Our Story Why We Exist
YMCA Calgary welcomes everyone. We exist to help children, youth and adults live healthy lives, build community and provide leadership training and opportunities for our young people. Sometimes a little help can make all the difference.
It made a difference for Monika and her family.
Monika started exercising at Shawnessy YMCA after she gave birth to her twin boys, Adrian and Max. She was motivated to get back into shape and her daughter Claudia, seven at the time, already loved learning and making friends at swimming lessons and kids programs at the Y, so Monika knew her boys would too. Having the whole family in one place for activities made things easier for her.
She started volunteering in a toddler program.
It was the perfect opportunity to keep my babies with me during my shift and raise active, healthy, social children.
When my boys started school, I switched to volunteering on the weight floor. But as our financial woes grew, I had to make the heartbreaking decision to stop going to the Y. I couldn't’t afford the babysitting costs or other activities for my kids.
One day, I received a phone call from Christy, one of the trainers, wondering why I was no longer coming. When I explained our situation she invited me to talk to Nancy about financial assistance. Nancy was kind and understanding. As soon as a subsidy was in place, my kids and I returned to the Y. We were so excited to get back. We always felt welcomed and cared for at the YMCA and my children had so much fun.
But life kept getting harder, my daughter was diagnosed with juvenile arthritis, my twenty year marriage ended, my gym bag was stolen and I had a medical emergency while exercising at the YMCA that resulted in an ambulance ride and seven hours at the hospital.
Through all of this, the YMCA has been there for my family. They noticed when I wasn't there and invited me back. When my gym bag was stolen, Christy and Nancy gave me a new gym bag and a gift certificate to buy new workout clothes. When I was rushed to the hospital, Christy followed the ambulance and stayed to comfort me while I was treated by the doctors and then drove me home.
Since our first time at Shawnessy YMCA, my children and I have been treated with kindness and encouragement. The staff at the Y have become our extended family and helped us overcome financial, life, and health problems.
Our Impact What We Do
Our mission is to facilitate and promote the spiritual, mental, physical and social development of individuals and to foster a sense of responsibility within the community. In all things, we are guided by four core values: honesty, caring, respect and responsibility.
We’re best known for “swim and gym” – but we do so much more.
Our recreation facilities give us space and resources to:
- give kids great experiences in active programming, after-school programs, day and overnight camps and childcare
- train youth in leadership and job skills
- support adults with health and wellness programs
- provide newcomers to Canada with opportunities to learn English, make friends, and build community
As our city grows, the City of Calgary is making a necessary and significant commitment to support the wellness of Calgarians by building new community recreation centres in underserved areas. This investment totals $447 million.
We currently have six health and wellness facilities (opening our sixth in Quarry Park this summer) and have two more facilities opening soon (Rocky Ridge in 2017 and Seton in 2018). This represents a commitment of raising 23 million in donor dollars.
We have 38,000 members and 2.1 million visitations through our doors annually.
- One in four children and one in eight adults receive financial assistance to participate in YMCA Calgary programs.
Our Programs How We Do It
YMCA Calgary is focused on the health of children, youth and adults, community building and leadership and we support these initiatives through quality programming. Our wide variety of programs are for all ages and cater to whatever a community member needs to help them grow as a person.
We provide after-school critical hours programming (3pm-6pm) in schools, YMCA locations and community centres around the city to give kids a safe place to learn and play.
- Our programs, like YMCA School Support, provide children with opportunities to play active games, learn about nutrition and healthy living techniques like goal-setting and positive self-talk, get help with schoolwork and have positive adult role models
- Youth Leadership programs give children and teens opportunities to build lifelong skills, healthy habits, and community stewardship
Our Aboriginal programs work with Aboriginal children, youth and families through drop-in and registered programs that support cultural identity, leadership, recreation and connections to Calgary’s urban Aboriginal community.
"The YMCA aboriginal drum and dance program has allowed my family to learn about our culture and heritage while incorporating physical activity into our explorations." - Stacey
We support healthy individuals and families through our fitness centre drop-in and registered health and wellness classes.
Our Requests What You Can Do
YMCA Calgary is a charity which, at its core, is all about community. We believe that everyone, of every age and income bracket, deserves a place to connect.
Through philanthropy, the YMCA and our donors are removing barriers to help children, youth and adults live healthier lives and achieve their full potential.
Currently, we have two opportunities for support:
Our annual Strong Kids Campaign gives children and youth the opportunity to participate in YMCA programs that positively influence their health and well-being and connects them to a caring community. Strong Kids dollars go towards fee subsidies to families in need.
We are raising $30 million to increase and strengthen our facilities and programs to meet the growing needs of our community. By 2018, we will triple our impact in the community through three new City of Calgary-built facilities we are operating and we will increase our outreach activities to more than 60 sites in all quadrants of Calgary.