YMCA of Greater Louisville

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Free outdoor event season begins!

Longer daylight hours, warm temperatures, parks bursting with vibrant colors: spring is definitely my season. There are few joys in life sweeter or more simple than taking a walk in the park with a friend on a sunny day, and with spring you get lots of opportunities for those walks. On top of spring being the season where we all come out of hibernation–farewell bulky winter clothes, hello shorts and sandals!–this is also when the city pops with a great variety of free events. Below are just a handful of events happening over the next few months in our grand city that I’m looking forward to. Feel free to share more in the comments!

Iroquois Amphitheater movie nights — While the summer movie series at Iroquois Amphitheater doesn’t kick off until June, I’m already stoked just looking at the schedule. I’ve been meaning to see The Help, now I’ll wait and enjoy it for free at my favorite park.

University of Louisville men’s baseball — I’ll admit I’m not a huge baseball fan (or sports fan, period), but when the games are free and the hot dogs tasty, I can get roused up and sing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” with the best of them. Grab the kids or some pals and check out a free U of L baseball game.

WFPK Waterfront Wednesday — This concert series goes from April through September and is always the last Wednesday of the month. This is a great way to enjoy a view of the Ohio River and listen to some great music.

Volunteering — You can volunteer at plenty of places year-round, but if I can soak up some rays and fresh air AND do something good at the same time, I’d rather do that. Olmsted Parks Conservancy is a great organization to volunteer for if you’re a big fan of our parks system. It’s also a neat way to learn more the different vegetation in the park. And coming up the week of April 15th is Mayor Fischer’s Week of Service. Volunteer opportunities abound all over the community for this special week.

Shakespeare in the Park — This another one that’s a couple months off, but I’m already looking forward to seeing The Bard’s Much Ado About Nothing at Central Park.

Kentucky Derby Festival — Once March Madness ends, the city barely has a moment to recuperate before the Kentucky Derby Festival starts. From chow wagons to concerts to parades, and, of course fireworks, there will be plenty to do before the big day in May.

What are you and your family looking forward to this spring?


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Spring Forward

As I was driving home the other day from the office, I couldn’t help but notice how gorgeous the days have become, with my windows and sunroof rolled all the way down I couldn’t tell you how good it felt to feel the sunshine soaking in my skin.  The annoying guy behind me riding my tail didn’t even seem to bother me as much.   

With spring break rounding the corner I am getting very excited about all the outside activities my family and I are going to be able to participate in together.  We all have been cooped up way for way to long with all this cold and rainy weather.  No more fussing at one another with the constant battle between changing the thermostat because one of us is always cold and the other not.  Now we can put down all the windows and let the fresh air in, not to mention save ourselves a pretty good penny too.

One thing I certainly can’t wait for is the farmer’s markets all around Louisville and Southern Indiana to open back up.  What better way to help your community than purchasing fresh produce, meat, crafts and more from the local market.  Aside from yard sales, I have to say the farmers market is one of my favorite Saturday activities. There are so many farmers markets out there to visit; however here are a handful of my favorite locations:  

Bardstown Road Farmers’ Market
Bardstown Road Presbyterian Church, 1722 Bardstown Rd, 40205
Saturdays, 8 am -12 pm
April – December

Whole Foods Farmers’ Market
4944 Shelbyville Rd, 40207
Wednesdays, 3 – 7 pm
April – October

 Rainbow Blossom Farmers’ Market
3738 Lexington Rd, 40207
Sundays, 12 – 4 pm
May 15 – October
Accepts EBT/Debit/Credit

 Jeffersonville Farmers Market
Saturdays AND Tuesdays (June -mid Oct)
Saturday Hours: 9am-Noon
Tuesday Hours: 3pm-6pm

The New Albany Farmers Market, New Albany, Indiana
Wednesday, 4:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m.
Saturday, 8:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.

SEASONAL May-October

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Philanthropy…What It Really Means

Today we have a guest blog post from our fearless leader and CEO, Steve Tarver…

The last 10 days have been an incredible set of experiences both professionally and personally. Last Thursday, I returned from a 6 day trip to Hong Kong. I flew from Hong Kong to Boston and then drove to Newport, Rhode Island, where I watched my son graduate from Naval Officer Development School. Both experiences were unbelievable privileges to experience. In the middle of it all, our own community had to respond to the weather related needs.

I was able to spend time at the Hong Kong YMCA, a 110 year old organization with a rich history in this bustling city of 7.5 million people living in a very small area. It’s a very diverse city that has history, modern business, great wealth, and poverty all within blocks of each other. Hong Kong has the greatest wealth gap in the world.

I was there to share case studies on membership, youth development, and community health. (This was a result of the Louisville YMCA’s reputation in these areas. Thanks to all our staff and volunteers for allowing this to be the case.) Included in the group were representatives from the Asia Pacific Alliance of YMCAs made up of 27 countries such as Bangladesh, Pakistan, Thailand, Cambodia, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and the Philippines, among others.

During the presentation on community health, I was talking about diabetes, obesity, and tobacco policy, lifestyle for granted when the initial issues raised were malnutrition, malaria, and dengue (acute viral disease similar to malaria also called “breakbone disease”). The Y’s located there are doing amazing work in health, community development, education, and human rights.

Even in Hong Kong, I became aware of the severe weather rolling in. Fortunately, our immediate area was spared, unlike our neighbors just to the north. Our terrific staff began to look at ways to help before the wind stopped blowing. Laurie Madden from challenged us to help. Melanie Cox made contact with a local church  in Henryville. Andy Pierce coordinated with the Red Cross. Within hours, each of our Y’s, had set up collection stations and lists of needed items. Many staff, members, neighbors, and volunteers contributed in many ways – communication, coordination, logistics, and delivery.

It started by providing 20 tables to a church so that meals could be served. Following were 3 trailer loads of supplies, mostly cleaning supplies and toiletries. One of our members, a five year old girl, however, donated her personal bible given to her as an infant…”I want those children to have it, Momma,” she said.

The Y family gave until being told that the need had been met. All done within about 72 hours. Do you see why I say so frequently what a privilege it is to serve with our staff and volunteers?

My son is now a Lieutenant in the US Navy.  He will serve as an audiologist at the 29 Palms Marine Base in California.  The Naval Station Newport is on a peninsula where it is very cold and windy this time of year.  My son told of training in the “Rose Garden” (a sand pit) and highly regimented procedures, meal times, and great honor in the work that is done.  I was able to observe some of the closing training activities including comments of the “Chief” – their drill instructor, and several of the staff officers.  Even though the Chief had frequently kicked their butts, woke them with whistles and bullhorns (sometimes after only 30-60 minutes of sleep), and took them to the Rose Garden, they loved the guy.

I was touched by a couple of things.  First was the amazing commitment that these men and women have to the protection of our freedom and rights – past, present, and future.  There are regular references to the willingness to make the ultimate sacrifice in these protections.  How many of us profess a willingness to die as part of our jobs?

Second were the comments made by Chief Hebert (pronounced a’-bear). He gave them 5 guidelines for success. The first was, “Integrity is everything. Without integrity, you have nothing and are lost.”

The second comment was, “There is no room for ‘drama’. You must maintain a focus on the MISSION!”

And this brings us to today. Our Annual Giving Campaign is not about drama. It’s about a passionate commitment to allowing those in our community that can benefit from a relationship with the YMCA to become part of the Y family. You have heard many stories of the impact of these experiences.

Philanthropy – from Greek, “to love people”. We are blessed to have such an attitude in our country. That’s all we are offering to our friends and colleagues –please focus on the mission!

Thank you for your PHILANTHROPY!


Pack your bags!

Teens from across the community will soon be venturing to India, and there is still time for you to get involved.  The YMCA has a program called Youth Ambassadors Abroad, this program hosts teen exchanges with other YMCAs.  One partner program that we work with are the YMCA’s in Mumbai and New Delhi.  This summer we will send a group of teens to India for July 17th to the 31st.  They will have the opportunity to meet up with teens from India, develop lifelong friendships, and observe and support Y community projects.  There will also be time for sightseeing and the opportunity to visit some of India’s cultural and historical sites.  This program is for teens age 15 to 19 (don’t worry parents, there will be adult Y chaperones too!)  The cost of the program is $2200 per person, and financial assistance is available for a limited number of teens.  The application deadline is April 2, 2012.  For more information contact Cindy at our association office cnordhoff@ymcalouisville.org  Don’t let this amazing opportunity pass you by!

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Can you spare 30 minutes a day?

You would think working at the YMCA would instantly make you a model of health and wellness, as if going through orientation will then re-wire your brain to make sure you to go to a group aerobics class everyday and to never be without a healthy snack in your bag. I wish it were so simple.

Mondays are usually my longest work day of the week: after being at the Y for 10 hours, it’s pretty dang hard to work up the motivation to stay and hop on the elliptical for 30 minutes. This Monday was one of those nights where I just didn’t do it, but I wish I had.

In the grand scheme of the day, 30 minutes isn’t all that long. (I can barely watch an episode of 30 Rock in 30 minutes!) It’s all about prioritizing and making the time to be active, whether it’s going to the Y or taking a walk through your neighborhood. So many of us spend a majority of our days sitting–sitting at a desk, sitting in the car, sitting on the couch–that we have to really make an effort to get moving. One of the absolute best things you can do for your health is to spend half an hour being active. On those days when I need that extra kick in the butt, I look for different motivators, and this short video lecture is a great one. In it, Dr. Mike Evans, a professor of Family Medicine and Public Health, talks about the many benefits of being active, from decreasing your risk for heart disease to improving quality of life. It’s well worth the nine minutes–and there are great illustrations to convey his points.

So, can you limit your sitting and sleeping to just 23 1/2 hours a day? Can you dedicate just 30 minutes a day to being active? I’m working on it–you should, too!

What are your favorite activities that get you moving and out of your seat?

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Let’s face it, the vending machine has historically been a dangerous place for anyone trying to limit their heart attacks to one per lifetime.

“Hmm…should I go with the Snicker’s bar or the Doritos? I mean, it was a pretty tough workout, maybe I should go with something like that Honey Bun.”

But, fear no more! The Y is helping its members choose healthier snacks with less effort! Healthy Choices at the Y Not only are we applying a new, easy to read labeling system, but many branches are improving the very options they are providing. By decreasing the amount of total fat and added sugar in our vending machines and increasing the amount of natural energy sources like nuts, you will be provided with the nourishment you need during your daily visits to the Y!

Look for the green, yellow, and red labels coming to your vending machines soon! Stick to the green and yellow items for healthier choices!!!