From cradle to grave, Modeling health for life at the YMCA

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As a registered charity, YMCA Northumberland impacts individuals at every stage of life in Northumberland County. From the cradle to grave, the YMCA has a positive influence on individuals at every stage of their lives. We ensure access to activities and services that help people reach their full potential to live healthier, happier lives.

Giving back is a core value of the YMCA, and many of the children who participate in our programs go on to become valued volunteers and teen-leaders. Youth are taught employable skills at the Y and frequently find their first jobs teaching swimming lessons, guarding area beaches or being camp counsellors, playing a vital role in services that address local community needs.

We believe it is the right of every child to be active, participate in social activities with their peers and have somewhere they feel they belong. At the YMCA, we understand this. We want every child to experience camp at least once in their life, to learn essential skills like how to swim, and to discover how to live a balanced, healthy life.

We begin modeling a health life through our Ontario Early Years Centres where parents with toddlers and young children can come for free and engage with other families. Help is available for parenting, and it allows the families to connect with other community resources. As children grow at the YMCA they then get involved with our youth programs. They can attend camp, take swimming lessons, discover new skills, and make friends along the way as they acquire positive values.

Kids who participate in YMCA programs build confidence, broaden their social relationships, develop leadership skills, and learn to face new challenges. The YMCA becomes a second home for many youth and a positive influence in their complicated busy lives. We become that place where youth can feel they belong, be safe and feel connected.

As you can see, these same kids who come to us as infants become empowered to influence and give back to our communities in ways that make incredible differences.

The YMCA Strong Kids Campaign makes it possible for the YMCA to deliver its vision of serving more people in more communities throughout Northumberland. Through the YMCA Strong Kids Opportunity Fund, we are able to provide assistance to individuals and families who are unable to pay the membership fees or to attend programs, lessons or camp.

Over 1,750 kids in Northumberland County last year received financial assistance through this fund. What’s equally important to note is that over 600 adults and seniors have benefitted as well. This ensures that our doors are accessible to everyone in our community throughout their lives, and that no one is turned away due to an inability to pay.

When a campaign like YMCA Strong Kids gets momentum, it builds into something so much bigger. It can inspire a community and challenge apathy. It can motivate individual achievement and inspire groups to overcome adversity. It’s never too late to get involved and in some way reignite a connection to community through your YMCA.