Family Fun in the Sun
Posted by: David Martorano on 07.21.16 at 5:00:00 pm Comments (0)
The Jessamine County Aquatics Center has welcomed many families to cool off during hot summer days over the years, and one family - the Ponders - have been loyal members since the opening day.
Melissa Ponder said she and her family love the atmosphere of the Aquatic Center, which is managed by the YMCA of Central Kentucky. She described going to the Aquatic Center as the family's routine summer activity.
Her children have taken Taekwondo and gymnastics classes at the C.M. Gatton Beaumont YMCA before and go to the Aquatic Center several times a week during the summer. She says that although they love the features of the facility, including the water slides and diving board, it is the friendly staff that keeps them coming back.
“We have always loved the staff and people that go there,” Ponder said. “I think they do a fabulous job.”
Ponder has four children, ages 17, 15, 12 and 10. 15-year-old Simeon Ponder goes to the Y facility five to six times a week during the summer and plans to become a lifeguard at the Y when he turns 16.
“He loves the lifeguards and knows all their names,” Melissa Ponder said about her son Simeon. “He could write a soap opera about their lives.”
Simeon Ponder said he is good friends with the lifeguards and loves the comfort he feels at the facility, and has perfected his diving technique while practicing on the diving board.
“I’m very thankful for the Jessamine County Aquatics Center and all the wonderful days I have spent there,” Simeon Ponder said.
Become a Charter Member of the New Hamburg Place YMCA
Posted by: David Martorano on 07.21.16 at 5:00:00 pm Comments (3)
The highly anticipated Hamburg Place YMCA is coming this fall. We are excited to now be selling memberships and welcoming new indiviudals and families to our state of the art facility.
The Hamburg Y is currently selling charter memberships online and on-site at our membership sales office located at 2681 Old Rosebud Road. Purchasing a charter membership will give members early access to the new facility before it opens.
Benefits of charter membership include an invitation to a special early access week before the facility’s grand opening, invitations to charter member only events and accessories such as a limited edition charter member tote, performance shirt and water bottle.
Charter members will also get the chance to meet our friendly staff, including newly selected Hamburg Place YMCA Vice President Dana Ensley, who encourages community members to come learn about the new Y and enjoy early benefits.
Earlier this summer the Y announced that after an extensive search, Ensley was selected as the district vice president for the new Y. “We are privileged to welcome Dana and her family to Lexington,” said President and Chief Executive Officer David Martorano. “We know that she will provide outstanding leadership to our new Y.”
The membership sales office will be open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. during the months of July, August, September and early October.
Check out the progress of the upcoming facility.
Every Camper Has a Story
Posted by: David Martorano on 07.21.16 at 5:00:00 pm Comments (0)
Some kids spend their summer days wondering what to do next, but kids who attend the YMCA of Central Kentucky’s Summer Day Camps are never short on fun and constructive activities.
Every day during the Y’s 10-week Summer Day Camp period, hundreds of children come to Central Kentucky YMCAs and the Bar-Y All Day Outdoor camp. Camp members pay for one week at a time and can attend any of the camp locations.
The camps, which serve ages 5 through 14, include physical and mental exercises such as:
Field time – featuring games like kickball, capture the flag and Ga Ga (a type of handball game)
Arts and crafts
Special activities like a magic shows
Bar-Y camp directors Sarah Yates and Keri Howitz said that about 177 camp members attend Bar-Y on a daily basis.
Yates and Howitz said the camp teaches kids the Y's core values including caring, honesty, respect and responsibility while promoting reading during lunch and downtimes.
“We try to keep all of those values in their minds throughout the day,” Howitz said.
Parents pay by the week to send kids to enjoy all the fun of the Y’s summer camps. Cost is $125 for YMCA members and $150 for non-members.
Camp members Sakura Montford and Emmalee Durbin said they enjoy all the fun activities the Y camp has to offer and would encourage other kids in the Lexington area, Y members and non-members alike, to come join the fun.
Montford, a third grader, said she particularly enjoyed swimming as well as sharpening her reading skills at camp. She said she prefers reading fictional stories because anything can happen.
“Sometimes in one of the books there will be horses talking or something really cool,” Montford said.
Durbin, a second grader, said she preferred non-fictional books because they “tell what happens in real life.”
“Whenever they’re learning to make new friends, they’re also learning new skillsets,” Yates said. “They’re developing many skills that will benefit them in their lives.”
Helping Kids Reach Their Full Potential During the Summer
Posted by: David Martorano on 07.21.16 at 5:00:00 pm Comments (0)
Research shows that summer learning loss is a legitimate problem that disproportionately affects low income families, who often struggle to find activities for children during the summer break.
The YMCA of Central Kentucky gives children a chance to break this cycle and keep their mental skills sharp during the summer months with the Y Readers’ Program.
The six week program helps boost literacy skills for first and second graders and provides kids in low-income neighborhoods with the experiential learning they don’t always get. The program features a different theme each week, which help teach kids about different cultures of the world.
“We’re trying to expose the students to different world cultures and teach them about different ways of life,” said enrichment leader Andrea Church.
The students document their daily activities in a journal and reflect on the most significant lessons of the day, and take field trips every Thursday.
During the first half of the day the students focus solely on reading skills, and during the second half they work with the themes while incorporating various lessons, including nutrition and music education.
Children work on literacy skills in the morning, and art, music, science and physical activity exercises in the afternoon. The program pushes students to achieve a third grade reading level by the time they reach the third grade.
The program is offered at three Fayette County Schools – Cardinal Valley Elementary, James Lane Allen Elementary, and the Academy for Leadership at Millcreek Elementary. Last year during the program, students were tested at weeks one and six, and overall 88 percent showed improvements in their reading skills, demonstrating the effectiveness of this program and the positive impact it has on the children of our community.
Belonging: For one area family, membership is about much more than working out
Posted by: David Martorano on 01.12.16 at 8:00:00 am Comments (2)
Crosby Nathaniel was diagnosed with a soft tissue cancer when he was just 3 years old. He survived, but the rigors of cancer treatment put him behind.
Last year was a tough one for Crosby, now 11. Fourth-graders can be very cruel and Crosby was receiving more than his share of their attention. Things could have gone very badly, except that the Nathaniel family found a safe haven at the North Family Lexington YMCA.
“I am so thankful for the Y, for my entire family and most especially for what it’s done for our kids,” said mom, Meredith Nathaniel. “The North Side Y, and in particular the Tiger Sharks swim team, has been a real anchor for Crosby. He learned discipline, received encouragement, and saw results both in his physical development and in his confidence.”
The Nathaniel family found the swim team almost on a lark. “I played sports in college and I really wanted my kids to have the experience of belonging to a team,” she said. “It’s such a good thing.” Frustrated that none of the “traditional” sports were suited for Crosby, Meredith was receptive when someone at the Y suggested he try swimming.
It was a good suggestion. “The coaches were amazing,” she said. “Crosby loved going to practice, he loved everything about it. Swimming was really therapeutic for him.” The sport gave him an identity that was unique and different … something he was proud to do. When school bullies would call him out for not playing football or basketball, Crosby had a simple answer: “I am a swimmer.”
On the team, Crosby blossomed. He developed an extended family comprised of others who also loved to swim. He continues to improve at every practice and to thrive under the Tiger Shark coaches. Because swimming is a team sport grounded in individual accomplishment, it is not necessary for him to compete with his teammates. “We tell him you just have to try to beat yourself, not everyone else out there.”
Crosby is not the only family member to benefit from the Y. Older sister, Brendley, 14, has been working out at the Y while recovering from a running-related stress fracture. “It’s helped her stay fit while healing,” Meredith said. When spring track comes up, Brendley will be ready. Crosby’s younger sister, Emery, 8, has taken up swimming, too.
None of this would have been possible without the YMCA’s financial assistance program. “We are people of modest means,” Meredith said. She and husband Bret work with Athletes in Action, a campus ministry. Medical expenses related to Crosby’s cancer as well as Emery’s serious food allergies stress the family budget.
“Without the Y’s financial assistance, we just wouldn’t be able to afford membership or for the kids to be on the swim team,” Meredith said. With the Y’s help, all of it is possible. As a result, she said, “Our lives are absolutely better, and I am so thankful. We are blessed.”
Heritage Club matches your passion, Y's purposes...forever
Posted by: David Martorano on 01.12.16 at 8:00:00 am Comments (1)
Ten years ago, Charlie Milward and Ken Clevidence of Lexington made a decision they have never regretted: to leave a legacy for generations to come through a bequest to the YMCA of Central Kentucky.
“What we’re doing is not going to attract any great amount of attention,” Charlie said, “but it’s important to us because we believe in the mission and the work of the YMCA, and, in particular, we are passionate about the High Street Y.”
That bequest made them a part of the Y’s Heritage Club, an organization that allows them to leave a lasting legacy for the Y through their estates. That a gift has to be large to matter is a misconception, said Bobbi Silver, Vice President of Development for the YMCA of Central Kentucky. “We do benefit from large estate gifts, but we welcome Heritage Club gifts of any size,” she noted. Bequests can take the form of a trust, estate, life insurance proceeds or even the remains of a retirement plan.
Many people think they don’t have a large estate or that planned giving is only for the very wealthy. But every gift the Y receives supports its financial security as well as its ability to meet its mission of strengthening youth, families and communities, she said.
Ken and Charlie’s commitment to the Y began when they moved downtown 18 years ago and joined the High Street facility. Close to home, the local Y provides them with a place to exercise, discuss the news of the day, trade political jabs and make friends. About 10 years ago, they were invited to hear a presentation about the Y’s Heritage Club.
“They gave us a sheet of paper that listed all of the activities the Central Kentucky YMCA sponsors or participates in,” Ken said. “There were a dozen or more items on that list that I felt were deserving of my support.” It was then the pair chose to name the Y in their wills and to specify their gifts benefit the High Street Y.
Planned giving allows you to designate your gift to a facility, program, or to the YMCA of Central Kentucky, Silver said. Giving via one’s estate allows a donor to support the YMCA’s endowment fund or to designate funds specifically for facilities or programs. “We match donors’ passions with the Y’s priorities and mission,” Silver said. For many, that is reason enough to include the Y in their estate plans.
“What we will leave is not going to change the physical facility a whole lot,” Charlie said. “But our hope is to encourage others who use the High Street Y to support it so that it continues to exist and serve the people who live and work in the downtown area,” he said.
Children, families, those facing serious illness, those with special needs, and so on all benefit from Heritage Club gifts. The YMCA of Central Kentucky provides an array of programs to benefit these groups and no one is ever turned away because of financial constraints.
It is a model that works, said Charlie, a former board member of the High Street facility. “At every board meeting we would hear the testimonies from people who had received benefits from the Y and what it meant to their lives. We heard from families, from kids, from recent immigrants who could not even speak English when they arrived. The High Street Y welcomed them, helped them to get on their feet and make a difference,” Charlie said.
And finally, Silver noted, there may be financial benefits to making a legacy gift to the Y. While everyone’s tax situation is different, Silver noted there can be significant benefits to making a legacy gift to the YMCA of Central Kentucky.
Learn more about the Heritage Club
Although Ken and Charlie had used and supported the Y for many years, it was not until they were invited to the presentation that they learned how much more they could do. Now, they would like you to know about the Heritage Club and consider becoming a member.
“We’re in the High Street Y four or more times a week,” Ken said. “We know there are lots and lots of people there who could become a part of the Heritage Club and yet they don’t. And we think, well, maybe they just don’t know about it, how important it is.
“We hope that by sharing our story, more people will learn about the Heritage Club and choose to be a part of it,” he said.
It’s easy to get started...and there is no time like now. For more information, please call Bobbi Silver, Vice President of Development, at (859) 367-7333 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. “We will sit down together and work with you, your financial advisor and attorney to structure a gift so that your passion for the Y leaves a lasting legacy for future generations,” she said.
Five Tips for a Healthy New Year
Posted by: David Martorano on 01.11.16 at 8:00:00 am Comments (0)
A positive outlook doesn’t always translate to action without setting manageable goals and leaning on the support of health and wellness communities. Here are five tips the YMCA of Central Kentucky recommends to help make a healthy New Year’s resolution stick:
Start small. Set attainable resolutions. For example, if your goal is to exercise more frequently in the New Year, don’t schedule seven days a week at the gym. Start with a reasonable three days a week. If you’d like to eat healthier, try replacing desserts with other foods you enjoy, such as fruit or yogurt.
Take it one step at a time. Making a New Year’s resolution doesn’t require you to reassess every little detail of your life. Replacing unhealthy behaviors with healthy ones takes time, so don’t become overwhelmed. Work to change one behavior at a time, and then go from there.
Choose a facility that focuses on a holistic approach to health. When it comes to adding healthy behaviors - like working out - to your lifestyle, finding a facility that keeps you motivated is critical to maintaining your exercise routine. Before committing to a membership, take a tour of local gyms to find the best fit for you. Your facility should not be just a gym, but a community organization that offers more health, more hope and more opportunity.
Establish a little friendly competition. More than half of the Y survey respondents felt a little “healthy competition” when friends encouraged them to be even more committed to keeping their New Year’s resolutions. Share your experiences with support groups - friends, family, fellow workout class members or close colleagues. Talking about your struggles and successes will make your goals more obtainable and less intimidating.
Set New Year’s goals with someone you love. It’s easier to stick to your resolutions if you have a partner working toward similar goals. Team up with a family member to set your 2016 goals and establish a game plan that is dedicated to achieving them.
Early Learning Programs
Posted by: David Martorano on 12.03.13 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)
Recently, I had the privilege to read to the kids who attend our Child Development Center at the North Lexington facility. It was an opportunity to experience the many things the Y does to provide early learning opportunities for our youngest members.
YMCA early learning programs strengthen families and boost youth development by offering toddlers, young children, and their families early learning readiness experiences and comprehensive child development programs. Early learning programming at the Y addresses the holistic development of young children by supporting brain development, early literacy, healthy habits development, and strong parenting skills. Just as importantly, it lays a foundation for future and ongoing achievement and success.
We also integrate early learning techniques into other Y programs, such as our drop-in child care service for members who are participating in programs and activities. Through this outreach we are able to meet the needs of families to include fun physical activity, positive relationships, and enriching programs.
Our commitment to our youngest Y members stands firm in their preparation for kindergarten. This begs the question for parents and guardians of young children: is your child ready for kindergarten?
Why is kindergarten readiness important?
Kindergarten marks the start of a child's formal education. A child's first school experiences can influence the way he or she relates to others from then onward. Success or failure at this stage can affect a child's well-being, self-esteem and motivation. A lack of kindergarten readiness also can lead to a child being held back a grade. As a result, it's important to make sure that when your child begins school he or she is developmentally ready to learn and participate in classroom activities.
What factors affect a child's ability to learn?
Many factors can affect a child's ability to learn and increase his or her risk of problems in school, including:
· Low parental education
· Speech defects or delayed speech
· Behavioral concerns, such as hyperactivity
· Low birth weight
· Exposure to household smoking
Our goal at the Y is to help kids develop the skills they need to be successful in kindergarten and beyond—and to do so in a way that is affordable for working families. If you think you or someone you know would benefit from having a child in a YMCA preschool program, please reach out to us and let us know.
We hope you have a blessed holiday season and we look forward a prosperous 2014.
Combating Childhood Obesity
Posted by: David Martorano on 09.01.13 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)
In a staggering finding, this generation of children is expected to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents. Why? Because as obesity rates increase—especially among children—life expectancy decreases.
In fact, Kentucky recently ranked third in the nation for childhood obesity.
As an advocate for healthy living and youth development, this is an incredibly sad thing to read and even harder one to write. For one, we should all be committed to giving our children—everyone’s children—a better life. Secondly, this is preventable. Unlike some epidemics or diseases that are beyond our control, we know how to combat childhood obesity. Get kids active. Help them eat a balanced diet. Teach them the basics for a lifetime of wellness. If we do those things, we’ve beaten childhood obesity.
At the YMCA of Central Kentucky, we’re committed to creating an environment where kids and their families can get healthy together because while obesity can be contagious, so can healthy living. Our goal at the Y is to educate the entire family about the lifetime benefits of eating right and getting physically active. If we can help establish healthy habits at home they will carry over to when children are out of their parents’ care and that will dramatically help reduce obesity in our community.
The Y has established a number of initiatives aimed at making the entire family healthier including:
Our Kids Fit and Might Muscle Club classes aimed at getting kids ages 6 to 11 active and moving;
Our Run This Town running club for kids that pairs children with adult running buddies/mentors. The club culminates with a race at the end of September;
Our annual Kids Triathlon at Beaumont draws more than 120 kids each year;
The Y’s youth sports programs host more than 1,000 participants annually—kids 3 to 13 who not only learn the fundamentals of sports, but fundamentals of good sportsmanship;
Our new member orientations at the Y include an orientation specific to kids and families so families can learn the safe and right way to work out together; and lastly
Our summer camps and afterschool programs incorporate healthy snacks and wellness education with 30 minutes of physical activity each day.
You don’t have to be a member of the Y to start leading a healthy lifestyle. It can begin with one small step within your family. Here are some suggestions to begin on your own:
Eat Healthy: Make water the drink of choice (supplemented by age-appropriate portions of 100 percent fruit juices and low-fat milk) and make it easy for everyone to fill half their plates with fruits and vegetables by offering two or three colorful options. Feel free to mix and match fresh, frozen and canned fruits and vegetables to provide variety.
Play Every Day/Go Outside: Kids should have at least an hour a day of unstructured play outside (when possible) and break a sweat at least three times a week by getting 20 minutes or more of vigorous physical activity.
Get Together: Eat as a family as frequently as possible with kids involved in meal preparation and clean up. In addition, adults should take a break from electronics and spend one-on-one time each day with their kids, enjoying one another’s company.
Reduce Screen Time: Time spent in front of a television, computer, tablet, cell phone or video games should be limited to two hours per day.
Sleep Well: Kids and adults need to keep a regular sleep schedule—10-12 hours per night for kids and seven to eight hours for adults.
As we embark in September raising awareness about the short-term and long-term effects of childhood obesity, let’s remember the unspoken promise that we make to our children—You will be given the opportunity for a better life. We owe it to our kids to help ensure that they live healthier, longer lives. Join me in this important fight.
Posted by: David Martorano on 06.01.13 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)
Summer is already off to an active start at the Y. Our pools and camps are open, and summer leagues are about to begin. If you’re looking for something fun to do this summer, we’re pretty sure you will find it at the Y.
I was a swimmer in college, so being in a pool is second nature to me. I can swim almost as easily as I walk or talk. But that doesn’t mean I take it for granted. In fact, because of my experience I have a healthy respect for the water. Recently, when our team was preparing for our summer aquatics programs, we had an intensive training session about water safety. I was heartened by our team’s response to it. They share my commitment to water safety and are steadfast about growing awareness about it even more in the future.
Pools provide a great way for everyone to get active during the summer because it doesn’t even feel like exercise. This summer, our Y is encouraging everyone to “commit to get fit.”(Don’t care for this wondering if it is tied to something else we are doing?) “Get Moving and Active?” Whether it is at the pool, using the Y facility, or even using the Legacy Trail located at our North Lexington location, we’re encouraging everyone to get active. If you haven’t already, try out the Legacy Trail. It is one of the most scenic exercise routes in the city.
Another way to enjoy getting fit this summer is through one of our leagues, offered for both adults and kids. If you’re a parent, our leagues are a great way for kids to learn the basics while also learning about sportsmanship and teamwork. If you’re an adult, our leagues are a great way to make new friends—or get a group together and create your own team. Summer leagues are already underway, but fall enrollment starts later this summer.
As the CEO, I have the privilege of experiencing firsthand so many great aspects of our Y. In April, we graduated another strong class of college-bound Black Achievers. A few weeks later, our North Y pre-school graduated future leaders who will enroll in and are prepared for kindergarten in the fall. I also spent some time with the Miracle League baseball athletes and I was in awe of these kids and volunteers. If you haven’t experienced the joy of seeing these special athletes compete, then I invite you out this fall to cheer them on or volunteer as a “buddy”.. I can’t think of a better way to spend an afternoon.
So, these are just a few of the things going on at the Y. Thanks for being a part of the Y family and here’s to a great active and safe summer.