YMCA of Greater Louisville

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Great time to be in Kentucky

Isn’t a great time to live in Kentucky?  The weeks leading into Derby have to be the most exciting time to live (or visit) Kentucky.  The town looks beautiful and there are so many activities leading into May.

I am especially found of the Triple Crown and the Mini Marathon.  My family has been participating in them since 1999.  This year my youngest daughter, who is 25,  wanted to do the mini for the first time and asked dear ‘old’ Mom to help her.  With my class schedule at the Y, it is really hard to find the time to train for 13.1 miles, plus there is always a chance for injury that would take me off the schedule which puts my co-workers in a bind. But I did find a solution, because it meant as much to me, or more, to do her first mini with her.  So I told her I would start and finish every race with her, I just wasn’t sure what the middle would look like.  The 3 mile came and went without much trouble and even the 6 wasn’t too hard to finish, but the 10 and 13.1 found me wondering what to do.  I could walk most of it but that would not put me in place to finish with her.

I actually experienced the best of both worlds.  I viewed the course maps and found places where I could start the race with her, wait at a destination that she would return to and then finish the race with her.  It was an awesome experience to run with her and encourage her.  Then while I was waiting I was able to cheer on the other runners, including my son ,husband and our team from the Y.  (Mr. Tarver, that was me that yelled your name during the 10 and 13.1.  Thanks for setting a wonderful example for all of us.)  I would then wait anxiously for my daughter to return and jump on the course and finish the race holding her sweet little hand.  It was a memory I will never forget.  I can proudly say that all three of my children have completed the Triple Crown and Mini.  I like to think that through my 13 years at the Y maybe my passion for exercise has rubbed off on them.

Some people might think I am a cheater or slacker, but I paid the fee, followed all the rules and got to experience one of my favorite derby events.  Not to mention making a special memory with my baby girl.


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Ending bullying is a shared responsibility

Bully movie posterEarlier today, I had intended to write a blog post about this no sugar experiment my roommate and I are doing, but then I went to the movies. And I cried. I shook my hands at the movie screen a few times, laughed a few times, but I mostly cried. The movie that got me all worked-up is the documentary Bully. In short, it’s a wonderfully crafted film that follows five different families who are struggling with different aspects of the bullying crisis in America. There’s a family whose son ended his own life at age 17 after being harassed at school for years. A teenage girl whose whole family has been ostracized since she came out as being gay. And then there’s the 12 year-old boy, Alex, who has a heart of gold and a gorgeous smile, but he comes off as “weird” to other kids and is constantly physically and verbally bullied by classmates.

I’m not writing a movie review on the YMCA blog (though I will say it was amazing and powerful and worth seeing–check out the trailer here). I’m writing about this movie today because the parents and young people in the film, while they struggle and feel deep pain, are working to try to make change and to improve the lives of children in America, and that falls right in line with our work at the Y. One area of focus for the YMCA is Youth Development. We believe that all kids deserve the opportunity to discover who they really are and what they can achieve. Through our many different programs, from childcare to sports to leadership development, we work to cultivate values and skills in children that will help them make positive choices in their lives. But this work isn’t just the responsibility of the YMCA–it falls on us all.

The film tonight showed just how much power lay in our words and actions–how deeply they can hurt and how high they can lift. We may not be on the playground or the school bus anymore, but us adults can fall into similar patterns, like gossiping and forming cliques, that share the same elements of childhood bullying. I don’t have children and don’t know if I will ever have any, but I want to set a positive example for any kids I might encounter by living and speaking in a way that doesn’t demean or hurt others. Doing that won’t always be easy or comfortable (just flip on the TV or open a magazine; our media is often glorified gossip) but it’s something I think we could all stand to do.

To learn more about the movement to end bullying, please check out Stand for the Silent, an organization founded by the Smalley family after they lost their 11 year-old son to suicide.

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Your just Lucky!

It seem like in todays society that people that lose a significant amount of weight are praised for a job well done and I certainly agree.  Everyone has different struggles and different backgrounds that make them who they are, but today I would like to recognize the people that work hard everyday just to maintain a healthy body and lifestyle. I am a 50 something wife, mother, grandmother and fitness instructor.  The first three were definately in my lifeplan, but not so much the last.  I am currently within 10 pounds of my weight on the day I was married 31 years ago, and most people will say, “Oh, you are just lucky or you must have good genes.  I am lucky that fitness is a part of my job description and I am lucky (blessed) that my parents are 82 and 87 years of age, even though they have a multitude of health conditions from heart disease to arthritis, but I (like many of you) struggle everyday with making good decisions when it comes to my body and my health.  I must chose, and find the time to incorporate exercise and healthy foods into my daily lifestyle.  Many days I succeed and many days I fail, but I take the challenge anew everyday. I am able to run with my children, play with my grandchildren and take care of my parents because of it and I do feel very lucky (blessed.)