Active living is a big part of our Campanelli lifestyle. We’re firm believers that adventurous travel goes hand-in-hand with keeping our bodies and minds in a happy, healthy state. When we embark on extended vacations or excursions, we often seek out local amenities like libraries, museums, indoor attractions and fitness facilities, to ensure that we’re not just binge-eating, drinking and so on. We love to explore new cultures and communities and to see how people come together in the form of healthy, friendly-competition and creativity.
From our experience with international recreation facilities, we’ve learned that, for the most part, you’ll find standard exercise equipment, classes, hours, activities and pricing. But, for our family, the YMCA is much more than somewhere you just go to exercise. There’s an actual sense of community as opposed to that intense competitive vibe you often find in other fitness chains.
My relationship with the YMCA started when I was seven years old. My mom was a single-mother at the time and she enrolled me in the summer camp program; from there, I made lifelong friends. We all returned to “Camp PineCrest” annually and I looked forward to the holiday reunions during the festive season. I still have letters from my camp counsellors as well as my archery awards. The skills I learned in my elementary years are irreplaceable. The YMCA is the largest charitable program and service delivery organization in the City. For more than 160 years, the “Y” as it’s so fondly known, has offered incredibly diverse opportunities for young and old alike regardless of income, age or ethnicity.
Now, as a parent to four-year-old and two-year-old boys, my goal is to facilitate similar memories for my sons and to engage them in fun, stimulating programs. I want them to feel that sense of community when they step into a class or activity – to feel as though everyone around them encourages their growth and development. With kids, it’s more than just about learning a new skill. The environment, coaches, fellow parents and peers can shape their progress as much as their actual ability.
Right now, the YMCA is campaigning for “Sweat for Good” which focuses on effort (when you sweat, you’ve achieved some sort of physical exertion) and when you’re breaking into a sweat at a Y facility, you’re sweating for yourself, for others and for humanity in general. It’s such an important lesson for parents to teach their children and for adults to remind themselves — we’re all one big community regardless of status, age, gender, etc. Rick and I are huge proponents of teaching our kids about focusing on effort as opposed to result… to praise them for simply trying things instead of for how well they do something. So as soon as they break into a sweat, they’re doing something good in our eyes; hence, “sweating for good” – all the “good” that the Y represents in our communities and within ourselves.
As a busy, travelling family, it’s also amazing to see how many communities embrace the YMCA. We’ve found vibrant, educational, active programs in cities across North America. For extended stays or vacations, we often get a family pass so that we can all continue to focus on our healthy lifestyle while exploring the world. Our kids get to meet local children, learn new skills and partake in diverse programs. It’s also a great way to break up longer trips or keep active during inclement weather.
Right now, YMCA facilities in the GTA are embarking on a mission to break a world record on Jan 11th. It’s a fun, exciting, once-in-a-lifetime type of activity. To join in on the fun visit SweatforGood.ca (http://sweatforgood.ymcagta.org/) or learn more about the YMCA GTA at www.ymcagta.org. We hope to see you and your family there, joining in as one gigantic, positive community.
Do you have any favourite memories of the YMCA? Let us know how you keep active before and during your travels.