Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Cherish the Past; Embrace the Future

This morning some 40 of us gathered at Camp Ingersoll in Portland to pay our respects to Major Gary R. Grant, USMC. Gary’s military service and personal sacrifice were in our hearts and minds as we dedicated the camp’s flagpole in his honor. Together with friends, veterans, active duty soldiers, Middlesex YMCA staff and board, and an assortment of children of all ages, the family read aloud a touching note from Gary’s daughter Caryn who was only 2 years old when she lost her father.
Her memories of the worn tree that served as the old camp flagpole where her father’s plaque was kept were mingled with pleasant remembrances of the sights and sounds of camp. She and her brothers David and Michael found safety and solace at Camp Ingersoll when their family was reeling from the sudden loss.
We were honored to have retired and active military with us for this morning’s dedication. Guests tramped up a slight hill to the amphitheater in the crisp November morning to bear tribute to Gary’s successful efforts to save a team of stranded Marines on a mountain in Viet Nam. The sun shone brightly and we listened and laughed and wiped our tears when the flag was raised and Taps was played.
The children waited patiently for the ceremony to conclude and we made our way to the pavilion for hot cider and blueberry buckle cake. The flagpole stands at the new amphitheater where the next generation of camp kids will put on skits, try on new skills and sit under the stars to make memories that will last as long as they do. Today we cherished our past and remembered our loved ones and fallen heroes. And today we embraced the future where kids will grow and dream and play.

Judy Hall, DSW
Director of Development
Middlesex YMCA

Wednesday, October 30, 2013


If we are together nothing is impossible. If we are divided all will fail. Winston Churchill

Accomplishing great things rarely happens by the efforts of just one person; and often we are amazed at what a group of people can get done. Last Friday, the Middlesex YMCA gathered with our Business Partners for a lunch to celebrate the many positive outcomes that have resulted from our partnership and to hear about where the Y is headed from new CEO Michele Rulnick.

Thanks to the generosity of our Business Partners, we have provided numerous scholarships for family memberships at the Y, for hundreds of swim lessons, and for a special new program at Camp Ingersoll called My Time. My Time provides two fully-paid camp sessions to children with a family member diagnosed with cancer. This past summer, 9 kids took part in the first-ever launch of My Time and it was a resounding success. Giving kids the time and space just to be kids – does it get any better than that? The program will be expanded this summer to provide more kids with the joys of camp and to give parents a helping hand with camp tuition while they cope with the effects of cancer on the family.

Our business partners heard from Michele that we are poised to chart a path for our future this year. With continuing leadership from Y Board Chair Rich Carella, the board will examine all of the possibilities to improve our physical plant so we can attract new members and provide our popular programs and services in an environment best suited to all of our members’ needs.

We’re more than a gym, a pool and a fitness center. We’re a cause and we’re part of the fabric of the community.  Have you been to the Y lately? Come and visit. And be our partner. Together, we will accomplish great things for many kids and families. Be part of a vibrant organization that is making a difference every day.

Thank you, to our 2013 Business Partners!

Judy Hall, Director of Development
Middlesex YMCA

L-R:  Mary Ann Lentz, Liberty Bank; Chandler Howard, Liberty Bank; Kristen Roberts, Comcast; Sue Dionne, Middlesex YMCA; Pat Custy, A & A Office Systems; Michele Rulnick, Middlesex YMCA; Pat Walsh, May Bonee & Walsh; Sean McCann, Best Cleaners; Rich Carella, Chairman of the Middlesex YMCA Board; Dave Shulman & Ray Bourret, Suburban Stationers; Robert Mosca, Board member Middlesex YMCA; and Dan Bonelli, Comcast.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

goPINK Project and the Y...A Winning Combination!

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It is an unfortunate reality that almost all of us know someone who has been diagnosed with this disease. The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2013, 232,340 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in women in the United States and approximately 39,620 women will die from this disease. To fight this disease and find a cure, organizations depend on the generosity of donors and grant funding to perform their research.

The Y will be a participating business in the 4th Annual goPINK Project. EG Salon co-owners Georgi Marino and Ellie Gagnon came up with the idea to offer their clients pink hair streaks for a $20 during the month of October in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. All the money was then donated to the Middlesex Hospital Comprehensive Breast Center. This center provides high quality breast cancer services to women in our community. This project is in its fourth year and they expect it to be the biggest year yet with a record number of participating business throughout the community.

We will be welcoming staff from EG Salon to apply pink hair extensions at the Y. For a $20 donation, you can get an awesome pink hair extension and support a great cause. 100% of all donations go to support programs of the Middlesex Hospital Comprehensive Breast Center. Salon staff will be at the Y to apply extensions on the following dates/times:

Monday, October 7th from 11:00 am-1:00 pm
Saturday, October 12th from 8:00 am-12:00 pm
Wednesday, October 16th from 5:45 pm-8:45 pm

Gather your friends and head down to the Y! All are welcome. If you would like to participate, please stop by the front desk and sign up for a time slot. Drop ins are also welcome.

For more information about the goPINK Project, please click here to visit their website.
For more information about the Middlesex Hospital Comprehensive Breast Center, please click here.

We hope to see you at the Y. Please consider donating in honor of someone currently living with the disease, in memory of someone who has lost their battle with the disease or in honor of a survivor!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

From Camp to Classroom

It has been just over a week since YMCA Camp Ingersoll and Summer Enrichment have come to a close. The camp season filled me with new hope, a renewed energy, and an overwhelming sense that the good we did during the summer months will carry on through this new school year as we pass the torch to our Before and After School Professionals and teachers. It is my hope that we remember we have the power to shape the life of every young person we meet. For me, Dr. Haim Ginott expressed it best; “as a teacher, I possess a tremendous power to make a child's life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration. I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis will be escalated or de-escalated and a child humanized or de-humanized”. While Dr. Ginott refers to the “teacher”, it is imperative that we do not limit this word and remove ourselves from it. We each have in ourselves the power to be great teachers. We all have the ability to shape a child’s life, and it is essential that we build them up, not knock them down. Going into this new school year, I hope, with great optimism, that we can strive to send our students “home in the afternoon liking himself just a little better than when he came in the morning”.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Upcoming YMCA Facility Improvement Schedule

We are just one week away from the beginning of our facility improvements that will impact the usage of certain areas of the Y. Some of these projects are weather permitting so the dates of completion may vary slightly. If that occurs, we will notify our members. Please feel free to speak to a Y staff if you have any specific questions. Thank you for your understanding during this time.

Both Pools Closed
Friday, August 16 at 2:00 PM
Reopens: Tuesday, September 3 (5:15 am)
See the Front Desk for a list of local Ys that you can visit.

Basketball Court Closed
Monday, August 19
Reopens: Monday, August 26
Humidity effects the curing process, so date and time is subject to change.

Front Entrance of the Y Closed
Monday, August 19
Reopens: Friday, August 30
During this time you can access the Y using the Annex (handicapped entrance) on the Union Street side of the building or the ramp entrance on the Crescent Street side of the building .

Ladies Fitness Locker Room Showers Closed
Friday, August 23
Reopens: Monday, August 26
You will still have access to the locker room, just not the showers. Women will have exclusive use of Family Locker Room for showering during this time.

Fitness Plus Men's Showers & Whirlpool Area Closed
Monday, August 26
Reopens: Tuesday, September 3
Men can access the fit plus locker room but not the shower area. Male fit plus members can use the General Facility Men's Locker Room Showers until this project is complete.

Repairs to the Parking Lot
Wednesday, August 28-Friday, August 30
Full Usage: Saturday, August 31
We will be re-coating and sealing our parking lot during the time frame above. During this time you will have use of half of the parking lot at time while the other half is being worked on. Please use caution when
driving around the lot. Parking spaces will be limited and the lot may be full. This project is weather permitting.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Stuff the Bus School Supply Drive

Join us this weekend as we team up with Walmart and Durham School Services to provide children and families in need with a fresh start to the school year. We will be collecting donations of new school supplies for local school children.

Come see us Saturday, August 10th and Sunday, August 11th from 9:00 am - 5:00 pm at Walmart in Cromwell. For more information, please click here.

Can't make it down this weekend? Don't worry. We will be collecting supplies from Monday, August 12th to Friday, August 16th at the Y in Middletown. Simply drop your donated supplies off at the front desk.

Thanks for donating and we hope to see you there!

One of our members dropping donated supplies off at the Y!

Y staff member Kevin Devery braves the rain on Friday to collect supplies!

Friday, June 7, 2013


 On Saturday June 1st, despite scorching hot temperatures ,Dean Tremaglio and Nic D’Amico, both Catch Coordinators at the Middlesex YMCA participated in the local Middletown Healthy Kids Day on Main Street. Dean and Nic created fun fitness related challenges for children of all ages to participate in. All participants were able to play the different set of  Catch games and win a prize no matter what the outcome. Each participant also received information on Catch programming. Catch stands for Coordinated Approach to Children Health. Catch offers non elimination games that include all children from all different backgrounds. Catch also includes a nutritional piece that promotes healthy eating and wellness. Currently we offer our Catch recess programming in seven local elementary schools here in Middletown. (Bielefield, Wesley, Macdonough, Farm Hill, Snow, Moody and Spencer) Our goal at the Middlesex YMCA is to fight childhood obesity using this very creative curriculum. Thank you Nic and Dean for your continued hard work promoting healthy living all across Middletown!
Throwing for a Catch prize!

Nic handing out prizes to participants.

Catch target practice.

Goodbye Jon Jon!

You may have seen his smiling face while he tirelessly vacuumed, dusted and cleaned at the Y. Next week we say goodbye to Jon Jon. Jon Jon and Coach Doug have been volunteering at the Y and thanks to them we have some of the cleanest carpets in town! The Engineering Department held a special party in his honor this week to thank him for his hard work.

Thanks Jon Jon!

The Dream Team!

Monday, June 3, 2013

YMCA Staff Run the Teacher vs. Student 5K in Cromwell

On what could have been the hottest day of the year (so far), YMCA staff Kevin Cassesse and Mr. White ran the Student vs. Teacher 5K in Cromwell. Both men ran their hearts out in the heat with great racing results; Kevin came in third place in his age group and Mr. White beat Kevin's time. The Y is a proud sponsor of this event.

Did you know that Woodside Intermediate School has an active after school running club of about 220 children? Mr. White and twenty Kids' Korner children also participate weekly in this running club. Teachers Mr. McGough and Mr. Dean founded the club and encourage kids at WIS to lead active, healthy lives. Congratulations to everyone who participated!
Say Cheese Kevin and Mr. White!
Mr. White and Kids' Korner participant James manage a smile in the grueling heat!

Friday, May 31, 2013

Kids' Korner Talent Show 2013

Hundreds of family members and friends came out to the auditorium of Woodrow Wilson Middle School on Thursday night to support their favorite Kids' Korner site. They were treated to an awesome show from all our after school sites. There was so much dancing, singing and really cool skits that we didn't want the night to end! Here's just a little taste of some of the talent that was on display last night.

This kid can DANCE!!!

Spencer Kids' Korner's Geek Squad

The children and staff have been working  hard for months to create and practice these skits and routines. We are so proud of their hard work and believe we have the most talented kids in the world in our programs! Congratulations to everyone who participated last night and thank you to the families and friends who came out to support the children. A special thanks to Josh for being our emcee for the night!

Macdonough Style

Spencer Geek Squad

Wesley Surfin' Birds

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Not Your Typical Day Camps...

School vacation is just five weeks away...what will your kids be doing this summer? 

Send them to the YMCA Summer Enrichment Program! The YMCA Summer Enrichment Camp offers eight weeks of discovery and hands on fun for children entering 1st through 6th grade. Each week a different theme engages children in a fun filled journey of experiential learning. Weekly themes include:

  • June 24th-28th: Game On  
  • July 1st-5th: Ocean Exploration
  • July 8th-12th: Y Spy Detectives & Forensics
  • July 15th-19th: Intergalactic Adventures
  • July 22nd-26th: Fitness Frenzy
  • July 29th-Aug 2nd: Actors, Authors & Illustrators
  • Aug 5th-Aug 9th: Aspiring Artists
  • Aug 12th-Aug 16th: Y World Explorers
This program is a great fit for children who like art, science and creative exploration. Mornings are spent diving into theme filled activities and afternoons are full of recreation and play. This year we have new field trips, more theme based presenters and enrichment programs and more outside play!  A daily recreational swim, optional swim lessons (at an additional cost) and a field trip complete each exciting week! 


Does your child enjoy sports? We are offering four weeks of new sports programs for children entering 3rd through 6th grades. These programs are perfect for kids who enjoy athletics and want to learn some new games and brush up on basic skills. Teamwork and sportsmanship will be reinforced. No equipment is required but participants must wear sneakers to participate in daily activities. Weekly themes include:

  • July 22nd-26th: Children's Running Program
  • July 29th-Aug 2nd: Basketball
  • Aug 5th-Aug 9th: Stick Sports
  • Aug 12th-Aug 16th: Sports Spectacular

Mix and match your child's summer experience between the two programs or go all one program or the other. Space is now available in both programs for all weeks.Before and after care and swim lesson options are available for an additional fee. Financial assistance is available  For more information you can click here to visit our website or call Melanie Carfora at 860-343-6208. We hope to see your child this summer!

Friday, April 19, 2013

A Deeper Look at the Lose-a-Ton Challenge

Sometimes being labeled the biggest loser is a goal to strive for. The title, while often used to convey a negative connotation, can also be positive, courageously earned through a hard-fought, tough as nails challenge to completely change your life. Recently, over one hundred people participated in the Middlesex YMCA’s Lose-a-Ton of Weight Challenge with the hopes of doing just that. Ed Curello and Shannon Hodge set themselves apart from the rest of the hard working participants and were honored as the individual winners in the weight loss challenge.

Their individual reasons for taking part in the Lose-a-Ton challenge may have differed, but their goals and measures taken to reach them ran parallel. Shannon, a mother of two children from Portland, sustained a back injury that restricted her ability to exercise for six years. She underwent a spinal fusion in May and shortly after began her much anticipated return to working out. Her first foray back into the world of fitness included the Hip Hop class held here at the Middlesex Y, and she immediately found herself in love. With the help of the Lose-a-Ton program, Shannon progressed from there, joining more classes and feeling more comfortable with each one. Her new workout schedule not only helped her to reach her healthiest, most fit state, but also virtually eliminated any remaining pain in her back and legs.

Ed found himself wanting to take part in the challenge because of his self proclaimed “love for eating”. He came to the realization that he needed to make some lifestyle changes and Lose-a-Ton was the perfect opportunity to do so. With the support of his wife, he connected with Coach Lee and became a proud member of his Lose-a-Ton team. His first love had always been biking, completing many long distance charity rides, including his first 100 mile ride last year in Chester to benefit the Special Olympics. During the Lose-a-Ton challenge he decided to explore incorporating running into his workout plan in addition to his cycling and has worked his way up to running 6 miles.  He found himself in a routine he enjoys; staggering cardio and aerobic exercise with racquetball and other group activities with the Y’s other “early risers”.

The benefits Ed, Shannon and all the other participants worked so hard to attain extend well beyond the visible weight they shed. Both are now in consistent exercise routines they enjoy and look forward to every day. They are happier, more energetic and feeling physically great. They both stressed how crucial it was in their weight loss journey to be part of a team, to have a coach and group of people with the same goals, and to hold each other accountable. The underlying beauty of why the Middlesex Y’s Lose-a-Ton challenge was an overwhelming success is summed up perfectly by the words of Edmund Lee; “surround yourself with those who see the greatness within you, even when you don’t see it yourself”. Losing weight is a daunting challenge when you try to take it on alone, but when people come together it is amazing what they can achieve. Congratulations to Ed, Shannon, and all of the other participants that took a positive step towards reaching their weight loss goals! 

Lose-a-Ton participants taking place in a special boot camp class together!

                                                             Hip Hop Dance Party!

Shannon and her biggest fan, Cassi!


                                                  Winner Ed, 30 pounds lighter!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Community Support Campaign Dodgeball Tournament 2013

Roll_Goat 2013 Community Support Campaign Dodgeball Tournament Winners!

The 3rd annual Community Support Campaign Dodgeball Tournament was held on Sunday, April 7th in the gymnasium at Xavier High School. Over 100 people made up the 13 teams that competed in a series of competitive dodgeball games.
This event was created to bring members of our community together to have fun and help donate to our wonderful cause; the YMCA Community Support Campaign. The Community Support Campaign is an annual fundraiser whose proceeds benefit our YMCA Open Doors Financial Assistance Program. Donations to the Community Support Campaign ensure that all families and children have access to YMCA programs at affordable prices.
 This event helped the YMCA raise $1200.00 for our campaign. The winning team of this year’s Community Support Dodgeball Tournament was “Roll_Goat.” Roll_Goat was lead by team captain Lance Leon, the hard throwing south paw from Cheshire. The champions received a gift certificate to one of Middletown’s great restaurants Mondo Pizza.
Thank you everyone who helped make this tournament a great success. A special thank you goes out to Mondo for kindly donating gift certificates for this year’s event. I hope to see everyone back next year at our Fourth Annual Community Support Campaign Dodgeball Tournament! 

Monday, April 1, 2013

Girls Outside and Kids' Korner

“Girls Outside” is a fun outdoor education program for girls that is funded by a grant from the Middlesex County Community Foundation. The primary objective of this program is to enable more girls and women to have positive outdoor experiences and develop the skills, knowledge and comfort level to enjoy some of the many benefits that nature can have in our lives. The program teaches environmental and science education (identifying basic trees and plants, vernal pool studies) and skill building activities (reading trail maps and using a compass) that encourage girls to explore the natural environment and have experiences that develop the confidence to over time be able to explore and connect with nature without an organized group. 

The girls at Snow School Kids' Korner recently hit the trails with Lucy Meigs, founder of Everyone Outside. Lucy took the girls on a hike where they had the opportunity to follow some marked trails and even found a letterbox site! 

For more information about the Everyone Outside program please click here to visit their website. Thank you to the Middlesex County Community Foundation for supporting this program.

Monday, March 25, 2013

A New Y Blog to Follow!

Want to see all the fun stuff that goes on at one of our after school sites? Check out the new blog started by our staff at Macdonough Kids' Korner. The staff have been hard at work planing and facilitating all sorts of fun activities and they want to show it off! Here's a sneak peek at some of the activities:

JoJo, Kashyss, Jenna and Kaley show off the bunnies they made for the Easter holiday!

The youngers were hard at work creating some colorful bunnies!

To visit the Kids' Korner at Macdonough School Blog, please click here. We hope you enjoy this new blog!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Swim Lessons for Life!!

Summer is just around the corner, and even though there is plenty of snow on the ground, why not come inside and learn to swim??  Summer will be here before we know it and, as we all know, most of our time will be spent at the beach or sitting by the family pool. 
Why not get the summer season off to an early start by coming into our facility and taking part in our swim lesson program. 
The YMCA Swim Lesson Program emphasizes a guided discovery approach to swim instruction where students are asked to try skills in different ways and reflect on what works best. We use floatation devices to correct body position, provide stability to weaker swimmers, and allow practice laps to go farther. Instructors are almost always in the water with their students to provide examples, encouragement, support, and guidance.

Registration is now open for our Spring 2 and Spring 3 sessions that begin on April 14th.  Space is limited and classes fill up fast!!
For more information on our swim lesson programs, please click here to visit our website. You may also contact Kasia Wojdyla @ 860-343-6221 or Linda Heidorn @ 860-343-6229.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Middlesex YMCA Summer Enrichment & Sports Camps

Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could all take a summer break like our kids? Summer brings back so many great memories for me. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to spend lots of time outside riding my bike, playing with my friends, going to the beach and spending a couple sessions out at YMCA Camp Ingersoll. All of those individual experiences added up to a well rounded summer where I got to play, socialize and learn about the world around me. Back when I was growing up the world was a little different; we were able to go outside for the day with friends and come back when it got dark. Our parents would have a neighbor watch us and we would check in once in a while with them. Although the world has changed greatly since I was a kid, children still want the same thing out of a summer vacation; to be active, play with friends and have fun adventures.

While I was fortunate to have the childhood summer experience I shared, many children do not have the same experience. Once school closes, some children and families struggle to gain access to quality enriching educational opportunities that a summer camp experience, family vacation or trips to local libraries or museums can offer. As a result, summer learning loss can occur.  Summer learning loss is the loss of academic knowledge and skills during the summer months as a result of being out of school. The National Summer Learning Institute explains that most of the learning loss affects the reading and mathematical skills over this two months time and parents consistently say that summer is the most difficult time for them to find productive things for their children to do. 

Everyone needs ongoing opportunities to learn and practice skills to become successful. This is even more important for children during the summer months. YMCAs are perfectly positioned to help children battle summer learning loss through day camp programming. One of the ways that our Y is helping children battle learning loss through the summer is through our Summer Enrichment Camp. The Summer Enrichment Camp offers eight weeks of discovery and hands on fun for children entering 1st though 6th grade. Each week a different theme engages children in a fun filled journey of experiential learning. This program is a great fit for children who like art, science and creative exploration. Mornings are spent diving into theme filled activities and afternoons are full of recreation and play. A daily recreational swim, optional swim lessons and a field trip complete each exciting week! Our goal is to offer children an opportunity to explore their interests, build their knowledge and skills and use their creative spirit during the summer months. Our intention is to enrich each child’s summer vacation with a variety of fun activities. 


Does your child enjoy sports? We are now offering four weeks of new sports programs for children entering 3rd through 6th grades. These programs are perfect for kids who enjoy athletics and want to learn some new games and brush up on basic skills.

For more information about our Summer Enrichment & Sports Program please click here to visit our website or contact Melanie Carfora at 860.343.6208 or Kevin Cassesse at 860.343.6211.