Every year, thousands of Hindus participate in the festival Holi. The festival has many purposes. First and foremost, it celebrates the beginning of the new season, spring. Originally, it was a festival that commemorated good harvests and the fertile land. Hindus believe it is a time of enjoying spring’s abundant colors and saying farewell to winter.  During this event, participants hold a bonfire, throw colored powder at each other, and celebrate wildly.

Today our Tender Care preschoolers painted their faces and throw color at each other (pieces of colored tissue paper), they had a blast celebrating Holi in Ms. Jordan and Ms. Timca’s class!

Teen’s <3 the YMCA

Our Teen Center participants have been decorating our walls lately and some of their art works speaks volumes:

“Keep Calm & Love the YMCA”

“We love the YMCA”



We love the YMCA too, friends!

Jenn Odorczyk
Child Care Director
East Hartford YMCA


Happy Hoppers!

Last Friday the Indian Valley Family YMCA preschool classes hopped for the Muscular Dystrophy Association raising $376.75!!

This was such a fun activity for the kids. Some classrooms stayed in their rooms and hopped at group time and others went outside to hop. One class used a parachute and hopped as the kids held onto the edges!

One teacher’s comment:

“We hopped while counting to 20 in order to make the most of the activity. We did this nine times! We learned that two minutes is a LONG time to hop”!! -Mrs. McGrath, 3’s nursery school class

Way to go happy hoppers, you hoped for a great cause!




The Greater Hartford YMCA Honors and Remembers Sandy Hook

The Sandy Hook Run for the Families, sponsored by the Hartford Marathon Foundation, took place this past Saturday in Downtown Hartford. The Greater Hartford YMCA had a tent and tables set up along Trumbull Street to provide entertainment for children and their families during the event.

Tim Kelly, Wellness Coordinator and personal trainer organized a bus load of YMCA members to run the race. Before the race they came into the Downtown Y to check out the facility. While they were there, they got so inspired, they decided that to run the race wasn’t enough, they had to do Susan’s spin class before!!! They all LOVED Susan and had so many nice things to say about her class 🙂

All of Tim’s team did extremely well, many achieving PR’s for the race. Tim placed third in his age group and got to finish with a member of his team. This photo was on the front page of the newspaper!  Notice how far ahead Tim and his friend are and the fact that they are still smiling!!!!  Great job Tim and his crew!!

Tim Sandy Hook

Thank you so much to all the staff at Camp Woodstock for their support in providing a fabulous craft activity for the kids, FootLights at Downtown for providing an African drumming demonstration  and to all the staff who manned the tent( Kristi is still thawing out!) This all showed our love and support to the people of Newtown and that we have hope for a better future ahead.  In fact, as people walked by when we were hanging  up our 26 starts on our tent as a tribute to those beautiful lives lost in December, Kristi heard several people say” Good for the Y…” Sometimes you don’t have to do a lot….it’s just being there that is enough.

Back at Downtown…Dan the Man was doing what he does best with my running club kids. He ran an impromptu stretching session to get them ready for the run. This is also what the Y is about.  Every moment that my team can share with Dan, I encourage and appreciate. They will never find a better role model than Dan, always giving and always caring.

Also, a special shout out goes to Diego, who provided excellent customer service to the hordes of people who ascended on the Downtown Y for this special race. We are so fortunate to have such great staff at Downtown. Thanks Diego!!

I think sometimes we focus more on what we haven’t done, need to do or could do better. But for today, let’s focus on all the things we do really well, the lives we touch, the people we help and the people we inspire. Let’s celebrate what we do really well, because there is a lot we do really well:)

sandy hook kidsy tentSandy Hook Race- state house                                                                                                                                                                                                      

All Levels Of Abilities Are Welcome

Don’t ever think to yourself “I’m too old to race!” or “He/she is too young!” and better yet “I really don’t think I’m able to do it!”. Well guess what? Yes you can!

The Wheeler YMCA’s Triathlon Club held their 3rd indoor triathlon of the season on Sunday March 24th. Amongst our racers were 10 year old Trinity Cardillo, 10 year old Jillian Norbut, 12 year old EJ Wynkoop and Adaptive Athletes Brett Sloan and Tom Branchaud. All swimming 650 yards, biking 11 miles and running 2.5 miles.

To watch our young athletes follow in their parents footsteps and to watch our adaptive athletes challenge themselves is truly remarkable. No words can express how all of us racers felt that Sunday. We were all proud. We were all moved. We were all there willing to motivate and help. We all came together as a team to make sure that everybody, no matter what age or what abilities our racers have, finished the race with a smile!

Don’t ever doubt yourself. If you want to TRI something, then go for it!

Tom Branchaud

Tom Branchaud

EJ Wynkoop age 12

EJ Wynkoop age 12

Jillian Norbut age 10

Jillian Norbut age 10

Trinity Cardillo age 10

Trinity Cardillo age 10

That is just Genius

Last week, I had to take my third trip to the apple store because of issues with my phone. As I was sitting at the genius bar, deep inside I was huffing and puffing with anger that I was there once again! One of the genius bar associates had recognized me from my last visit to the store, he remember that I had  worked at one of local YMCA’s  around the area. He had then asked me about the Indian Valley Y in Ellington, and recommended him to go check it out (looking out for you all at Indian Valley, new member coming your way!). As we kept talking about the YMCA, he asked again which one I worked at again, I replied saying, “the West Hartford Branch.” There was a man also sitting at the genius bar  whose head shot up when I gave my answer. He then said, “are you Amanda? The one who I get emails from?” As I looked at him, surprised, answered with, “why yes I am. Have your kids done any of our program?” He explained to me that his two twin boys just finished up with at the league with the Shooters division. He has told me that the boys had a wonderful time and enjoyed every minute of it! Hearing and meeting this man, made me feel so much closer to a member of the Greater Hartford YMCA. Who would have known that I would have deepen a relationship at the apple store genius bar?

I walked out of the apple store that day, with a huge smile on my face! Not just because I got my phone fixed, but because I build a new relationship with a member. It doesn’t if you are in a Y facility to deepen a relationship, you can build and deepen relationship anywhere with our members!

Friday night fun


Most adults would agree that Friday is one of the best days of the week!

Some of our Y kids would agree, too… because they got to spend Friday at the Y AND more importantly with someone who is a CARING ADULT!

a beaming Dad admiring at his 3 year old daughter’s artwork at the Y Art Show.

a dedicated and spirited Y staff person inspiring kids to express themselves in a new dance program.

a seasoned child care staff person sharing their Friday night making crafts with kids in the “Kids Night out” program.

These caring adults are making the Y a great place to be a kid on a Friday night.

I bet if asked though, these caring adults would say they’re the lucky ones.

girl showing dad art work 3-22 KNO craft Austin H teaching Inertia Dance TRY IT

A Swim Brings Happiness

As most of us wake up every now and again in a cranky mood, Thursday morning was just that for me. As I go through my normal morning routine with a few added chores that day, my car automatically finds it’s way up the driveway at the Wheeler YMCA.

My workout of the day was a half hour swim which for me is pure torture. I try really hard to swim but I still find myself a mediocre swimmer who should probably get in the pool more. I am not a natural swimmer and when I know I need to get into the pool I procrastinate to avoid the cold temps of the water and practice a sport that is challenging for me.

Right off the bat I see a great friend of mine in the other lane. I know well enough to not stop her to chat because we would never finish our workout. Lo and behold, she sees me in mid turn and stops….Right away I begin to perk up knowing that she is in the pool with me sharing the same torture.

As I begin my swim, I notice another friend come into the pool. Five minutes later another friend enters the pool. Within seconds my cranky morning turned into the most wonderful morning ever. Why? Because I was able to share the pool with 9 other fabulous friends, mom’s and Tri Club members.  As everybody started chatting about their workout, commenting on each others swim stroke, offering advice and how strong everybody looked, I stopped mid lane and smiled. I was so happy to be in that pool that morning. To see these 9 members become friends through Tri Club, Group Ex classes and even the pool made me so proud of where I was and who I am.  I found the drive to swim hard, to continue my workout and to finish it because just having them in the pool with me made everything seem so simple. Granted, my swim lasted 90 minutes with all the talking we did but I would not have wanted to be anywhere else.


O’Mazing Success!!


The 4th annual Wheeler Y O’Mazing Race charity fundraising event was held on Saturday, March 16th to tremendous success!  30 teams of four drove, ran, hopped, sang, collected, begged, cajoled, photographed, rescued, relayed, and painted for two hours in Plainville and surrounding towns.  The Dunnewood Dames were the ultimate winners with over 5,000 points and claimed bragging rights as this year’s champions.  Over 20 volunteers consisting of Wheeler Y members, employees, spouses, and friends worked to provide a spectacular experience for all participants.  The entire spectacle was held as a fundraiser for our annual Strong Kids Campaign – between generous sponsorships, team entrance fees, and the silent auction and raffle, we were able to raise over $15,000 that will go directly to helping cancer survivors thrive, teaching first graders to swim, and improving the quality of life of those in our community.

The sense of community was palpable – teams consisted of local elementary school teachers, Rotary club members, volunteer firefighters, our own employees, and even the principal of one of our schools!  Seeing the variety of friends, neighbors, family, and members all together in one place, all working toward the common goal of raising money for our Campaign was beyond inspiring.  We are incredibly fortunate to have such dedicated, dynamic people helping us with our mission.


Erica Donovan
Wheeler Regional Family YMCA