal would look like? No worries; here’s an example: “To be healthier, I will lose 20 pounds by July 1 by exercising for at least 30 minutes a day, 3 days a week and eating fast food no more than two times a week.

The specific goal is to lose weight in order to be healthier, and it can be measured in terms of pounds lost. The actions you take to reach this goal include going to the gym (for a measurable amount of time) and eating less fast food. Studies show that healthy weight loss is 1-2 pounds per week, so it is realistic to lose 20 pounds over the course of 6 months. Finally, with the July 1 deadline, you have a reasonable time frame in which to reach this goal of losing 20 pounds.

The New Year is a great time to make positive changes in your life. Here’s to a happy, healthy and SMART 2014!


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7 Ways to Comfort Kids in Difficult Times

ImageThe YMCA of Greater Louisville is the largest provider of child care in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, and we, along with the nation, watched in shock as the tragic events unfolded in Newtown, Connecticut.

Our hearts go out to every person that was touched by those events. We know that children will have questions about what happened, and we as the Y, feel that it is important for us to help parents communicate on this difficult issue.

Below are some guidelines that can be used if/when your child seeks answers:

  1. Try to exhibit a sense of calm in the presence of children.
  2. Create a safe environment and allow children to freely express their thoughts, feelings, and experiences without fear or consequences. Ask and discuss what makes them feel safe. 
  3. If the topic arises, ask how they feel and let them know that you understand. Validate their feelings and let them know that how they feel is OK. Sympathize and empathize with them.
  4.  Allow children to put their grief and/or emotions into action, i.e. write a letter or draw a picture.
  5. Be age appropriate, but direct, when answering questions. If the topic comes up, families should be encouraged to take breaks from the media coverage. 
  6. Take note of any behaviors that seem to be out of character for the child as this may indicate the need to seek professional intervention. Behaviors can include, but are not limited to, persistent nightmares, bed wetting, soiling, aggressive behavior, isolating, etc.
  7. Maintaining normalcy in routines can also be helpful and comforting in these situations.

The Y will continue to work with our local experts to learn how we can continue to maximize the safety of our facilities and programs.


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Outside the Box New Year’s Resolutions for 2013

The New Year is a time for new beginnings and to set goals that strengthen you and make your life better. When making New Year’s Resolutions, the YMCA of Greater Louisville wants to remind families that resolutions should also include family time.calendar

Here are some simple things families can do at home to improve their health while spending more time together. The following are 5 New Year’s Resolutions the Y recommends for 2013:

  1. Eat Together. Sitting down together for a meal is a great way for parents and kids to share stories, talk about the school day or share their favorite part of the day. Set aside time for your family to eat breakfast, lunch or dinner at least once a week to catch up.
  2. Volunteer Together. Giving back and supporting neighbors benefits everyone. It teaches children and teens to the value of helping others while meeting new people or discovering new interests. Find an opportunity in your community that the entire family may enjoy, such as distributing food at a local food bank or cleaning your neighborhood park.
  3. Unplug from Technology. Limit screen time (TV, video games, computer, etc.) and instead set aside an hour to play games, go for a family walk, take a bike ride, or a trip to the park. Make some family memories outdoors!
  4. Be Physically Active. It’s important for kids to get at least 60 minutes of physical activity a day. And children aren’t the only ones who need activity – 30 minutes a day for adults too. Go swimming during Family Swim at your neighborhood Y or take a family exercise class.
  5. Put Extras to Good Use. Do you have extra clothes or canned goods that could benefit others in need? Clean out your pantry, closet or attic and donate extra items to homeless shelters or community outreach programs. You can get the entire family involved and demonstrate the value of giving.

What are some of your New Year’s Resolutions?

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