Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Friday, December 18, 2009
Adult Aquatic Instructors were recognized for their years of hard work and outstanding service.
Those recognized and their years of service are:
Perry Kollias, 14 years; Mary Dickes, Denise Levy and Mary McGiveron all with 12 years; Evelyn Siewert, 11 years; Carmen Scollo, 8 years; Sue Bright, 7 years; Shirley Pattavina, 3 years; Reed Bartman, 2 and lastly Susan Dunn, Sarah Pickert and Frances Helfrant all with one year of outstanding service.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
I am proud of the impact the YMCA has on the overall wellness of the community. The YMCA impacts so many lives through health and fitness programs, our men’s residence, high quality early childhood education and before and after school programs, mentoring at risk youth, camp and summer programs, swim lessons, and more. If you ask a YMCA staff person why they work for the Y they will talk about the people that they meet, help, and provide encouragement to each day. There are so many stories of how the YMCA has enriched people’s lives and those stories are important to share. Your stories are examples of how the Y is a community asset providing value to members and their families, to employees past and present, and to the community as a whole. I hope that you will consider sharing your Y story with us. How has the YMCA made a difference in your life? Send your Y story to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will post it on our blog. I can’t wait to read about the different historical perspectives and impact that the Y has had over the years.
Each child created a special “You Are My Role Model” certificate which included a personalized message and/or picture. The students wrote very appreciative and moving messages to their adult role models that expressed the reasons why they find them important. Attached to the top corner of each certificate was a lapel-button that could be removed and worn by the recipient. The pins are simple black on white and say "I'm Someone's Role Model."
This project started as an assignment from Justin Carbonella of the Middletown Youth Services Bureau. Programs were asked to find a way to visually express some of the "40 Developmental Assets." Search Institute has identified 40 positive experiences and qualities that we all have the power to bring into the lives of children and youth. These "Developmental Assets" represent the relationships, opportunities and personal qualities that young people need to avoid risk behaviors and ultimately develop into healthy adults. Macdonough Kids' Korner chose to begin with asset “#14-Adult Role Models.” As the children started writing their heart-felt messages, it was clear that this project was an important learning experience.
The children have recognized over 30 adults, including their parents, family members and family friends, and several Macdonough School faculty and staff. The recipients’ responses have been overwhelmingly positive. One child’s mother announced that she was going to hang up her certificate at work. One teacher shared, “The role model note brought tears of joy to my eyes. It feels great to know I am appreciated.” Jeremy Hungerford, our school custodian said, “This is just so awesome!” Role Models are now sporting their “I’m Someone’s Role Model” pins on their shirts, and sweaters school-wide. Many others are taking notice of these well-earned accessories.
Other Developmental Assets our Kids’ Korner program will be working on in the upcoming months include #7-Community Values Youth, #33 Interpersonal Competence, and #40 Positive View of Personal Future. On the list of 40 Developmental Assets, “Adult Role Models” may be #14, but today in the North End, it is #1.
Monday, December 14, 2009
The Middlesex YMCA was full of Christmas cheer this Saturday as many families took part in our Breakfast with Santa. We had tons of fun making reindeers, Christmas trees, and our wish lists; all while enjoying a healthy continental breakfast. Santa surprised everyone as he arrived early to talk with the kids and watch as they worked on their crafts and letters. "All of a sudden everyone got this feeling that something magical was going to happen," said Melanie Carfora, "then he, Santa, came around the corner." Christmas carols could be heard from the lobby as everyone, inspired by the big guy, broke out into their favorite holiday song, Jingle Bells.
Children and their families then had a chance to meet Santa one on one as he sat in a rocking chair next to his Christmas tree. They gave him their Christmas letter, told him what they wanted for Christmas, and had their picture taken together. As the morning came to an end, Santa asked the YMCA to bring all the letters he collected to Macy's, who will donate $1 for every letter they receive to the Make a Wish Foundation. A generous end to a great event.
If you missed this Family Fun Event, please be sure to check our website, www.midymca.org for a listing of our up coming monthly Family Events. YMCA Family Events are a terrific way to share a memorable experience with your family and not break the bank doing it.
We hope that everyone has a fun and safe holiday together with their friends and family!
Stress, on a small level, is a good thing in that it triggers a rush of adrenaline to help deal with issues. Prolonged stress however can lead to health problems. So what are some simple things that you can do to help reduce your stress level?
• LAUGH! Indeed, laughter can sometimes be the best medicine, as borne out by a study conducted by the Mayo Clinic. Laughter can help to relax muscles, reduce blood pressure and increase heart rate, increase oxygen to organs, and relieve tension. It also increases the release of brain chemicals known as endomorphins, or the “feel good” chemicals. So watch a funny movie or surround yourself with people who have a good sense of humor that will make you laugh. Keep in mind that laughter is contagious, so the more the merrier. You’ll be helping yourself as well as others.
• EXERCISE. Like laughter, exercise has the same benefits of laughter with the added plus of keeping your body in shape. Exercise does increase the release of endomorphins. Have you ever noticed how you feel better after exercising, whether it be a brisk walk or a work out in the gym?
• SOCIALIZE. Isolation can tend to have people focus on the negative and the feeling that they are alone in dealing with stress related issues. By socializing, you may find that you are not alone and discover some tips that others have found helpful in dealing with difficult situations. Being with others may give you the opportunity to laugh more or find more enjoyment in exercise, both of which are helpful in reducing stress.
• EAT AND SLEEP WELL. Stress often leads to poor dietary habits and disrupted sleep, both of which can lead to a vicious cycle. Some of us react to stress by not eating enough and others eat too much. Likewise, stress can affect sleep, with some sleeping too little and others sleeping too much. Recognize which type of person you are and monitor your diet carefully, focusing on foods that are good for you and making sure that you are getting the right amount of calories and nutrition. Eating too soon before bedtime can interrupt sleep. Exercising during the day, but not before bedtime, can also help to give you a better night’s sleep.
• TRY TO KEEP A POSITIVE ATTITUDE. Notice that I said “try”. With what some people are facing, that may not be easy if you don’t have a job and are trying to figure out what bills you can or cannot pay. Nevertheless, it is still important not to “sweat the small stuff” and recognize things that you can or cannot change. Once you understand what you can change, you will feel a sense of empowerment as opposed to helplessness in a situation. This ties back to socialization, where talking to others can help you find some solutions to stressful situations. Also, consider volunteering your time for a cause you support. This can help increase your interaction with others and give you a sense of helping others, another “feel good” situation. If you are currently unemployed or underemployed, this is also something good to fill gaps in time, get yourself out of the house and shows well on resumes during a job search.
Hopefully, these simple tips can help you reduce your level of stress. If stress has taken over your life, it is recommended that you consult your doctor, since it can lead to health issues, depression or chronic anxiety.
Here at the Y, we are a community of caring people who support families, build character and promote wellness. We offer the opportunity for you to exercise, socialize, laugh and volunteer. Stop by and see how much better you might feel!
Friday, December 11, 2009
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
First, understand that your 'exercise routine' could be taking the stairs instead of the elevator once a day, or running for an hour before work. Whatever you do, Winter is the perfect time of year to add something new, not only to shape up for summer, but to keep the holiday sweets and winter blues in check. If you are reading this you are already in the right frame of mind so keep it up!
Second, whatever you do, you are far more likely to stick with it, if you have FUN while you are working out, so make sure what you are doing is making you happy. If you are new to working out, try a sports-related activity in a low-pressure environment (like the Y!). If you already have a regular workout, is it feeling too routine? Is the challenge gone? Focus on enjoying yourself first, you will get healthier and stronger as long as you make an effort.
Third, if you are new to working out, or if you are having trouble staying motivated, take a class or try sports-related exercise which can give you an immediate network of other people both like, and unlike, you who are pursuing their various fitness goals. In the case of team sports, participants are helping each other achieve their goals, even as they pursue their own.
Fourth, if you already exercise regularly, that is GREAT, but understand that our minds and bodies adapt to the workload we put on them, so if you are doing the same (old) routine, you will stay with the same (old) mind and body! If you push yourself to try something new, you will find there are profound mental and physical rewards that enhance the benefit of working out even further.
Fifth, new ways to exercise are all around you: maybe you will take the stairs, or the farthest parking spot; maybe a swim instead of a run; maybe a game instead of a 'workout'. Why not try Wednesday Winter Water Polo at the Middlesex YMCA? It's free to members right now, it's a lot of fun, it's probably something new to you and it's a great workout!
Join us Wednesday nights at 8:00 PM in the large pool (average temperature 81 degrees) for Winter Water Polo!
Monday, December 7, 2009
Monday December 28th and Tuesday December 29th J.R. Hargreaves from the New England recruiting report will be facilitating Holiday Hoops Clinics at the Middlesex YMCA from 9:00 to 11:30 AM. A great opportunity for aspiring ball player in 1st to 5th grade to spend time with friends, practice skills and learn new moves. Full day care is also available for an additional charge. Contact Melanie Carfora (860) 343-6208 or email@example.com.
This Friday, December 11th, parents can continue, or if you're like me, start your holiday shopping, go out to dinner or see a movie knowing that your child is safe and engaged in fun activities run by YMCA staff. While you're out, your children (ages 5 - 12) will have an opportunity to participate in gym activities, arts & crafts, Wii games, and tons of other fun games in the Youth Center. Pizza and juice will be served around 6 pm.
Cost is only $10 per child for YMCA members or $20 per child for non members. Families must complete a registration form. For more information please contact Melanie Carfora, 860-343-6208 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
The crowd was excited as each ball was read aloud. You could hear a pin drop as anxious children and families furiously scanned their cards to see if they had 5 in a row. As the cards filled up you could feel the pressure build until finally one lucky individual had that rare and wonderful sensation start as a tingle in their toes and work its way up through their body and exit their mouth as a loud, "BINGO!"
The Middlesex YMCA's first BINGO night was a great success and the survey results all agreed that these YMCA Family Events are a terrific way to share a memorable experience with your family and not break the bank doing it.
We hope you will join us on Saturday, December 12th at 8:30 AM for Breakfast with Santa. We will be having a light continental breakfast and you can bring a camera to take a picture with Santa. The cost is $5 per child or $10 family maximum.