nurse visit

Parent Karen Yencho, APRN came to talk to our 4 year olds about being a nurse. She answered many questions like why nurses give shots, and why do they hurt. She gave us a first hand lesson on what to do if you get a bloody nose as one if our students got one during her visit.

Many reminders were also shared wearing helmets when riding bikes or scooters, healthy eating and exercise. Mrs. Toomey’s class then led everyone in their daily morning exercise routine.


Thank you Mrs. Yencho for visiting Mrs. V’s and Mrs. Toomey’s class!!!

I missed the mess…

TRX delivery Fed Ex Truck
Imagine my surprise when I returned to the scene of a large equipment delivery to clean up the mess of cardboard and plastic I had left behind…to find that it had been taken care of before I returned. No sign at all of the YMCA staff elves that had beaten me to the mess, but that’s what happens when you work with the best people in the world!

Tackling Obesity

Recently The Wilson- Gray YMCA “Let’s Dance Program “were featured on Fox CT News. The name inspired by First Lady, Michelle Obama’s ‘Let’s Move campaign  was created for the purpose of using  dance as a tool to promote healthy living, youth development and to demonstrate social responsibility. The mission is to provide youth of all financial backgrounds with quality dance instruction and to expose them to a diverse dance curriculum. The featured highlight discussed the epidemic of childhood obesity and how the program is impacting children’s health by providing a fun way to exercise. Click on the link to see the video and learn more!!!


Wheeler YMCA Members at Their Best

The Wheeler YMCA Triathlon Club offers weekly group rides for our Tri Club members that are guided by our very best riders. One of our members posted this on his Facebook page:

“I had the pleasure of being on a ride Wednesday night, you all heard of Y Members as being Family right? Well this week half way into the ride, I got a flat tire. Panicking I told Ask Daren Casey to keep the ride going and that I would catch up. Well instead of continuing the ride everyone formed a circle and just chatted as David Wemett and Daren Casey helped me and guided me through fixing a flat. I thank you all for the education. When we started the ride we all left together and finished the ride together. We do have some great group activities”

Anything is Possible…

merry speechOn June 19th, 2013 one of the 2012 graduates of the YMCA’s Read to Succeed Adult Literacy Clinic will do what no other member of her family has ever done before. She will walk across the stage and receive her high school diploma!

Mary has worked so hard to earn her high school diploma, but she is not stopping there!! She had already started on her newest goal….to become a CNA (certified nursing assistant).

This is the best part of my job…seeing my students achieve what not even they thought was possible…..


Karen Theroux- Downtown Branch

Lucky–And Thankful–To Be at Camp Jewell

Jess Bryan
I’m the luckiest person in the world. I was in the right place at the right time and because of that I’m here at Camp Jewell as an Assistant Director and I’m so thankful for it.

I’m from Australia, where going to summer camp isn’t an option for kids the way it is in the U.S., so my one childhood camp experience was unique. When I started grade 9 my family moved to a new town and I wasn’t happy about it. Shortly after arriving there I was able to take advantage of a rare four-week school camp that had a strong influence on me, changing and shaping me as a person. When I graduated from high school I thought back to that time and sought out a way to re-create for other kids what I had experienced as a young teenager. I decided to study outdoor recreation and took a job leading wilderness trips just outside of Sydney where I worked for 18 months.

In 2011 I was ready for a change so I decided to come to YMCA Camp Becket-Chimney Corners in Massachusetts in search of the quintessential American summer camp experience. I figured I’d spend a summer there, travel around North America, and then head to Europe to continue my adventure. The first part of my plan came to pass—after working as a lifeguard at Becket I spent time in Canada and the Eastern U.S., settling for a little while in Florida. But when I came back up to Becket in the spring of 2012 to visit a friend there for a long weekend, I was introduced to the all-girls Chimney Corners Camp and I fell in love with the idea of it and the way the people who’d been there for years talked about it. I came with a bag packed for three days and I ended up staying through the summer. I’ve been in Y camping ever since.

The endless creativity I saw that first summer at Chimney inspired me to continue working with kids and redefined my passion for wanting to give something back. I spent some time working as program staff at YMCA Camp Mason in New Jersey, and then returned to Chimney this past winter. I started thinking about pursuing a year-round camp job and putting down some roots. It was because of Shannon Donovan-Monti, Chimney’s Executive Director and a long-time former Jewell director, that I knew about the Assistant Director job at Jewell, and it was because of her encouragement that I applied for it.

I feel so appreciative of all the opportunities that I’ve been given working at Y camps, and especially now that I’m part of the leadership staff at Jewell. What’s most important to me is that I give back—the way I see it, my directors and mentors have taken the time to get to know me and have given me this chance and I’m going to make the most of it. I want to give back to the YMCA; I believe in what camp does for kids, especially the ones who are struggling in school or who aren’t fitting in elsewhere because camp can offer a great change for them.

I’m really looking forward to this summer when I’ll be Assistant Camp Director overseeing the LITs, Seniors and Trips. I know I have a lot to learn about how Jewell works and the traditions here, but I really feel like this job is the perfect fit for my camp background and the hard skills I learned when I was leading trips back in Australia. I love the feeling I get during summer camp and the atmosphere that exists when it’s in session. I love that my creativity is so encouraged, and I’m motivated by the creativity I see in the staff and in the campers around me. Camp is the one place where you find people who are so unique and so comfortable with themselves. And I’m so thankful to call it my home.

Betances Cleaning the Community!!

Below is a picture of our after school program at Betances Elementary school. The kids were sitting and discussing ways they can help out their community. Our little YMCA friends sat for a half hour talking and debating about how important it is to help their community and provide different activities to help kids have fun!

Our little one in the front middle then said, “that’s what the YMCA does!”

You could imagine how happy and proud the staff was to hear his statement and astonished that this group of kids held a discussion all on there own without staff prompting or redirection!

The end result was to start helping the community at that moment. They asked the janitors for garbage bags and grabbed gloves and went outside and helped clean the playground area!

Living our cause can affect everyone especially these kids. They know that the YMCA always acts, communicates, and thinks differently! Our community needs come first! And now our future kids will know how to act communicate and think about our community first!



TRI-ing at Wheeler

The Wheeler YMCA had two fantastic days of TRI-ing! This past Sunday the Wheeler YMCA Tri Club finished off their winter season with their final indoor triathlon. 47 racers swam a 1/2 mile, biked 13 miles and ran a 5K. We ended our 5th season in style with a brunch, raffle and awards!

It was another amazing season with some dedicated and determined athletes whom some are just learning how to swim and are participating in a program to help them challenge themselves. Other members are seasoned athletes and use our indoor triathlons for conditioning purposes! Time to bring the racing outdoors!

Then last night we kicked off our Kids Triathlon Program at the Plainville High School.  Over 30 junior triathletes signed up for this program ranging from ages 4 – 11.  Our little athletes swam in the lap pool and then biked and ran around the high school track.

The smiles on the children’s faces were priceless and they could not wait to come back and TRI again!  Little Sarah just took the training wheels off her bike and was very scared to bike alone.  While running alongside Sarah while she biked and cheering her on she was able to  build enough confidence in herself that we could not get her off the bike.  James was so excited to be at the triathlon that he kept shouting “I’m on my first lap!” or “I’m done biking!” and “I’m almost finished, yeah!”.  Madison TRI-ed last year and decided not to continue BUT came back this year and raced with the biggest smile on her face.  She was so excited that she actually swam, biked and ran and had FUN!

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Congratulations racers!  You are ROCK STARS!



Work Day Help from Prep School

side 2Here are a few pictures of a group of Juniors in High School from Marianapolis Preparatory School in Thompson, CT. They came to the West Hartford Program Site at the St. Thomas Seminary to help with gardening and landscaping for the upcoming Summer season.

It was an awesome feeling to see so many kids willing to help with getting the job accomplished! They did a wonderful job and has helped with bringing out program site to life!

I build relationships with a couple of the kids in the group when I took them on a tour of our building. I had asked them what they thought of the space and if they had access to it, what would they have in it if they were a local teen in our community areas? It was great to hear the various number of ideas and thoughts that I can bring for the communities we serve hear at the West Hartford YMCA.

front of building side 1


Happiness Starts Here!

On Sunday, May 19th, The RunHers at Downtown ran in their first 3.3 mile race in Glastonbury called the Ten Penny Ale Run.

Of the 18 members of the RunHers team, 6 ran in the race with me. I also had my own youth running team there with us as well. Both teams ran extremely well, with the RunHers picking up 5 age group awards and my youth running team picking up 6 awards. It was a dream come true to see both my teams united as one on this day!

I am not even going to attempt to write about how fantastic the day was, I am going to let the pictures speak for themselves…………ten penny ale runTen Penny Ale 2

ten penny ale