YMCA of Central Ohio

Healthy Kids Day

On Saturday, April 25, the YMCA of Central Ohio is celebrating YMCA’s Healthy Kids Day®, the Y’s national initiative to improve the health and well-being of families. Healthy Kids Day will include fun active play and educational activities to keep kids moving and learning, in order to maintain healthy habits and academic skills to achieve goals and reach their full potential. Millions of children and their families are expected to participate in Healthy Kids at nearly 1,600 events across the country.

Join us April 25 at your local branch for fun activities for the kids and family. See what's going on at your branch below:

April 25, 2015

Delaware Community Center YMCA
FREE Swim Evaluations: 9:00 a.m.-noon
Activities: 8:00-11:30 a.m.

  • Delaware City Schools 5K Run and Walk: 8:00 a.m.
  • Martial Arts Demonstration
  • Bounce House
  • Kid Fit Test
  • Family Zumba
  • YMCA Art projects
  • 9 Square in the Air game
  • Rock Wall will be open
  • Sports Personal Training
  • Learn about Mingo Day Camp
  • Face painting
  • Balloon Animals
  • Healthy Snacks
  • Local Organizations and Businesses:
    -Fire Department
    -Police Department
    -Delaware County Library
    -American Red Cross Blood Mobile
    -Delaware County Health District
    -Delaware County JFS
    -Preservation Parks
    -Delaware Chiropractic
    -YMCA Camp Willson
    -Delaware Parent's Club
    -Teen Leaders Club

Gahanna/John E. Bickley YMCA
FREE Swim Evaluations: noon-1:00 p.m.
Activities: 10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.

  • Swim Evaluations
  • Open gymnastics
  • Open Climbing wall
  • Ballet Demo
  • Zumba Demo
  • Gahanna Library
  • Local Organizations and Businesses:
    - First Watch
    - Dr. Pam Gant
    - Pamer Chiropractic
    - Polaris Mortgage
    - Red Cross
    - Smoothie King
    - Southern-Western Mortgage

Grove City YMCA
FREE Swim Evaluations: 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
Activities: 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

  • Swim Evaluations
  • Open Climbing Wall
  • Open gym
  • Open swim
  • Class Demonstrations (Tae Kwon Do, sports, etc.)
  • Visit from YMCA Camp Willson and their furry friends
  • Obstacle Course
  • Local Organizations and Businesses

Hilliard/Ray Patch Family YMCA
FREE Swim Evaluations: 11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.
Activities: 11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.

  • Swim Evaluations
  • Hop Skip and Jump game
  • Downward Dog game
  • Visit from YMCA Camp Willson and their furry friends
  • Dance It Off game
  • Go Around in Circles Hoola Hoop contest
  • Everybody Plays game
  • healthy Taste Test Cooking Demonstrations
  • Obstacle Course
  • Scavenger Hunt
  • Community Mural
  • Inspire the Mad Scientist
  • Paper Airplane contest
  • Budding Bookworms
  • Way to grow seed bombs
  • Make Some Music
  • Visit from Red Cross

Hilltop YMCA
FREE Swim Evaluations: 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
Activities: 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.

  • Swim Evaluations
  • Bounce House
  • Face Painting
  • Open Volleyball
  • Field Games
  • Dog Safety Workshop
  • Trike-a-thon
  • 5-on-5
  • Fire Truck
  • Vendors
  • SWAT
  • Combine Competition
  • PM Family Kickball
  • Arts and Crafts
  • Open gymnastics
  • Open climbing wall

Jerry L. Garver YMCA
FREE Swim Evaluations: 1:00-3:00 p.m.
Activities: noon-4:00 p.m.

  • Swim Evaluations
  • Painting
  • Obstacle course
  • Hands on Literacy
  • Math Minutes
  • Punt, Pass, Kick game
  • Nature Scavenger Hunt
  • Face paiting
  • STEM activities
  • Local Organizations and Businesses:
    - American Lung Association
    - American Red Cross
    - The Andersons
    - The Barn
    - Bicycle One: Bike Safety
    - Boys & Girls Club
    - Cameron Mitchell
    - City BBQ
    - Columbus Ultimate Disc: Family Frisbie Game
    - COSI
    - Dentist Dr. Larry Devese
    - Fire Department
    - Fuel Up to play 60
    - Go Go Squeeze
    - Jackson Lake Campground
    - Kristal and Forche Orthodontics
    - Krogers Foods
    - Oriental Trading Company
    - OSU Human Nutrition Department
    - Pickerington Library
    - Police Department: Child Id’s & Cars
    - Rolling Arcade: Dance Dance Party
    - Small Smiles
    - Wayne Webb Bowling Center
    - We Joy Sing: Music Table
    - WIC
    - Youth Advocate Services

Liberty Twp./Powell YMCA
FREE Swim Evaluations: 9:00 a.m.-noon
Activities: 9:00 a.m.-noon

Fitness Related Groups/Clinics/Demos

  • Swim Evaluations
  • Jiu Jitsu skills clinics and demos with Gracie Studios
  • Cheerleading skills clinics and demos with Olentangy Liberty High School Cheerleaders
  • Family Yoga class
  • Kids Zumba class
  • Fencing skills clinics and demos with ProFencing

Local Organizations and Businesses

  • Red Cross- Hand washing station
  • Powell Police Dept.
  • US Army Recruiters
  • Delaware Police Dept.
  • YMCA Camp Wilson- Pony rides 
  • Columbus Zoo- Mobile zoo and mascot
  • Children's Hospital mobile unit

Entertainment and Games

  • Local Powell Band- Liberty Deep Down Band
  • Healthy Food Game
  • Short Running Race 
  • Ohio Machine
  • Blue Jackets
  • Life Size Chess
  • Healthy snack and crafts

North YMCA
FREE Swim Evaluations: 5:00-6:00 p.m.
Flick & Float Family Movie in our Pool: 6:00-8:00 p.m.

Pickaway County Family YMCA
FREE Swim Evaluations: noon-1:00 p.m.
Activities: 10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.

  • Swim Evaluations
  • Rowdy Rascals- 4H
  • Fitness obstacle course
  • Tang Soo Do   demonstration
  • Local Organizations and Businesses:
    - Circleville City Police
    - Ohio State Highway Patrol
    - Pickaway Co Sheriffs office
    - Circleville Fire Dept.
    - Boy Scout Troop 55
    - Dental Wellness checks by Dr. Sean Byers, DDS

Vaughn E. Hairston YMCA
FREE Swim Evaluations: 12:00 p.m.-2:00 p.m.
Activities: 12:00 p.m.-2:00 p.m.

  • Swim Evaluations
  • Face Painting
  • Bounce House
  • Venders
  • Fire Department
  • Arts & Crafts
  • Healthy snacks

Eldon & Elise Family YMCA
FREE Swim Evaluations: 1:00-2:00 p.m.
Activities: 1:00-4:00 p.m.

  • Swim Evaluations
  • Bouncy House
  • Fire Department's Fire House
  • Massages and spinal screenings by the Buckeye Physical Medicine & Rehab
  • Workouts
  • Arts & Crafts
  • Local Organizations and Businesses:
    - Blingg
    - City Year
    - Girl Scouts
    - Columbus Police Department
    - MLK Columbus Metropolitan Library
    - Park Fun
  • Martial Arts Demo
  • Cooking Demos
  • Pool Activities
    - Life Jacket Fitting and Boating Safety 1:00-2:00 p.m.
    - Open Swim 1:00-4:00 p.m.
    - Gently-used Swim Suit Giveaway


von Hippel, P.T., Powell, B., Downey, D.B., & Rowland, N., American Journal of Public Health, “The effect of school on overweight in childhood: Gains in children’s body mass index during the school year and during summer vacation”, April 2007

Horizons National, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ahhj3wxxkdM&feature=player_embedded

March 24 is American Diabetes Association Alert Day

Tuesday, March 24, is American Diabetes Association Alert Day, and the YMCA of Central Ohio wants residents of Columbus to know their risk for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes, as well as preventative steps they can take today to reduce the chances of developing the disease.

In the United States alone, 26 million people suffer from diabetes and 79 million people have prediabetes. These statistics are alarming, and the impact on the cost of health care and the overall well-being of our communities makes preventing the number of new cases of type 2 diabetes more important than ever before.

The nation’s struggle with obesity and type 2 diabetes is no surprise but the number of people with prediabetes is a growing issue, especially when only 11 percent realize they have the condition. Prediabetes is a condition in which individuals have blood glucose levels that are higher than normal, but not high enough to be classified as diabetes. Often a preventable condition, people with prediabetes can reduce their risk for developing type 2 diabetes by adopting behavior changes that include eating healthier and increasing physical activity. People with prediabetes are at risk for not only developing type 2 diabetes, but also cardiovascular disease, stroke and other conditions.

As a leading voice on improving the nation’s health and well-being, the YMCA of Central Ohio encourages all adults learn their vulnerability for type 2 diabetes by taking a risk assessment at http://www.diabetes.org/risktest Sever.al factors that could put a person at risk for type 2 diabetes include family history, age, weight and activity level, among others.

Some basic lifestyle changes that contribute to weight loss and an increased focus on healthy living can decrease the risk for type 2 diabetes. Among these are:

• Eat fruits and vegetables every day.
• Choose fish, lean meats and poultry without skin.
• Aim for whole grains with every meal.
• Be moderately active at least 30 minutes per day five days a week.
• Choose water to drink instead of beverages with added sugar.
• Speak to your doctor about your diabetes risk factors, especially if you have a family history of the disease or are overweight. 

To learn more about the YMCA of Central Ohio’s Diabetes Prevention Program, please visit http://ymcacolumbus.org/diabetes or contact Caroline Rankin, director of chronic disease prevention programs, at 614-384-2281.

March is National Nutrition Month: Plan, Prep and Eat Together

Busy schedules can make finding time for healthy family meals a challenge, but when we opt for convenient and quick options like ‘fast food’ or eat at different times, we lose the opportunity to spend quality time with loved ones and support our health and well-being. When all members of the family are engaged in planning, cooking and then sharing regular, nutritious meals—be it breakfast, lunch or dinner—caregivers can take advantage of this time spent together and nurture children’s development by serving as positive role models, strengthening family relationships and setting healthy habits to promote children’s health and wellbeing later in life. At the Y, strengthening community is our cause, and strong families make for strong communities. March is National Nutrition Month® and a good time to consider how changing up your meal routine can strengthen your family’s health and well-being. Here are a few helpful tips the YMCA of Central Ohio team recommends for making healthy family meals a priority:

HOLD A WEEKLY PLANNING PARTY Gather the family around some healthy snacks and hold a meal planning party where everyone helps plan healthy family meals and creates a grocery list with needed ingredients. Involving children in selecting ingredients may make them more receptive to trying new foods and recipes.

COOK TOGETHER By preparing meals together, caregivers can teach kids about what goes into making a nutritious meal while also imparting useful skills and spending quality time with them. Break tasks down into manageable pieces and encourage children to touch, smell and taste ingredients. Have fun and let everyone experience how good it feels to work together.

ENJOY AND RELAX Mealtime is perfect for family conversation. Engage kids in conversation that excites them and spend time talking about the meal they helped plan and prepare. This should be a time when everyone feels connected and part of the family.

Tips for Safer Snow Removal

At the Y, we have a partnership with The Ohio State University Sports Medicine & Rehabilitation at our locations in Gahanna, Grove City, Hilliard and Liberty Township/Powell. They recommend these tips for safer snow removal in accordance with recommendations from the American Heart Association. Below are a few of the tips you should follow when shoveling snow:

1. Give yourself frequent rest breaks.

2. Don’t eat a heavy meal prior to or soon after shoveling.

3. Use a small shovel or consider a snow blower.

4. Learn the heart attack warning signs and listen to your body.

5. Don’t drink alcoholic beverages before or immediately after.

6. Consult your physician if you have a pre-existing condition. 

7. Be aware of the dangers of hypothermia.

February is American Heart Month

February is American Heart Month, and as a leading nonprofit dedicated to improving our community's health, the YMCA of Central Ohio offers the following tips to help families be heart healthy.

1. Get Physical:  Being physically active every day is fun and can improve the function of your heart. Plan and schedule opportunities for active play; for example, include a brisk 10-minute trip around the block after meals or a 10-minute walking break during the day. If your family enjoys active video games, select versions that require moving the body’s large muscle groups while playing.

2. Take a Snooze: Lack of sleep can be associated with elevated cholesterol and blood pressure. Adults need at least seven, but no more than nine hours of sleep at night to aid with the prevention of heart disease. Children need 10-12 hours of sleep per night. Develop bedtime routines for the whole family to assist with falling asleep faster and staying asleep.

3. Shape Up Those Recipes: Makeover your family’s favorite recipes by reducing the amount of salt and saturated fat and substituting a lower fat food without sacrificing tastes. For example, use low-fat yogurt instead of sour cream and skip the seasoning packet and use pepper and olive oil instead. Read food labels to learn more about what is in the package, select foods that have less than 1,000 mg of sodium per serving.

4. Feeling the Pressure: According to the American Heart Association lowering or maintaining normal blood pressure can greatly reduce your risk for heart disease and stroke. Nearly 1 in 3 adults (about 78 million people) has high blood pressure and more than half of them don’t have it under control. Start self-monitoring your blood pressure and know the numbers. Discuss the results with you doctor if needed.

5. Play Together: Spending time together as a family is a great way to reduce stress, which is important to heart health. Make homemade valentines for your children’s classmates or build a snow fort together in the yard or the park.

Tips for Achieving New Year’s Resolutions

Each year, millions of Americans resolve to get in better shape and become healthier versions of themselves. According to a recent YMCA survey of more than 1,000 adults, less than a quarter of respondents kept their resolution in 2014. An overwhelming 71 percent said they tried but fell short, and 40 percent confessed that they made it through only a couple of weeks or months. 

However, there’s hope for the coming year. One-third of survey respondents who plan to make a resolution in 2015 believe they’ll stick to it and reach their goals, with more than half believing that encouragement from others will keep them committed.

A positive outlook doesn’t always translate to action unless without setting manageable goals and leaning on the support of health and wellness communities. Here are five tips the YMCA of Central Ohio recommends to help make a healthy New Year’s resolution stick:

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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 such as the YMCA. 

4. 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 attainable and less intimidating.

5. 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. More than three-fourths of survey respondents indicated that they would set the same resolution for a member of their immediate family. Team up with a family member to set your 2015 goals, and establish a game plan that is dedicated to achieving them.

The easiest gift you’ll make this year!

How YOU can give back to your community

Did you know you can help the Y when you shop at Kroger and Amazon, and there's no extra cost to you? Kroger Community Rewards® and AmazonSmile make giving easy!

By designating the YMCA of Central Ohio as the recipient of these programs, you are helping us to provide safe and affordable child care for working parents, low income housing for those who may otherwise be homeless, health and wellness activities to help individuals prevent or manage cardiovascular disease and so much more.

Read on to learn how you can help through these great opportunities. Your designations will assist the YMCA of Central Ohio in continuing to meet the needs of our community.

Kroger Community Rewards®

All you have to do is sign into your Plus Card account on Kroger's website and enroll in the Kroger Community Rewards® Program. Then, when you shop at Kroger, swipe your Plus Card, and a percentage of your shopping dollars will come directly to the YMCA to help support all that we do in our community. 

As a requirement of the Kroger Community Rewards® Program, you must renew your enrollment annually in order for the YMCA of Central Ohio to continue to receive donations from this program.



By using AmazonSmile and designating the YMCA of Central Ohio, .5% of eligible purchases will help strengthen your community through the YMCA's efforts. When you shop, make sure to browse using smile.amazon.com, which will show you the same products at the same prices.

Kroger and Amazon do NOT share the names of individuals who are enrolled in either program with the YMCA of Central Ohio.


Allison Wiley

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NEW 9 Week Sessions

Winter Session

January5 - March 8, 2015 

We’re gearing up for 2015 and have some great news to share! New in 2015 is a 9 week session calendar designed to help you experience more in-depth training and better progression toward your goals. We’re committed to making sure you enjoy your YMCA experience; have priority registration for the programs you want and are here to help you reach your health and wellness goals in the new year.

  • Deeper Focus and training
  • Registration available before session ends
  • 9 Weeks = more progress
  • Streamlined online registration on the new Hub         

  Winter registration available December 6th


We look forward to seeing you at the Y in 2015. 

Registration Begins

Members: December 6, 2014

Non Members: December 13, 2014




Renovations nearly complete at Four YMCAs

Created with flickr slideshow.

We're thrilled our branch renovations are nearing completion! The Gahanna/John E. Bickley YMCA, Grove City YMCA, Hilliard/Ray Patch Family YMCA and Liberty Township/Powell YMCA all received redesigned: 

  • Welcome Centers
  • Member Lounges
  • flooring throughout
  • tracks
  • cardio and strength equipment
  • and more!

Check out what's new at...

Make sure stop by one of these Ys for a full tour of the spaces!



YMCA of Central Ohio preschoolers help set new Guinness Book World Record

About 100 pre-school-aged children and their teachers from the YMCA of Central Ohio gathered Thursday, October 30 at the Hilltop YMCA/Cherry Creek location to help set the Guinness Book World Record for largest vocabulary lesson. The event was part of the Grow Up Great initiative, hosted by PNC Financial Services, which focuses on early learning in youth development.

More than 4,000 children in 37 cities across 15 states and the District of Columbia participated in the lesson. The new record for largest vocabulary lesson was set with the first 1,031 participants throughout the country. Children who participated in the event each took home a copy of “Words are Here, There and Everywhere,” an English/Spanish multimedia kit created by Sesame Workshop. PNC’s Grow Up Great has been helping children prepare for Kindergarten for 10 years. The YMCA of Central Ohio Child Care leadership was thrilled to be involved with the event and thank the PNC Financial Services team for their support of early childhood learning. To see more photos from the event, click here

Now accepting proposals for project at the Cherry Creek YMCA location.

Now accepting proposals for project at the Cherry Creek YMCA location.  Responses must be bid using federal Davis/ Bacon prevailing wage standards.



Rich Zingale

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More Information (PDF)

YMCA Cherry Creek - Project - Bid & Permit Set

Many Child Care Job Openings in the YMCA

Olentangy Local Openings

Site Director Openings - 1

View Description and Apply


Teacher Openings

8(am-7-9)& 11 pm 3-6)
Alum Creek - 1am & 1pm
Arrowhead - 1am & 1pm
Freedom Trail - 1pm
Indian Springs - 1am & 1pm
Liberty Tree - 1am & 1pm
Olentangy Meadows - 1pm
Scioto Ridge - 1am
Tyler Run - 3am & 3pm
Wyandot Run - 1pm
Oak Creek - 1pm
View Description and Apply

West, Hilltop, Openings

Site Director Openings - 3

Montrose (am and pm) - Bexley City Schools
Harmon (pm) - Southwestern City Schools
Hamilton (am and pm) - Hamilton Local Schools
View Description and Apply



11 Teacher Openings

Hamilton Elementary (pm) 3-6 - Hamilton Township Schools
Harmon (pm) 2-6pm - Southwestern City Schools
West Bay (pm) 2-6pm - Southwestern City Schools
Prairie Norton (pm) 2-6pm - Southwestern City Schools
North Franklin (pm) 2-6pm - Southwestern City Schools
Alton Hall (pm) 2-6pm - Southwestern City Schools
Darby Woods (pm) 3-6pm - Southwestern City Schools
Montrose (pm) 3-6pm - Bexley City Schools
Valleyview (pm) 2-6pm - Columbus City Schools
Southwood (pm) 3-6pm - Columbus City Schools
Fairwood (pm) 3-6 pm - Columbus City Schools
View Description and Apply

Jerry L. Garver Openings

Site Director Opening-1

Full time - Pickerington Local Schools View Description and Apply

Teachers Opening - 2

Whitehall (pm) 2-6pm Pickerington teacher (pm) 2-6pm View Description and Apply

Hilltop Educare Openings

Full-Time Infant Teacher

(bachelors in ECE or equivalent) M-F 9-6 View Description and Apply

Preschool Teacher

(any education but would prefer at least a CDA, but an Associates in ECE would be great. M-F 9-6 View Description and Apply

Floater Position

7-9am or 10 am M-F View Description and Apply

Early Learning Openings

Baby Room Closer

3-6pm - Qualifications: in school for ECE or related degree View Description and Apply

West Side shelter opens to accommodate homeless families

Please see below for a recent article from the July 24, 2014 edition of The Columbus Dispatch about the new Van Buren Center. 

A renovated West Side warehouse in which boxes were manufactured now provides a resting place for homeless families.

The Community Shelter Board opened its newest shelter, at 525 Van Buren Dr., last night to about 40 families who couldn’t squeeze into the already-packed YWCA Family Center on the East Side.

“We’re providing a refuge of peace, hope and safety,” said Sue Darby, the executive director of the Downtown district of the YMCA of Central Ohio, which provides overnight staffing at the new shelter.

Built for 50 families, the YWCA Family Center has served more than 120 people at a time, with many of the kids and their parents ending up on cots, in churches or at motels because there were no empty beds.

The Community Shelter Board has even tried paying friends and family members to let homeless families stay with them, but it hasn’t stemmed the flow.

“The increase in family homelessness is absolutely astronomical,” said Michelle Heritage, the shelter board’s executive director.

Over the past three years, homelessness in Franklin County grew by 14 percent among single men and women and 65 percent among families, according to the shelter board. To meet this need, the board has spent an additional $1.5 million in motel and overflow-shelter costs, Heritage said.

Though it had long held out against a brick-and-mortar response, the shelter board decided the time had come for a new shelter, and it bought the former Columbus Paper Box property in the West Edge Business Center.

Families sent to the West Side shelter will spend the night in beds initially intended for single men and women through at least November. That’s when more homeless adults will come in off the streets looking for a warm, dry place to sleep, Heritage said.

During the day, the families will be taken to the YWCA Family Center for services.

The shelter board is raising money to build a permanent family shelter on the second floor of the Van Buren building. It is to have private sleeping rooms for families, a homework room and offices where clients can meet with case managers. It is to open by September 2015, and Volunteers of America will operate it.

“The dramatic increase in families seeking shelter is pretty unbelievable,” said Volunteers of America spokeswoman Nicole Knowlton. “It’s the children who are the most vulnerable and hardest hit.”

The $13.7 million shelter will serve up to 356 single men and women and 85 families in separate wings and will have a medical clinic and meeting rooms, Heritage said.

It will also serve as the new home for Rebecca’s Place, which currently provides shelter to 47 women in a run-down building on Rhoads Avenue on the East Side. The property’s previous owner went bankrupt, and the building went into foreclosure.

The relocation of Rebecca’s Place is expected to be completed by the end of this month. By mid-August, the shelter board expects to begin admitting single women. It won’t start taking men until November, when the weather starts to turn cold.

The shelter board is also unveiling a new program in October aimed at helping single adults move quickly into stable housing and steer clear of the obstacles that can push them back into homelessness. People will be assigned to case managers who will link them to housing, job training and medical and mental-health care.

People will be assigned to the same case manager if they end up back in a shelter, and that person will check on them after they’ve found housing, to make sure their lives stay on a positive track.

“They’re your person who will stay with you — no matter where you go,” Heritage said.

Link to Article


Thank you for ensuring kids stay safe in water

If you were at a branch this summer, you might have noticed a few ducks waddling around. The ducks invited our members and community to help us address a critical need in our community - keeping children safe around water. Our staff and volunteers had a great time in their fundraising efforts by dressing up in duck costumes or wearing flotation devices.

Kathryn Dobbs, YMCA of Central Ohio's Vice President of Philanthropy said, "This is truly a great way for our Y community to build awareness about water safety and the need to teach children to swim. With the funds raised through this initiative, we're able to support families and children who otherwise could not participate in swim lessons".

Drowning is the leading cause of injury death for young children ages 1 to 4, and three children die every day as a result of drowning (www.cdc.gov/safechild).  At the Y, we want to ensure that children, teens and adults have access to programs such as swim lessons. The outcome is more than a great backstroke, it can save a life.

Through this effort, our members and community partners helped more than 500 children who will now have access to swim lessons. Thank you to all who helped make this possible in Central Ohio!

Community Impact Breakfast Features Michael Eicher

On June 17, the Columbus Foundation welcomed the YMCA of Central Ohio and 100 guests for a special Community Impact Breakfast. 

Michael Eicher, senior vice president of advancement at The Ohio State University and president of The Ohio State University Foundation served as the keynote speaker for the event. 

Prior to joining Ohio State, Mike was senor vice president for external affairs and development at Johns Hopkins University, where he led the Knowledge for the World campaign, resulting in commitments of more then $3.7 billion, focused on the critical unmet needs of the university.

While Mr. Eicher's professional resume is accomplished, he also has a long, rich history with the YMCA. As part of the National Board at YMCA of the USA, Mike is bringing his extraordinary knowledge and dedicated counsel to the work of the YMCA movement, benefitting Y's across the country.

Mike's inspirational keynote included personal reflections and stories of his experiences with the YMCA.

Help Support Your Community

Supply drive to benefit homeless adults & children at Van Buren Front Door Shelter

General Items Needed

  • Blankets
  • Twin sheets
  • Pillow cases
  • Tooth brushes
  • Tooth pastes
  • Floss
  • Feminine products
  • Deodorant
  • Pillows
  • Bar Soap (travel size)
  • Shampoo (travel size)
  • Conditioner (travel size)
  • Lip balm
  • Socks (mens black tube socks preferred)
  • Depends
  • New Underwear
  • Books (especially resource books)
  • Disposable Razors 
  • Games/Cards
  • Educational Materials
  • Baby Powder
  • Daily Planners

Items Needed for Children

  • cribs
  • baby wash tubs
  • play pens/pack & plays
  • high chairs
  • bibs
  • sipper cups
  • bounce chairs
  • baby crank swings
  • diaper pails
  • baby formula
  • baby food
  • baby wipes
  • diapers
  • children's pull ups.


Elizabeth Zingale

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At the YMCA of Central Ohio, the safety of members, program participants and staff is our highest priority. After careful review and consideration of national statistics showing no injuries and/or deaths associated with the use of indoor swimming pools during thunderstorms where lightning is present in the area, we’re pleased to provide our updated policy below. For outdoor pools, however, swimming during a thunderstorm is extremely dangerous. Lightning regularly strikes water, and since water conducts electricity, a nearby lightning strike is extremely probable.

The indoor pools and pool decks at all YMCA of Central Ohio locations will remain open during thunderstorms. We reserve the right to close the indoor pool if severe weather is in the direct vicinity and poses a significant threat. Indoor pools will close immediately when a tornado warning has been issued in the area. All members and staff will receive instruction for the safest location inside the facility while the area is under a tornado warning. Once the warning has been lifted, all swimming pools will reopen. During a high wind advisory outside, pools that have windows will be asked to move all outdoor equipment to a safe location, and the blinds pulled until the advisory is lifted.

Lightning and Thunder: When thunder or lightning is first noticed, outdoor pool activities will be suspended and all outdoor pools and pool decks will be evacuated until 30 minutes after the last sign of thunder or lightning. The distance from a facility to an approaching thunderstorm can be five to eight miles away, but lightning can strike from a much farther distance.

Heavy rain can make it difficult to see the bottom of a pool or beneath the surface. If heavy rain causes bottom obstruction, pools will be cleared and swimming halted until the rain lets up. Wind can also cause safety hazards. If wind is observably strong or gusty and causes bottom obstruction due to rippling, swimmers will be cleared from pools until the bottom is visible.

Bickley YMCA marks decade

The Gahanna community is invited to help celebrate a decade as the Gahanna John E. Bickley YMCA during an open house from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 31.

Wellness-services director Valerie Baumann said the 10-year anniversary celebration would include family Zumba, a bounce house, carnival games, face painting, a Slip'n Slide, a nutrition seminar, field games, a children's hip-hop and other activities.

The open house is free, and the membership enrollment fee will be waived all day, so nonmembers are invited to attend.

Baumann said more than 20 local businesses would be represented, including Giant Eagle and Bob Evans, as well as such small businesses as Shampooch.

Gahanna YMCA executive director Paul Westenheffer said 10 years is a very exciting milestone.

"Our staff and volunteers are proud to celebrate this anniversary and reflect back on the hard work so many people have provided to make our Y a success," he said. "We have been very fortunate to receive tremendous support from the Gahanna community over the years. We appreciate that support and look forward to serving the community for many more years to come."

The Gahanna YMCA opened March 9, 2004.

Westenheffer said the Y has been working with the Ohio State University for outpatient rehabilitation since its opening.

The Gahanna YMCA is volunteer-led, with 21 active board members.

Last year, the Y donated $270,000 to the community, according to Baumann.

She said donations have subsidized memberships, camp registration, swim lessons and program registration for a diabetes prevention program.

"We also have an upcoming program this fall that has already been implemented at other central Ohio YMCAs, called Livestrong, at the YMCA," Baumann said.

The program allows cancer survivors to work with trainers to build strength after treatments.

"We offer this program completely free to cancer survivors, and this is only possible with the support of others," Baumann said. "In addition, this summer, 40 percent of our campers will be able to attend kids camp because of subsidized registration.

Baumann said Gahanna's current membership is 14,140.

Thanks to a partnership with the Gahanna-Jefferson Public Schools, Westenheffer said, the Gahanna YMCA at Clark Hall opened September 6, 2011.

He said the Y offers more than 100 group exercise classes per week, and the largest program is swim lessons, with more than 500 participants per session.

The Gahanna YMCA employs more than 170 people, and it's a host site for the U.S. Navy SEALs training program.

"The Y is community-centered," Westenheffer said. "We respond to community needs through collaboration, program and services."

He said the Y also brings people together, connecting people of all ages and backgrounds to bridge the gaps in community needs. And the Y nurtures potential.

"We believe that everyone should have the opportunity to learn, grow and thrive," Westenheffer said.

Link to Article


LIVESTRONG® at the YMCA registration open

Cancer is a life-changing disease that takes a tremendous physical and emotional toll on those affected. LIVESTRONG® at the YMCA, a research-based physical activity and well-being program for adult cancer survivors, provides survivors with the opportunity to come to the Y to heal. Participants work with Y staff trained in supportive cancer care to safely achieve their goals such as building muscle mass and strength; increasing flexibility and endurance; and improving confidence and self-esteem. By focusing on the whole person and not the disease, LIVESTRONG at the YMCA is helping people move beyond cancer in spirit, mind and body.

We have classes starting at the following YMCA branches (Y membership is not required and the program is free for participants): 

Hilltop YMCA - 614-276-8224
Eldon & Elsie Ward Family YMCA - 614-252-3166
Gahanna/John E. Bickley YMCA - 614-416-9622
Downtown YMCA - 614-224-1131
North YMCA - 614-885-4252
Pickaway County Family YMCA - 740-477-1661
Vaughn E. Hairston YMCA - 614-539-1770

Please call us with any questions. 

OCU athletes join people with disabilities for basketball clinic

Members of the Ohio Christian University men’s basketball team spent the day Wednesday as teachers at a basketball clinic for people with disabilities, but in the process learned lessons of their own.

About 200 people participated in the event held at the Pickaway County Family YMCA, according to Chris Hiles, vice president of media and sales for IN-Abled, the company organizing the clinic.

“It’s really a life-changing event,” Hiles said. “Not only for the participants but also for the student athletes to see that people are people and to break down those barriers for people with disabilities.”

The participants ranged in age and were invited through a partnership with Berger Health System, the Pickaway County Board of Developmental Disabilities, Special Olympics and Easter Seals, as well as organizations in Ross, Fairfield and Fayette counties like Good Hands Supported Living, he said.

Students from Teays Valley and Westfall school districts also participated in the clinic.

The event was held as a Christian service project for the OCU men’s team, which is part of the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA). Though the first of its kind, the local event is being used to develop a model that may be used by the NCCAA as a standard for future Christian service projects nationwide.

The clinics were followed by an exhibition game between NCCAA and OCU officials and an all-star team held Wednesday night at OCU. Proceeds from the game benefit Easter Seals, which Hiles said was chosen because it is a holistic service organization with an international reach that provides services for people with disabilities.

Hiles, a former employee of the local YMCA and a graduate of the former Circleville Bible College (now OCU), said the Y offered its facility free of charge for the clinics on Wednesday.

“Our idea has always been that the YMCA should be a community center, and it fit our mission well to work with them,” said Jeff Phillips, director of the Pickaway County Family YMCA. “There was a lot of activity, a lot of energy and smiles, not only from the kids but also the basketball players. They had a great time, and we were proud to be part of it.”

IN-Abled, based in Logan, is a media company that creates person-centered illustrations focusing on the success, abilities and inclusion of a diverse group of people in the disabilities community, according to its Web site.

More information can be found Online at www.in-abled.com.

Link to Article


YMCA of Central Ohio Staff Donate over $122K to Annual Campaign

To date, YMCA of Central Ohio staff have donated $122,232 to the organization’s 2014 Annual Campaign. Sixty-five percent of the organization’s more than 1,800 employees donated to the 2014 campaign, an increase in participation of 2 percent from 2013.

YMCA of Central Ohio officials and members of the Board of Directors recognized the staff’s outstanding philanthropic performance last week at a celebration to kick off the organization’s external 2014 Annual Campaign. Community Campaign volunteers also attended the event to learn about opportunities to strengthen the Y’s Cause throughout Central Ohio. Staff and community volunteer donations have already raised more than $500K toward the organization’s $1M goal. The YMCA of Central Ohio moved into the public phase of its campaign March 10.

“I’m so proud of our staff and volunteers,” said Andrew Roberts, President and CEO of the YMCA of Central Ohio. “Throughout Central Ohio, countless people know they can count on the Y. We don’t turn anyone away for inability to pay. Every day, we work throughout our local communities to support the children, adults, families and neighborhoods that need us most. We are launching our Annual Campaign to ensure that everyone in our community has the opportunity to learn, grow and thrive.”

Financial gifts will help to close gaps in the community and to strengthen Central Ohio by helping individuals and families through programs and services that support the Y’s commitment to youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Individuals interested in donating to the YMCA of Central Ohio can do so by visiting www.ymcacolumbus.org/give.

Enhance®Fitness for older adults

Enhance®Fitness is an evidence-based group exercise program, helps older adults at all levels of fitness become more active, energized, an empowered to sustain independent lives. This wellness program focuses on dynamic cardiovascular exercise, strength training, balance, and flexibility — everything older adults need to maintain health and function as they age.

In a typical class, participants will experience:
• A certified instructor with special training in bringing out the physical best from older adults
• A 5-minute warm-up to get the blood flowing to the muscles
• A 20-minute aerobics workout that gets participants moving, or a walking workout to lively music that the class chooses
• A 5-minute cool-down
• A 20-minute strength training workout with soft ankle and wrist weights (0 up to 20 pounds)
• A 10-minute stretching workout to keep the muscles flexible
• Balance exercises throughout the class
• Lots of opportunities for participants to make new friends and acquaintances!

Locations and Contact Information:

Hilliard/Ray Patch Family YMCA
Natalie Mamlin

Hilltop YMCA
Barbara Camfield

Delaware Community Center YMCA
Amy Mossier

Grove City YMCA
Angie Jordan

Eldon & Elsie Ward Family YMCA
Sharon Marshall

March is National Nutrition Month

Shop Healthy

Eating a balanced and nutritious diet is essential to every person’s well-being. As a leading nonprofit for healthy living, the YMCA of Central Ohio encourages healthy eating habits by providing nutritious meals and snacks during programs and activities. We also provide families with tips and ideas for eating healthy at home.

March is National Nutrition Month, and the Y is sharing a few healthy shopping tips to help you make the healthiest grocery selections for you and your family. As a general rule, it’s best to reach for groceries that are stocked around the perimeter of the store. Here are a few tips to remember on your next shopping trip:

Opt for Whole Grains

• Check the ingredients list to make sure a whole grain (like whole wheat, barley, oats, rye or brown rice) is listed first.
• Choose whole grains with no more than 5 grams of sugar.
• Pick up quick-cooking grains such as whole- wheat pasta, brown rice or quinoa.

Cut the Salt

• Check nutrition labels on canned, boxed and frozen foods to ensure sodium (salt) levels are below 300 mg per serving.
• Choose real cheese instead of cheese products.
• Consider alternatives to lunchmeat, which can contain high levels of salt, like no-salt-added peanut butter with bananas, or fresh vegetables with hummus.

YMCA’s Weather Policy

Snow Emergency: (As determined by the county where the branch is located)


Level I:

  • YMCA will be open for normal operating hours.
  • Classes/programs will follow their regular schedule.

Level II:

  • YMCA of Central Ohio branches affected by a Level II snow emergency may have a delay in opening or early closure.
  • Morning or evening classes/programs may be cancelled at YMCA of Central

Level III:

  • YMCA of Central Ohio locations affected by a Level III snow emergency will be closed.
  • All classes/programs of the locations affected, will be cancelled for as long as the Level III snow emergency is in place.


Gahanna/Bickley YMCA gets facelift, new equipment

Gahanna/John E. Bickley YMCA members soon will be able to work out in style with new equipment and renovated facilities, thanks to the YMCA of Central Ohio and a gift from the Limited Brands Foundation.

Gahanna YMCA director Paul Westenheffer said he is thrilled and honored to have the Y collaborate with the Limited Brands Foundation and Victoria's Secret to better serve the Gahanna community.

An undisclosed financial gift from the Limited Brands Foundation to revitalize the interior spaces of the Y will make the local facility more conducive to helping individuals develop healthy habits, Westenheffer said.

Improvements will include new carpeting, fresh paint and a new color palette, new surfaces on the member service desk and vanities, newly-designed resource displays and large-screen televisions.

New equipment will feature rotating staircases, a high-tech spinning bike, a rope climber, treadmills, elliptical machines, rowers and other cardio equipment.

"Whether it is refurbished fitness areas, which will help the community stay healthy, or a new coffee and lounge area for seniors to have a welcoming place to meet with friends, or revitalized locker rooms designed for families, the Victoria's Secret and YMCA teams worked closely together with the needs of the whole community in mind," Westenheffer said.

Construction began Dec. 16 and is expected to be completed by mid-January. Finishing touches like painting and lighting are scheduled to be finished by the Gahanna Y's 10th anniversary in March.

"The bulk of it will be done soon," Westenheffer said.

He said the collaboration between the YMCA and Limited Brands went beyond the monetary gift by the foundation.

"The YMCA has added to the total to help us purchase additional equipment, both to replenish items that needed replaced and to add newer, state-of-the-art equipment," Westenheffer said. "It will be of great appeal to our members and others. This wasn't a capital campaign. The grant triggered the whole project. We looked at what we could get done and how to complement the grant."

Led by YMCA board member Patrick Sanderson, COO of Victoria's Secret stores, a team of Victoria's Secret interior designers volunteered their time and talents to partner with YMCA leaders over the course of several months to redesign spaces that weren't inviting. They also considered what was needed to help Y members meet their personal goals.

"With these new spaces, the YMCA refreshes its promise to be a place in which all are welcome, feel comfortable and confident and are supported by YMCA staff that is dedicated to their personal growth and well-being," Westenheffer said.

Link to Article


From the Y to the Canadian Football League

The Y is the starting point for many youth to learn about becoming and staying active, and developing healthy habits they will carry with them throughout their lives. The benefits are far greater than just physical. When kids play sports, they can build confidence, discover their personal best, have fun and be a part of a team. 

Chip Cox, 30, of Columbus, OH, first came to the North YMCA as a child with his father and brother. He enjoyed spending time with his family, working out, playing sports in the gym and meeting new friends. He had goals and worked toward them throughout the years. Now, he's a linebacker for the Montreal Alouettes and was recently named Defensive Player of the year in the Canadian Football League. Chip is very team-oriented and said the award isn't just about him but also about his teammates. 

During the offseason, he still visits the North YMCA to work out and train when he's in town and said the Y is a welcoming community. 

"The Y feels like home and is my home away from home," Chip said. "I've met so many great people at the Y and have learned a lot about community."

Congratulations, Chip! We're so proud of you. 


The Good Life | YMCA volunteer prepares residents for the long run

When he crossed the finish line last month at the Ohio State Four-Miler, Doug Del Vigna wasn’t done running.

He didn’t collect his medal right away; instead, he returned to the pack of thousands to find a member of the Columbus Sole team to accompany to the end.

Along with two other “mentors,” Del Vigna wanted to ensure that all five Columbus Sole members completed the race.

“We have a variety of skill levels,” said the Grandview Heights resident, who founded the group in the summer.

“One can run sub-eight-minute miles, and one’s a walker.”

Race times, though, matter little to Columbus Sole, whose members live at the Downtown YMCA.

“The running team is a vehicle to get them to develop connections, commitment, trust and accomplishment,” said Del Vigna, a 38-year-old pilot and avid runner.

“It’s a peace away from all the other challenges of life.”

The Ohio State Four-Miler, a fundraiser for cancer research, marked the first of many races for which Del Vigna plans to encourage YMCA residents — and, in the future, other homeless people — to train.

Although the residents need basic help in finding a job, permanent housing or maybe even their next meal, Del Vigna thought he could make a difference, too, by establishing a running program.

Before he could get Columbus Sole off its feet, however, he had to outfit team members in proper footwear. (The retailer FrontRunner donated shoes and socks.)

Three months ago, YMCA officials identified nine men for the group; five chose to take part, signing a contract with Del Vigna pledging not to miss more than five practices during the 10 weeks of training.

The runners followed a 5-kilometer training schedule, taking short walks and gradually reaching longer runs.

With the weather having turned wintry, the group is now practicing just once a week, usually inside the YMCA gym.

Training will pick up in February for a spring race.

Before he joined the group, Cedric Campbell hadn’t imagined running a mile, let alone 4 miles. (He finished the race in 54 minutes.)

“Are you kidding me?” said the 61-year-old, a YMCA resident for almost three years.

“I would cross the street and almost pass out.”

His success, he said, has boosted his confidence.

“Now I think: ‘Maybe you can do that. I could try yoga or run a marathon.’”

YMCA staff members have witnessed attitude changes with other team members, including two who recently found their own places.

The program has allowed them to assume a label other than homeless, said YMCA Executive Director Sue Darby, who watched the men attach their numbers to their matching bright-blue shirts before the Nov. 10 race.

Now, they are runners.

“Pinning on that number was so positive,” Darby said.

Beyond monetary and in-kind donations, she said, volunteer time especially counts.

Del Vigna, she said, has encouraged one runner to visit his young son more often and helped all the team members learn to trust one another.

“There was this shift,” Darby said, “of going from their problems pushing them around to their dreams leading them.”

Next year, YMCA officials plan to open the program to all 400 residents.

Del Vigna is seeking help with three-times-a-week training runs on the Scioto Trail.

He is surprised at how close the team members have become — a sentiment echoed by Campbell.

“Participating in this has brought a great relationship here,” he said. “I would’ve missed that."

For more information about Columbus Sole, email Doug Del Vigna atddelvigna@gmail.com.

Link to Article


Running to strengthen their community

A neighborhood doesn’t always have a sense of community. But one group of residents who live in the residential section of the Downtown YMCA recently removed the barriers of communication to discover community and brotherhood.

In September, five residents began training for the Ohio State University (OSU) 4 Miler. They received free shoes through donations from Front Runner and met weekly to train for the run. Volunteers from the YMCA of Central Ohio met with the residents during training to encourage them throughout the training process. In addition, the residents met with local church members and a Reverend at some gatherings to discuss their progress and share experiences.

Amanda Owen, Director of Supportive Services at the Downtown YMCA, said, “Through the running club, residents were able to form a community, engage in discussions about issues affecting their lives and build confidence.” They also exchanged personal stories and took time to build friendships with one another. The residents successfully completed the OSU 4 Miler and are already discussing plans for their next activities.

The YMCA of Central Ohio, one of Central Ohio’s largest nonprofit organizations and one of the nation’s most recognized brands, offers residential services to low-income adult men at its Downtown YMCA. Often on the verge of homelessness, the men are able to live in a building next to the Downtown YMCA and receive reduced rental agreements. For more information about resident services at the Downtown YMCA, please contact Amanda Owen at 614-384-2285.

YMCA Diabetes Prevention Program now available for FREE to Medicare beneficiaries

The YMCA of Central Ohio's Diabetes Prevention Program is now Free for those who qualify and are covered through Medicare. Individuals who qualify and are covered through UnitedHealthcare can still attend the courses at no cost. If you are at risk for type 2 diabetes, our program provides a supportive environment where you can work with others in a small group setting to learn how to adopt healthy habits to reduce your chances of developing the disease. Click here for more information about the program and registration details.

Welcome Two New YMCA Directors

Officials at the YMCA of Central Ohio recently announced two new executive directors. Cory Hughes was named Executive Director of the Jerry L. Garver YMCA and Steve Stevenson as Executive Director of the Eldon & Elsie Ward Family YMCA.

Cory Hughes has held several positions with YMCAs in Wisconsin throughout the past eight years, most recently serving as the Member Engagement Director for the Rite Hite Family YMCA in Brown Deer, WI. He connected members with programs and helped change lives through healthy connections and relationships that created a community of long term members with vested interest in the Y.

He enjoys spending time with his wife Victoria, his daughter and two stepchildren. His hobbies include studying history and comparative literature. Welcome, Cory!

Prior to joining the YMCA of Central Ohio, Steve Stevenson managed the day-to-day operations of City Year in six different cities. He has a degree in education from Point Park College and has been actively involved with grassroots organizations for years.

"I still mentor and help guide hundreds of young people all over the country," Steve said. "I have an even bigger sense of obligation now that I’m a husband and a Father of an 11-year-old daughter. I try to set the right examples for her and every young person that I come in contact with." Welcome, Steve!

New homeless shelter to provide desperately needed help

Plans for a $5.9 million homeless shelter come with a promise that the Community Shelter Board hasn’t made in recent years: Officials vow to do away with waiting lists, and they say no one seeking refuge from the streets will be turned away.

“No human being should go unsheltered if they need shelter,” Executive Director Michelle Heritage said. “We’re ready to make that commitment.”

The board said yesterday that it has purchased a 62,000-square-foot building on 5 acres at 595 Van Buren Dr. in the West Edge Business Center, west of Downtown.

The site, formerly Columbus Paper Box, is to open next spring as a shelter for homeless men, women and families.

Shelter officials say the system needs a new, permanent shelter to handle the increase in homelessness. The building also is at the center of the board’s plans to revamp its operations for homeless adults and improve case management so that people don’t become homeless again.

“About 40 percent of women and 60 percent of men return to shelter,” Heritage said. “The average number is 3.4 times.”

She said the new shelter will serve as an intake point for newly homeless adults, be the new home for Rebecca’s Place women’s shelter, create space for extra beds during severe weather and make room to put up parents and children when the YWCA Family Center is over capacity.

Rebecca’s Place “served women from a dilapidated, crumbling facility that outlived its space years ago,” said Antonio Caffey of Southeast Inc., which manages the 47-bed women’s shelter on the East Side. The new site will afford clients more dignity and a safer environment, he said.

Kristen Daam, a case manager at Rebecca’s Place, said women have sometimes waited two weeks to get a shelter bed. “That’s too long to be out in the elements,” she said.

The board said it paid $2.3 million for the building. About $1 million comes from money that the city of Columbus previously gave the shelter board, and $1.3 million is through the Ohio Housing Finance Agency.

Rehabilitation of the site is expected to cost about $3.6 million, with $1.7 million to come from the Ohio Housing Finance Agency and $1.9 million through private fundraising.

“The agency has made more dollars available for homeless initiatives as we realize what a serious issue it is in the state of Ohio,” said Arlyne Alston, a spokeswoman for the finance agency.

The shelter board no longer has a lease on a building in Franklin Township that housed its overflow beds last winter. The location, next to a children’s day-care center, triggered controversy and a lawsuit. Shelter Board spokeswoman Sara Loken said any overflow this winter will need to be handled at existing shelters.

The YMCA of Central Ohio, YWCA Columbus and Southeast Inc. are to operate the new shelter. When complete, it will have 67 beds for women, 45 for men, room to add up to 138 overflow beds for single adults as needed, and 20 overflow beds for families with children.

Community meetings to discuss the plan are to be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday and next Thursday at LifeCare Alliance, 670 Harmon Ave.

Link to Article


Local YMCA introduces new director, programs

The Gahanna/John E. Bickley YMCA's new executive director said he wants residents to know more of the story about their Y.

"We want to be known as a partner and collaborator to help when needed," Paul Westenheffer said. "When looking at planning, consider us. We need to hear from folks."

Westenheffer, who comes to the Gahanna branch after being director at the Hilltop Y, said he believes in the YMCA's mission to serve the whole community through programs that express Judeo-Christian principles and build a healthy spirit, mind and body.

Of the YMCA's 12 facilities in central Ohio, he said, Gahanna's serves the most clients -- more than 12,000 members.

"It can touch everyone in the community," Westenheffer said. "Anyone can be connected. The usage it gets is unbelievable, with 30-35,000 walk-throughs a month."

He said the largest program at Gahanna's 38,000-square-foot facility is swim lessons. Every seven weeks, 450 kids are taught how to swim, he said. The Y offers six sessions per year, Westenheffer said.

In addition to the indoor/outdoor pool and therapy pool, the facility features a full-size gymnasium, a fitness center and a multiuse room. Area off-site locations are the group exercise and fitness center at Clark Hall and day camp at the New Horizons Community Church.

With Gahanna's senior center and city pools slated for possible closure, pending the outcome of November's income-tax measure, Westenheffer said, opportunities are being explored whereby the Y might be able help.

"We like to view everything we do here as portable," he said. "Most of what we do here we can take on the road -- take it to a church or a city field."

A new program offering at the Y will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 12. The program is called "Parents Night Out for Special Needs Families."

"There are challenges with special-needs families," said Michael Sponhour, a Gahanna YMCA advisory board member.

For the past six months, the Gahanna Y also has offered Silver Sneakers, a program to help older adults take greater control of their health by encouraging physical activity and offering social events.

"We had over 3,000 Silver Sneaker visits last month," Westenheffer said. "I think that's significant."

The Gahanna Y also is a training location for Navy SEALS preparations.

Westenheffer said a retired Navy veteran there pushes young men through intensive training every weekday morning in preparation for the challenge to become a Navy SEAL.

"There are all these awesome things this Y has," he said. "I want to get the message out."

Sponhour said enough hasn't been done to tell what all is going on at the Y.

"The YMCA is also a social-service organization," he said. "We do a lot to help people. There are a lot of great fitness centers. We go beyond that."

In November, the Gahanna Y offers "One Meal at a Time," a program involving some of the Y's 100 volunteers who will deliver about 60 Thanksgiving meals and food vouchers.

"Everything the Y does comes back to a common tie," he said. "The Y can touch everyone."

In March 2014, the Gahanna YMCA will celebrate a decade of serving the local community.

Link to Article


Y Staff recognized for commitment to Child Care

Congratulations to Nancy Brody (pictured on the right), Metropolitan School-Age Quality Education Resource Director for the YMCA of Central Ohio, who received an award from the Educational Council for her commitment and dedication to the field of School Age Child Care and her work on the Off To A Great Start Conference each year. Nancy received this special award during this year's Off To a Great Start Conference.

Becky Ciminillo, Executive Director of Child Care, said, "She always represents the Y in a great way to the community. I am very proud to work with her."

Bringing Healthy Habits Home

The Y is working to provide the healthiest environment possible for your children, and we also want to help you build a healthy home for your family.

Here are some tips:

  1. Eat as a family as frequently as possible. Turn off electronics and enjoy each other’s company.
  2. Make it easy for everyone to fill half their plates with fruits and vegetables by offering two or three options. Mix and match fresh, frozen and canned.
  3. Let family members serve themselves during meals to increase understanding of portion sizes and health food choices.
  4. Get moving daily with moderate to vigorous activities! Play music and dance after dinner or take a family walk. Make physical activity part of your normal routines by walking or biking to work or school.
  5. Make water your first drink choice at meals.

District, Y partner to keep kids on track in summer

Program focuses on nutritional, fitness needs as well as academic
ThisWeek Community News
Wednesday July 31, 2013 12:35 PM

The YMCA of Central Ohio is collaborating with the South-Western City School District to offer programs at four district schools this summer that combine reading and academic enhancement with youth enrichment activities.

"We've done programs for the district in the past, but this is the first time we've done a full-blown program that intertwines enrichment activities during the afternoon and an academic-based literacy program in the morning," said Nancy Brody, metropolitan school-age quality education research director for the YMCA.

The program originally was slated for Stiles Elementary School only, Brody said.

The Stiles sessions are being funded through a $30,000 grant from Y in the USA, the YMCA's national organization, she said.

"Stiles was selected for this program because of a combination of being a low-income school with a very high rate of free and reduced(-price) lunches plus a large number of English as a Second Language students," Brody said.

The school district asked if the YMCA would be willing to help organize summer programs at three other schools: Harmon and Prairie Lincoln elementary schools and Franklin Woods Intermediate School, she said. The activities at those three schools are being funded by the school district.

The YMCA has hired district teachers to conduct the morning educational sessions while Y employees mostly handle the afternoon enrichment program, Brody said.

At the elementary schools, students in kindergarten and first grade spend the morning working on their reading, writing and math skills, she said.

The reading work is designed in part to help students prepare for being able to meet the state's new third-grade reading guarantee and/or to keep their reading skills from falling behind while school is out for the summer, Brody said.

ESL students also are able to work on improving their English speaking skills, she said.

"We're trying to keep students and their teachers from having to take time at the start of the school year to catch up after the long summer," Brody said.

Students entering the fourth and fifth grades also are working to improve and maintain their reading skills at Franklin Woods, she said.

In the afternoon, students participate in a variety of enrichment activities, including swimming lessons, educational field trips, lessons on health and nutrition and at least one hour a day of physical fitness activities.

The summer program has run each Monday through Thursday since June 24 and will end today, Aug. 1.

"I was just out at Stiles and what's great is that the staff members and the children are so enthusiastic," Brody said. "Every staff member I spoke to asked if we could please, please do this program again next year. We'd love to do it again, but it will depend on whether funding is available."

"We've been able to include a lot of fun activities, both in the morning and afternoon, so the kids don't feel like they're spending the summer at school," said Mary Schneider, the YMCA's child-care director.

The food and nutrition aspect of the program is perhaps as important as the educational and fitness components, she said.

"The children are learning about the importance of eating healthy," Schneider said. "Some of them didn't realize, for example, how important it is to drink a lot of water."

Students receive two nutritious meals and a snack at the program each day, she said.

"The staff members say they can tell some of these kids, especially on Monday after the weekend, are hungry and perhaps haven't been able to have a complete meal at home," Schneider said.

Elana Lenihan, assistant child-care director, helps to oversee the Stiles program and said she has been thrilled with the youngsters' enthusiasm.

"The kids are so excited to learn," she said early this week. "We will not be doing our testing until (July 31), but I think it's certain we'll see some real educational benefits for the students."

A total of 146 students have participated in the program at the four schools, Brody said. The program also has been open to students from other district schools located near the host sites.

Link to Article


CareSource Foundation Provides Funding for 30 Programs in Ohio

Dayton, Ohio (PRWEB) July 17, 2013

Dayton-based Foundation awards $301,000 in the second round of quarterly grants.

The CareSource Foundation recently awarded its second round of quarterly grants for 2013. The Foundation provides grants to organizations in health and human services domains with a focus on children’s health, community health issues, special needs populations, and strategies to address the medically uninsured throughout the state of Ohio.

The CareSource Foundation was created to fund non-profit programs that share the Foundation’s mission of advancing the health and well-being of underserved people in the communities they serve by providing innovative solutions and funding to address health care needs. Programs awarded grants have been chosen because of their work to promote the well-being of people they interact with as well as their dedication to creating change. Two examples of CareSource Foundation grants from this quarter include:

Eastway is the largest provider of mental and behavioral health care in Ohio and serve more than 10,000 individuals each year through a network of integrated services such as psychiatric outpatient care, primary care and pharmacy. They provide residential treatment and on-site education for adolescents. The CareSource Foundation grant of $28,500 will help support the new 22-acre Ranch of Opportunity—a safe residential treatment environment for teen girls who are victims of physical, sexual and mental abuse. The rural setting of Washington Courthouse, Ohio and the interaction with highly skilled therapists will promote healing, self-confidence and family support. Based in Montgomery County, Eastway serves individuals in 27 Ohio counties.

Homefull, formerly The Other Place, was founded in 1988 to meet the challenging needs of the homeless and those at risk of becoming homeless in Montgomery County. Their services include street outreach, prevention and diversion programs, micro-farming, and rapid rehousing. The $20,000 grant provided by the CareSource Foundation will support the Homefull Resource Center which helps connects individuals with social services, utility assistance, community resources, legal aid and housing-related mediation to reduce homelessness.

Additional CareSource Foundation grant recipients include:

1. Akron Children’s Hospital: $10,000 grant to provide bilingual health workers to assist with a growing Burmese and Nepali refugee resettlement community in Akron.
2. Asian Services in Action: $7,500 grant to support the comprehensive health and social services of the International Community Health Center in Cleveland.
3. Boonshoft Museum of Discovery: $7,500 grant to fund “Exhibits-to-Go” mobile health-related programming for K-8 students in 2,500 classrooms across the state of Ohio.
4. Carmella Rose Health Foundation: $3,000 grant to support a community patient navigator position for a network of 12 emergency shelters and pantries in Northeast Ohio.
5. Children’s Defense Fund: $15,000 grant to expand the Freedom Schools summer program to four sites in Dayton which will include 50 in-care foster children.
6. East End Community Services: $15,000 grant to support the Family Wellness Program which focuses on physical and emotional health education for Latino, African American and Appalachian parents in East Dayton.
7. Family Nurturing Center (Cincinnati): $10,000 grant to support services for children who are separated from a parent due to abuse, mental health disorders, substance abuse, or homelessness.
8. Franciscan Shelters: Bethany House (Toledo): $7,500 grant to support safe shelter operations for mothers and children who have experienced domestic violence.
9. Friends of Aullwood (Dayton): $10,000 grant to provide outdoor learning at the Aullwood Preschool, the first farm-based Head Start preschool in the United States.
10. Hospital Council of Northwest Ohio: $10,000 grant to help advocate for the Lucas County Initiative to Improve Birth Outcomes which includes care coordinators working directly with young mothers to ensure healthy deliveries.
11. Humility of Mary Health Partners Foundation: $10,000 grant to provide oral health screenings for children and breast cancer screenings for low-income women in the Youngstown area.
12. Mercy Neighborhood Ministries: $8,000 grant to expand home care support for low-income senior adults in Cincinnati.
13. National Alliance of Mental Illness: $6,500 grant to sustain the Multicultural Action Center which addresses disparities in mental health treatment and outreach for minorities in Cleveland.
14. New Creation Counseling Center: $15,000 grant to build capacity for health screenings and referral services for low-income adults and families in Miami County.
15. One Way Farm of Fairfield: $7,500 grant to provide a residential safe haven for abused, abandoned and neglected children throughout Ohio.
16. Oxford Free Clinic: $10,000 grant to help support low-cost primary care for the rural communities of Oxford and College Corner.
17. Suicide Prevention Center: $5,500 grant to sustain the “Project Lifesaver” K-12 suicide prevention education program for students in Montgomery and neighboring counties.
18. Suicide Prevention Education Alliance: $6,500 grant to provide “Recognizing Teen Depression and Preventing Suicide” for 16,000 students in 105 Ohio high schools in NE Ohio.
19. United Rehabilitation Services of Greater Dayton: $15,000 grant to provide a sensory-rich childcare environment for children with special needs.
20. United Way of Greater Toledo: $10,000 grant to support the “Mobile Vision Program” which provides school-based eye care services including vision exams and fittings for glasses.
21. Universal Health Care Action Network of Ohio: $15,000 grant to support advocacy for high quality, accessible, affordable healthcare for all Ohioans including 1.5 million uninsured residents.
22. University District Freedom School: $7,000 grant to provide health programming and nutrition for 100 low-income students in Columbus participating in the Freedom School program.
23. Voices of Youth: $5,000 grant to support programs that work with young adults in transition from mental health treatment centers to independent living in the Trumbull County region.
24. Women Helping Young Mothers: $6,000 grant to assist young parents who are going through crisis situations including divorce, domestic violence, limited parenting skills or homelessness in Sandusky County.
25. YMCA of Central Ohio: $10,000 grant to allow the Early Childhood Resource Network to provide hearing, vision and developmental screenings for low-income children in Columbus.
26. Youth Challenge (Cleveland): $10,000 grant to provide adapted sports and recreational programs for children with physical disabilities.
27. Youth Entrepreneurship Development Foundation: $5,000 grant to fund the “Living Healthy Fit” afterschool program for 100 students in the Dayton region in partnership with NASA, the Tiger Woods Foundation and GetUp Montgomery County.
28. YWCA of Warren: $5,000 grant to launch the “Girls Circle” program to address behavioral, emotional and family issues of at-risk middle and high-school students in the Trumbull County region.

About CareSource
CareSource is a non-profit health plan headquartered in Dayton, Ohio. As one of the largest Medicaid managed care plans in the country, CareSource understands the challenges consumers face navigating the health system. We are committed to putting health care within reach for approximately 900,000 members we serve in Ohio and Kentucky.

Link to Article


614 224 9622

Corporate Caring: YMCA of Central Ohio

Jul 19, 2013, 6:00am EDT

Melissa Kossler Dutton | For Business First

As the focus of health care in the United States shifts to models based on prevention efforts and successful outcomes, leaders of the nation’s YMCA facilities see opportunities to make a difference.

Y facilities have the potential to help individuals and communities improve their health, said Andrew Roberts, president of the YMCA of Central Ohio.

Ys have the buildings, staff, equipment and passion to help people develop healthy lifestyles and prevent the onset of chronic diseases, Roberts said.
“We are positioning the YMCA to become community-based providers of evidence-based prevention efforts,” he said.

Link to Article


614 224 9622

Staying Safe in the Water

By Elissa James
Executive Director of Risk Management & Aquatics

Summer is officially here, and we are excited to have our YMCA members and families swimming at our pools. We want to make sure everyone has a safe, fun summer at the Y, so here are a few tips to keep in mind as you pack up to head to the pool.

  1. Lifeguards
    Only swim when and where there is a lifeguard on duty. Never swim alone.
  2. Supervision
    Adults should be poolside watching kids in the water at all times. Our lifeguards are on duty, but we need your help with keeping everyone safe at the Y. Never leave a child unattended around a pool, spa, bathtub or any body of water.
  3. Life jackets
    Inexperienced swimmers should swim only using a U.S. Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device and be within arm's reach of an adult at all times. The life jackets will say "USCG approved" or a similar phrase inside the vest, so look for this marking every time you use a life jacket.
  4. Reach or Throw. Don't Go.
    If you see someone in danger, try to reach to them with an object or throw an item that floats, such as a life jacket. As a non-swimmer, do not enter the water to try and help.
  5. Follow the Rules
    Follow any posted rules at the pool. They are there to protect you from harm.
  6. Brush Up on Your Skills
    Learn lifesaving skills such a CPR for adults, children, and infants. You never know when it may be needed.
  7. It's Never Too Late for Swim Lessons
    Learning to swim has the potential to save your own life or the life of someone you love. The YMCA offers lessons for all ages. Click here for more information.


Elissa James

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City Of Columbus And Casino Invest In West Side Community Fund


COLUMBUS, Ohio - Columbus City Council made its first investment into the West Side Community Fund that supports West Columbus neighborhoods around the Hollywood Casino.

$125,000 will be used to support the Hilltop YMCA.  Penn National Gaming, which runs the casino, said it matched the investment.

"We're proud to partner with Hollywood Casino to invest in the great neighborhood that surrounds it," Columbus mayor Michael Coleman said. "The Hilltop YMCA has been a valuable community resource on the West Side for more than half a century, and it is highly deserving of this first major investment."

The money helped the Hilltop YMCA expand its facilities including: new gym space, childcare area and rooms for health education and programs.
"A lot of people have talked about the west side as being a community in need," said Andrew Roberts, CEO of Central Ohio YMCA. "We're not the only solution, but we're happy to be here and offer our humble contribution to the quality of life."

Eventually, the city and casino hope to invest millions of dollars back into the community. They city wants the West Side Community Fund to hit $5 million within the next two years. The city and Penn National Gaming will split the cost to reach the goal.

Local business owner Benny Phillips said he's hoping for a spark that helps revitalize the West side.
"I know what businesses used to do here," he said. "I'd like to see it get back to that point again. And I think it can."

Link to Article


Thank you Chipotle!


Thanks to everyone for making eating a selfless act by joining us for a fundraiser to support the Hoover YMCA Park Learning Garden.

As a result, more than $3,400 was raised in support of the Hoover Y Park Learning Garden.  These funds will support education programs to help kids learn more about where their food comes from, and will also support the donation of thousands of pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables to local food pantries.

Chipotle partnered with Hoover YMCA Park Learning Garden, because they think it’s important that people understand where real food is grown and where it comes from.

When we work together, the YMCA can do SO MUCH MORE for our community!

About the Garden

The Hoover YMCA Park Learning Garden is a two acre garden on YMCA property located in Lockbourne, Ohio, just south of Columbus. It is a chemical free garden that uses natural methods for pest control and weeds. The garden is a partnership between the Mid-Ohio Foodbank, the YMCA of Central Ohio and with support from Local Matters and Chipotle. The goal of the Learning Garden is to teach the community about where their vegetables come from and how they can utilize natural methods to create gardens at home.  Over 1,000 children visit the Hoover Y Park during the summer day-camp season and are involved in programs in the garden.

A wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables are grown in the garden including eggplant, tomatoes, zucchini, pumpkins, watermelon, beans, collards, kale, spinach, arugula, many lettuce varieties, beets, potatoes, sweet potatoes, sweet and hot peppers, fennel, and a variety of other culinary herbs. The garden also includes a significant variety of annual and perennial flowers, which aide in pollination of the garden.

In 2012, over 3,700 pounds of produce grown in the garden was donated to the Mid-Ohio Food Bank, Faith Mission Ministries, and the St. Vincent De Paul Food Pantries.  With Chipotle's support, the Garden began its first CSA program in 2013.  For every CSA share purchased, a share is given to a family in need.  Over 100 families in need throughout central Ohio are now receiving a weekly bag of fresh fruits and veggies from the Garden.  And we're on target to surpass 4,000 pounds of produce donated to Mid-Ohio Foodbank, Faith Mission, and St. Vincent Food Pantries this year!

For more information about the garden, please contact the Hoover Y Park Executive Director, Pam Slater, at pslater@ymcacolumbus.org.



Y Camp Kids Bring Joy to Patients at Nationwide Children’s Hospital

Saturday, June 22, campers from our St. Anthony’s summer camp site spent time making bears during the grand re-opening of Build-A-Bear at the Easton Town Center.  All the bears made were donated to the young patients at Nationwide Children’s Hospital to help brighten their day.  Our campers also got a chance to participate in the official ribbon cutting ceremony with “Bearemy.”  


YMCA of Central Ohio Announces New Chairman of the Board

[Columbus - May 1, 2013]  The YMCA of Central Ohio has selected Hal Keller, President, Ohio Capital Corporation as the new Chairman of its Metropolitan General Board of Trustees.  Keller was appointed to the position, which carries a two-year term on April 16, 2013, during the YMCA of Central Ohio’s annual meeting.  He will succeed Roger P. Sugarman of Kegler, Brown, Hill & Ritter, who completed his term as chair.

“Hal Keller is an outstanding 12 year board member and policy volunteer at the Y and we are excited and grateful for his board presidency,” said Andrew A. Roberts, President, YMCA of Central Ohio.  “On behalf of the rest of the Board of Directors and the Y, we are enthusiastic to channel Hal’s vision, humanity and love for our cause and look forward to leveraging those attributes on behalf of those we serve.”

In his capacity at the Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing, Keller oversees all corporate policy and fiscal affairs, including securing corporate investors for Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) equity funds and coordinating efforts to develop housing projects receiving equity investment from the Ohio Equity Funds.  To date, the Ohio Capital Corporation has generated more than $2.5 billion in corporate equity for LIHTC projects involving more than 600 transactions and 30,000 units of affordable housing in Ohio and Kentucky.

“The YMCA impacts the lives of thousands in central Ohio every year and I am honored to serve as chair of this important organization,” said Hal Keller, Chairman, Metropolitan General Board of Trustees.  “I am excited to continue working with the YMCA as we strengthen our programs and develop new ways to improve the quality of life in our community.”

Keller has served on the Metropolitan General Board of Trustees since 2001 and previously served on the Downtown YMCA Consulting Board.  As a long-time supporter of the Y, he was also instrumental in securing the renovation tax credit financing for the Downtown YMCA building.  His career in affordable housing spans more than 30 years as a consultant to state, local governments, an administrator of state and local housing programs, and as a neighborhood organizer and tenant advocate.  Keller holds Master of Arts degrees in Public Administration and Social Work from The Ohio State University and a Bachelor of Science in Applied Social Science from Case Western Reserve University.

For more information, contact:

Andrew A. Roberts
YMCA of Central Ohio

About the YMCA of Central Ohio

The Y is one of Central Ohio’s leading nonprofits strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.  We are a diverse association of men, women and children of all ages and from all walks of life, joined by a shared commitment to nurture the potential of children and teens, improve our community’s health and well-being, and provide opportunities to give back and support our neighbors.  As part of the fabric of Central Ohio for nearly 160 years, the Y has the long-standing relationships and physical presence not just to promise, but to deliver, lasting personal and social change.  ymcacolumbus.org.


New Guest Policy changes

To provide you with the best, safest possible YMCA experience, we’re making changes to our Guest Policy, effective June 1, 2013.


    who are in good standing with the Y may bring with him or her, at any time:
    - a Youth, Individual or Senior guest
    - Family* guests
    Guest fees and conditions apply. Please see below for details.
    may bring a guest when accompanied by their parent/guardian who is also a Y member. The parent/guardian must remain on the premises, assuming responsibility for their children and guest.
    Guest fees and conditions apply. Please see below for details.
(ages 15 and under)
(ages 16-61)
(ages 62 and over)
(one or two adults and up to three kids)
(add’l kids: $5/ea)

*Family: one or two adults in an established relationship who share a residence and their dependent children under the age of 25.

When guests become members, all guest pass fees paid within the previous 30 days shall be applied to the enrollment fee. May not be combined with other offers.


  • Non-members of all ages may visit the Y as a guest up to three times per calendar year, without joining. Exceptions are YMCA locations where you may purchase a day pass (Delaware Community Center YMCA, Downtown YMCA, Vaughn E. Hairston YMCA, Pickaway County Family YMCA).
  • Guest visits are subject to blackout periods due to either high member traffic or safety/security concerns. Contact your branch for details.
  • For safety/security reasons, all guests over age 15 must complete a Guest Code of Conduct form, present a valid Drivers License or State ID the first time they visit the Y and agree to have their photo taken and saved in the Y’s database (School IDs and other forms of photo ID are acceptable for minors). No adult will be admitted to the Y as a guest without a valid ID.
  • The adult member accompanying any guests under age 18 will be asked to sign the Guest Code of Conduct form on their behalf. Our young guests will have their photos taken for safety/security reasons.
  • The YMCA of Central Ohio reserves the right to restrict guest access and to change the Guest Policy at any time.

Precor Grant Supports the YMCA of Central Ohio’s Efforts to Curb Childhood Obesity

[COLUMBUS, ARPIL 10, 2013]– The YMCA of Central Ohio received a $3,000 grant from Precor to support efforts to help children in central Ohio live healthier lives through the implementation of the Y’s Healthy Eating and Physical Activity (HEPA) standards in early childhood and afterschool programs.  Adopting these standards is part of the Y’s commitment to first lady Michelle Obama and the Partnership for a Healthier America to help curb childhood obesity.

“As a leading nonprofit committed to strengthening community through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility, the Y takes its responsibility seriously, by helping those most in need,” said Andrew A. Roberts, President of YMCA of Central Ohio.  “YMCAs are one of the largest providers of early childhood and afterschool programs in the nation. Now, by adopting standards that will help our kids make better food and activity choices, we strive to be the healthiest.”

The YMCA of Central Ohio serves 2,500 children in our our child care programs each day.

All early childhood and afterschool programs are implementing the HEPA standards, which include: 

·         Establishing a minimum of expected physical activity for children of different ages enrolled in Y programs;

·         Defining food and beverages offerings, including designating water as the primary beverage during snack times and offering fruits and vegetables as snack options;

·         Limiting the amount of screen time  (watching TV, playing video games, and using computers);

·         Encouraging breastfeeding of infants in the Y’s care; and

·         Committing Ys to conducting parent education to encourage healthy behaviors at home.

“Like the Y,Precor believes that lasting personal and social change can only come about when we all work together to invest in our kids, our health, our neighbors, and our community,” said Paul Byrne, President. “By collaborating, we have a greater potential to help more people make positive lifestyle choices.”

The YMCA of Central Ohio is one of 50 YMCAs to receive a grant from Precor as part of the $300,000 gift to YMCA of the USA, the resource office for the nation’s YMCAs, to support the implementation of the HEPA standards in YMCA early childhood and afterschool programs.  Locally the funding will be used to support infrastructure opportunities such as purchasing supplies and equipment, and staff trainings that can help the YMCA to provide a healthy sustainable environment in an early childhood or afterschool site.

About Precor
Precor designs and builds premium fitness equipment for effective workouts that feel smooth and natural.  Our equipment is chosen by health clubs, hotels, spas and individuals all over the world.  For nearly three decades, we’re driven fitness forward with a passionate focus on ergonomic motion, proven science, and superior engineering.  We constantly study and anticipate the needs of the people and organizations we serve, and continually redefine the levels of innovation, quality and service necessary to deliver the very best fitness experiences – all with the goal of improving the ways people improve themselves.  precor.com

About the YMCA of Central Ohio

The Y is one of Central Ohio’s leading nonprofits strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.  We are a diverse association of men, women and children of all ages and from all walks of life, joined together by a shared commitment to nurture the potential of children and teens, improve our community’s health and well-being, and provide opportunities to give back and support our neighbors.  As part of the fabric of Central Ohio for nearly 160 years, the Y has the long-standing relationships and physical presence not just to promise, but to deliver, lasting personal and social change.  ymcacolumbus.org.


Becky Ciminillo

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Siblings of those with disabilities tackle life, fun in tandem

By  Rita Price
The Columbus Dispatch Monday April 8, 2013 8:56 AM
BELLEFONTAINE, Ohio — The tandem swing goes so high it requires harnesses and a hoist, plus safety helmets and nerve. More than a few of the would-be riders looked up — 34 feet up, to be exact — and balked.

Barb Sapharas listened to the coaching that ensued and smiled. Each set of swing partners were siblings, one with a lifelong disability and one without, ready again to laugh and love each other through something scary.

“Pretty cool,” said Sapharas, board chairman of Ohio SIBS, an organization for adult siblings of people with developmental disabilities and their families.

SIBS members and staff from Ohio State University’s Nisonger Center on Disabilities hosted a retreat for the sibling pairs over the weekend at YMCA Camp Willson, home of the giant swing.

See more photos from the Ohio SIBS retreat

Tom Fish, director of social work and family support services at Nisonger, said the retreat is the only one in the nation that mixes fun with a focus on transition, teaching the typical siblings how they can best help their brothers and sisters make the transition to adult services, employment and independent living.

“Those things will determine the rest of her life — her happiness,” said Michelle Long, whose 17-year-old sister, Julia Truby, has Down syndrome. “I want to influence that.”

The brothers and sisters of people with disabilities don’t often participate in early planning and service arrangement, Sapharas said, then face a steep learning curve if they inherit responsibility after parents pass away. Better to keep everyone in the fold from the beginning, she said.

“Siblings are the longest relationships in life,” she said. “I like to say we’re the first friend and the first playmate, although maybe not by choice. We’re the first tormenters. And probably their first advocates.”

Paige and Hanna McCaslin, 17-year-old twins, tackled the giant swing the same way they approach lots of tasks — with hands clasped. Hanna has autism; Paige does not.

“We’re still the other half of each other,” Paige said. “We’re super, super tight. Without her, I’d be crushed.”

Paige has seen and heard her share of not-so-nice teens who pick on people who are different. Because of Hanna, she could never be one of them.

“Without her, I might be that person,” Paige said. “She makes me better.”

Anthony Cummerlander, 19, told his sister to take a picture of him before he got on the swing and send it to their mom. He felt that he was doing a very “Gonzo” thing, a reference to the beloved Muppet character tucked in his jacket.

Lauren Cummerlander, 22, enjoyed their swing session. “It’s kind of like being shot out of a cannon, I think,” she said.

But she was grateful for the retreat’s serious side and the chance to talk in depth about how she and other typical siblings can help chart futures. “You know it’s coming someday,” Lauren said of her role.

Oftentimes, of course, the siblings with disabilities need no help at all. Tables turn.

“Kyle!” yelled his sister, Alison McKay, as she was strapped into the harness for the swing. “ Why are you making me do this?”

“Because,” said Kyle, who has Down syndrome. “It’s good for you.”

Link to Article


Cooks with a purpose serve food for thought

By  Kevin Joy
The Columbus Dispatch Tuesday April 2, 2013 9:04 AM
Beneath a string of bright paper lanterns, 20 guests dined on mismatched vintage china around a long table made of reclaimed wood. 

Pitchers of grapefruit cocktails and locally made spirits were offered. Old records of Italian pop songs played on a stereo. 

The comfortable scene with its cool guests suggested a hip magazine spread on entertaining.

Yet, aided by an unlikely group of line cooks, the setting inside the frills-free Downtown YMCA reflected a deeper purpose.

Graduates of Catch Court — a Franklin County program that helps prostitutes kick abusive men, drugs and the related lifestyle — prepared a high-end menu of celery-root salad, garlic soup, chorizo and honeycomb flan.

The gourmet food puts a face on Freedom a la Cart, which employs eight people part time.

“It’s showing that these women, some of them who have never worked in the kitchen or held a job on paper before, are capable of creating this elevated product,” said executive chef Lara Yazvac, formerly of the Northstar Cafe.

Profits from the meal — at $50 a person — benefited Doma, a nonprofit that helps survivors of human trafficking.

In business since 2011, Freedom a la Cart ranks among other little-known food operations throughout central Ohio whose menus are seasoned with large helpings of charity.

Here’s a sampling of the outreach efforts and their diverse culinary offerings:

Furthering a mission
The owner of Boujhetto’s doesn’t consider her business a restaurant.

It is, as a vibrant mural declares, “A Marlene Carson Vision.”

The vision extends to her daily homemade spread of soul food, featuring marshmallow-topped yams, pickles marinated in Kool-Aid, and beef brisket made from her mother’s recipe.

A closer look around the establishment at 2458 Cleveland Ave. reveals an altruistic mission: A window poster alerts passers-by to the plague of modern slavery.

Another by the cash register depicts police photos of battered women and girls trapped in the sex trade.

Boujhetto’s — whose name merges bougie (French for “candle”) and ghetto — serves cuisine as a means to support Rahab’s Hideaway, Carson’s safe house for exploited women.

All nine female employees, who are paid for their work, are survivors of human trafficking.

“With funding so limited, this is another way to help,” said Carson, 50, a Columbus native who was led into prostitution as an eighth-grader and, as an adult, became an advocate for women who face similar problems. Tylondia Pruitt, a Boujhetto’s cook, joked about how she “didn’t know how to boil water for eggs” until last year. Since then, the 29-year-old said, she has “learned how to provide for my family” of two children.

Carson, recently featured on Oprah Winfrey’s official website, plans to expand her payroll — and her reach — with a food truck in the summer.

Despite the dire circumstances that inspired the business, mealtime remains a happy time.

“When you come in,” said Carson, 50, “I want you to feel love and family.”

Feeding the masses
Catering in the name of charity can prove effective, too. For a decade, LifeCare Alliance has operated the for-profit LA Catering inside the group’s West Side facility on Harmon Avenue.

It shares a kitchen with Meals-on-Wheels but might offer more upscale eats, such as rosemary-shrimp skewers and romaine salad with ahi tuna.

Stemming largely from wedding parties and corporate orders, earnings support the nonprofit, which helps senior citizens with services such as cancer screenings, a food pantry and domestic-violence prevention.

“The vast majority of folks like that they know where the money’s going,” CEO Chuck Gehring said.

Lauren Wilson, general manager of Freshbox Catering, agreed.

A philanthropic connection resonates with customers , said Wilson, whose Downtown operation is owned by Lutheran Social Services of Central Ohio .

With guidance and training, homeless residents of the Faith Mission shelter prepare gourmet sandwiches and salads for box lunches — with bulk orders bound for customers ranging from corporations to church groups.

Workers are paid and receive counseling to help secure jobs in the hospitality industry.

Some clients choose Freshbox for its menu. And plenty of others do so for the food.

“We don’t expect anyone to make a concession on quality and service just because we have a great social mission,” said Wilson, adding that 22 Freshbox alumni have found permanent employment and housing since 2010.

“But it definitely gives us an edge.”

Making a mark
A similar edge has helped Freedom a la Cart expand beyond its original venture: a food cart that travels to festivals and is expected to return Downtown this spring.

(Standard street meat, it isn’t: The cart has featured chimichurri roast beef, white-bean empanadas, sweet-potato soup and ginger lemonade.)

In July, the cooks inhabited an old commercial kitchen in the YMCA, 40 W. Long St. Prep work was previously done at Double Happiness, a Brewery District bar.

The permanence has helped birth a lunch counter on the Y’s first floor as well as a growing catering business that has fed, among others, Gov. John Kasich and executives of the United Way and Women’s Fund of Central Ohio.

And the supper club, introduced in January, will continue: Dinners are planned for Friday and Saturday, with RSVP details on Facebook.

During the last such gathering, attendees knew that their money would support Doma outreach (and help pay the staff), but that back story wasn’t discussed at the table.

North Side resident Nick Nelson, 31, viewed the meal as atypical advocacy — “a neat way to address . . . a problem right in our backyard.”

Missions needn’t preach, said Freedom a la Cart founder Julie Clark, but positive messages can be marketable.

With her staff as proof, she envisions a series of franchised restaurants.

“The survivors we employ,” Clark said, “are capable of anything.”


Link to Article


How to Handel loiterers? Give ’em a blast of the classics

By  Kevin Joy
The Columbus Dispatch Sunday March 24, 2013 9:11 AM
On a recent Tuesday evening, two men were arguing on the sidewalk outside the Downtown YMCA.

As the exchange grew more heated, Sue Darby turned up the volume on a set of speakers affixed to the building exterior.

The defuser: Antonio Vivaldi.

The delicate orchestral strains of the Four Seasons concertos prompted the opponents to walk away.

“I feel like it’s a positive approach,” said Darby, executive director of the Y, at 40 W. Long St. “People don’t tend to stand around. There’s a sense of security.”

Since January at the Y, an iPod loaded with classical music has played repeatedly from 6 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. daily.

The speakers on the building were donated by the Capital Crossroads Special Improvement District, which represents Downtown property owners.

Although such a soundtrack might be regarded as a pleasant diversion — a welcome cultural boost, even — by many people, another motive is at play.

The music is designed as a social deterrent.

A recent survey of Y fitness-center members revealed concerns about sidewalk loitering, which the 400 residents of the facility aren’t allowed to do. A rooming house across the street and an adjacent mental-health center sometimes exacerbate the clusters, Darby said.

The unorthodox sonic approach isn’t new.

Some Short North residents have come to know the classical repertoire blasting outside the United Dairy Farmers store at 900 N. High St.

Although a manager on duty said the practice, about a year old, has “done what it’s supposed to do,” shopper Daveione Fluellen said he continues to see panhandlers hanging around.

Still, “It’s peaceful,” said Fluellen, 20, as a Mozart selection played in the background.Officials at the corporate offices of UDF didn’t respond to three messages left by The Dispatch regarding the music.

Cleve Ricksecker, who lives in Victorian Village, considers the classical sounds a blessing.

“They used to have what appeared to be some petty drug dealers hanging out in front” of the convenience store, said Ricksecker, executive director of both the Capital Crossroads and Discovery special-improvement districts.

“All those people just disappeared when the speakers went up.”

His hunch: “There’s something about baroque music that macho wannabe-gangster types hate. At the very least, it has a calming effect.”

The theory might have some merit.

Daniel Levitin, a psychology professor at McGill University in Montreal and author of This Is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession, said reactions depend on people’s tastes.

When he used scanners to monitor brain activity, a subject’s amygdala — the part of the brain governing emotions that can initiate a fight-or-flight response — was triggered after hearing music perceived to be unpleasant.

Whether one dislikes classical works or classic rock, Levitin said, audio aversion is far more innate than, say, negative visual stimuli because “there isn’t much you can do to get out of its way other than moving yourself.”

A crescendo effect seems evident.

Strains of opera and choral tunes have permeated a city train station in Portland, Ore, for more than two years — resulting in a reduction in service calls for help, The Oregonian reported. Similar success has been noted by small businesses in Seattle.

In New York, a public-spaces planning group touted such sounds as a boost to “overall ambience” at the city’s Port Authority bus station.

And, in Minneapolis, classical music was added last year to a troublesome light-rail vestibule as part of a “suite” of upgrades that included better lighting, security cameras and an increased police presence.

John Siqveland, spokesman for the Minneapolis Metro Transit system, said the situation has improved. Although he couldn’t quantify the direct effect of Beethoven, he called the aural component “fast, cheap and easy.”

One rider, he said, sent email to request the playlist.

Ricksecker has proposed installing speakers that play classical music at several Downtown Columbus spots known to attract loiterers, but he said property owners declined the offer.

COTA spokesman Brian Hoyt said the city’s public-transit authority hasn’t considered playing classical music at bus stops or inside vehicles, citing a lack of need.

And, he added: “It’s impossible to determine one type of music our passengers would like or dislike."

What might it say about society when fine arts are used as a weapon?

The Columbus Symphony declined to comment. So did folks at classical radio station WOSA (101.1 FM).

But Timothy Russell, the outgoing music director of ProMusica, sees the debate from both sides — with an opportunity, he hopes, for an unintended outcome.

“First of all, I am always happy when people are listening to classical music,” said Russell, who is set to retire this summer after 34 seasons, “but I am sorry if people want to use it as a social deterrent.“

Part of me might hope that they actually just sit around and keep listening.”

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Grove City YMCA Launches Diabetes Prevention Program

GROVE CITY, Ohio - The YMCA of Central Ohio is one of 17 groups across the country to participate in a project to reduce diabetes.

The Grove City YMCA launched its prevention program on Wednesday.

Under the program, participants at risk for Type 2 diabetes gets weekly lessons on nutrition and fitness to help reduce the chance for the disease.

The 16-week program has a goal of reducing each participant's weight by seven percent.

"It's really fun," said Andrew Roberts of the YMCA of Central Ohio. "It's not a diet. It's not something that is difficult to participate in. It's really about changing the way people think about their behavior."

The pilot program is an effort to reduce the cost of diabetes to taxpayers in the form of health care costs.

Watch 10TV News and refresh 10TV.com for more information.

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Downtown Columbus YMCA Stands Tall, Serves All

by Walker

At 91 years old, the Downtown YMCA in Columbus stands as one of the city’s more ornate historic buildings that has stood the test of time. Its dark bricks and decorative stonework symbolizes the level of attention to detail that is a part of the mission of the YMCA when making a long-lasting impact upon the community.

Inside the YMCA is a similar story. Health and wellness are obviously at the core of the facility, but some people may not be aware of how the many different types of programs and services reach across multiple socioeconomic levels and positively affect so many people in different ways.

We spoke recently with Sue Darby, the new Executive Director of the Downtown Branch of the YMCA to find out more about the history of the building as well as the services and programs offered within.

Walker Evans: To start, what can you tell us about the history of the YMCA in Columbus?

Sue Darby: In the 1890′s, men didn’t just “go to the Y,” they belonged to it, became part of it. Although branches of sorts existed at The Ohio State University and the old Union Station, there was no YMCA facility for men to go to for physical exercise, a class, or quiet reading time. All of that changed in 1893 with the opening of the original Central YMCA on Third Street, Downtown, the first of many dedicated facilities the Association would own and operate in the years to come.

The YMCA’s evolving and rather simplistic reputation as a “health club” was already evident in its turn-of-the-century facilities. In 1922, the Downtown YMCA located at 40 West Long Street was born. However, it offered far more than physical fitness to its membership of young working men, many of whom were new to city life and often undereducated. Anxious to learn, the men joined discussion groups and frequented the building’s extensive library. The YMCA’s classes in business and trades were eventually recognized as the YMCA Schools, which still exists today as Franklin University.

As the Association grew in membership, so did its geographical reach. The YMCA established a presence in the city’s South Side, then a bustling center of local industry, to serve the large number of factory and steel mill workers there. Also, the YMCA began acquiring open land in earnest, south of Columbus and as far away as Bellefontaine, in anticipation of its first forays into camping, particularly for youth — a YMCA tradition to this day.

WE: In more recent years, there’s been a renewed emphasis on Downtown revitalization through residential development, retail businesses and public infrastructure investment. What role does the YMCA play as a Downtown anchor?

SD: Because of the central location of our Y, we have been able to connect all the districts together: Short North, Old Towne, Clintonville, Franklinton. With the growing young adult population living Downtown, we have seen such a growth. They want to join a movement – something more than a gym but a mission minded organization that gives back to their community.

The City has always asked us to the table in big discussions. Since our successful supportive housing program (over 600 men are provided a home), we were asked to help with the shelter system. Two years ago we opened an overflow shelter unit that provides bed for 190 men and women that live off the land.

We also are the leaders in Diabetes Prevention Program – looked at nationally for our success.

WE: What types of services, events and programming does the YMCA offer that most people don’t know about?

SD: The supportive housing mentioned above and our Diabetes Prevention Program. We also have our Positive Alternative Learning for Students (PALS) program that’s housed at our branch. PALS is a structured and supervised environment for students who have been suspended from school. Students who are on 3, 5, and 10 day suspensions are referred to PALS by local public school systems, juvenile courts, departments of human services and parents. We had over 1,500 different kids come through our doors last school year.

We also have the Corporate Challenge – play to give. Through sports and recreation events, we bring employees of local businesses together.

Corporate wellness is another program. We offer corporate health and wellness programming t match the needs of companies, large or small. We are in partnership with Children’s Hospital, AEP, State Auto, Grange and many others.

WE: When talking about health and fitness services, what differentiates the YMCA from gyms or other fitness facilities?

SD: First, we are a non-profit. So memberships bring about meaningful change, not just within yourself, but in the community. Also, all group exercise classes are included in membership and we offer Membership For All, which means we base your membership rate off your income. We want everyone to have a Y experience.

WE: I’ve heard about potential plans for converting the building to have a rooftop garden where vegetables could be grown. Can you tell us more about that concept?

SD: A rooftop garden is a dream we hope to bring into reality. It not only will provide 400 pounds of fresh produce to our 403 residents, but it will give our men an opportunity to take care of garden. We want to continue our cause in strengthening the community.

Q: Anything else you want to add about the Downtown YMCA… past, present or future?

A: We will continue to be the leaders in chronic disease. We have our Livestrong program that focuses on cancer survivors, our New U that helps kids that our medically obese find hope and success, and our diabetes prevention/management classes.

For more information, visit ymcacolumbus.org/downtown


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Media Alert — Grove City YMCA to Launch Diabetes Prevention Program for Individuals over Age 60

YMCA of Central Ohio among 17 Y’s Across the Nation to Test Cost Effectiveness among Medicare Recipients

Tracy Ross - Executive Director, American Diabetes Association
Ellen Grubb - Older active adult and program participant
Andrew A. Roberts - CEO  & President, YMCA of Central Ohio
Tony Delisio - Executive Director, Grove City YMCA
Caroline Rankin - Director, YMCA of Central Ohio Diabetes Programming    
YMCA of Central Ohio Diabetes Prevention Program

Wednesday, March 13, 2013
10:00 am

Grove City YMCA
3600 Discovery Drive
Grove City, OH  43123
*A & B Conference Rooms

The YMCA of Central Ohio was selected to participate in a demonstration projection to assess the effectiveness of the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program in lowering incidences of type 2 diabetes and reducing the cost burden of the condition on the health care system.  The YMCA of Central Ohio is among 17 Y’s across the nation selected to participate in a project that, if successful, could save millions in future health care costs and create an infrastructure for how community based organizations deliver health care services to the Medicare population with prediabetes.
The event is designed to inform Medicare recipients about the new program and its benefits.  Healthy snacks will be provided and guests will have an opportunity to hear from someone from the Medicare population that has benefitted from the Diabetes Prevention Program. 

Níel M. Jurist
PR Specialist
YMCA of Central Ohio

Obamacare pilot to prevent diabetes starting at YMCA

Carrie Ghose
Staff reporter - Business First

The YMCA of Central Ohio will start enrolling Medicare recipients this month for a diabetes prevention demonstration project under Obamacare that if successful in reducing medical bills could become a standard benefit.

The Columbus-based branch is one of 17 nationwide participating in the program that coaches participants on diet and fitness to help prevent diabetes from developing. The program is open to those covered by Medicare, the federal insurance for those age 65 and older, who are showing symptoms that they’re at risk for type 2 diabetes.

As I reported in July, the YMCA started the coaching program two years ago with insurer UnitedHealthcare and still offers it for its at-risk members in Central Ohio.

YMCA of the USA was awarded the $12 million grant to start the Medicare project over the summer and the final clearance came now from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The goal is to enroll 10,000 participants across the 17 regions, and the individual YMCAs will be reimbursed afterward.

Informational sessions and diabetes screenings for Medicare recipients start next week

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Diabetes prevention program open to Medicare recipients

(by Tara Figurski, staff writer - February 27, 2013)

More than 1,000 people have participated in diabetes prevention courses since the YMCA of Central Ohio launched its program in 2010. YMCA officials hope to see an increase in demand now that the classes can be paid through Medicare.

More than 79 million Americans are at risk for diabetes, said Caroline Rankin, director of the YMCA of Central Ohio’s diabetes prevention program.

“Diabetes is a leading cause of heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney disease and nerve damage,” she said.

The National Center for Disease Control estimates one of every two Americans will have diabetes by 2030. This can be deterred through prevention, Rankin said.

“The projections are astronomical,” Rankin said. “We need to find a way to help people live healthier lifestyles.”

The YMCA has offered prevention programs since 2010, but Medicare recipients were not eligible to participate, according to Rankin.

When the program started it was offered to individuals insured through United Healthcare or through self-pay, said Barbara Camfield, Hilltop YMCA.

The bulk of the participants came from United Healthcare and were identified as having a potential for diabetes through a health scan, Camfield said.

Rankin said through the Affordable Care Act the YMCA of Central Ohio was one of 17 YMCA programs across the country selected to deliver the program to individuals receiving Medicare Part A and Part B.

“The program is for those at risk for diabetes,” Camfield said.

In addition to receiving Medicare, participants must also qualify by being diagnosed as “pre-diabetic,” which means having an elevated glucose level without diabetes and a body mass index of 25 or above, Rankin said.

The program focuses on lifestyle changes, Rankin said. Weight loss of 7 percent and 150 minutes of physical activity per week can prevent or delay the onset of diabetes by 58 percent.

Pre-diabetes threatens more than 50 percent of adults over age 65, Rankin said.

“To change a habit you have to have a new habit,” Rankin said. “We have seen great success. This is about helping them figure out what are habits and changes you can make.”

Camfield said the diabetes prevention program is offered once a week for 16 weeks. Each class focuses on one particular aspect of prevention, like healthy eating.

A participant in the program herself, Camfield said she learned a lot of new things.

“I always thought that I was a healthy eater … not so much,” she said. “It is the old adage that knowledge is power. With the Internet there is so much information.”

Participants talk about their health challenges, she said. Camfield’s challenge to overcome was ice cream. Success did not mean giving up ice cream, but learning what else could satisfy her cravings.

Her husband overcame cheese. He discovered all kinds of lower-fat cheeses.

The class also provides moral support. Participants work together to accomplish their 150 minutes of exercise.

“It is easier to exercise with a buddy,” Camfield said.

Exercise is a key component of the program.

“My numbers didn’t start coming down until I started to exercise,” Camfield said. “You have to figure out what works for you.”

The YMCA offers 20 diabetes prevention classes at various central Ohio branches, including the Hilltop YMCA, 2879 Valleyview Drive.

The next diabetes prevention class at the Hilltop branch starts 10 a.m. on March 6. To register, contact Rankin at 224-1137.

The YMCA will host also host a special informational event at 10 a.m. on March 13 at the Grove City branch, 3600 Discovery Drive.

For information, visit www.ymcacolumbus.org/diabetes.

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Y’s club gives kids chance to lead

ThisWeek Community News
Monday January 21, 2013 10:17 AM

When Santa Claus visited the Delaware YMCA in December, he had helpers -- and they weren't elves.

A group of Delaware teens pitched in to help run the annual Breakfast with Santa event. They helped to set up, cook breakfast and lead children to visit Santa.

It was one of many community events served by the YMCA's new Teen Leaders Club since it was launched in October. The group helps local teens volunteer, make new friends and build personal skills.

"These guys deserve respect and they need a place to be heard and a place where they can make a difference," said Roger Hanafin, youth, teen and family program director at the Y. "Teen Leaders Club gives them a safe place to experiment with being in charge and trying new things -- plus it's a lot of fun."

The club meets at 6 p.m. every Thursday at the Delaware Community Center YMCA, 1121 S. Houk Road.

It's free to join and open to all youth ages 11-17. Hanafin said most of the current members range from ages 11-14.

In addition to weekly meetings, members engage in community service, such as volunteering at the Y during the monthly Family Night events. They're also organizing the YMCA's Rock Wall Challenge this month, and in February they'll volunteer at Delaware Parks and Recreation's father-daughter dance.

Members also participate in social activities such as an overnight lock-in at the YMCA, during which they swam in the pool, played games and watched movies.

Logan Keeder, 13, said the club is really about learning to take on new responsibilities.

"We do have fun, but usually there is a serious point to what we're doing," Keeder said. "When we're volunteering and seeing how we can make a difference, we get to see that this is what it's really about."

The weekly meetings include games and activities, but members also open up and have serious conversations. Earlier this month, the teens shared their thoughts and experiences related to bullying at school.

Members also build new skills in the club. Recently, they've been working on skills related to finding a job and building a career. They learned how to apply for a job and practiced interview skills.

Feb. 15-17, they'll visit Camp Wilson in Bellefontaine to meet up with 150 other Teen Leaders clubs from YMCAs across the state.

At the camp, they'll play team-building games and participate in activities such as archery and horseback riding.

When they get back, they'll elect two members to serve as the group's first president and vice president.

Zach Miller, 12, said Teen Leaders Club inspired him to get off the couch.

"It's been a great experience," he said. "I think it kind of changed me and gave me something to do instead of just sitting around all the time -- and I met a lot of new people here, too."

Teddy Cochran, 12, said, "I enjoy it a lot. It gets my mind off of school and any other problems."

Youth interested in joining can inquire at the YMCA front desk or attend a weekly meeting.

While the group is free to join, there are fees for certain activities such as the Camp Wilson trip. But Hanafin said the YMCA will work with families individually to ensure their child can afford to participate in all events.

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Overflow shelter for homeless opens

By  Rita Price  and  Dean Narciso
Monday January 7, 2013 10:38 PM
A winter shelter for homeless men and women finally opened tonight in its controversial Franklin Township location next to a day-care center.

About 15 women spent the night in the building at 511 Industrial Mile Rd., which used to be a church and before that a fitness club.

Shelter officials say they’ve worked hard to arrange for shuttle services, more-frequent COTA runs, special-duty township police patrols, national-level background checks for clients, and other measures aimed at keeping the neighborhood safe.

“I think the concerns that were brought up by the community have been addressed and will continue to be monitored,” said Franklin Township Trustee Tim Guyton.

The first clients arrived about 7:30 tonight and were checked for weapons with an electronic security wand before being directed to the large room of beds, freshly painted walls, coffee and a flat-screen television. Lights were turned out at 10 p.m.

Guyton said the YMCA of Central Ohio, which operates the shelter through an agreement with the Community Shelter Board, will keep up its public meetings with area residents and business owners to discuss any problems.

“If issues should arise, that’s where they can be brought up and, hopefully, where they can be addressed,” Guyton said.

The opening of the 190-bed winter overflow shelter had been delayed for nearly two months amid legal, zoning, building- and fire-code battles.

Creative Child Care Inc. lost its requests last month for a restraining order and injunction to halt the opening, but it still has a lawsuit pending. A tall chain-link fence has been installed between the properties.

Michelle Heritage, the executive director of the Community Shelter Board, said the community negotiations haven’t made everyone happy. But the winter weather and crowded conditions at existing shelters were creating a critical situation.

New brass sprinkler heads shone from the ceiling’s plumbing tonight, in compliance with fire-code demands. And those needing extra bedding were furnished with new fleece blankets.

“It’s great. I’d give it a 10,” said Stacey Brown, 38, who arrived alone in Columbus on Dec. 21 after being unable to find work in Jacksonville, Fla. She’s been seeking warehouse work since.

Another woman staying at the shelter tonight was Anita Taylor, of Lubbock, Texas, who has been in Columbus for two months to visit her ill father at Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center.

“It’s just a warm, clean place,” she said of the shelter. “It’s just a blessing. But there’s a lot of people still out there on the street.”

Heritage said occupancy, which tops out at 130 beds for men and 60 for women, probably will ramp up in the coming days.

Shelter residents are to arrive between 7 and 8 p.m., after the day care’s 6 p.m. closing. They will begin leaving around 5 a.m. and should be out by 6 a.m., when the day care opens. The shelter is not open during the day.

Homeless adults are supposed to call a central access number to request a shelter bed. They are given day passes for the Central Ohio Transit Authority and can use nearby bus stops to meet the shelter shuttle.

Heritage said the evening shuttle pickup site is the COTA stop at W. Broad Street and Wilson Road. In the mornings, when shelter residents leave, the shuttle is available to take the men and women to any of three COTA stops: at Industrial Mile and Georgesville Road.; at W. Broad Street and Viotis Drive; or at W. Broad and Wilson.

“We worked with COTA to say, ‘What are reasonable stops that buses could run often?’ " Heritage said.

She said six churches throughout the city have agreed to serve as “warming stations” for the homeless during the day, sometimes serving meals. Heritage said that shelter residents aren’t expected to remain in the area during the day.

“Our experience in the past has been that people do not stay and hang around the overflow shelter,” Heritage said. “They go lots of different places. They go to work, to friends’ houses. They are citizens.”

Taylor, who has construction experience in Texas, said she will remain in town “if I can find work.”

And as for those who object to the shelter’s location, she said: “They don’t know what they’r e talking about until they’ve walked in my shoes. It may be their turn tomorrow.”



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Hilltop YMCA raises nearly $50K for rennovations

(by Sean Lehosit, Westside Editor - December 14, 2012)

The Hilltop YMCA has raised nearly $50,000 to remodel its facility. Construction is slated to be complete by May.
In June, the Hilltop YMCA began campaigning to raise $50,000 to remodel its facility.

The branch has reached 98 percent of its goal, according to Niel Jurist, public relations specialist for the YMCA of Central Ohio.

The total cost of project is $1.5 million. This includes the expansion of its fitness center and child watch rooms, as well as the addition of new locker rooms, a multi-use room and learning lab.

“All of the improvements are the result of input from our members and volunteers, along with the need for our YMCA to continue to provide quality fitness services and programs,” Jurist said.

Paul Westenheffer, executive director of the Hilltop YMCA, stated in June the facility is running out of space for programs. Areas like locker rooms were not accessible to the handicap or elderly. The branch’s member base is also outgrowing the 52-year-old building.

“The reasons for expansion include space constraints within our facility and the need to address accessibility issues with our floor plans,” Jurist said. “Once construction is complete, all facets of our YMCA will be located on one floor.”

Jurist said the Hilltop branch has around 4,500 members. They have experienced steady growth over the past three years, with a particular increase in senior membership.

“After construction is complete, our YMCA will be fully accessible for all and will have the space necessary to support programs such as diabetes prevention and diabetes management,” Jurist said.

Renovation work on the indoor pool is mostly complete, Jurist said. Footers have been poured and site work is complete on new construction, with brick work starting Dec. 24.

The project is slated to finish by May.

To inquire about donating, contact the Hilltop YMCA at 276-8224 or email info@ymcacolumbus.org.

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City leaders, residents sing year-old Y’s praises

Delaware's YMCA, opened last November, is third-largest in central Ohio

ThisWeek Community News
Monday December 3, 2012 10:19 AM


Julie Weller and her family are familiar faces at the Delaware Community Center YMCA.

Weller and her husband stop in frequently to use the treadmills and weights, and their three children -- all members of the YMCA swim team -- usually can be found in the pool.

"We love it," Weller said. "It's not only a place to go in and work out and get healthy, but it's becoming a meeting place for the city.

"When you go in, you don't see just one person you know -- you see whole families."

It's been just over one year since the Delaware YMCA first opened its doors in November 2011, and local officials say it has already changed the face of the community.

"It probably would not be a stretch to say we are a healthier city today than we were a year ago because of the programming the Y has been able to bring to our citizens, and the opportunities that are now offered at the facility," said Delaware city spokesman Lee Yoakum.

The facility at 1121 S. Houk Road includes a gym with weights and cardiovascular machines, two indoor pools, basketball courts, an elevated running track, a climbing wall, aerobic classrooms, a hot tub and sauna, a child watch area and more.

It offers a wide range of programming, including fitness classes, sports leagues for children and adults, and even a Leaders Club for teens that promotes community involvement through volunteering.

In its first year, the facility exceeded expectations, drawing about 8,000 members and thousands of participants for its sports leagues. It's now the third-largest YMCA branch in the Central Ohio district.

Its popularity may not be a surprise to everyone. Residents have been clamoring for a recreation center in Delaware for nearly 14 years.

In 1998, Weller led a volunteer group called Citizens for Indoor Recreation, which banded together to promote the cause.

"There was a huge need for indoor recreation space," she said.

"The city was growing and it was becoming more apparent all the time, especially since we're in a climate where it gets very cold in the winter. There was nowhere to exercise."

But it wasn't until Delaware voters approved a 0.15 percent income tax increase in 2008 that the project finally got the green light.

Paul Weber, director of city recreation services, said the facility is a hit because it meets the needs of every member of the family.

"Adults can come in and take on their wellness challenges, and the kids can come in and they have a place to play and be kids," he said.

For city officials, the YMCA has become a close partner. In 2011, the organization took control of the city's internal parks and recreation department, a move many hoped would save money and expand programming.

The experiment has been a success. Yoakum said the partnership will save the city $150,000 to $200,000 per year.

"We're able to save quite a lot, and clearly the amount of programming is greater than it was before," he said. "The advantages really can't be overstated."

Weber said the facility is gearing up to offer more targeted programs in 2013, including programs that make it more convenient for working residents to exercise before and after work, plus a new program to get residents who may have gotten off track with their fitness regime back in the swing of things with guided sports and exercise classes.

"We want to focus on people that have health and fitness goals and help them achieve those goals," he said. "We think that's how we can be a real asset to the community."

Link to Article


Giant Eagle Teaming Up With YMCA For Thanksgiving Feast

COLUMBUS -- Giant Eagle is teaming up with the Downtown YMCA to make sure the organization's residents will have a proper Thanksgiving meal this year.

The YMCA has been preparing a holiday meal for its residents for a decade, but a lack of supplies jeopardized a portion of this year's feast, which is expected to feed 600 people.

ABC 6/FOX 28 learned of the organization's plight through social media, then reached out to Giant Eagle to seek a solution.

Officials from the grocery store chain quickly agreed to help out, helping to provide 67 desserts and hundreds of soft drinks needed to complete the meal.

Tim Wheat is one of the YMCA's residents that will enjoy the upcoming holiday feast. He told ABC 6/FOX 28 that Giant Eagle's generosity will not go unnoticed -- or unappreciated.

"It is very welcome. I was homeless i went without before i came here," Wheat said. "It is a smile to have meals here on Thanksgiving."

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We’re excited for our new software!

We appreciate your patience while we upgrade our software this month to better serve YOU!

A few features we are excited about:

  • The HUB, a revolutionary portal designed with you in mind!
  • Smile! We’ll be taking new pictures of our members.
  • Easier, faster online & in-person registration & transactions.
  • Give the gift of Y membership & programs with our new gift cards.
  • We’re going green! No more paper!
  • Store & scan your membership card from your smart phone.

The Community Health Funders’ Collaborative Announces 2012 Healthy Community Award Winners

Contact: Lisa S. Courtice 614/251-4000 x 143, lcourtice@columbusfoundation.org

Awards recognize local organizations that create healthy living environments through access to physical activity and healthy foods

Columbus, OH (October  11, 2012)—The Community Health Funders’ Collaborative today recognized Catholic Social Services, Children’s Hunger Alliance, and the YMCA of Central Ohio, as winners of the 2012 Healthy Community Awards. The recipients were announced at the Healthy Community Forum held in Davis Hall at The Columbus Foundation. The awardees each received a $20,000 grant from the Collaborative for their efforts to improve the health and wellness of central Ohioans.

2012 Award Winners

• Catholic Social Services was recognized for its strategic and longstanding efforts to help meet the needs of central Ohio residents, particularly the growing Hispanic community, through its Our Lady of Guadalupe Center. Through its emergency food assistance; health screenings; information on nutrition, housing, legal aid and finances; and guidance in acquiring basic needs, Catholic Social Services and the Our Lady of Guadalupe Center are leaders in community health improvement efforts.

• Children’s Hunger Alliance was recognized for its work to inspire central Ohio residents to eat healthier and to become more physically active as part its mission to break the cycle of childhood hunger. Through its youth meal programs, nutrition education and physical activity programs, and its partnerships with schools and community-based agencies, Children’s Hunger Alliance is a leader in community health improvement efforts.

• YMCA of Central Ohio was selected as a result of the organization’s success in helping central Ohio residents become more physically active and eat healthier. Through its many sports and recreation programs, afterschool programs, family health and wellness programs, and adult health management and wellness programs, the YMCA of Central Ohio is a leader in community health improvement efforts.

The 2012 Healthy Community Forum keynote speaker was Allison F. Bauer, program director at The Boston Foundation. Ms. Bauer joined the Boston Foundation in January 2007 and leads the foundation’s health strategy, focused on encouraging healthy behaviors and increasing access to healthy foods and opportunities for physical activity.

The Community Health Funders’ Collaborative is a philanthropic partnership created to sustain and improve the health and quality of life in central Ohio through focused initiatives and leveraged funding. The collaborative is composed of private, community and corporate funders, including the Osteopathic Heritage Foundations, The Columbus Foundation, United Way of Central Ohio, and Columbus Medical Association Foundation.


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Franklin County Commissioners to Participate in National Childhood Health Initiative…

For Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Contact: Scott Varner, Franklin County Commissioners, 614/525-6638 or 614/554-9089
or Hanna Greer, Franklin County Commissioners, 614/525-5848
or Niel M. Jurist, YMCA of Central Ohio, 614/224.1137 ext. 128

Franklin County Commissioners to Participate in National Childhood Health Initiative… and Showcase Easy-to-Make, Healthy-to-Eat Afterschool Snacks 

With inactivity and obesity continuing to put Central Ohio children at higher risks for chronic health and physical problems, Franklin County Commissioners will announce on Tuesday the County’s participation in a major national childhood health initiative - starting with tips for parents on easy-to-make, healthy-toeat afterschool snacks. Over the past three decades, childhood obesity rates in America have tripled. Nationally, nearly one in every three children or teenagers is overweight or obese. The numbers are even higher in African American and Hispanic communities, where nearly 40 percent of young people are considered overweight.

On Tuesday, Franklin County will launch a series of efforts aimed at empowering kids and their families to discover the fun in healthy eating and exercise. With help from a local nutrition expert and a class of preschool students, Franklin County Commissioner President Paula Brooks and YMCA of Central Ohio President Andrew Roberts will demonstrate how to fix afterschool snacks that are easy for parents to make and healthy for young children to eat.

WHAT  Launch of New Franklin County Childhood Health Initiative

WHO  Franklin County Commissioner President Paula Brooks 
          YMCA of Central Ohio President Andrew Roberts

WHERE  Hilltop YMCA   2879 Valleyview Drive, Columbus 43204

WHEN  Tuesday, September 4, 2012 -  2:00pm

GREAT VISUALS  Commissioner Brooks and YMCA staff will prepare snacks for preschool class


For more information on the Franklin County Board of Commissioners, log on to: franklincountyohio.gov/commissioners

OFFICE UPRISING ‘Standing’ desks, mobility efforts energize employees during workday

Susan Miller, as she might be found most afternoons, was on her feet. The human-resources executive — who since January has relied on a “standing” desk, with adjustable risers that lift a phone and computer screen to eye level — gushed about a dramatic shift in her mood and productivity.

“Instead of having that 2 or 3 o’clock slump, I feel energetic,” said Miller, 43, of the Arena District marketing company Resource, which offers the desk to any employee.

“It’s hard to explain until you experience it. And instead of pinging someone with an email, it’s just as easy to take the 10 steps over and have a conversation.”

A culture of movement during the often-sedentary 9-to-5 grind has become a goal for workplaces seeking to combat   habitual sitting patterns, which foster malaise, inactivity and a plethora of health-related dangers — including elevated risks of heart disease and certain types of cancer.

Could that ho-hum office job really be a hazard?

“We’ve been focusing on smoking, alcohol, exercise, stress, sleep, nutrition,” said Anup Kanodia, a family-medicine physician and researcher at the Wexner Medical Center at Ohio State University.

“I think a new and very important risk factor is the amount of time you sit.”

A wave of recent research underscores that sentiment — with results you might not want to read while sitting down.

A 14-year study by the American Cancer Society found in 2010 that men who sat for six or more hours a day of leisure time were 20 percent more likely to die than men who sat for three hours a day. The comparable rate for women: 40 percent. 

Researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., who controlled subjects’ diets and forbade traditional exercise found that participants who didn’t gain pounds (even as food portions grew) were those who unconsciously moved more — by walking around the office, by taking the stairs, by keeping busy at home with chores or yardwork.

Based on a combined analysis of five existing studies, a July report by the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, La., determined that active, nonsmoking people who sit for more than three hours a day decrease their life expectancy by two years.

“Even if you go to the gym for   an hour, what about the other 23 hours of the day?” said Dr. Peter Katzmarzyk, a Pennington epidemiologist and researcher.

“People who sit less have a lower risk.”

Last month, Kanodia said, the Wexner Medical Center launched a “mobile campaign,” including standing and walking staff meetings, and a few standing desks.

In March, as part of a six-month pilot study, the New Albany offices of health-care giant Aetna were outfitted with two treadmill workstations — each $4,000 unit equipped with a phone and computer.

Based on feedback and results (a collective 172,000 calories were burned by 20 enthusiastic participants), the machines will stay and be open to any of the building’s 900-plus staff members.

A weekly treadmill routine of three 60-minute working sessions helped Sherri Morris drop two pant sizes.

“When I saw that I was losing the weight, it just motivated me   more,” said the 39-year-old, an Aetna customer-service representative who spoke while pacing at a moderate speed. “ You feel better.”

Elsewhere, corporate fitness initiatives — from screenings and health fairs to discounted gym memberships — are on the rise. Five years of annual surveys issued by the Society for Human Resource Management, based in Virginia, show a slow but continual climb.

Wellness Works, a workplace-health partnership with the YMCA of Central Ohio, has grown yearly since its 2007 inception. Among its offerings are diet counseling and classes such as lunch-hour and after-work boot camps, yoga and Zumba conducted on-site at participating central Ohio offices. 

“We have to collectively be proactive,” said Christopher Haverlock, corporate-wellness director for the YMCA.

Such investments, according to a 2010 Harvard University study, can boost profits: Company medical costs drop $3.27 in relation to every dollar spent on workplace disease-prevention and health programs.

That’s to say nothing of productivity: A study of NASA employees found that those who exercised worked at full throttle until day’s end, while others lagged during the final two hours.

Even small efforts seemingly make a big difference. 

Kanodia recommends two to five minutes of movement every half-hour — with the added suggestion of taking phone calls while standing. To stand, he said, burns 50 percent more calories than sitting.

Ensuing muscle contractions help the body pump glucose from the bloodstream as well as convert low-density lipoprotein (“bad cholesterol”) into high-density lipoprotein (“good cholesterol”) — a process that drops as much as 95 percent during long sits.

Which explains why employees at the Grange Insurance offices in the Brewery District can use the office’s 24/7 fitness center at any time during the day and after hours. A rotating schedule also features classes ranging from cardio kickboxing to meditation. 

With midday movement, “You get that break,” said Rea Jean Hix, work-life services coordinator for Grange — who noted that staff members use the honor system to balance work and workout time.

“You get that exercise, you’re refreshed, and you can continue on with your day."

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Anything but square: Dancers hope club grows

ThisWeek Community News
Friday August 10, 2012 5:00 PM

The Little Brown Jug Square Dancers are celebrating their 25th year of do-si-dos and promenades.

Last year, the group celebrated its 25th anniversary by dancing on a horse-drawn wagon, which has been a tradition. This year, they skipped the wagon and danced in Delaware's Fourth of July parade.

Nancy Swanberg, president of the club, said this year the club will merge with the Delaware Community Center YMCA in order to provide more square-dancing lessons for the public.

In order to promote the new partnership, the dancers entertained onlookers in front of Barley Hopsters during the Aug. 3 Fourth Friday event in downtown Delaware. They also passed out cards good for two free square-dancing lessons at the YMCA.

The YMCA, 1121 S. Houk Road, will offer 10-week sessions for beginners and intermediate dancers.

The 24-member club also is seeking membership, especially younger folks, Swanberg said. The club has male and female members, ranging in age from 13 to late 80s.

"We are one of 12 dance groups in central Ohio and will be having a statewide convention in Columbus in 2013," Swanberg said.

She said many couples have joined the club, but singles are welcome as well.

"My husband passed away in 2007 and that's when I learned how to dance the male part," she said. "There are plenty of single ladies in my group and I am able to dance with them."

Swanberg said anyone who knows how to walk and wants to learn how to square dance can come to the meetings, even if they don't know their "right foot from their left foot."

She said she has traveled all over the United States, including Hawaii and Alaska, in the name of square dancing. She said it's a great way to meet people, because every state has square-dancing clubs.

"Once you start dancing, you go wild and you're hooked on it," she said. "If you are on vacation and go dancing, you make instant friends. It's a nice social activity."

Square dancing is a social activity that involves a lot of laughing, cheering and "yellow rocks" -- square-dancer jargon for hugs, she said. Square dancing also can be a good cardio workout, Swanberg said.

"My doctor told me that whatever I am doing, keep it up," she said. "He said that it's the healthiest thing for me to do and I have never stopped and I have never regretted it."

But is square dancing fun?

"I've been doing this for over 30 years," she said. "I obviously think it's fun."

For more information about the club or the classes offered, visit the website cocdc.org or call Swanberg at 740-417-4258.

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Concert Review | Musicians Against Childhood Cancer: Musicianship stellar at bluegrass review

By  Curtis Schieber
For The Columbus Dispatch Friday July 20, 2012 
It seemed the weather was waiting to see what goods the Musicians Against Childhood Cancer Bluegrass Classic could deliver yesterday in the Hoover Y-Park. Clearing slightly by mid-afternoon, the clouds held their moisture at least through the next-to-last act, when this paper’s deadline called.

The weather’s patience was well-earned, as just after dark the Grascals delivered a crack set crowned by a brilliant impromptu jam session that featured the evening’s closer, IIIrd Tyme Out, and Marty Raybon, who played earlier.

Raybon led the bonus round, impersonating Ralph Stanley and prodding Grascals front man Terry Eldredge to follow along as former boss Larry Cordle. Dead-on impersonations aside, it led to spry covers of platinum bluegrass songs such as Jimmy Martin’s Sunny Side Of The Mountain and a couple of Stanley tunes.

The jam session featured stellar musicianship and a couple of vocals from Raybon that topped his entire earlier set.

On their own, the Grascals raised the bar the minute they began. The group hit the ground running with the Elvis Presley vehicle Mystery Train, which laid inspired instrumental runs into a deeply swinging beat.

The band hardly hesitated between songs, checking the title track from its new Life Finds A Way and the vintage You Can Mark It Down. While the latter featured Eldredge’s fine but unusual and high-pitched Bob Dylan-like voice, many others starred co-leader Jamie Johnson.

Spotlights on banjoist Kristin Scott Benson, mandolinist Danny Roberts and fiddler Jeremy Smith reinforced the individual and collective awards the ensemble has won. Terry Smith proved his worth with his slap bass on Hard Times.

Larry Sparks and the Lonesome Ramblers played before the Grascals, contrasting that band’s youthful respect for tradition with the tradition itself. The group performed in coordinated stage outfits and played a few songs it has for decades. Sparks, a terrifically inventive guitarist, has released 50 albums and soon celebrates 50 years in the business.

Raybon appeared with his band Full Circle as the sun tucked behind the gigantic maples that make the Y-Park an idyllic setting for this music. Rough and ready, his ensemble celebrated the future not only with its program but by backing 11-year-old Jae Lee Roberts, daughter of the Grascals mandolin man, for an impressive country ballad.

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County YMCA gymnastics team enjoys successful season

Posted: Thursday, July 19, 2012 7:30 pm

The Pickaway County Family YMCA Gymnastics Team just finished a great season.  During the regular season, October through March, the team from Pickaway competed against five area YMCA’s, giving the gymnasts an opportunity to show off their skills and receive feedback from the judges. In early March, the Level 3 and 4 gymnasts attended the South East Ohio District Meet, held at the Ross County YMCA in Chillicothe. Many of the gymnasts finished in the top 3, receiving individual honors. In the team event, the Level 3 gymnasts finished 2nd and the Level 4 gymnasts finished 4th.  Later that month, the Level 5, 6, and Optional gymnasts attended the South East Ohio District Meet held at the Cambridge Family YMCA. All of the gymnasts performed well, resulting in many individual and all around winners.  Five out of the seven, Level 5 and up gymnasts attended the Great Lakes Zone Regional Championships held at the Tiffin YMCA in April. Representing Pickaway were: Level 5- Lainey Bulmer and Erica Dale, Level 6- Taylor Bonn and Lynne Dale and Prep Op Silver- Kaitlin Bartholomew.  For the first time ever, all of the girls placed in at least one individual event, and four of them placed in the all-around event as well.                  

The finale of the season was the YMCA National Gymnastics Championships held June 29 – July 2, 2012 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. More than 1,700 gymnasts, Levels 2 -10, from 106 YMCA’s in 21 states and 300 coaches around the country, came to compete for top honors on bars, beam, floor, vault and all-around.  Fourteen of our own Pickaway County Family YMCA gymnasts and their families made the trip. The girls competing for Pickaway County were:  Level 3 - Savannah Buskirk, Izabella Carroll, Bailey Riffle, Iva O’dell, Chloe Kidd, Ellie Kidd and Kylie Wohnhas. Level 4 - Heather Diffenderfer, Madilyn Nallie, Sarah Smith and Shelby Ward. Level 5 - Erica Dale. Level 6 - Lynne Dale and Taylor Bonn.

All of the girls representing the team performed extremely well under the competitive pressure, with many girls receiving their highest scores of the season. Several of the girls won top honors: Level 3- Savannah Buskirk - 1st place Floor and 6th place All-Around.  Level 3- Iva O’Dell – 6th place Vault.  Level 4- Heather Diffenderfer - 1st place Beam and 3rd All-Around.  Level 5- Erica Dale - 7th place Bars.  Even though they did not come home with a medal, all of the girls are winners, just by qualifying and participating in such a prestigious event. 

The gymnasts would like to thank coaches Beth Harlan, Kelly O’Dell, and Makalay Six for all of their time and support. For information on YMCA gymnastics call the Pickaway County Family YMCA at 740-477-1661.

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Philanthropy Friday: YMCA Performing Arts Summer Camp

by Walker

Kabuki theatre, blues music, and African dance are all coming together to form an exciting experience at the Lincoln Theatre this summer. The YMCA of Central Ohio, Lincoln Theatre, and CAPA are running their third year of the collaborative YMCA Performing Arts Summer Camp at the historic theatre. This summer, over 500 central Ohio children, ages 8-17, are learning the history, techniques, and basics of music, theatre, and dance.

“It’s an incredible experience to have all these art forms in one place. It’s a melting pot,” said Greg Page, YMCA program director.

Throughout the summer, groups of YMCA campers come to the Lincoln Theatre for the one-week learning experience. The campers have a chance to sample music, dance, and theater before choosing one of the disciplines to focus on. The talented counselors from CATCO Phoenix, Columbus Jazz Arts Group, and the YMCA waste no time in preparing the kids for the weekly grand finale performance on the Lincoln Theatre stage.

“Kids that don’t think they can perform end up doing very well and building great confidence. It’s an experience they never forget,” Page said.

Before reaching the big Friday performance, campers work very hard to be prepared. On a recent morning, the music group was busy working on turning a Langston Hughes poem into a blues number. The campers were busy figuring out their parts while snapping and shaking their way through the blues. “Going down the road, help me carry the load,” the campers crooned.

Down one flight of stairs, dancing campers had taken over the ballroom as they polished their performance of West African dances for the big day.

Kids succeed here because of the great leaders who share and expect honesty, respect, and caring,” Page said.

On the Lincoln main stage, campers in the drama tract rehearsed their Kabuki styled version on Cinderella.

This camp opens up their creative minds, they learn to speak publicly and they learn about other cultures. They learn some Japanese, improv techniques, theatre terms, and how to project their voice. Everyone gets a speaking part or a chance to be a lead. They get loose and free on stage. They can find themselves without worrying,” said theater instructor Alayna Barnes.

Every week the campers do an amazing job on the grand finale performance and walk away from the experience with new friends, skills, and confidence. Proud smiles can always be seen as parents snap pictures from the audience.

The Y is giving the kids something to do while broadening their horizons. Philanthropy is very important to keep this going,” Barnes said.

Learn more and donate to the YMCA of Central Ohio via their PowerPhilanthropy portrait.

Information about local nonprofits is available 24/7 through the Foundation’s online resource, PowerPhilanthropy, which is available to everyone who wants to be more informed about the nonprofits they care about. PowerPhilanthropy makes it easy to donate to the causes you care about at columbusfoundation.org/p2/.


For original article (with pictures) follow link below...

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Delaware YMCA gears up to get adults in shape

KATE LIEBERS, Staff Writer

This fall, the Delaware Community Center YMCA is introducing new recreational programs targeted toward the generation that remembers cassette tapes.

“If you can think back to when you were in high school, to when you had a cassette player…you could push the pause button on the cassette player,” said Paul Weber, district vice president / director of city recreation services.

He said that many adults, as they went to school, got married and had children, have “pressed pause” with their physical activity as well.

In response, the YMCA is introducing a new concept called “Press Play.” The series invites adults in their 40s or older — YMCA patrons and non-members alike — to join a bootcamp that helps get them back in shape. The 12-week training sessions would end in time for the participants, if they choose, to sign up for the regular season of the corresponding sport.

For example, adults who might be weary of signing up for the softball league in the spring, could join a Press Play softball camp in the winter, Weber said.

“The program is designed to be very, very low cost,” Weber said. “The idea is that we want to drive people in, get them in shape and hopefully get them signed up for the programs.”

The series will also include basketball boot camps and other sports to be announced,Weber said. 

A secondary aim of Press Play is to direct more activity to the city’s recreational facilities at Mingo. Weber acknowledged that this series would address some of the concerns
that members of the city’s Parks and Recreation Advisory Board had about a decline in adult softball participation.

The YMCA is expecting 20 to 40 people to sign up for each boot camp, Weber said, which could help spur enthusiasm as well as awareness of the existing adult league.

The adult-focused programing fits in with the YMCA’s mission to promote health of an entire community.

“If the adults start to get healthier and work on their lifestyle, then they’re going to get their kids more active too,” Weber said. “A lot of the focus is on the kids, but it’s the adults who have to take care of them. It’s the adults who buy the food. It’s the adults who kinda set what their lifestyle is going to be.”

“So if we can get the adults into a healthy lifestyle, it’s going to affect the children,” he said. 

With this in mind, the YMCA is instigating a collection of other adultfocused programs, including ones that promote health in the workplace.

The YMCA’s wellness group has scheduled a corporate luncheon on Aug. 1 to invite businesses to discuss employee fitness and wellness at the workplace. Weber said that one outcome might be corporate league play where employees from one company compete against employees from another.

Also, in collaboration with the Delaware County Health Department and the city, the YMCA plans to instigate a city-wide program for residents to track their physical activity. Through this online program, people of all ages could post their goals and log their progress. Weber said that “affinity groups” could form as people identify their preferred activities, and the community entities could keep these groups up to date on future events or educational clinics related to that sport.

For more information, continue to check the YMCA’s website at ymcacolumbus.org/delaware.



More Information (PDF)

Delaware Gazette Article

Health Care Heroes: Health professionals emphasizing wellness programs

By Carrie Ghose, Staff reporter
Friday, July 13, 2012

It started with employer-sponsored health fairs. The women said they visited some booths, got some free screenings, but landed a gut punch: Weight and key symptoms showing they were at risk for developing diabetes, and a lifetime of needles.

In small groups, the workers started a one-year program with YMCA of Central Ohio to head off the deadly disease at the pass. For the first four months, they met weekly, recorded every bite, shared healthy recipes, took up walking and forgave each other when they messed up.

In two years, 519 people have gone through the Y’s diabetes prevention program, losing a collective 6 percent of their body weight. UnitedHealthcare of Ohio paid the $250 fee for nearly all of them through its plans for both private employers and state and local government. The federal government in June approved the Central Ohio Y among 17 chapters in the country in a test to add the pre-diabetes program to Medicare coverage.

“I was shocked UnitedHealthcare was paying for a preventative program,” said Lynn Banks, a Franklin County employee.

“It seems so many of our systems are reactive in nature,” she said. “In a utopia there would be all this preventative stuff that would save so much money. But it’s not how our system is set up right now.”

By far, Banks is not the only person to have noticed that setup. The prevention her insurer paid for is one of many efforts under way to start paying for care based on how well it works. Some – such as Medicare’s test of the Y’s diabetes class – were spurred by the federal Affordable Care Act that was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court last month. Some predated it. In fact, whether the law withstands its next phase of legislative challenge may no longer matter.

Hospital systems, physician practices, insurers, employers and, yes, patients, more often are pulling in the same direction to emphasize disease prevention and wellness over episodic response to sickness.

“It’s a competitive matter now,” said Larry Lewellen, Ohio State University’s vice president for care coordination.

“It was government-triggered,” he said. “(But) it’s become an absolute matter of competition and consumer expectation.”

Critics of the federal law say it deals too much with regulating how health insurance is sold and not enough with what it’s paying for.

“It does almost nothing to address the cost of health care,” said Roger Geiger, Ohio director of the National Federation of Independent Business. “(Health care) needs to be redone from the ground up.”

But the rebuilding has started in many ways – hospitals buying physician practices the past four years to better coordinate patient care from office to inpatient, a startup business trying to take true telemedicine to retail locations, an insurer embedding a care coordinator in a physician practice, a coalition of employers and insurers agreeing to help pay for primary care practices to get certified as medical homes, Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center asking the federal government if it can pay on its own to start a Medicaid-like expansion.

“The systems of health care are starting to get serious about shifting from volume to value,” said Jeff Biehl, president of Access HealthColumbus, a nonprofit organizing the medical home creation effort.

Value in health care means doing tests and procedures shown to be most effective through research instead of the buckshot approach of trying everything available, said Ken Wexiel, a national health-care practice leader for Deloitte based in Columbus. It also means using technology to find patterns in population health and deal with them.

“There are pockets of the work going on all over the place, locally, regionally, nationally,” Biehl said. “That’s not going to stop regardless of what happens with the Affordable Care Act.”
Another example that was created by a grant tucked in the law is Ohio State’s proposal to take dollars it would otherwise spend on charity care and use them to enroll about 9,000 patients in Medicaid and better manage their chronic conditions.

Permeating strategy
For 18 years, Nationwide Children’s Hospital has directly managed Medicaid payments to community pediatricians in central and southeast Ohio. It gets a set monthly payment per patient from which the hospital pays for all care, so the incentive is to keep them healthy. In essence, it’s been doing on its own what the federal law refers to as an Accountable Care Organization.

The coordinated approach “permeates our entire strategic direction as an organization,” CFO Tim Robinson said.

The network is now 290,000 children. In June the hospital won a $13 million grant created by the Affordable Care Act to help Akron Children’s Hospital manage northeast Ohio patients – a step toward taking the program statewide.

“This is market driven for us,” Robinson said. “We’re responsible for these kids. We’re going to take care of them, so let’s get as close to the dollars as possible.”
Employers, too, are becoming “smarter purchasers” of care, Biehl said.

The Ohio Public Employees Retirement System, which covers 225,000 retirees, already charges a lower co-payment for a primary care office visit compared with a specialist. Starting in 2013, it will halve that co-payment to $10 if the retiree chooses a doctor within a certified medical home, an approach that calls for more coaching and prevention.“We have limited resources to pay for retiree health care,” said Sarah Durfee, clinical programs officer. “We look to value-based care and value-based plan designs to make sure we’re getting the most for our health-care dollar.”

There’s another partner in this rebuilding: the patient.

Employers who pay for insurance can design plans to reward smarter health choices, Biehl said. Deloitte’s Wexiel noted the example of employers who charge higher deductibles for smokers.

“We’ve got to build mechanisms to help patients be more accountable (and) involved in shared decision-making,” Biehl said

The $12 million grant to the YMCA branches is from the same $1 billion innovation program that awarded $13 million to Children’s.

Caroline Rankin, director of government funding and diabetes for the Central Ohio Y, said it costs $6,000 yearly to manage diabetes, vs. a few hundred for a program to prevent it. The Y gets paid only if the Medicare enrollees improve their symptoms, she said.

“It’s good for those of us in the class. It’s good for those of us who have to pay the bills,” said Andrew Roberts, Central Ohio Y president. He wasn’t speaking rhetorically; he qualified medically and enrolled.

Group members who met weekly and graduated to monthly meetings said their lives have changed. They’re eating more vegetables, reading food labels and sneaking fat-free cakes into family gatherings.

“It’s small, sustainable changes,” Rankin said.

“I’m part of my own health,” said Ellen Grubb, who paid the $150 fee for Y members after seeing a class flier. “This has nothing to do with my insurance.”





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Health-care case study: UnitedHealth finds savings covering diabetes-prevention classes

Business First by Carrie Ghose, Staff reporter
Date: Friday, July 13, 2012, 7:53am EDT

It’s not a drug, or a test, or an operation. It takes place nowhere near a hospital or doctor’s office. Yet health insurance pays for it.

About 4,000 patients at risk for diabetes nationally, including more than 500 in Central Ohio, have enrolled classes at the YMCA in a prevention program covered fully by insurer UnitedHealthcare. Participants midway through the yearlong class at the YMCA of Central Ohio    are featured in the lead story of the special section honoring our 2012 Health Care Heroes in Friday’s edition of Columbus Business First.

YMCA of the USA reported in May that participants at nearly 250 sites in 26 states had lost an average 5 percent of their body weight, with many hitting the program’s goal of a 7 percent loss. In Central Ohio, the average loss was 6 percent.

UnitedHealth Group Inc.    (NYSE:UNH) has a business reason to pony up the $250 tuition: About 40 percent of medical claims in its employer-based policies are related to diabetes or prediabetes. In a January essay in Health Affairs journal, a group of UnitedHealth medical directors said a review of 10 million members’ claims showed that the average annual expenses for an adult with diabetes was $11,700, compared with $4,400 for non-diabetics. The Ohio Department of Health estimates that one in 10 adults in the state have diabetes. Medical costs and lost productivity are estimated in the billions.

UnitedHealth’s essay argued that in the “fragmented” health system, insurers are among the few entities able to implement prevention on a large enough scale to make significant changes in the health of a large population, but that such programs must be supported by evidence. After the success of the Y program, it’s expanding it and encouraging anyone with a diagnosis of prediabetes to enroll in the class, which starts with four months of weekly classes followed by eight monthly brush-ups. The Central Ohio Y also is one of 17 branches in the country selected for a test in which Medicare pays for the class – if it succeeds, this might be a standard Medicare benefit.

The class is really more like a support group. There are no dictated diets, and attendees don’t even work out. They learn how to read food labels, plan portions, swap recipes and talk about their progress. They’re encouraged to add a half-hour of physical activity, such as walking, to their daily routines. The participants I spoke with all said their symptoms had improved by making simple changes that they feel they can stick with. There’s no cure once a patient crosses from prediabetes into the full-blown disease, and none of them wanted a life of sticking themselves with needles.

“I feel like I really dodged a bullet early,” said Latisha Hazell, a state employee.

Carrie Ghose covers health care and medicine, higher education, technology and business services for Business First.

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Beyond band camp

At today’s summer camps, kids can create graphic novels, palpate a pregnant cheetah, learn soccer from the British and practice being rock stars. But parents have to act fast.


Columbus Monthly

Whetstone Recreation Center’s camp registrations were about 30 minutes from opening when mothers started forming a queue at the front desk. Center director Rick Bruhn knew they were in trouble.

Now that camp registrations also could be made online, there were other parents poised at their keyboards at home, waiting for the sign-up window to open. And the most specialized camps—such as gymnastics and cheerleading—were sure to go fast. Just how fast became apparent five minutes later, when cheerleading camp reached capacity.

Five minutes after that, two gymnastics camps had filled.

“Before we got to the third person in line, all of those camps were full,” Bruhn says. “Some of those moms were pretty frustrated.”

Welcome to the new world of summer camps.

Once a land of crafts and campfires, swimming and s’mores, summer camps now have become as specialized—and sometimes as elusive—as private schools, with parents seeking to use the summer months for education and experience first, entertainment second. No matter what skills are being sought, Columbus is home to some of the most creative and competitive camp offerings around.

“I think everyone wants something unique for their child, and for them to learn something they might use beyond the camp experience,” says Shelly Casto, director of education for the Wexner Center for the Arts. “And when you have a good opportunity, a lot of people want to share in it.”

Creative classes
Casto should know, since the Wexner camps are some of the city’s most popular. Although the camps were put on hold this year due to ongoing renovations at Sullivant Hall and other Ohio State facilities where classes have been held, the Wexner Center has been home to such offerings as environmental art camp, cartography camp and even mud art camp. Last year’s videography camp—where students learned to shoot, edit and produce video projects—filled in less than 30 minutes. A new education center under construction at the Wex will provide space for camps in the future.

Casto says parents’ desires to offer their kids unique experiences outside of school drive the artistically inclined to the Wexner. The most popular options come from the instructors themselves, who are encouraged to be as creative as possible when devising the summer sessions.

“Instead of saying, ‘We want to teach painting or drawing,’ we put out an open call for proposals to artists and grad students: ‘What is a class you have been dreaming about?’ ” Casto says. “We look for a really unique approach that is consistent with the Wexner being artist-driven.”

Wexner kids who have been lucky enough to squeak through the enrollment windows have made graphic novels and learned more about Photoshop than some graphic designers. They’ve also been architects, deejays and music video producers.

Camps at the Wex also offer parents a way to push their kids toward the future, says Casto: Roaming the Ohio State campus for a week in the summer is the next best thing to being a student there. “This could be where they go to college,” she says. “We like that we can help kids make sure they are thinking about their future.”

Rocking out
Parents seeking quirky camps will discover numerous ways to focus on their kids’ futures, whether that involves art, athletics—or even becoming a rock goddess.

Those with daughters who dream of being the next Joan Jett need look no further than the drums and guitars of Girlz Rhythm n’ Rock Camp, a weeklong Lollapalooza where girls ages 8 to 18 can work on songwriting, drumming, vocal techniques and performance.

Former musician Suzie Simpson says she quickly realized that playing in a band was not her thing, so she became a music organizer, working to secure sounds for events such as Red, White & Boom! and First Night. After helping a friend start a “girlz” rock camp in Massachusetts, she brought the concept to Columbus 10 years ago. That camp remains the only overnight version among nearly 30 similar international endeavors.

Simpson says the camp, which takes place at the YMCA’s Hoover Y Park in Lockbourne, offers far more than just music. “It is something that gives those girls encouragement to do whatever they wanted to do in life,” she says. “Girls do not find it very fair in the music world. I’m not saying these girls will all be in bands, but it gives them a chance to be part of something while they are here.”

Campers start by writing songs in whatever genre they like—from ’70s hippie music to punk to country. Throughout the week, they get lessons from local musicians on various instruments, including drums, keyboards and guitars.

But the music business is more than just tunes, so Simpson also counsels the girls in advertising, marketing and designing band fliers. The final camp day is filled with performances.

Simpson says the camp, which maxes out at 24 per session, was popular enough to require a second week this year, but she cautions parents that big dreams may not be enough to make for post-camp musical careers.

“We are not there to tell them they can make it in the music world,” she explains. “What we are here to do is offer this experience and encourage them to do whatever they want to do in life. We show them all the different aspects of music—whether they want to be musicians, writers, sound technicians or managers. It can be as serious or loose as they want it to be.”

Well mannered
While a week in the rock ’n’ roll lifestyle may be the stuff of fantasy, other parents seek camps that are geared toward the realities of life. That was the case for Teresa Haro of Beechwold, who was dismayed to find that her third-grader seemed almost suffocatingly shy in social situations. Haro decided to put daughter Elena’s summer break to good use—at etiquette camp.

Cathi Fallon, director of the Etiquette Institute—which holds Etiquette University Summer Camp in the Saks Fifth Avenue store at Polaris—says her camp specializes in preparing young men and women to be better received in the “real world” by teaching such basic skills as conversation, telephone manners and even social media etiquette.

“First impressions go a long way,” says Fallon, a former teacher. “Anyone who sold a house knows you need to fix up the outside to have curb appeal. … We are not so different in how we act, speak, dress. The first seven to 10 seconds is so important to how we make a first impression.”

That opportunity to make a good impression is what Haro sought for Elena, who despite being outgoing among friends was “timid and awkward” in public settings, Haro says. A week spent in Fallon’s day camp for “young ladies” (she offers separate sessions for girls in grades 1-9 and boys in grades 4-9) taught Elena about eye contact, body language, good posture, proper dining and how to make and keep friends.

“Those were skills I really wanted her to have, and even though she resisted at first, she actually loved it,” says Haro. “She is so different in the way she presents herself that I received a letter from her teacher thanking us for teaching her manners.”

And Fallon says enough parents share that feeling that it’s created a wait list for the camp. “It drives me crazy when I hear people think of manners as boring, stuffy, formal,” she says. “What they don’t realize is social skills make them successful. We groom children for success.”

International goals
Future success, although far less guaranteed, also is the driving force behind what is perhaps Whetstone’s most popular camp. It draws in more than 250 kids annually for a chance at soccer stardom. Challenger British Soccer Camp not only offers half- and all-day soccer instruction from trained coaches, it does so with a staff imported straight from England.

Bruhn says the popularity of the camp, which has been in the Columbus Recreation and Parks system for 15 years and at Whetstone for the past three, grew as more parents began to view sports as a path to college—and even professional—opportunities for their kids.

“As youth sports became more specialized, parents are looking for that next level of sports to take them to travel soccer and travel baseball,” he says. “They want that edge to take beyond rec sports.”

But Bruhn says parents looking for all work and little play actually have come to the wrong camp when it comes to Challenger. True, campers go through a full curriculum of skills, including dribbling, passing, shooting, heading and defending. But they also learn world geography through the World Cup competition, which can include bringing food, flags and costumes from their assigned countries. There also are games such as coach dress-up and soak the coach, which need little explanation.

Camp families have the opportunity to host a Challenger coach—who can come from any part of Great Britain—in their homes for the weeklong duration of the camp, allowing them to build an even stronger bond and develop an understanding of different cultures.

“Some parents are actually disappointed that we don’t drill [kids] more, in terms of skills,” Bruhn says. “But we want it to be fun for the kids. The idea is fun first, and then they work on their skills within that fun.”

The mix has worked for Augie Reber, a 6-year-old soccer “fanatic,” says his mom, Alisa Reber of Clintonville. Augie is attending his third Challenger camp this summer, and even though he gets to talk all about his favorite team, Manchester United, with his coaches, he also has come a long way in developing his on-field skills.

“He was 5 and doing things my husband and I couldn’t believe he was doing, like bouncing the ball on his neck,” says Reber, who also has hosted a coach. “Being around someone who can talk soccer, who had as much of an obsession as he did, was great. And he was learning from someone from a different country. It totally opened a broader perspective on the world.”

Animal attractions
A broader worldview also is the goal of camps at the Wilds, which each year fills up with kids—and sometimes parents—seeking a chance to go where the wild things roam.

Mallory Vopal, conservation education specialist and camp coordinator, says the wildlife conservation center offers weeklong WildeCamps for ages 8 to 19 as well as weekend family camps, which give the families lucky enough to secure a spot a taste of the wild life.

While other zoological camps might involve some interesting animal visits amid the arts and crafts, camps such as WildeCamp Xtreme let campers go backpacking for days in the wilderness, cooking their own meals, carrying their own packs and living off the land with edible plants.

WildeCamp Naturalist in Training, also known as Dirty Wild Jobs, lets campers ages 16 to 19 select veterinary or animal management paths. The lucky participants (only 24 out of nearly 50 applicants are chosen) are immersed in animal care, learning everything from how to shoot a dart gun for animal tranquilization and palpate a cheetah for a pregnancy check to listening to a zebra heartbeat and even performing animal necropsies.

“We don’t have time for arts and crafts,” Vopal says with a laugh. “We are at it from sunrise to sunset. There is no other camp that gets you more hands-on.”

As the summer camp season moves into full swing, parents everywhere are loading up their minivans and SUVs, ready to cart their kids hither and yon for activities they could only have dreamed of for their own childhoods.

Area camp experts agree that the breadth and depth of opportunities make summer a pretty magical time around Columbus.

“If you want to do arts and crafts, you can do that,” says Bruhn. “If you want to be a cheerleader or play hockey or do some crazy art, you can do that, too. With camps nowadays, you can do pretty much anything.” n

Nicole Kraft teaches journalism at Ohio State University and is a freelance writer.

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YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program Results Show Group Behavior Changes Can Improve Individual Health

By YMCA of the USA
Published: Wednesday, May. 30, 2012 - 8:09 am
CHICAGO, May 30, 2012 -- First reimbursable diabetes prevention program reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by more than half

CHICAGO, May 30, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, YMCA of the USA (Y-USA), a leading nonprofit dedicated to strengthening community through healthy living, released results  from the YMCA's Diabetes Prevention Program, which revealed that participants achieved meaningful weight loss and cut their risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The YMCA's Diabetes Prevention Program helps those diagnosed with prediabetes make behavioral changes that not only improve their health, but could potentially save billions in future health care costs.

More than 4,000 individuals have enrolled and attended at least one class since the Y expanded the program in 2010 and one-third have completed the full yearlong program.  The program has grown from a few pilot sites in two communities to 247 class locations across 51 cities in 26 states. Participants in the YMCA's Diabetes Prevention Program lost an average of 4.8 percent of their body weight, while hundreds of individuals lost an average of 7 percent of body weight.

"The Y is on the leading edge of how healthcare services will be delivered in the future," said Jonathan Lever, vice president for health strategy and innovation for Y-USA. "The Y's footprint in communities and the portability of the YMCA's Diabetes Prevention Program means we can reach many of the 79 million individuals currently estimated to have prediabetes and help reverse the rise of chronic disease rates that are causing health care costs to increase."

The YMCA's Diabetes Prevention Program, a part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) led National Diabetes Prevention Program, is a 12-month evidence-based program that includes 16 weekly core sessions followed by monthly maintenance sessions. The program is delivered in a classroom setting by trained lifestyle coaches and provides a supportive environment where a small group of individuals work together to learn how healthier eating and increased physical activity can help reduce their risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Long-term program goals include reducing participants' body weight by 7 percent and increasing physical activity to 150 minutes per week.

One program participant, Christina M., from Harrison, NY, has already seen results. "The most powerful thing I learned was how to eat well; and the group experience was really helpful because one person may be struggling with something and the group would bounce around ideas and provide a fresh perspective that could really help."

Potentially Saving Billions in Health Care Costs

According to a recent report from the CDC, if current trends continue, one in three Americans could have diabetes by the year 2050, causing an immense strain on the health care system. An Urban Institute report indicates that the nation could save up to $191 billion over the next 10 years if programs like the YMCA's Diabetes Prevention Program were scaled nationally, with the majority of savings going to Medicare and Medicaid programs.

"With so much at stake, we must make sure that an effective program to prevent type 2 diabetes is widely available," said Dr. Ann Albright, PhD, RD, director of CDC's Division of Diabetes Translation. "Partners like the Y are helping us reach that goal by bringing the program to many communities across America."

Besides helping people live healthier and potentially reducing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, the YMCA's Diabetes Prevention Program sets a new course for U.S. health care delivery by forming partnerships with third party payers (employers, private insurers and state and local governments).  These partnerships create a new paradigm in health care delivery where, for the first time, a community-based organization is reimbursed on a performance basis for a prevention program delivered in a group setting.  

OptumHealth's Diabetes Prevention and Control Alliance (DPCA) provides start-up funding to help establish the programs in local communities. The DPCA also provides technology and administrative services for the YMCA's Diabetes Prevention Program and for plan sponsors who offer the program as a covered benefit to their employees or members. United HealthCare and Medica are the first payers to provide reimbursement for the successful delivery of the program.

"The YMCA's Diabetes Prevention Program provides people with prediabetes with the information and tools they need to take control of their health and tackle this disease," said Deneen Vojta, M.D., senior vice president of the UnitedHealth Center for Health Reform & Modernization. "The Diabetes Prevention and Control Alliance is pleased to partner with the Y to broaden the reach of this proven program for millions of people with prediabetes, and make greater progress in the fight against the diabetes epidemic in our country."

Visit YMCA.net/diabetes-prevention to learn more about the program, find out if it is available at your Y and see if you qualify.  

About YMCA of the USA YMCA of the USA (Y-USA) is the national resource office for the Y, one of the nation's leading nonprofits strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Across the U.S., 2,700 Ys engage 21 million men, women and children – regardless of age, income or background – to nurture the potential of children and teens, improve the nation's health and well-being and provide opportunities to give back and support neighbors. Anchored in more than 10,000 communities, the Y has the long-standing relationships and physical presence not just to promise, but also to deliver, lasting personal and social change.  ymca.net

About the National Institutes of Health The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit http://www.nih.gov


About the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is one of the major operating components of the Department of Health and Human Services. Collaborating to create the expertise, information, and tools that people and communities need to protect their health – through health promotion, prevention of disease, injury and disability, and preparedness for new health threats. CDC seeks to accomplish its mission by working with partners throughout the nation and the world to monitor health, detect and investigate health problems, conduct research to enhance prevention, develop and advocate sound public health policies, implement prevention strategies, promote healthy behaviors, foster safe and healthful environments, and provide leadership and training. For more information about CDC and its programs, visit http://www.cdc.gov




Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2012/05/30/4525609/ymcas-diabetes-prevention-program.html#storylink=cpy

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YMCA management of Mingo Pool going swimmingly — so far

Staff Writer

The sea­son opener for the pool for­merly oper­ated by Delaware City staff was a suc­cess, accord­ing to YMCA’s new management.
About 350 to 400 passes were sold at Jack Flo­rance Pool at Mingo Park dur­ing its pre-season, which is about half of the total passes sold all of last year, said Paul Weber, YMCA Dis­trict Vice President/Director of City Recre­ation Services.

Delaware City offi­cials did not know how many passes were sold dur­ing last year’s open­ing week, but Weber said the fig­ures bode well for the rest of the season.
“We’re about where we thought we’d be,” Weber said. “We had a great Sat­ur­day and Sun­day, and a busy Monday.”

Drawn by the 90-degree weather, Monday’s crowd was described as “a real test.” Nev­er­the­less, with 20 life­guards avail­able for the first sum­mer rush, Weber said the open­ing week­end went well.
The pool is sched­uled to re-open next week­end, from noon to 7 p.m. on June 2 and 3. The reg­u­lar sea­son begins June 9 and ends Aug. 23.

Return­ing vis­i­tors may notice oper­a­tional changes brought on by the YMCA, such as a lower-calorie menu for food, more swim­ming classes and more events.
One thing that will remain, how­ever, is the sea­son pass and daily admis­sion rates. Con­sis­tent with last year’s pol­icy, daily admis­sion rates are $6 for adults and $4 for youth. Delaware res­i­dents receive a $30 dis­count for any type of sea­son pass.

A Delaware Com­mu­nity Cen­ter YMCA mem­ber­ship, which Delaware res­i­dents could buy at a 10 per­cent dis­count, does not pro­vide for admit­tance to the pool at Mingo Park, a fact that caused some res­i­dents to complain.

Assis­tant City Man­ager Allen Rother­mel acknowl­edged the del­i­cate nature of the topic dur­ing a joint Recreation/YMCA Advi­sory Com­mit­tee meet­ing in March. The city and YMCA ulti­mately decided to keep the pool’s rates the same for this year, with no spe­cial pro­mo­tions for YMCA members.

Crowd­ing was one decid­ing fac­tor behind the deci­sion, Weber said. If all YMCA mem­bers — ones belong­ing to Delaware’s as well as through­out cen­tral Ohio — had an incen­tive to swim at Mingo, it could alter the expe­ri­ence return­ing Mingo users were expecting.

“The more crowded it is, the more the expe­ri­ence changes, and we want to be sen­si­tive to that,” Weber said.
This should not come as a sur­prise or dis­ap­point­ment to YMCA mem­bers, how­ever, Weber said. A free or dis­counted admis­sion to the Jack Flo­rance Pool was never promised to the Delaware Com­mu­nity YMCA mem­bers, he said.

“The Y has never, never mar­keted (Mingo) that way,” Weber said. “We told them since day one that Mingo was not part of it, and if we did do a dis­count, that was going to be a bonus, so to speak.”
Although the pool, for­merly oper­ated by the city, is now man­aged by the YMCA, it is still a sep­a­rate entity from the Delaware Com­mu­nity YMCA at Houk Road, which has an indoor lap pool and nata­to­rium, Weber said.

Instead, the YMCA’s par­tic­i­pa­tion at Mingo is meant to offer the com­mu­nity more recre­ational oppor­tu­ni­ties. For exam­ple, the pub­lic can sign up for kayak­ing courses, which begin with a train­ing ses­sion at the Jack Flo­rance pool before cruis­ing the Olen­tangy River, Weber said.
The YMCA is also plan­ning to host movie nights at Mingo, in addi­tion to con­tin­u­ing all the cur­rent pro­grams, such as the Dog­gie Dip.
Other changes ini­ti­ated by the YMCA include cre­at­ing a more health-conscious con­ces­sion stand. The pool will offer frozen yogurt and Ital­ian ice instead of ice cream, or baked and low-fat chips instead of fried chips.

The changes are meant to mimic the health­ier choices that school dis­tricts are intro­duc­ing into their vend­ing machines and cafe­te­ria, Weber said. As always, vis­i­tors are still wel­come to bring their own food, although alco­hol and glass is prohibited.
Per the goal of the YMCA’s part­ner­ship with the city, the YMCA will con­tinue to develop more pro­grams to fit the community’s inter­ests and needs, Weber said. More changes in the sum­mer pro­gram­ing are forth­com­ing, too, he said.

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When it comes to dieting, it’s best to slim down goals

By  Ben Sutherly
The Columbus Dispatch Sunday May 27, 2012 10:23 AM

Whether it’s a wedding or a wrestling match, a trip to the beach or the prom, looming events often spur people to shed unwanted weight.

But experts warn eleventh-hour dieters not to set unrealistic goals for dropping those pounds within days or weeks. Unsustainable eating habits frequently cause crash-dieters to quickly regain weight and even put their health at risk.“The worst thing you can do to yourself is be a yo-yo dieter,” said Dr. Julie Cantrell, who oversees the medical weight-treatment program at OhioHealth’s McConnell Heart Health Center. “The quick weight loss is not the way to think about things.”

People who try to lose too much too quickly can find themselves facing ketosis, the body’s starvation state, Cantrell said. That can increase the risk of heart-rhythm problems and electrolyte abnormalities.It also can slow a person’s metabolism, making it easier to regain weight. And rapid weight loss often costs the dieter lean muscle as well as fat. If a dieter regains the weight, Cantrell said, it’s often all fat.

Jenny Lee, 35, of the Far West Side, knows firsthand how easy it is to gain weight back. In her 20s, Lee lost 75 pounds in less than five months.But then she had her gall bladder removed and became pregnant with her first child. Eating for two, she found it easier to justify eating foods that she had denied herself during her rapid weight loss.

“Everyone’s expecting me to gain weight anyway,” Lee said, recalling her thinking at the time. She regained the lost weight and then some. In all, she gained 90 pounds during that pregnancy.

“It probably was not the best idea,” Lee said of her rapid weight loss. “For someone who might be very, very disciplined, I’m sure it could work. But it’s not life.”

Taking the wrong approach to weight loss is one reason that only about 5 percent of people who lose weight succeed at keeping it off long-term.

“We’re really good at losing weight. We’re not so good at keeping it off,” said Amy Jamieson-Petonic, a registered dietitian and wellness coach at the Cleveland Clinic who also serves as a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Weight-loss experts say adults should strive to lose 1 to 2 pounds a week, which typically requires eating 500 to 1,000 fewer calories than one burns daily. But that rough rule of thumb can vary, depending on the individual. Severely overweight people who face serious health problems sometimes must drop weight more quickly, but they typically are advised to do so under medical supervision. Those who have undergone bariatric surgery also drop weight more quickly. And senior citizens must be careful not to deprive themselves of protein, for example, when trying to slim down.

In the case of children, ideal weight-loss rates depend on their age and how severely overweight they are, said Dr. Ihuoma Eneli, the medical director for the Center for Healthy Weight and Nutrition at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

Losing a set number of pounds per week or month should not be the primary focus of weight management, Eneli said. Rather, the chief focus should be on healthy behaviors, such as balancing the foods on one’s plate and increasing physical activity, she said.

Mary Dye, 52, of Columbus, said she had tried numerous weight-loss tricks as a young woman, including fasting, diet shakes and “all that nonsense.” But she gained weight while being treated for breast cancer.

Then, a little more than a year ago, Dye learned during a health screening that she was pre-diabetic. She was told that she had, at most, five years to shave off 7 percent of her body weight to reduce her risk of becoming diabetic.“This was the wake-up call,” she said.

Dye enrolled in a yearlong diabetes-prevention program through the YMCA, which she recently completed. She far exceeded her goal of losing about 15 pounds, shedding about 40 pounds. She has managed to achieve the weight loss by being more mindful of what she’s eating thanks to a food-tracker, as well as through regular exercise.

“Optimistic is not realistic, and that’s what I was not before,” said Dye, a Goodwill Columbus social worker. “I had to commit to wanting to be healthy.”

Lee, meanwhile, resolved to lose weight when she found it difficult to keep up with her two young children and was reticent to take part in many activities with them, such as going to a water park or to the county fair. “They were missing out on their childhood, and so was I,” said Lee, an accountant.

She joined Weight Watchers, determined this time to make her weight loss stick. Over the course of two years, she lost 129 pounds, reaching her target weight of 160 pounds in August 2011.

Like Dye, Lee said she has benefited by keeping tabs on what she eats. She and her family have cut out fast food for the most part, pay attention to portion size, grill more of their food and have incorporated more fruits and vegetables into their diets.

Last summer, right before Lee achieved her target weight loss, she remembers something her 8-year-old daughter, Alexandra, told her: “Mom, you are so much more fun now.”


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May 19 event to promote health and wellness

ThisWeek Community News

The third Y Walk Northland is at hand — or foot, as the case may be.

The event is sponsored by the North Side Health Advisory Committee.

The walk, along with a wellness fair, will get under way at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 19, at the North YMCA, 1640 Sandalwood Place, off Karl Road. The walks will wind through neighboring Forest Park during the community's annual spring yard sale by Boy Scout volunteers. Those activities and the wellness fair inside the Y will continue until 3 p.m.

"I think it'll be a pretty good crowd," advisory committee co-chairman Scott Dowling predicted last week. "We probably won't have quite as many exhibitors as we had last year."

The wellness fair aspect of the health-promotion event, had around 30 exhibitors in 2011. These organizations and representatives of health care providers will be offering:

* Blood pressure screenings;

* Vision testing;

* Wellness demonstrations;

* Chiropractic checks;

* Free healthy snacks; and

* Other health screenings.

In addition, door prizes and face-painting will take place throughout the day.

New exhibitors this year will be the Franklin County Dog Shelter and Adoption Center as well as the Veggie Van program of Local Matters, which offers weekly deliveries of produce at the North YMCA, according to Dowling. The Rev. Kwesi Gyimah and members of his Columbus African Seventh-Day Adventist Church will once again provide an array of health checkups, as they have done at both previous Y Walk Northland and Wellness Fair gatherings.

The event is also sponsored by the North YMCA and the North Y Service Club.

The first time the event was put on, people were urged to walk from their neighborhoods to the Sandalwood Place facility. The concept of guided walks through adjacent Forest Park was added last year, Dowling said.

This time around, volunteers from Boy Scout Troop 613, sponsored by Ascension Lutheran Church, will take participants on walks of various lengths departing from the Y at specific times, he added.

Terry Stohr is scoutmaster for Troop 613. Nathan Abele, Harry Dahlstrom and Jerry Harvey are assistant scoutmasters.

Walk lengths and times are:

* 10:30 a.m., 3 miles;

* 11 a.m., 2.2 miles;

* 11:30 a.m., 1 mile;

*1 p.m., 2.2 miles;

* 1:30 p.m., 1.5 miles; and

* 2 p.m., 1 mile.

"We'll even have tags so people can keep them and keep track of the amount of distance they've walked each year," Dowling said.

A subcommittee of the overall advisory panel, formed by Columbus Public Health officials to promote healthier lifestyles on the North Side, spends many weeks planning the Y Walk and Wellness Fair, and it was a bit more difficult this time around than in the past, Dowling conceded.

"I'm thinking this year it's been a bigger challenge ... because of the economic climate in general, I think people are feeling a little more spread thin than they were last year," he said. "I know, in general, charities and nonprofit organizations are all kind of suffering an increased challenge this year. However, I'm very pleased that we're having as much participation as we are and we're having some new people."

"The paradox is the harder times are, the more people need things like this."


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Pickaway County Community Foundation makes grant to city pool

CIRCLEVILLE - The Circleville City Pool received a grant in the amount of $5,000 from the Pickaway County Community Foundation on Thursday to assist with operations.

According to Marie Gerhardt, who is a member of the grant committee, the grant will help to provide a positive recreational facility for the community where families can enjoy the benefits of an active lifestyle and also provide a safe environment for youth. The check was presented by Marge Wolford, chairman of the Pickaway County Community Foundation, Gerhardt and other grant committee members Dan Litzinger and David Beavers. The check was accepted by Doug Stickel, executive director of the Pickaway County Family YMCA, which manages the city pool.

“The Pickaway County Community Foundation has been very supportive of our pool project for many years,” Stickel said. “Without groups like the Pickaway County Community Foundation, it would be very difficult for the Y to continue to do this project.”

The Pickaway County YMCA, along with other Central Ohio YMCA branches, will be holding a Swim Ability Evaluation for kids, ages three years and up, on May 19 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the YMCA in Circleville. According to the YMCA, 3,500 American children experience a drowning-related incident each year, and the Y is hoping to protect families from the dangers of drowning.
“We want to make sure that kids are safe in the water,” Stickel said. “It’s really just to make sure that parents are aware of what their kids’ swimming ability is or lack thereof, and then it’s up to the parent to decide if they want to enroll their kids in swim lessons to make sure they’re safe.”

Through this event, the YMCA is hoping to let parents know that it only takes one minute for a child to drown. The event is free, open to the community, and no appointments are required.

“There are a lot of people in a lot of communities, especially here in Pickaway County, who don’t have access to pools, but there is definitely open water, and we want to make sure that the kids are confident and the parents are confident in their children’s skills in the water,” Stickel said.

The evaluations will be conducted by swim instructors from the YMCA under the supervision of Melanie Williams, aquatics director for the Pickaway County YMCA. In addition to the evaluations, which Stickel said take just a few minutes to complete, there will be water activities for the whole family. Some of the activities include noodle races, a lifeguard demonstration and a boat race. Each child evaluated will receive a prize while supplies last.

Hours for the city pool will be Monday through Thursday from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m., with swim lessons from 10:15 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.; Friday from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m., with day care groups from 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.; and Saturday and Sunday from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. The daily admission prices are $4 for adults and $3 for youth and seniors. Membership for a non-Y family consisting of two or more adults and children costs $125. Membership for non-Y adult individuals is $85, and membership for non-Y youth (under 18) and seniors (62 and up) is $50.

For Y families, pool membership costs $40 before June 2 and $70 after June 1. For Y individuals, membership costs $30 before June 2 and $65 after June 1. The city pool will open June 1.

Swim lessons through the YMCA cost $30 for YMCA members and $40 for non-members. Session 1 of lessons will be held from June 18 to June 28. Session 2 will be held July 9 to July 19, and Session 3 will be held July 30 to August 9. Level 1 and 2 will be held from 10:15 a.m. to 11 a.m., and preschool lessons will be held from 11 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.

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Ward YMCA Helps Kids Dive into Success

By: Joshua Lapp 5/4/2012

The Near East Side’s own Ward YMCA has created a unique partnership with Windsor Elementary School to teach 3rd Grade students valuable swimming skills while also helping to improve academic success and provide the student with fun activities.

Swim Up! lessons take place every Thursday of the 10 week program with a goal of training all 62 third grade students at Windsor by the end of the program.  In order to participate in the program students must meet academic and behavioral goals.

Seth Bowers who heads the program at the YMCA “has noticed changes in self-confidence, behavior and interactions among the students. They are listening to instruction better, and have even started to improve test scores.” Only a few weeks into the program and students improved scores on Ohio Achievement Assessment practice tests.

Although funding barriers exist there are hopes to extend the program to all 64 Columbus elementary schools. Not only does the program benefit academic performance but the skills also help preserve safety and health. Unintended drowning is the second leading cause of death for kids 1-14 according to the CDC and 17% of all American children are obese.

The program is especially significant for the King-Lincoln District who’s population is 77% African-American and other neighborhoods with large black populations. CDC statistics state that African-American children are 3.1 times more likely to die of drowning than white children.

To learn more and follow along with the students’ progress check out the video  below and visit the Swim Up! Blog at the link below.

Blog: http://www.ymcaswimup.blogspot.com/

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YMCA Program Uses Swimming To Bolster School Performance

Published: May 02, 2012
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A new program through the YMCA is offering a program to children at Windsor Academy, in the hopes that swimming skills will translate to bolstered performance in the classroom.

The Swim UP! program is being held at the Eldon & Elsie Ward Family YMCA, located at 130 Woodland Ave.

Seth Bower is the aquatics director who developed the program, modeling it after a national program.

Bower says 62 third graders from Windsor come to the Y once a week for 2 hours for the 10 week program. Windsor Academy was chosen because it is currently on academic emergency with the state.

Swim UP! aims to bolster children's confidence through swimming in hopes that will translate into better performance in the classroom.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than one in five people who die from drowning are children 14 and under.

Bower hopes to keep kids safer while also helping them to do better in school.

"It is just amazing. It's the best feeling to see someone that was not able to swim previously and they're now able to swim, it's the best feeling ever," Bower said.

Nine-year-old Niesha Denham is one of the pilot program's students. Her mother, Tracie, also works at Windsor Academy as a teacher's aid.

"She likes it, she smiles more, she talks more," Tracie Denham says of her daughter since starting Swim UP!

Niesha, the youngest of her four siblings is the first in her family to swim. Tracie says her daughter used to struggle with reading. But in the seven weeks since she started the swim program, her daughter has made a big improvement in reading.

"She's able to read words that I didn't think she'd be able to. She's doing great things with it," Tracie Denham said.

Bower says swimming builds confidence and teaches many skills that help kids in their school work.

"I believe that with swimming, it can be very passionate and I think that the passion that we have as instructors we try to instill in the kids as well," Bower said.

Swim UP! hopes to expand in the fall to a total of five schools including Weinland Park. Bower says funding has become easier to apply for since the pilot program's success.

For additional information, stay with NBC4 and refresh nbc4i.com.

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YMCA To Expand Outdoor Youth Development Opportunities

YMCA expands outdoor adventure excursion program to broaden reach to diverse youth in grades 6-12

CHICAGO, May 1, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- YMCA of the USA (Y-USA), the national resource office for the nation's YMCAs, has received a $500,000 grant to provide more youth in grades 6-12 with outdoor development opportunities through the expansion of the BOLD (Boys Outdoor Leadership Development) and GOLD (Girls Outdoor Leadership Development) programs.

The BOLD and GOLD programs are designed to get youth outdoors, help them build healthier lifestyles and create an appreciation for nature and ecological interdependence. Created by the YMCA of Greater Seattle in 2006 with a pilot expedition of five students, the program has expanded to serve more than 400 students on 48 different expeditions ranging from two-day snowshoeing trips to 14-day mountaineering odysseys.

The grant to Y-USA was made possible by the REI Foundation, the McKibben Merner Family Foundation, the Youth Outdoor Legacy Fund, and private donors: Matt Hyde and Lisa Beaudreau, and Doug and Maggie Walker. This funding will help to expand the program to six additional Ys over three years, with the goal of serving an additional 750 young people.

"We've seen first-hand the positive impact the BOLD/GOLD program has had on the teens and know the strength of the relationship between BOLD/GOLD youth and volunteer participants," stated Matt Hyde, Y-USA Board member and Executive Vice President for REI.  "With the leadership and resources of Y-USA in partnership with the YMCA of Greater Seattle, we see this program as an ideal model to share and expand to other qualified Ys. I am proud and excited to support it."

Added Neil Nicoll, President and CEO of Y-USA: "Programs like BOLD/GOLD help the Y provide so many of the assets kids need to become successful adults, such as a sense of belonging, supportive relationships with adults, opportunities to enhance decision-making and leadership skills, and a sense of safety.  We are grateful to all of the foundations and individual donors who made this grant possible.  Because of their generosity, we can connect hundreds of boys and girls to the great outdoors so they can learn, grow and thrive - both in nature and in life."

A primary goal of BOLD/GOLD is to reduce and remove barriers for all youth and teens, regardless of socio-economic status, to organized trips and outings, access to to the outdoors, outdoor physical activities, and basic outdoor environmental education.
According to Andrew Jay, director of the program for the YMCA of Greater Seattle, BOLD/GOLD grew out of the YMCA of Greater Seattle's afterschool leadership clubs at local YMCA branches and middle schools.   "In 2006 we offered a backpacking expedition to the Alpine Lakes Wilderness and it proved so popular that demand and interest kept growing. By 2010, we were offering more than 30 backpacking, rock climbing and mountaineering expeditions involving more than 300 youth."
He added: "BOLD/GOLD serves a very unique population of youth from a wide variety of economic, ethic, religious and social backgrounds. This intentional mix of participants creates opportunities for students from different backgrounds to experience shared, challenging outdoor activities while learning how to build team leadership skills as well as self-confidence and self-awareness."

Y-USA, along with BOLD/GOLD program leadership at the YMCA of Greater Seattle, will work together to expand the BOLD/GOLD program nationally in three phases over three years.  For more information, contact YMCA.net.

About the Y
The Y is one of the nation's leading nonprofits strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Across the U.S., 2,700 Ys engage 21 million men, women and children – regardless of age, income or background – to nurture the potential of children and teens, improve the nation's health and well-being, and provide opportunities to give back and support neighbors. Anchored in more than 10,000 communities, the Y has the long-standing relationships and physical presence not just to promise, but to deliver, lasting personal and social change. ymca.net

About REI
The REI Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. The Foundation's mission is to ensure    that tomorrow's outdoor enthusiasts and conservation stewards reflect the diversity of America. Recognizing that most people with a love of the outdoors discover the natural world early in their life, the Foundation's primary efforts are in encouraging active outdoor participation by young people and their families. rei.com/reigives

Diane Hurles
YMCA of the USA

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Fighting Brain Drain and Weight Gain: New YMCA Survey Reveals Parents Struggle to Keep Kids Fit

April 26, 2012, 8:00 a.m. EDT


CHICAGO, April 26, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Parents face hurdles to keep kids active during the school year and summer poses an even greater challenge - YMCA's Healthy Kids Day® encourages parents to kick-start healthy living with active minds and bodies

Today, nearly one in three U.S. children is overweight or obese, and while summer should be a time to get up, get out and grow, kids will be at a greater risk for brain drain and weight gain when the school year ends. Research shows that without activities to keep their minds and bodies active, kids are likely to gain weight twice as fast[1] and show little to no academic growth over the summer than during the school year[2]. Despite these findings, only 21 percent of American parents rank overall physical health as a top concern for their children, while 20 percent rank education as a top concern, according to national survey findings released today by YMCA of the USA (Y-USA).

The Y's second annual Family Health Snapshot, an online parents survey gauging how physically and intellectually active children are during the school year and summertime, also revealed that parents face many barriers to providing a healthy environment. Fifty percent of parents say technological distractions, such as cell phones and television, are a big barrier to getting their kids to engage in healthy behaviors, which is higher than last year.

With summer less than two months away, keeping kids healthy and active requires planning and preparation. To help parents begin thinking early about what their kids need to grow and achieve all summer long, the Y is celebrating YMCA's Healthy Kids Day® on April 28. Healthy Kids Day, the largest health day of its kind in the nation, is an initiative of the Y to improve the health and well-being of kids. More than 1,900 Ys across the country are holding free community events for hundreds of thousands of families, filled with fun, active play and educational opportunities to help parents improve their kids' lifestyles for the long term.

"Summer weight gain and summer learning loss often go unnoticed, but they impact many of today's youth. Some studies have shown that children's BMI increases nearly twice as fast during the summer than during the school year," says Dr. Matt Longjohn, senior director of chronic disease prevention for Y-USA. "To help kids stay healthy and retain important skills learned during the school year, the Y provides opportunities for kids to move and learn all summer long."

Parents Doing a Better Job but Are Still Struggling

The Family Health Snapshot also found that although parents are spending more time with their children in general, 40 percent admit they could do a better job of encouraging their children to engage in physical activity, while 35 percent say they need to encourage more reading for fun. When asked which leisure activity parents most participate in with their children, nearly 85 percent of parents responded that they watch television with their children, which is a marked increase from last year's survey of 74 percent of respondents.

During the school year, only 19 percent of kids play outside and get at least the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity seven days a week; only 17 percent of kids read books for fun every day; and only 12 percent of kids eat at least the recommended eight fruits and vegetables daily. Parents are also struggling to maintain a healthy lifestyle: only 11 percent get the recommended 30 minutes of physical activity for adults each day; only 9 percent eat at least eight fruits and vegetables each day; nearly 50 percent report reading books with their kids less than one day a week and 30 percent admit only playing with their children three to four days a week.

"As our nation's leading nonprofit dedicated to youth development, the Y is committed to addressing critical gaps in communities that negatively affect our kids, particularly in the areas of summer learning loss and summer weight gain," says Neil Nicoll, president and CEO of Y-USA. "For over 160 years, the Y has helped kids learn, grow and thrive during summer months by providing quality activities and resources that help kids reach their full potential."

Following are five ideas to help families combat summer brain drain and weight gain:

Give your kids a jump rope. It's an awesome way to have fun and keep moving. They can go solo or get others in on the fun. Commit to healthy living by keeping the bodies and minds in your home active this summer.

Visit your local library. Explore new books you and your kids may have missed to keep your mind sharp during summer.

Have a family outing at your local park to get your heart pumping before evening meals. Play ball, run or create an obstacle course by using equipment in the park. Take turns letting everyone in your family make up something and have fun!

Take a walking staycation. Map out a new neighborhood or hiking trail in your area and get your family to explore on foot. It's a great way to make Saturday a healthy, active start to the weekend.

Start a book series and read together each night as a family. Reading at night keeps the brain buzzing and young minds active!

With a commitment to strengthening community through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility, the Y holds Healthy Kids Day to teach healthy habits and inspire a lifetime love of physical activity through active play. Healthy Kids Day is generously supported by the Dodge brand, which is committed to furthering the health and well-being of families. To learn more or to find a local Healthy Kids Day event, visit ymca.net/healthy-kids-day/.

The Family Health Snapshot was conducted online by Toluna Research ( http://www.toluna-group.com ) between Mar. 16 and 22, 2012. Participants were 1,632 U.S. parents of children ages 5 to 12. A full list of all survey results can be found on ymca.net/healthy-kids-day/

About YMCA of the USAYMCA of the USA (Y-USA) is the national resource office for the Y, one of the nation's leading nonprofits strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Across the U.S., 2,700 Ys engage 21 million men, women and children - regardless of age, income or background - to nurture the potential of children and teens, improve the nation's health and well-being and provide opportunities to give back and support neighbors. Anchored in more than 10,000 communities, the Y has the long-standing relationships and physical presence not just to promise, but to deliver, lasting personal and social change. ymca.net

[1] von Hippel, P.T., Powell, B., Downey, D.B., & Rowland, N., American Journal of Public Health, "The effect of school on overweight in childhood: Gains in children's body mass index during the school year and during summer vacation", April 2007

[2] Horizons National, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ahhj3wxxkdM&feature=player_embedded


Copyright (C) 2012 PR Newswire. All rights reserved

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YMCA expresses concern with Ohio concussion bill

April 21, 2012, 12:46 p.m. CDT
The Columbus Dispatch


COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio bill aimed at protecting athletes with concussions has drawn concern from the Ohio Alliance of YMCAs, as the nonprofit association says it worries hundreds of volunteer coaches and referees would face greater legal liability under the proposal.

The measure would require coaches or officials to remove a player from a game or practice if the athlete shows signs of a concussion or is suspected of having one. School authorities and youth sports organizations would be banned from allowing people to coach unless they were trained to recognize concussions and head injuries.

The legislation also requires a doctor or athletic trainer to clear the athlete to return to play after a concussion.

While the bill contains some immunity provisions for coaches, the head of the Ohio Alliance of YMCAs says they are inadequate.

Beth Tsvetkoff, the association's executive director, recently told an Ohio House health committee that record-keeping on concussions, along with requirements to pull the child if there are signs of a head injury would increase legal liability for volunteers and youth sports organizations.

Tsvetkoff said in an interview that coaches can already be held legally liable if a court finds their actions were done to intentionally injure a youth player.

"We're not trying to change that at all," she said. "We understand that the coaches, the referees, and us as an organization should be responsible for our actions. We agree with that."

But referees and coaches sometimes change from game to game, she says, and they might not know if a child were injured in a previous match.

"It sets up an infrastructure where a volunteer parent who is a coach or a referee in a game is being held responsible for incidents they would have no idea of what happened," she said.

While the association supports concussion training requirements in the bill, Tsvetkoff said lawmakers should eliminate the requirements for yanking a player out of the game.

The Columbus Dispatch reports (http://bit.ly/HVzRJl) that Democratic and Republican lawmakers pushed back in a Wednesday committee hearing against that idea.

"If there is no attaching liability, ultimately, where's the teeth?" said Rep. John Patrick Carney, D-Columbus. "There is no teeth. You could have a coach knowingly send someone back into play who they think has a concussion and ultimately there's no liability on the back end."

The newspaper reports that Rep. Barbara Sears, a Toledo Republican, said state lawmakers have tried to include as much immunity protection as they can in the measure.

"I don't know how I protect everyone from every potential liability," Sears said. "I just think we need to do something."

Sears and Rep. Lynn Wachtmann, R-Napoleon, the House heath committee chairman, said they will continue to work on the bill. Wachtmann has said he hopes to have the bill ready to move in the next few weeks.

Tsvetkoff said her association is working hard on amendments to the measure with lawmakers.

"We think the bill is actually really great," she said. "Hopefully, we can find that middle ground."


Information from: The Columbus Dispatch, http://www.dispatch.com


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Village promotes health and wellness

(by Dedra Cordle, Staff Writer - April 12, 2012)


The Vaughn E. Hairston Southwest Community Center YMCA is typically a hub of activity. From morning exercise classes, to after school learning programs, to recreational sports in the gymnasium, there is always a variety of things going on. But there was something a little different taking place at the center on April 10.

The gym was divided into two sections. On one side, there were informational booths set up by the Red Cross, CareSource, OSU Dental, Alvis House and the Jackson Township Fire Department.

On the other side of the gym was food – and lots of it. There were huge bags and crates of bananas, apples, oranges, heads of lettuce, onions, potatoes and cabbages, just to name a few items.

While it may have seemed the YMCA was undergoing renovations to become a marketplace it was actually the first annual Healthy Living Resource Fair.

For three hours, the community went from booth to booth, interacting with healthcare and workplace professionals, asking questions and learning about employment opportunities, personal and family wellness, Medicare and fire safety and prevention.

Then, after they had their fill of information, they picked up fresh and free produce provided by the Mid-Ohio Foodbank.

“This fair is a wonderful opportunity for the neighborhood to network, know about the different services in the area and to learn about nutrition and nourishment,” said village of Urbancrest councilwoman and fair volunteer Deborah Larkins-Jackson.

Even though this was the first year the fair was held at the YMCA, it began in a smaller scope in Bending Brook years prior. The Bending Brook Apartment complex is owned by Homeport, which is a branch of the Columbus Housing Partnership. One of its missions is to enhance the lives of residents. The group does this by providing affordable housing or goods to those in need.

Homeport also has a variety of partnerships – such as the Mid-Ohio Foodbank, the YMCA and AmeriCorps – which aids in its mission.

At the beginning of the year, the organizations reached out to the YMCA in Urbancrest to see if they would be interested in hosting the fair as they have more space than is available in Bending Brook.

“We thought it would be a great idea,” said branch manager Pamela Slater.

Slater said not only would the fair let the community know of their services as a physical activity and learning center, but it would also help them maintain their objectives.

“Our goal is to strengthen the foundation of the community and we can do that by promoting healthy living, social responsibly and youth development,” she said. “This fair and Produce Market fits all that we’re trying to do.”

Slater said they plan to continue to host the Produce Market each month for the community.

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YMCA Survey Reveals Americans are Uncertain but Hopeful About the Future of Their Communities

Y Community Snapshot respondents would move today if they could, yet are relying more on themselves to improve the quality of their neighborhoods

CHICAGO, April 10, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, YMCA of the USA (Y-USA), the national resource office of the Y, and a leading nonprofit committed to strengthening community through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility, released the Y Community Snapshot – a consumer survey measuring the quality of life in communities across the nation. The survey examined how Americans rate their communities in terms of core strength drivers including: types of community involvement; healthy active lifestyles; education, youth and family life; and quality community services.

The findings reveal that many Americans are wary of what the future holds for their communities—58 percent would move now if they could—but are committed to making their communities better and want to get involved, take action and make a difference. In fact, when asked who has the greatest opportunity and responsibility to make a difference in improving the quality of life in their community, half of the respondents reported "me, my family and other members of our community."

According to the March Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index®, consumers feel the worst economic trouble is behind them and they are more confident about future prospects than they have been in a very long time. However, the Y Community Snapshot reveals that many Americans are still concerned about the quality of life in their communities today and are not so sure their communities will rebound. In fact, when asked to grade their current communities' strength, on average, respondents gave a rating of B-, showing communities across the nation are on the cusp, with the need for building stronger communities. In addition, the Y Community Snapshot found that Americans want communities that are safer, cleaner, offer access to more public health clinics and show a stronger commitment to improving children's nutrition and overall health and wellness.

"In communities across the country, kids are behind in school, preventable chronic diseases are on the rise and people are without the health and social resources they need to thrive," said Neil Nicoll, president and CEO, YMCA of the USA. "By coming together to strengthen communities, people can make lasting social change that nurtures our kids' potential, improves health and well-being and supports neighbors. Today, the Y has 500,000 volunteers in 10,000 communities across the U.S. pioneering such change with activities that range from building sidewalks and growing community gardens to helping kids read at grade-level. All it takes is commitment."

With 2,700 Ys across the nation, the Y helps fill the gap by providing places where people can pool their efforts to strengthen communities. With 57 percent of U.S. households located within three miles from a Y, the opportunity to get involved and find ways to change your community today is easier than imagined. Today, across the United States, the Y is extending its reach into communities to nurture the potential of youth and teens, improve the nation's health and well-being and provide opportunities to support neighbors.

The Y Community Snapshot found:

  • 58 percent of respondents say they would move away from their community right now if they could, but the economy and their financial situations make moving increasingly difficult and not an option.  Unable to move, Americans are putting more responsibility on local governments and themselves to impact change;
  • 63 percent of respondents say they will get more involved in their communities this year and will contribute goods, services, facilities or other non-monetary resources to a worthy cause or organization;
  • 76 percent of respondents say they are concerned about crime in their community, and according to a recent Gallup poll, nearly half of Americans say there is more crime where they live today than there was a year ago.  A safe environment ranked as the most important quality in building a strong community;
  • The vast majority of respondents (72 percent) reported that budget cuts by government, social services and nonprofit community organizations have had a negative impact on themselves and their families, with 22 percent saying they've felt a big negative impact.

Additionally, five noteworthy qualities respondents say are "highly important" for building and sustaining a strong community include:

  • 91 percent of Americans say providing a safe environment for children is important;
  • 87 percent of citizens say neighborhood upkeep and preventing littering is important for building a strong community;
  • 79 percent of citizens felt it was important for communities to have public health clinics, affordable medications, and diet and nutrition counseling;
  • 78 percent of citizens felt a commitment to improving children's nutrition, diet and overall health and wellness is important when it comes to building a strong community;
  • 77 percent of citizens felt exercise, sports and recreation facilities and programs are very important when it comes to building a strong community;

The YMCA's Community Snapshot was conducted online by Toluna Greenfield Online (http://www.toluna-group.com), between Dec. 6 and 13, 2011 and is an opinion survey of 1,000 online interviews with U.S. adults aged 18+ conforming to U.S. Census parameters for age, gender, and region of residence. The survey has a total of 34 questions and a +/- 1.5% - 3.0% margin of error at 95% confidence.
For more information, or to see additional survey results, please visit ymca.net.

About YMCA of the USA
YMCA of the USA (Y-USA) is the national resource office for the Y, one of the nation's leading nonprofits strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Across the U.S., 2,700 Ys engage 21 million men, women and children – regardless of age, income or background – to nurture the potential of children and teens, improve the nation's health and well-being and provide opportunities to give back and support neighbors. Anchored in more than 10,000 communities, the Y has the long-standing relationships and physical presence not just to promise, but to deliver, lasting personal and social change.  ymca.net

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The Y Takes On Diabetes

Updated April 16, 2012, 11:39 a.m. ET



By using YMCAs, an insurer hopes to launch a coordinated attack against the disease.

A new health program being rolled out at YMCAs across the country shows the potential for a community-based organization to deliver a nationwide health-care intervention.


(See link below for complete story)

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YMCA of Central Ohio named LIVESTRONG® Community Impact Project Finalist and Award Recipient

The YMCA of Central Ohio among 90 Organizations to Receive Program Resources to Help People Impacted by Cancer

[Columbus, Ohio]  – April 11, 2012 – Today the YMCA of Central Ohio was announced as a LIVESTRONG Community Impact Project Finalist and award recipient.  The project, created by the Lance Armstrong Foundation, the non-profit founded by the cancer survivor and champion cyclist to serve people affected by cancer and empower them to take action, will bring proven cancer support programs to 90 communities across the United States.


“We are proud to be named as a LIVESTRONG Community Impact Project award recipient,” said Tina Badurina, Vice President, Marketing, and Communications for YMCA of Central Ohio.  “This award will directly impact our ability to support those in our community who are affected by cancer.  We want to offer our appreciation to those who voted in support of this program.  Together, we’re making a difference in the lives of cancer survivors and their families in our area.”


“By investing in these bold and innovative cancer support programs, the Lance Armstrong Foundation is providing inspiration and empowerment to area residents so they can band together as a community to face cancer head-on,” said Doug Ulman, Foundation president and CEO.  “We are grateful to each and every person who voted for making their voices heard and improving access to care for those affected by cancer.”


More than 200 qualified hospitals, cancer centers, university students, and community organizations in eight regions across the United States were selected to participate in an online voting campaign.  Over a two-week period, more than 450,000 votes were cast and the YMCA of Central Ohio was among the finalists and the only Y in the state of Ohio in the running for this award.  The YMCA of Central Ohio will use the $3500 share of the award to launch LIVESTRONG® at the YMCA, a research-based program that offers people affected by cancer a safe, supportive environment to participate in physical and social activities focused on strengthening the whole person.  As part of LIVESTRONG at the YMCA, participants work with Y staff trained in supportive cancer care to achieve their goals such as building muscle mass and strength; increasing flexibility and endurance; and improving confidence and self-esteem. 


Over the next several months, YMCA of Central Ohio will be working closely with LIVESTRONG® at the YMCA to begin training staff to facilitate the FREE small group support program to adult cancer survivors in the greater Columbus area.  The YMCA of Central Ohio plans to provide additional resources to sustain the program.  By connecting people to small communities the Y is not only providing emotional support but is also helping individuals meet their holistic wellness goals.


Currently LIVESTRONG at the YMCA is offered at 85 Y associations around the country.  As a result of the Community Impact Project, the YMCA of Central Ohio will be one of 30 additional Ys that will begin providing the program in 2012.  To date, approximately 6,000 cancer survivors have participated in the program nationwide.



For more information about LIVESTRONG® at the YMCA, contact:

Caroline Rankin
Government Funding & Diabetes Program Director
Metropolitan Offices



About the Lance Armstrong Foundation
The Lance Armstrong Foundation serves people affected by cancer and empowers them to take action against the world’s leading cause of death.  With its iconic yellow LIVESTRONG wristband, the Foundation became a symbol of hope and inspiration to people throughout the world affected by cancer.  Created in 1997 by cancer survivor and champion cyclist Lance Armstrong, the Foundation provides free patient navigation services to survivors with financial, emotional, and practical challenges that accompany the disease.  Known for its powerful brand – LIVESTRONG – the Foundation is also a leader in the global movement on behalf of 28 million people living with cancer today.  Since its inception in 1997, the Foundation has raised more than $450 million for the fight against cancer.  For more information, visit LIVESTRONG.org.

About the YMCA of Central Ohio
Founded in 1855, the YMCA of Central Ohio has strengthened the foundations of the Columbus community for nearly 160 years.  Our mission is to serve the whole community through programs expressing Judeo-Christian principles that build a healthy spirit, mind, and body.  The Y is a powerful association of men, women, and children of all ages and from all walks of life joined together by a shared passion of strengthening children and families.  Today our association has expanded to 12 YMCA facilities.  The YMCA of Central Ohio is committed to providing services and programs that focus on Youth Development, Healthy Living, and Social Responsibility to the greater Columbus community.  For more information about the YMCA of Central Ohio, visit:  ymcacolumbus.org


Niel Jurist

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The Y Teams Up with Columbus City Schools to Help Students Improve Their Grades



Swim UP! Helps Kids Gain Confidence, Build Trust and Improve Academic Scores

[COLUMBUS, March 20, 2012]  – According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning is the second leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 14 years.  For African American children the rate is 3.1 times higher than white children.  In an effort to address this disturbing trend, the YMCA of Central Ohio has launched a new partnership with Columbus City Schools to teach third graders how to swim.  The new program titled, Swim UP! will start with youngsters from Windsor STEM K-6 Academy.  The first class will take place on Thursday, March 22, 2012 from 10am -12pm at the Eldon & Elsie Ward Family YMCA, located at 130 Woodland Avenue.

“The Y believes that every child should have the opportunity to swim,” said Andrew Roberts, President, YMCA of Central Ohio.  “In teaching children to swim, we are not only nurturing their potential, we are building self-esteem and confidence.  And we’re confident that if we can be successful in being those bridges, we’ll also see improved academic performance.”  

Two years ago, a similar program was introduced through the Treasure Valley YMCA in Caldwell, Idaho.  Teachers reported measurable improvements in the student’s academic performance, as well as overall behavior -- which studies have shown to be a significant barrier to learning in the classroom for some children.

“The YMCA has been known for its high quality health and wellness programming for many years,” said Columbus City Schools Superintendent/CEO Gene T. Harris, Ph.D. “We are very pleased that the YMCA has selected Windsor STEM K-6 in which to launch its “Swim UP!” program, and we are looking forward to our students benefitting physically and academically from this experience.”

Each child will be tracked by teachers to observe academic progress during their participation in Swim Up through pre and post testing.  Columbus City Schools will provide transportation for the weekly lesson.  In order to remove potential barriers, the YMCA of Central Ohio will be raising funds to provide swimsuits for participants.  The classes will run through May 24, 2012 and will conclude with a graduation ceremony and banquet for the children, their families, and school officials.

About the YMCA of Central Ohio
Founded in 1855, the YMCA of Central Ohio has strengthened the foundations of the Columbus community for nearly 160 years.  Our mission is to serve the whole community through programs expressing Judeo-Christian principles that build a healthy spirit, mind, and body.  The Y is a powerful association of men, women, and children of all ages and from all walks of life joined together by a shared passion of strengthening children and families.  Today our association has expanded to 12 YMCA facilities.  The YMCA of Central Ohio is committed to providing services and programs that focus on Youth Development, Healthy Living, and Social Responsibility to the greater Columbus community.  To learn more about the YMCA of Central Ohio, visit:  ymcacolumbus.org.


Niel Jurist

.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

614 224 9622

The Lance Armstrong Foundation Announces Community Impact Project Award Recipients

The YMCA of Central Ohio among 90 Organizations to Receive More Than $1.4 Million in Resources to Help People Affected by Cancer

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Couple honored for service

By Sarah Sole
ThisWeek Community Newspapers
Wednesday February 8, 2012 3:03 PM

For 20 of their 50 years together, Richard and Annette Rush have volunteered for the Meals on Wheels program at their church.

On Feb. 14, the Grove City couple will be honored for their efforts by Gov. John Kasich during a ceremony in Columbus.

Ohio first lady Karen Waldbillig Kasich and the Ohio Department of Aging will honor 17 couples for their dedication to marriage and volunteerism at the 13th annual Joined Hearts in Giving celebration.


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