Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year Means 100 Years for the Skagit YMCA

The Skagit Valley Family YMCA is one of only 45 incorporations in Washington State created in 1911 to still be in existence today...100 years later! On April 20, 1911 members of the Skagit Valley Family YMCA travelled to Olympia (probably by horseback) and appeared before Secretary of State Ithamar Howell to formally incorporate.

While much of the history of Skagit Valley Family YMCA is unknown before the Fulton Street building was built in 1941, what we do know is the current YMCA was forged by the early members of Skagit Valley. Here are some details:
  • In 1920, Thomas Barrett, a local farmer, willed his estate of $30,000 for a capital support of the YMCA in Skagit Valley. His estate was invested by trustees and by 1941 had grown to $60,000.
  • With the help of WPA (Work Progress Administration) and the community, a small pool and gymnasium were constructed.
  • That year (1941), the Y registered 600 members (today we serve 4,180 members and 1,062 program members)

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

YMCA Oasis Teen Shelter Has a Merry Christmas!

Thank you to everyone who donated to the YMCA Oasis Teen Shelter this holiday season. The outpouring of support was 'wonderful' according to Oasis Director Camille Danon. Because of you 38 teens each received:
  • A brand-new hooded sweatshirt
  • Mittens
  • A hat
  • Flashlight
  • New pair of socks
  • Gift card to a restaurant (Dairy Queen, Denny's, or Subway)
Some youth also received a new pair of shoes or back pack! Thank you so much for your generosity. The YMCA Oasis Teen Shelter is always in need of basic necessities, so if you would like to donate, please contact Camille Danon at 

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Take Charge at the Y

Leanne Hickman knows what it takes to get healthier: initiative and perseverance.

"I had to do it myself...there's no magic pill. I had no one to go with me. You have to do it yourself and along the way you find people to do it with you," Hickman said.

And Leanne, 46, of Sedro-Woolley did it. Since March of 2007, Leanne has lost 82 pounds. Starting at 215 pounds, she now weighs a dainty 133. But she will be the first one to tell you it's not easy. She's learned it hurts to exercise (in a good way), but it also hurts not to exercise. Before Leanne lost all the weight, she was a chronic sufferer of acid reflux and sleep apnea, but by the time she lost the first 20-30 pounds she had no more acid reflux and slept soundly through the night. Now she does not take any medications.

Leanne is now in the process of maintaining her weight and people often ask her what diet she is on, but tells them it's a combination of exercise and changing her eating habits.

"I'm not on a diet. I changed the way I ate; I don't deep-fry anymore, I bake things. I don't eat things out of a package," Hickman said. "People think you're being corny, but it really is a lifestyle change."

That is what the Skagit Valley Family YMCA's new weight management class, Take Charge at the Y, is all about. This 8-week course will give you the tools you need to make the changes you want. During the course, participants will learn:

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Volunteer for One of the Largest Non-Profits in the Country!

The Y is a cause for strengthening communities, comitted to every day youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. When you volunteer at the Y, you take an active role in bringing about meaningful, enduring change right in your neighborhood. You can make a difference in Skagit Valley by becoming a volunteer at the Skagit Valley Family YMCA. We could use someone like you.
The Y has more than 500,000 volunteers in 10,000 communities, which means we deliver on our promise to create positive, personal and social change. At the Skagit Valley Family YMCA, we have more than 100 active volunteers at one time who give thousands of hours of service.

If you are interested in volunteering, we have opportunities to work in our child care sites, doing maintenance/facilities work, coaching youth sports teams, instructing fitness classes, and more! In fact, one of our biggest needs right now is for volunteers to staff the Daylight Shelter at the YMCA Oasis Teen Shelter on Sundays. The Daylight Shelter provides important services like meals, laundry, showers, and a Safe Place!

If you are interested in volunteering at the Y, please contact Volunteer Coordinator Jennifer Kerkvliet at 360-336-9622 or

Monday, December 13, 2010

Don't Be Santa! You Can Jingle Bell Bash!

Don't want to look like Santa (with his bowl full of jelly) after this holiday season? If you're worried about adding some holiday pounds, than the Y has something for you! Besides all our regular fitness opportunities, you can also join us for the Jingle Bell Bash 9am-10:30am on Saturday, Dec. 18!

The Jingle Bell Bash class will be a mix of several fitness classes including Zumba, powerball, and conditioning. We will provide bells to wear on your shoes and dress in your most festive holiday exercise outfit because the most festive outfit wins a prize! We'll all sweat to Christmas music! There will also be light snacks and drinks after the class so plan on sticking around for a holiday mingle afterwards.

We are also asking that each participant bring an item off the Oasis Holiday Wish List, so as a community we can make sure that even the homeless kids in our community are taken care of. We look forward to seeing you with bells on your shoes, in your holiday exercise outfit, and ready to sweat on Dec. 18!

Below is the Oasis Holiday Wish List:

  • Belts
  • Socks
  • New boys' boxers and girls' underwear
  • Good clothes in teen/adults sizes
  • Coats and winter accessories

  • Dairy Products (milk, butter, cheese, yogurt, cream cheese)
  • Meats/lunch meats
  • Ravioli, Spaghetti-o's
  • Juice boxes, soda
  • Frozen pizza
  • Tortillas, bagels, bread,
  • Chili
  • Macaroni and Cheese
  • Crackers, granola bars
  • Free meal coupons
  • (For a complete list, please contact Oasis!)
Cleaning Products:
  • Latex-free gloves
  • Laundry detergent
  • Bleach
  • Lysol Spray
  • Lysol Wipes
  • Toilet paper
  • Paper towels
  • Feminine products
  • New vacuum (vacuum bags)
  • Bunk bed
  • Wii games and remotes
  • Computers
  • Musical instruments
  • Stereo System
  • Big shampoo, conditioner (we've got lots of hotel sized bottles)
  • Movies (PG-13 and under)
  • School supplies (backpacks, writing tools, binders)
  • Craft Supplies (colored pencils, paints, etc)
  • Sewing machine and supplies
  • Light Bulbs
As you can see, these kids need the basics and you can help them while you help yourself get healthier!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Strengthening Community!

We recently asked participants in our aquatics classes how they feel about being a part of the Y and here is what your neighbors are saying:

"I love the philosophy at the Y [and] the multiple services to the community [it provides]!"
-Elizabeth Reece, 75, Mount Vernon

"I have two joint hip replacements and this exercise is very helpful. [I come to the Y] not only for exercise, but for meeting many wonderful friends!"
-Marion Larsen, 86, Mount Vernon

"The Y community is a great support individually and with classes and groups!"
-Janet, 67, Mount Vernon

"I can do so much more physically-more gracefully. When I look back, I am amazed at my gains and I thank Leanne and her predecessor for it all!"
-Susan May, 81, Burlington

Look for more YMCA stories from your neighbors here on the blog, newsletter, and Facebook!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Lion's Club Food Drive Feeds Oasis Teens!

On Nov. 20, at several locations in the area the Lion's Club had a food drive to benefit the YMCA Oasis Teen Shelter and the Skagit Domestic Violence Shelter. With your help, they raise more than 1,200 pounds of food and got quite a bit in cash donations!

According to Camille Danon, Oasis Teen Shelter Director, the shelter would not be able to provide as many meals to homeless youth without the Lion's Club food drive.

"Last year Oasis provided 5,322 meals to 129 youth," Danon said. "Without the support of the Lion's Club this would not be possible. Oasis has a very limited budget for purchasing fresh food. Because of that,  we rely on the non-perishable food donations that are provided in the food drive."

Thank you to everyone who particpated! If you would like to give, Oasis is accepting food and gift donations for the holidays to make sure the homeless youth of our community can have a special holiday season, too. Join us for the Oasis Open House on Dec. 17 to learn more about the program, show our youth that we care about them, and enjoy some cookies!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Why the Y Swim Team is Different

The following is an article written by Jim Cornforth, Chinooks Swim Team Coach, as edited by Marketing Director Vanessa Harrington.

At the Y, swim team is about more than building a competitive swimmer. It is about investing in our kids and developing them as people using our four core values to guide us: Caring, Respect, Responsibility, and Honesty.

The Skagit Valley Family YMCA has close to 100 young swimmers, age 7-19, who invested their times and talent in the Chinooks Swim Team. The team is very diverse. There are families that can afford the team and families with strains on their budget. There is a great mix of cultures and ethnic background. There are some brilliant students and some who struggle. But all swimmers are welcome and treated equally.

They also have a lot of fun.

All kids, no matter their socio-economic backgrounds, are nurtured with love, the opportunity to do really hard work, and the chance to integrate with other cultures. The YMCA swim team is a cosmopolitan collection of very good families who are having very good YMCA experiences. The Y standards are high and expectations are higher.

It is interesting to be able to meet the needs of all swimmers. The ones who have needed financial assistance received it through occasional support from our very caring parent group and through funds made available from the YMCA Step Up Campaign.
Since all this is done quietly, few know the swimmers who are wealthy and those who are not. And this is just the way we want it.
No one is turned away from the opportunity to swim competitively, make new friends, and develop character at the YMCA because they may not have the money to participate elsewhere.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Pool Therapy Can Change Lives

The Skagit Valley Family YMCA pool has changed the lives of many who have used it to improve their general health, specific ailments/injuries, and is a social community the fills the needs of many.

Janet, 67, of Mount Vernon attends the arthritis exercise class in the pool and said attending the class has improved her range of motion and she now has less osteo-arthritis pain. Not only that, but she has a place where she belongs.

"The Y community is a great support individually and with classes and with groups."
There are many stories we could tell about people who came to the Y who could barely walk, but after using the YMCA pool were moving around with much less pain and unassisted.

The buoyancy of the water means pool exercises are much easier on the joints than land exercises. The warmth of the water is also excellent for those with arthritis. The YMCA pool is home to aquatics fitness opportunities, including: aqua step, aerobics, arthritis exercise, H2O Fitness, and lap swim.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Y is Cause-Driven

The Y is a powerful association of men, women and children joined together by a shared commitment to nurturing the potential of kids promoting healthy living and fostering a sense of social responsibility. We believe that lasting personal and social change can only come about when we all work together to invest in our kids, our health and our neighbors. That's why at the Y, strengthening community is our cause. Every day, we work side-by-side with our neighbors in 10,000 communities to make sure that everyone, regardless of age, income or background has the opportunity to learn, grow, and thrive.

The Y is, and always will be, dedicated to building healthy, confident, connected and secure children, adults, families and communities. Every day our impact is felt when an individual makes a healthy choice, when a mentor inspires a child and when a community comes together for the common good.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

New Weight Management Class!

We are starting a new 8 week weight managment class in January! This isn't about New Year's Resolutions, this is about making lasting, positive changes. The class will be led by Patty Urbick, who was a Weight Watchers leader for 10 years and current Zumba Gold instructor at the Y. Her humor, energy, and knowledge will help you build healthy habits!

The 8 week course will include classes about nutrition, diet, exercise, menu planning, self image, self empowerment, stress management, and more. If you need to make a change, plan to make with us!

We also need a catchy name for this series of classes; if you have an idea, leave a comment or email Marketing Director Vanessa Harrington at by Dec. 1. If we choose the name you came up with for the class, you'll get a free Y sports bag!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Oasis Gets New Furniture!

The YMCA Oasis Teen Shelter was able to purchase some much-needed new furniture! The new chairs, couches, and beds have really improved the shelter and both Oasis teens and staff love it!

Monday, October 25, 2010

One of Our Own is Gettin' Hitched!

Last week the ladies of the Y got together to play games, give gifts, and give advice to Sports Director Erin Hickman who is getting married in November. We had a great time watching Erin stuff Bubblilicious bubblegum in her mouth when she got answers wrong about her fiance (some of them were pretty hard...the name of his first pet?! Who came up with these?!) and teams competed to create the best wedding dress made of toilet paper.

The decorations and cake were pretty representative of Erin's personality: no pink and lots of camo, baseball, and cowgirl stuff. We all love Erin and wish her and Joe the best!

Camo and with a baseball and bat; that's Erin! Since crowns wouldn't do, we made the bride wear a cowgirl hat!

Things got pretty heated in the toilet paper wedding dress competition. One team thought the other was trying to steal their ideas, so some of the team held up workout mats so they couldn't see what was going on.
Sport Department employee Katie and Fitness Director Stefanie were the models for the toilet paper wedding dresses; Katie's team won :)

Erin gagged a couple times with all the bubblegum she had to put in her mouth when she got questions wrong about her fiance. We had fun watching her, though.

All the ladies had a great time at Erin's bridal shower! At the Y, we are a family and we are so excited for Erin to be starting her own!

Lots of Fall Fun!

We had so much fun at the YMCA Halloween Carnival! We had many (about 300!) witches, princesses, animals, zombies, and little police officers visit our wonderfully decorated gym Friday evening. The kids, volunteers, and staff all had a great time; we can't wait until next year!

Staff and volunteers did a great job turning the gym into a Halloween haven!

Trying to catch the duck was as much fun as the prize!

This was a family affair!

Only at Halloween can fairies meet Woody.

Guapo the clown loved making balloon animals for everyone!
Everyone was a winner at the lollipop tree!

Who doesn't love to get their face painted?

Even the volunteers were in the Halloween spirit!

No one was too young for pumpkin bowling!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Halloween Carnival!

Bring your little goblins, witches, and ghosts to the YMCA Halloween Carnival on Friday, Oct. 22! From 6:30pm to 8pm in the YMCA gym, kids ages 2-8 and their families can play fun carnival games, win prizes, and join the cupcake walk! Guapo the clown will also be present to make fun balloon animals!

This is a great opporunity for your family to have some Halloween fun in safe, warm, dry, and age appropriate environment! Of course, everyone can come in a costume, but all costumes must be preschool friendly.

The YMCA Halloween Carnival is a tradition in Skagit Valley, so don't miss out this year!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

What is the Oasis Teen Shelter?

The YMCA Oasis Teen Shelter makes a difference in Skagit County. There are many misconceptions about what kinds of kids go to Oasis, what goes on at Oasis, and many misunderstand the purpose of Oasis.

Many kids in our community live in homes where substance abuse, conflict, physical abuse, and other serious issues are present. Often kids living in these situations feel they need to escape and very often they do this by running away. Unfortunately, this means these kids are literally living on the streets or couch hopping. Sometimes growing up the way they do and living on the streets leads these kids to practice unsafe and unhealthy habits.

The YMCA Oasis Teen Shelter gives these kids somewhere to go. If they need to get out of an unsafe situation, they can stay overnight and get a hot meal. Oasis also has daylight hours that provides meals, showers, laundry, and support from trained staff. Oasis also provides workshops/classes about GED preparation, employment readiness programs, and life skills.

Kids who come to Oasis are cared for by trained staff and also receive case management. Staff work with the kids who come to Oasis to find long-term housing solutions and support. Oasis is intended to be a short-term solution that also provides troubled youth the tools they need to improve their situation.

Volunteers are a big part of what makes Oasis run and is necessary because of the kids in our area (we get youth from as far away as Concrete), which means Oasis is a part of our community and you can help. This is not a small issue, many youth receive the support, food, clothing, and dry place to stay because of Oasis. Did you know in 2009:

  • 84 different youth were served at Oasis

  • Oasis provided 3,069 meals and 969 bed nights

  • 46% of teens were reunited with family after leaving Oasis

  • 38% of teens attended school reguarly after leaving Oasis

If you are interested in volunteering or would like to make any kind of donation to Oasis (food, clothing, bedding, furniture, etc), please contact Oasis Director Camille Danon at

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Family Nights!

Serving families has always been at the heart of the Y. We are a place where they can respite from social, economic and educational challenges, and learn how to overcome them. We want to provide opportunities for every family to build stronger bonds, achieve greater balances in their life, and become more engaged in their communities.

And, so, we have Family Nights! Every Friday night from 6pm-7:30pm starting Oct. 8 is Family Night at the Y! We will have swimming, open gym time, and special activities (including Zumba) each week.

Family Night is FREE for full-facility members; $7 for program members and their families. Adults must be accompanied by children.

Don't just stay home and watch TV with your kids on Friday night; come to the Y and strengthen your family bond by having fun together!

Win free Y stuff!

We just received several boxes of fun stuff that has the new Y logo on it! So what does this mean for you? You can win some of it!

This week, attend a fitness class and enter the raffle to win a free workout towel! A winner will be drawn at the end of the class. These towels are really cool looking with the new bright Y colors and perfect to take with you when you exercise!

We will be giving away 10(!) sport bags at Family Night on Friday, Oct. 8! Everyone in the family can use this bag. All you have to do is enter the free raffle when you check in. You must be present to win.

Want a cool Y water bottle? We will give away water bottles to the 5 people who visit the Y the most Oct. 1-Oct. 31. That's right, you have 5 chances to win a Y water bottle! All you have to do is make sure you check in at the front desk each time you come to the Y for a groupfit class, to swim, use the equipment, or whatever brings you to the Y!

Become a Skagit YMCA Facebook fan because that's where more opportunities to win will be posted!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Lego Camp

At the Y, we exist to strengthen the community and one of the best ways to do that is to invest in the kids of our community. The Y has many opportunities for kids to learn character, gain confidence, and have fun!

One of our newest programs is Lego Camp! We know that not all kids are interested in typical fall sports and we think all kids should have social opportunities to be creative and have fun, so we are offering Lego Camp on Tuesdays and Thursdays starting Oct. 12. Registration is required, so check out the flyer for details!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Skagit YMCA Receives $25,000 Donation!

Skagit Valley Family YMCA Board Member Susan Krienen announced that she would make a $12,500 donation to the Skagit YMCA Capital Campaign; a donation that will be matched by the Shell Foundation for a total donation of $25,000. Krienen is the plant manager of the Shell Puget Sound Refinery in Anacortes.

The donation will go towards the planning and development of the new Y building. The new building has a target open date in the year 2015.

"We need a new building and I can help make that happen," Krienen said of her donation. "It's a privelege to be a part of this community and a leader in it. I want to encourage others to get involved."

Skagit YMCA CEO Bob Shrumm expressed deep appreciation not only for Krienen's monetary contribution to the Y, but also for her leadership and vision.

"I will admit I have been completely blown away by this incredible show of generosity and leadership," Shrumm said. "Once again I am amazed by our YMCA Board. I know this extraordinary act will inspire others."

The Y board and Shrumm know the current Y facility is old will not be able to serve the community too much longer.

"We have no choice," Shrumm said. "The building is falling down around us."

Krienen hopes her donation to the Capital Campaign will accelerate the process of getting a new building and and inspire other individuals, businesses, and organizations in the community to give to this worthwhile project.
Look for a more in depth story in the October newsletter about the impact Susan has had on the Y and the impact the Y has had on Susan!

Thank you Susan for your leadership, vision, and generosity!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Zumba is for Everyone!

Check out this video to see that ANYONE can do Zumba...just take it from the Y's very own Zumba baby! This is the Zumba Gold Class 12pm-1pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays specifically designed for beginners and older adults.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Youth Soccer Deadline!

The registration deadline for the fall youth indoor soccer league is Sept. 12! There are a few great reasons to register your child or child's whole team for indoor soccer this fall:

Weekday evening games. This league is perfect if you need to do other things on Saturday, including other soccer leagues. This means an outdoor team can play it's regular games on Saturday and get an extra game indoor during the week!

  • Two words: inside and heaters. This one is mostly for parents. You don't need to worry about being wet and cold as you watch your child! Sit comfortably on our bleachers and if it gets cold enough, we'll turn on the heaters for you. Plus, no need to worry about muddy cleats in your car on the way home.

  • Non-competitive play. We don't keep track of the score or standings. Sports leagues at the Y are all about youth development, including learning, exercise, and fun!

  • Inexpensive. At the Y, we strive to make our programs affordable for everyone. You won't find a sports league this inexpensive anywhere else. We also offer scholarships for those who cannot afford our fees. Did you know about 10% of all youth sports participants received a scholarship last year?

Details and registration forms are available at; a separate team registration form and pricing is available. Contact Sports Director Erin Hickman at 360-336-9622 or

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Brand Revitalization Continues!

We are slowly making changes and incorporating the new Y brand into the way we present ourselves. A lot is going on behind the scenes to make sure we implement correctly the new national standards about the new logo, visual system, and messaging of the new brand. All changes must be made by 2015! That includes all signage, clothing, and more! Maybe by then we'll have a new facility...

At the Y, we've always known that positive changes only come through investing in our kids, our health, and our neighbors. And that's why we're here. We have three areas of focus:

  • Youth Development: because young people need caring adults to provide support, guidance, and encouragment as they grow.

  • Healthy Living: because wellness in spirit, mind, and body strengthens our very being and enhances our interactions with others.

  • Social Responsbility: because we truly are in this together, and together we can harness our individual strength and bring about positive change around us.

So, while our look may be changing (for the better, I might add), it's changing to better reflect what we offer to the community and the positive impact we make. We look forward to enriching the lives of those in our community...just like we always have.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

YMCA Gets a Lift!

The Skagit Valley Family YMCA has a new lift in its pool thanks to a generous donation! The pool lift is used to get those with physical disabilities in and out of the pool, which, for many, is an important part of physical therapy and living a more fulfilling life. The Y pool is one of the only pools with a lift in the area.

Barbara Allen, 72, of Camano Island has only been a member of the Y since May, but has already made a big difference at the Y and to those who have trouble getting in and out of the pool. Allen, who is in a wheel chair, gave a donation to replace the old lift, which was old and sometimes unpredictable, according to Aquatics Director Jean McAdams.

"Lots of people come to the Y specifically because we have a lift and they can't do the needed therapy anywhere else," McAdams said.

The Y is important because it helps people who can't be helped anywhere else," Allen said.

She hopes the new lift will extend the invitation the Y already tries to impart: that everyone, all people of all categories, are welcome at the Y.

"This is where you come to get healthy," Allen said.

Allen uses the Y pool for physical therapy and has seen the improvements it has made in her life and the lives of others who use the lift and the pool. When she first started coming to the Y for pool therapy, she had to hold onto the ledge. She is now able to walk around the pool with the help of flotation devices. Allen notes there are several others who probably would not be able to walk if they did not have the opportunity to use the pool lift at the Y and utilize pool therapy.

Allen admits her donation was a little self-serving because she uses the lift, but no one at the Y sees it that way.

"She filled a need for a group of people that often gets overlooked," McAdams said.

Caring is one of the Y core values and Allen showed that she cares for those who need a little extra help.

"It was an honor and privlege to do it," Allen said of her donation. "I know how important that lift was to me...[It could help] people who might be able to walk again."

Monday, August 23, 2010


Do your kids love to dance? Do you want to find fun opportunities for your kids to be active? Then register them for Zumbatomic!

Zumbatomic is Zumba designed just for kids ages 4 to 7. Zumbatomic melds music, dance, and energy so your kids have fun dancing and getting fit! Fitness Director Stefanie Ash (and popular adult Zumba instructor) became a certified Zumbatomic instructor in July, so bring on the fun!

The Zumbatomic class will be in the YMCA Activity Center (next door to the Y) 4pm-5pm on Mondays and Wednesdays. It is a four week session October 4-Nov. 3. Register your kids Aug. 30-Oct. 1 at the Y or over the phone. Zumbatomic is FREE for members of the Y, program members need to pay $25.

If you have questions about Zumbatomic, contact Stefanie Ash at or call 360-336-9622. Sign up your kids today and let the party begin!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Newspaper Articles!

Did you happen to read the Argus and Skagit Valley Herald this past week?! If you did, you may have seen a couple articles about Cindy Lindquist, Skagit Valley Family YMCA Membership Director, and her 30 years with us! The articles may sound familiar to those of you who get our newsletter because a similar article ran in our most recent newsletter.

If you didn't see the articles, check out the Aug. 10 edition of the Argus (front page!) and the Aug. 15 edition of the Skagit Valley Herald in the Living section. In the Skagit Valley Herald you will see a big picture of Cindy and Vivienne Harrington (right), Cindy's favorite swim student and former YMCA 'employee!'

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Pool Closure, Schedule Change

Mark your calendars: the pool will be closed Aug. 21-Aug. 29 for maintenance and cleaning. The fall pool schedule will take effect on Aug. 30. Check out the association-wide calendar for important dates for all programs!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Successful Blood Drive!

Thank you to everyone who donated blood this past Monday, July 26. The Puget Sound Blood Center parked their mobile bus in the Skagit Valley Family YMCA parking lot and we had a great turnout. We had 27 people come out and donate blood in about 6 hours, which is the 2nd highest turnout we've had!

The supply is low of all types of blood all around the Puget Sound area, so thank you to everyone who stopped by and made a difference! Take the next opportunity to donate blood if you can, whether it's at the Y or not. Give life, Give blood!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Newsletters Are Here!

Look for the latest edition of the Skagit Valley Family YMCA newsletter in your mailbox, at the YMCA, and (soon) on the web site, There are some really great messages about how the Y makes a difference in the lives of people in our community! The newsletter shows how the Y strengthens community with Youth Development, Healthy Living, and Social Responsibility.

Look for the article about how you have made a difference with your Step-Up Campaign contribution. Together, we raised a record amount this year! Thank you for investing in your community!

You will also see an article about Membership Director Cindy Lindquist who is celebrating her 30th year with the Skagit Valley Family YMCA! Her hard work and dedication has made a big difference in Skagit Valley over the years, so the next time you are at the Y, stop by and say "Thank you!"

Thank you Cindy!

Monday, July 26, 2010

New Calendar!

Do you have a tough time keeping track of all the wonderful offerings at the Skagit Valley Family YMCA? Check out the new association-wide event calendar on our web site!

The calendar has registration opening/closing dates for sports, dates for swim lessons, child care camp dates, special events, and more! If you are trying to figure out what session of swim lessons your child can participate in without interfering with soccer, than our new calendar is the place to go. Forgot when the Fall facility hours go into affect? It's all there on the calendar!

We will be constantly updating the calendar as dates get added or changed, but be sure to check the program schedules/fliers before making plans because all information is subject to change.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Changes Are Underway!

We are busily, but gradually starting to make changes that incorporate the new logo and name of the Y! If you receive our weekly emails, you'll notice our new banner with the logo and focus points. Rachel Willet with Skagit Bold Solutions did a fantastic job working on the new banner to make sure it met all the national YMCA graphic standards and also looks awesome! We all love it!

Those of you who visit the Fulton Street building and Sports Center will soon see our "Did You Know..." boards with the new logo and focus points. Every time you walk in you will see a quick fact about the Skagit Valley Family YMCA that you probably didn't know. For example, did you know that about 1,500 kids learned to swim at the Skagit Valley Family YMCA last year?! Did you know that the Skagit YMCA employs 28 full-time staff and 130 part-time staff? We don't want to give away all our fun facts, but look for them and cool pictures in a few days!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

New Logo, New Name, Same Great Y!

The National YMCA kicked off the rebranding effort yesterday that affects all YMCAs! The YMCA will officially be known as "the Y" (because that's what people call us, so now we'll start calling ourselves that) and the logo been changed (see left)!

The Y offers programs that strengthens community and the hope is that with this rebranding, people will see what Y programs are all about: For Youth Development, For Healthy Living, and For Social Responsibility.

We are changing the way we talk about ourselves so people better understand the benefits of engaging in the Y; we are not just a gym, weight room, pool, or sports facility. The Y is where kids come to learn character and values while learning to swim or score in a sporting event, where adults gain self-esteem as they get healthier, where older adults get together for a good time, and where families stay together as they participate in family programs.

The Y did some research and discovered that while nearly 100% of Americans recognized the YMCA name and had good feelings about it, very few knew what we actually stood for. The rebranding is an effort to clarify our cause, programs, and voice! Visit the Skagit Y Facebook page to see a great video about why these changes are being made. The FB page and this blog will continually be updated as all Ys, including your own Skagit Y, go through the rebranding process.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

YMCA Closed on Sundays

The YMCA will be closed on Sundays July 4-Oct. 3. Facility hours have also changed to our summer hours. Go to the web site,, to see our operating hours, holiday schedule, and more.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

YMCA Celebrates 125 Years of Camping!

Did you know the YMCA had a huge role in the 'invention' of camping? Camping officially began at the YMCA in 1885 when a volunteer named Sumner Dudley lined up a few tents at Orange Lake in New York. With the tents, flag pole, and camp fired Dudley hoped to teach seven teenagers character and values. That was the first continuously used camp.

Today, YMCA camps all over the nation serve 800,000(!) campers each summer, which includes the Skagit Valley Family YMCA's Camp Anderson and Y's Kids Day Camp. In fact, this year is the 50th Anniversary of YMCA Camp Anderson!

"Camp Anderson is proud to be a part of the long-standing tradition of camping at the YMCA," said Marty Reese, Camp Anderson Director. "The YMCA has shaped camping into what it is today, a place where youth can grow close with nature, develop outstanding character values, learn life skills, and create lasting friendships."

Did you or your children ever go to Camp Anderson or any YMCA camp? If so, tell us your stories and memories by posting a comment or email them to Marketing Director Vanessa Harrington at

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

4th of July Fun!

All of us here at the YMCA hope you have a happy and safe Independence Day!

If you are going to be at the 4th of July parade in Sedro-Woolley this weekend, watch for kids and parents from the YMCA Early Learning Centers and Y's Kids Day Camp who will be marching in it! They will have banners, tie-dye shirts, decorated bikes/wagons, and will be handing out candy. Be sure to cheer loudly when you see them!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

New Sports Director

Erin Hickman will take over as the YMCA Sports Director for Vanessa Harrington who is resigning after almost four years in the position. Vanessa is resigning in order to spend more time with her growing family, but will miss her YMCA family. However, Vanessa will stay on 2 days a week with the YMCA through the end of August to help the transition and continue doing the marketing for the association. Unfortunately for the staff at the YMCA, Vanessa will also be taking her daughter, Vivienne, with her. Vivienne has been coming the YMCA since she was six weeks old and has many surrogate grandmas, aunts, uncles, and grandpas at the YMCA. Vivienne will miss regularly attending Zumba, swimming in the pool, and smiling with all the members.

Erin has been with the YMCA since she was an intern with Western Washington University two years ago. She did such a fantastic job as an intern that the YMCA staff decided to hire her even before she graduated from school. Erin has been Vanessa's right-hand as the programs at the YMCA sports department have expanded and grown. We know Erin will do a great job!
Erin and Vivienne after Zumba

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Pool Closure

The YMCA pool will be closed for a swim meet 11am until closing on Saturday, June 26th.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Zumba Master Class

On Friday, June 11 the YMCA hosted two master Zumba instructors, Diane Felkes and Rosella Hunter. The class was at the YMCA Sports Center in Bakerview Park and everyone worked up a sweat! Each instructor brought their own style.

The class of about 40 was filled with Zumba-enthusiasts from as far away as California! Zumba instructors from all over the area also attended in an effort to learn from the Masters. The event was also a fundraiser for the YMCA Step-Up Campaign, which supports families that are unable to afford YMCA programs and services.

Visit to find Zumba classes, including Zumba Gold for beginners and older adults, at the YMCA!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Camp clean up!

Last Saturday approximately 20 YMCA staff and volunteers headed out to Lake Sixteen near Conway to get Camp Anderson ready for summer campers! Everyone left tired after a morning of chopping wood, clearing out the site, and more.

Camp Anderson will host about 450 kids this summer. They will enjoy the great outdoors by canoeing, doing archery, crafts, hiking, and more! Camp Anderson is the perfect environment for any youth to enjoy their summer!

Camp Anderson also has special meaning this year because this year is the 125th anniversary of camping, which the YMCA had an important role in 'inventing' and promoting. Look for more information to come out on this!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

New Volunteer Coordinator!

Many of you may have seen our new addition behind the front desk: Jennifer Kerkvliet (seen here with her Easter bunny nose at the Spring Carnival)! Now Jennifer is going to be the YMCA's new part-time volunteer coordinator. Over the next couple weeks, she will be getting more familiar with each department so she can better understand the volunteer needs and opportunities here at the YMCA.

If you or someone you know is interested in volunteering in child care, sports, aquatics, at Oasis, or anything else, Jennifer is your gal! If you have a special talent or skill or just want to give back to the community, we would love to find a place for you. Call the YMCA at 360-336-9622 and ask for Jennifer!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Thank You!

The YMCA Annual Meeting and Volunteer Recognition was a big success on Tuesday night! The strawberry shortcake was yummy, the decorations were beautiful, and the presenation was fantastic. Members voted on the YMCA Constitution and officers before recognizing staff who had been had been with the Skagit Valley Family YMCA for 1, 5, 10, 15, 20, or 30 consecutive years! Membership Director Cindy Lindquist is the only employee to work at the Skagit Valley Family YMCA for 30 years; congratulations Cindy!

A large portion of the event was spent recognizing some outstanding YMCA volunteers. Thank you to all the volunteers who gave up their time and energy this past year! Below are the volunteers of the year for each department:

~Tom Reese-Camp Anderson
~Scott Elliot-Aquatics
~June Dider-Fitness
~Karel Montgomery-Whitney Early Learning Center
~Craig Caulk-Jefferson Early Learning Center
~Beth Jones-Madison Early Learning Center
~Claudio Angulo-Sports
~Gary Johnson-Safe Place
~Lysette Vasquez-Membership
~Martha Ozretich-Oasis
~Eli Lindbo-Oasis Daylight Center

Thank you everyone!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Annual Meeting and Volunteer Recognition

The staff at the YMCA are busily preparing for the YMCA Annual Meeting and Volunteer Recognition event set to take place on Tuesday, May 25 at 6:30pm in the gym. The event will be a strawberry social, so there will be plenty of strawberry shortcake to go around. YMCA members and their families are invited to attend, but please RSVP ASAP.

Did you know that in 2009, the YMCA had about 385 volunteers give almost 10,000 hours of service?

Many people don't realize that the YMCA is a non-profit, charitable, and volunteer-based organization. Much of what we do would not be possible without the dedication of your neighbors volunteering their time and energy to YMCA programs. We have volunteers at the front desk, in the child care sites, as sports coaches, helping teens at Oasis, and more!

We appreciate all our volunteers, so come help us recognize some of very special volunteers, including the YMCA Volunteer of the Year!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Master Zumba Class!

Attention Zumba fans! The YMCA will be hosting TWO famous Zumba instructors, Diane Felkenes and Rosella Hunter, for a Master Zumba class on June 11.

This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to learn, dance, and sweat with the best. The class will be 5:30pm-7pm on Friday, June 11 at the YMCA Sports Center in Bakerview Park (this is a turf surface).

There will also be a raffle for fabulous Zumba prizes!

Tickets are on sale now at the YMCA on Fulton Street. All proceeds go towards the YMCA Step-Up Campaign, which helps us provide a wide range of programs and services for families regardless of their ability to pay. Cost is $10/person for YMCA members, $15/person for non-members, and $20 day of the event. Registration is suggested and ends at 12pm on June 11.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Volunteer Checks Pressure at Y!

Many of you may have seen Marjie at the round table in the YMCA lobby periodically. She's usually sitting quietly or chatting with some of her fellow YMCA members.

But she's really there for you.

Marjie parks herself at that table the 2nd and 4th Monday of every month with her blood pressure equipment and waits for people who want their blood pressure checked. A lot of her regulars are YMCA staff, but many members know when to expect her and take a casual seat at her table.

Everyone is welcome to get their blood pressure checked at the YMCA and, because Marjie is a volunteer, it's free! Come and visit Marjie any time you have questions about your blood pressure...or just want to chat!

Monday, May 10, 2010

CEO Bob Shrumm Goes to Chicago!

Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, YMCA CEO Bob Shrumm will be in Chicago attending the YMCA-USA Small to Mid-size Cabinet Meeting. There, Bob will give a presentation to other YMCAs about the Oasis Teen Shelter program, which is very unique to our Skagit Valley Family YMCA. Very few, if any other YMCAs in the country offer a teen shelter program like ours.

Another hot-topic will be discussion on the 'brand revitalization' the National YMCA is implementing. The CEOs at the cabinet meeting in Chicago will get more information about the changes all YMCAs will undergo, including the NEW YMCA LOGO, that will be unveiled at the YMCA general assembly in July. That's right, the longtime red and black "Y" will no longer be the symbol of the YMCA...

Travel safely Bob!