Summer weather & camp is coming!

Maybe it’s the cold weather, height of the snow or freezing winds that are making my thoughts drift to summer all too frequently! Today, as I was bundled up making my way into the Y, I was counting the days until Spring (26 in case you were wondering).

Spring brings to mind clean up days at Camp Chase, planning what fun trips Camp Farmington Valley will be taking and hiring summer camp counselors. I love it all. Knowing our plan for camp this year, I wanted to do a “gut-check” to make sure it was in alignment with what parents & kids are wanting. So I went back to our SEER Analytics survey that was sent to last summers camper families. Not only was it a good reminder of what we need to do REALLY well this summer (parent communication) but it told the stories of impact that makes Camp SO important in the life of a child.

Here are some of the parent comments that I wanted to share:

“I appreciate the campers being given the opportunity to think outside of the box and encouraged by individuals who are excited and enthusiastic in their daily interactions. Their enthusiasm and encouragement reinforces what we practice in our household and allows him to know he can do and succeed in anything he puts his mind to. In turn, he also encourages his peers and is equally as helpful in his interactions with others.”

“Both of my girls clearly have changed since going to camp. They even asked us to skip the programmed vacation to go to camp. They improved their swimming and they looked so healthy. Camp was an amazing discovery this year for my family.”

“All three of my children attended Camp Chase this year. My oldest, a special education student, attended with support from our local school district. He feels most at home at Camp Chase. He is able to achieve social & communication success at Camp Chase in ways that he does not anywhere else. The counselors foster an atmosphere of fun and respect that benefits all children, regardless of their needs. All 3 kids cannot wait to attend Camp Chase next year!”

“My child is very reserved, shy and reluctant to try new things. By the end of the first week of camp, he was a new person. Confident, more outgoing, and eager to get on the bus every day. We have seen his confidence soar as he starts a new year of school with a lot of unfamiliar faces, he is embracing it. We have seen a real change in him and are so pleased! Oh, and the fact that he learned to swim and has the confidence to swim in the deep end alone is a huge bonus too!”

So adios Winter! I’m ready for summer…and Camp…Bring it on!

Christian Gervin Sweetens the Day


lemonade“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade” is the proverbial phrase used to inspire someone to make something good out of a bad situation. I know from experience that it takes a can-do attitude and some ingenuity. Today Christian Gervin, a Y member, used his can-do attitude and skill to take the bitter out of a challenging situation!

Today 18 or so children arrived to the Y with their water bottles and lots of energy ready to take the Friday Tween Fit class and found that they were missing their instructor. Due to a miscommunication with a planned substitute and lack of instructors in the building, a solution needed to be found…

Immediately, Christian, who is dad to one of the kids, offered to the Y staff, “I can help run the class!” “I can do some Plyometrics with the kids!” he added. Without missing a beat, Christian loaded up some music and happily led this exuberant group of kids through a fun workout. With some shuffling of staff, another wellness staff person was able to help Christian with this “sweet” solution.

The Y is family made up of staff, volunteers, members and community partners. Christian’s action defines family helping family.

Christian, thank you for making lemonade for everyone to enjoy!

Wearing your “Y” on your Sleeve!

Today while at a local restaurant, Lauren, a welcome center representative, held the door for a woman in a wheelchair. The woman saw Lauren’s Y shirt and struck up a conversation with her.

The woman asked, “Do you really have a wheelchair ramp in your pool?” Lauren answered, “Yes!” and proceeded to tell her more about the Y. Lauren shared details about membership and the facility. Lauren invited her to try out the Y.

Lauren has been “Living the Cause” with Indian Valley for more than six years- in Child Care, the Adult Literacy program, Amazing Kids/Child Watch and now the Welcome center. Lauren is someone who “wears her heart on her sleeve” in a great way. YMCA members can see and feel her love all of the time and today by wearing her heart on her sleeve and her Y shirt, she was able to share the story of the Y with a new friend.

Word of mouth gets random donation

Dave Corricelli received a letter along with a donation from a woman who heard about the gymnastics program here at the FV Y. This definitely shows how impactful stories and relationships can be!! Thanks Dave for sharing this.

Farmington Valley YMCA                                                4/24/12
Att: Gymnastics Program

The enclosed check is given to support the young women in your gymnastics program. Kathleen Moody told me about your program and how much her daughters enjoy it. Wishing you all continuing success! And thanks for all you do for young people.
Joanne W.

Health is Contagious!

Hi, everyone. I wanted to share a story from another of our Livestrong participants. Here is where the magic and healing happens….Thank you! Jackie


Health is contagious

Angela Hyde (two-time cancer survivor, breast and thyroid) is one of our daytime Livestrong participants. Initially, when I did the intake process she was extremely hesitant to join the program. Angela was not very active, and to use her own words, “I have a terrible time even getting off the couch” but thought she would try the program and felt that if she had a group that she was committed to, that would help her stay motivated.

Long story short, she is one of our most committed and dedicated participants. She has never missed a class, even comes in 15 minutes early to get moving before the class begins. She is in there sweating and working it out each and every class. Plus, Angela and a few of our other participants get together on the days that we don’t have a class, to workout and support each other.

 This is where the magic happens…this past Wednesday, Angela came in early as usual, but brought her husband, in his cute dad jeans, to work out with her. She feels so comfortable with us, that she is beginning to make health and wellness a part of her entire families’ lives.






No excuses!

My ultimate goal is to lose weight and once that is accomplished to maintain the weight that best suits me. I have a treadmill at home as well as everything that I need to workout and lose weight. The one thing that I leave behind when I get in my car and drive to the YMCA is excuses. I need one hour a day for me. I love my husband and my son, but I need to focus on me and that is what the YMCA does for me, plus I am able to leave all of the excuses for not working out at home. I love going to the YMCA everyday – it makes me happy!

FV mom, wife, and member

Marvelous Mondays!

Dear Mr. Austin and Ms. Yanus,

We have had such an amazing experience at the Farmington Valley YMCA I felt compelled to let you both know.

My little Wesley at a bit over 3 years old was doing well working on physical and social skills at his gym class. Knowing his challenges with change, confidence and trust we were broken-hearted to hear that the gym was closing, and began searching for something to fill the void. We decided to try swim classes at the Farmington Valley YMCA. We spent weeks prepping him knowing how difficult it would be for him to get used to a new type of class, a new building, a new teacher and new routine….the thought of adding the water factor on top of all this mounted up to great worry and stress on my part.

The first class we were greeted warmly by Wesley’s new teacher, Stephanie Calamari. With a gentle demeanor and kind heart she lead him into the water…I held my breath. As expected, the first day he was terrified. However, I was happily surprised that he took right away to Miss. Stephanie. She was actually able to keep him in the pool, albeit on her hip, the entire class. She was patient and worked very hard on getting Wesley to trust her the first class. Stephanie even spent an extra few minutes with him after class to get him used to being a bit independent in the water. She also talked with me after class about her plan to help Wesley progress. The next week I had a hard time convincing him to go back. When I reminded him how Miss. Stephanie was right with him in the water he decided himself that he would try it again. This time Miss. Stephanie encouraged him to stay on the wall without her. He was uncomfortable at first and cried for a minute. Stephanie glanced at me for agreement in doing this, which made me feel comfortable. Wes quickly acclimated as Miss. Stephanie kept checking in with him and he felt secure that she wasn’t far away. Only seven classes later, with her supportive yet challenging style of teaching, he is jumping off the side and swims, with bubble, across the entire length of the pool. He loves going to swim class. The only challenge now is getting him out of the water when class is over.

My daughter, Ellery, who is in the same class started with a different set of challenges. Ellery was very afraid of going underwater. I am happy to report that last class, after a private sidebar conversation with Miss. Stephanie the week before, she worked up the courage to give it a try. Low and behold she loved it, and did it over and over the whole class. Miss. Stephanie was so proud of Ellery and genuinely shared in her happiness at her success.

As a Mom on the sideline watching this amazing person help my children face their fears and support them as she does, my heart is warmed. I know I have found a wonderful place for the kids to work on a new skill in a comfortable, encouraging and yet challenging environment. Stephanie makes learning and practicing new skills fun with different games and an upbeat personality. Seeing Wesley go from clinging to Miss. Stephanie to jumping in and swimming the whole length of the pool, while Ellery is down one bubble and going underwater in just one session is unbelievable. We are so happy we have found this class for both of them.

In addition, I would like to thank Miss. Lauren for her wonderful support as well. When Miss. Stephanie was out sick one week, I was very nervous about how the change would go knowing what a hard time Wesley has with it. At the beginning of class he did not even want to get in the pool and by the end of that same class was smiling from ear to ear at her antics.

I guess the icing on the cake would be the friendly faces that great us at check in every week. All the employees are consistently kind and friendly. All of this adds up to make our day every Monday. We so look forward to it every week.

We couldn’t possibly be happier with our experience at the YMCA. So, kudos to the Farmington Valley YMCA’s swim program and those that make it what it is.


Jessica Barcomb

“My House”

At the Y’s Phone-a-thon night, we sat around a table with a deck of cards with photos on them.  We were asked to pick two cards, one with a photo that describes me and the other to tell us why we were here tonight.  The second card was a easy choice, I picked a picture of a house.  The house symbolized the support I receive from the YMCA’s Strong Kids Campaign.  My girls participate in several programs at the Y, including the gymnastics team, swim lessons and hip hop dance classes.  Without the Y’s support I would not have “my house”.

 “My house” is the friends we have and the great experiences that the girls have every time we walk through the doors.  While the girls take their classes, I get a chance to come in and work out myself.  Things are still tough as they are for such a vast number of us.  I cannot thank everyone at the Y for all they have done and do.  The least I can do in order to give back is to help out.  That is WHY I make calls on Monday nights to help tell the YMCA’s story.

 Christine Briggs; Wife, Mother, & YMCA Member

Just keep swimming…Just keep swimming…

Some testimonies from Farmington Valley Swim Team Parents

“I am thrilled to tell everyone about the perch program at the YMCA.   It has become my favorite part of the week with my son as we both just love the class.   Before signing up for Perch my son would cling to me in the water & never want to be let go.   It’s amazing how much my son’s confidence has grown in the pool since enrolling.   It gives me such joy to see him smiling once he hits the water & I know he’s getting great exercise & having so much fun at the same time.    Not to mention on the days he has swim class it’s almost a guaranteed 3 hour nap!  :)”

“We’ve been using private lessons for our family for years. Whether helping our 5-year old gain independence in the water, or having our 10-year old competitive swimmer improve her technique, the coaches and instructors at the Y have been amazing. We will absolutely continue to use lessons for all 5 of our children.

“For this swim class and the prior one, the instructors were very helpful and understanding.  Two years ago my daughter was in a swimming lesson where the instructor let her continuously sink under the water and did not offer any assistance.  As a result of this my daughter was afraid to swim without a life jacket or told us she would always wear a life jacket.  She grew up around a pool so this was very upsetting to us.  With Kaitlin and then with Parker, my daughter has gained back her confidence and loves to swim again.  Each of her instructors was fabulous and understanding and more than willing to help her.”