Tuesday, February 22, 2011

National Safe Place Week

The Skagit Valley Family YMCA is proud to participate in its first ever National Safe Place Week taking place March 13-19. During this week, there will be activities and educational opportunities about Safe Place as Oasis aims to recognize participating volunteers and businesses while educating the community at large. Specifics about these events and activities will be announced at a later date.

The YMCA Oasis Homeless Teen Shelter runs one of only two Safe Place programs in the state of Washington. Teens experiencing abuse, family problems, or a crisis situation can call the Safe Place 24 hour hotline to speak with an advocate, find a safe place to sleep for the night, or connect to community resources.  Throughout the county, you can see yellow and black diamond shaped Safe Place Signs, found on local businesses and community buildings. These signs indicate to youth in need that the building is a trusted site with trained employees who can find the youth the help they need.  The youth will be connected to a Safe Place Volunteer who will arrive within minutes to help. 

The Safe Place Project is an example of how the Y continues to provide support to youth in our community. The program provides training resources, and support to impact change and bridge gaps to help our youth and our society to overcome obstacles. The Oasis Safe Place Program works to offer support for Sedro-Woolley, Concrete, Burlington, Mount Vernon, Anacortes, and La Conner. For more information regarding the site and locations, or emergency services for  teens, please call 419-9058 or our 24 hour hotline at 360-708-6450.  Go to the Oasis Teen Shelter page of our web site for all Safe Place locations and details.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

New Web Site Preview!

The staff at the Skagit Valley Family YMCA are hard at work creating a new YMCA web site.

"The time is now because we need to reorganize our activities and change our look to match the new national re-branding guidelines," Marketing Director Vanessa Harrington said.

The new web site, planned to launch in mid-march, will have interactive calendars for each department/program that will allow users to see what activities are coming up filtered by each day, week, and/or month. It will also allow users to search for specific activities within that department. For example, someone interested in trying the Boot Camp fitness class, will be able to search for just Boot Camp classes on the fitness calendar. This will be the case for all registration deadlines, classes, special events, closures, and more!

The staff are very excited about the web site because it will allow them to make changes as they come up, post their own flyers/registration forms, and add events to the calendars without going through another person. This should reduce the amount of time it takes to update information on the web site...and the program directors will have no one to blame but themselves if the appropriate information isn't on the web site.

"We're so grateful for the web site we have right now; it was a huge improvement from the one we had before," Membership Director Cindy Lindquist said. "Before our current web site, we couldn't even put registration forms or flyers up without an ordeal. But now it's time to change again and we're hoping members and the general public will respond."

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Story of Diane Hall

At the beginning of 2010, Diane Hall looked like many of her family members (some of whom were deceased): seriously overweight. As an ICU nurse at a hospital that specializes in gastric bypass surgery, Diane was very familiar with the path she had started going down: going from doctor to doctor being prescribed medication after medication for weight-related issues like high blood pressure.

Diane knew she needed to make some changes, so she bought her first pair of tennis shoes and started exercising for the first time in her adult life. Unsure of her commitment, she joined the Skagit Valley Family YMCA because of its inexpensive rates, but soon learned the support from staff and fitness opportunities at the Y were exactly what she needed to achieve her goals.

As an inexperienced exerciser, it was a big step just to make the effort.

"Just showing up and finishing was my goal," Diane said.