Brisbane rejoice! YMCA creates course to beat the Rat Race

One of Brisbane’s oldest organisations, the YMCA, has come to the rescue of the River City, creating a solution to defeat the dreaded rat race by turning the iconic Brisbane River, Botanical Gardens and Goodwill Bridge into a fun obstacle course pitting participants against a range of challenging (but very achievable) obstacles.

The YMCA Rat Race gives busy Brisbaneites the perfect chance to escape the daily grind and join their friends and colleagues in a fun and friendly team event supporting the YMCA and their YMCA Schools’ Breakfast Program.

YMCA Brisbane Marketing and Fundraising Manager Jane Barr-Thomson said the Rat Race offers a great opportunity for people across South East Queensland to take part in a fun event and support a program designed for people of varying fitness levels.

“The Rat Race is a perfect opportunity for people across South East Queensland to get together with their friends and family for a fun and friendly team event supporting a much needed program,” Ms Barr-Thomson said.

The Rat Race supports the YMCA School’s Breakfast Program, which was designed to help improve disadvantaged Queensland student’s academic, community and behavioural outcomes.

Ms Barr-Thomson said the YMCA Schools’ Breakfast Program is an important service feeding students disadvantaged by hunger and poor nutrition before they start school for the day.

“We all know breakfast is the most important meal of the day and over the past 10 years, the Schools’ Breakfast Program has served more than three million breakfasts to students across Queensland,” Ms Barr-Thomson said.

The YMCA Brisbane is one of Brisbane’s oldest organisations offering the community a range of services and youth programs to more than 10,000 members every week.

Registrations for teams to participate in the YMCA Rat Race are open now with the Family and Team Events taking place Sunday 15 October 2017.

People can register their team to compete in either the 8km team event or the family friendly 4km family event. Both courses start and finish in Captain Burke Park under the iconic Story Bridge.

To find out more about the YMCA Rat Race, visit or

YMCA School's Breakfast Program is Breaking News

The School Breakfast Program made its ‘1.8 million breakfasts’ milestone and has attracted media attention. On May 27, the ABC New Team attended the YMCA Vocational School Campus to interview the YMCA and Foodbank about the positive influences the School Breakfast Program is having on young lives. The program gives students the opportunity to achieve their very best, by providing them with much needed sustenance to start their School day. Research suggests that breakfast is important for students as it helps to boost energy levels and improves concentration at School.

Also, Volunteers, School partnerships and business supporters all play a vital role in the success of the program. Tip Tip and Foodbank generously donated specially designed YMCA aprons to the volunteers who serve breakfast to students. There has also been an increase in volunteers since the program was initiated, who donate their time with the goal of helping others. The School Breakfast Program has received great and well deserved publicity and YMCA are proud of everyone who is involved.

YMCA First Gym to introduce Facial Recognition Technology

YMCA Jamboree Height’s is the first 24 Hour Gym in Queensland (Australia) to introduce the cutting edge technology of Facial Recognition access to the Centre.

“The YMCA is excited to be at the forefront of providing secure access to the Centre after hours” said Julie Geraghty, Centre Manager. “We are one of the biggest 24/7 Fitness Centres in Queensland and we wanted a cost effective system and state of the art security to protect our Members and provide easy fast access”

YMCA Jamboree Heights recently introduced the addition of 24/7 access in order to ensure their members received equal opportunities to access the Centre as other 24/7 fitness centres – but without compromising on service or additional cost.

“Our relationships with our members is crucial to our success. We are a family centre and we needed to ensure we met the needs of all our members. Providing this service helps us meet the needs of changing families and lifestyles”, said Julie Geraghty.

With a huge range of programs and services for the whole family including gymnastics, vacation care, teen fitness, squash, kids club, Zumba and yoga fit – we are committed to ensuring our members’ wellness journey is an enjoyable and sustainable one.

For further information about YMCA Jamboree Heights:
PH: 3376 4266

YMCA Brisbane awarded management contract for WIRAC

On Wednesday the 8th October the YMCA was advised by the Southern Downs Regional Council that we had won the tender to manage the Warwick Indoor Recreation and Aquatic Centre (WIRAC). Senior Management staff will be having discussions with the Council today and until that conversation has been had and the contract viewed we are unable to provide details of commencement dates or specific management guidelines.

“The YMCA is delighted to be awarded the management contract for WIRAC and look forward to working closely with the Southern Downs Regional Council to continue to provide a friendly, professional and exciting place for the people of Southern Downs to enjoy” says Alan Bray – CEO YMCA Brisbane"

WIRAC is a fantastic community facility, and the YMCA will aim to provide a broad range of services in line with community needs and in consultation with local stakeholders in Warwick and surrounding communities.

Some changes and improvements to the operations at WIRAC will be expected over time. The YMCA will be reviewing the operation once we are on the ground and will make any decisions from there.

As Australia’s largest provider of aquatic and recreations facilities the YMCA will be bringing a wealth of experience and knowledge to operations at WIRAC and to support the local communities.

The YMCA is already building a local presence in the region as operators of the YMCA Camp Leslie Dam and conducting YMCA Outside Schools Hours Care services at The Scots PGC College in Warwick.

YMCA Outside School Hours Care opens their 26th service, partnering with Warrigal Road State School

As of Monday 3 November 2014 YMCA Outside School Hours Care (OSHC) will partner with Warrigal Road State School to provide Before, After and Vacation Care services to the school and local community. This will be the 26th service operated by the YMCA as a direct result of being identified as the preferred provider.

YMCA OSHC services offer a wide range of fun, stimulating and age appropriate programs that reflect real world experiences and home settings. This helps encourage a sense of community amongst the children, facilitates leadership skills development and allows children to practice social skills in a safe and supported caring environment.

“We are very excited to be partnering with Warrigal Road State School and look forward to building a close relationship with families, children and the local school community.” stated Area Coordinator Natasja Lindgren.

The YMCAs approach to Outside School Hours Care (OSHC) is to provide a high quality environment that is safe, fun and gives children the opportunity to learn and play. Before School Care, After School Care and Vacation Care programs and activities are aligned with the YMCA mission – to build Strong People, Strong Families and Strong Communities.

YMCA OSHC Manager Kristy Commens said “The school community has been really welcoming and I know they are looking forward to us opening on Monday 3 November 2014. Apart from Before and After School Care, we also have a fantastic Vacation Care program planned which I know the children will thoroughly enjoy.”

The provision of Outside School Hours Care has been a core component of the YMCA since 1992. Profits from YMCA OSHC services help fund the benevolent arm of the organisation, Y-Care (South East Queensland) Inc. Y-Care provides facilities and programs for marginalised and disadvantaged young people in need of help as well as providing affordable accommodation for people who have been without a home.

Through partnership with Gumdale State School, YMCA OSHC opens their biggest service to date

From 22 September 2014 YMCA and Gumdale State School will partner to provide the best Outside School Hours Care (OSHC) service to the local community. This partnership is a direct result of YMCA being identified as the preferred OSHC service provider for parents and children of Gumdale State School.

The YMCAs approach to Outside School Hours Care (OSHC) is to provide a high quality environment that is safe and gives children the opportunity to learn and play. Before School Care, After School Care and Vacation Care programs and activities are aligned with the YMCA mission – to build Strong People, Strong Families and Strong Communities.

“The Gumdale State School community can feel confident knowing that their children are in the care of highly qualified, dedicated and passionate team members” stated YMCA OSHC Manager Kristy Commens.

YMCA services offer a wide range of fun, stimulating and appropriate programs that reflect real world experiences and home settings. This helps encourage a sense of community amongst the children, facilitates leadership skills development and allows children to practice social skills in a supported caring environment.

YMCA OSHC Area Coordinator Natasja Lindgren said “We are looking forward to commencing these school holidays with our Holiday Club (Vacation Care) program and providing exciting and fun activities for children in our care.”

The provision of Outside School Hours Care services is a core component of the YMCA since 1992. The YMCA currently manages five childcare programs – Early Education Centres, Family Day Care, In-Home Care, Limited Hours Care and OSHC. These services are based across South East Queensland and care for on average over 3,850 children daily.

YMCA Swim Instructor wins Access and Inclusion Award

Robyn SomersThe YMCA is proud to announce that AUSTSWIM Queensland has awarded Robyn Somers the Access and Inclusion Presenter of the Year for her work in teaching children with disabilities how to swim.

Robyn Somers has extensive experience and has been teaching with the YMCA for 2 years. During this time she has worked with many children of varying backgrounds and abilities, ages and barriers to be included in swimming programs – whether this be financial, cultural or physical.

“Robyn has the ability to connect with the children she works with inspiring and encouraging them to participate, feel a sense of belonging and achievement to help overcome limitations and learn to swim.” Says Centre Manager – Tamara Price. “She has a way of bringing out the best in each child and consistently demonstrates patience, passion and compassion.”

“The role of a Teacher of Access and Inclusion is varied and challenging, some days just getting the child into the pool is a success – other days you see a child blow bubbles for the first time, or simply just the fulfilment of seeing how a child with a physical disability can relax and enjoy the feeling of weightlessness is the water.” Says Robyn Somers.

Many disabilities have the advantage of feeling less extreme in the water and this increases the children’s ability to enjoy, learn safety skills and develop their ability to swim. Some may be able to swim Backstroke not freestyle due to the nature of the disability – but Robyn teaches to this and all children are encouraged to learn at their own pace and learn skills that they can achieve.

Robyn always says “he/she may not be able to swim perfect freestyle – but look at that smile!”

Robyn is to be presented with her Trophy and Certificate in a small ceremony at YMCA Victoria Point this Friday 19th September at 4.30pm.

Is Father’s Day just another greeting card invention?

Not according to the YMCA! “Father’s Day has been around long before retailers starting capitalising on the tradition” says YMCA Brisbane CEO Alan Bray. “The YMCA has always recognised the significance that families play in the lives of young people and role of the Father within that framework is very important. In fact – we invented Father’s Day!”

YMCA Father's Day

A woman from Spokane, Washington USA is credited with being the founder of the annual celebration. Sonora Smart Dodd, often referred to as the “Mother of Father’s Day,” was 16 years old when her mother died in 1898, leaving her father William Jackson Smart to raise Sonora and her five younger brothers on a remote farm in Eastern Washington.

In 1909 when Sonora heard a Mother’s Day sermon at a local church in Spokane, she was inspired to propose that Father’s receive equal recognition. The following year, Sonora took the idea to the Spokane YMCA.

The YMCA endorsed Dodd’s idea and helped it spread by celebrating the first Father’s Day in 1910. The idea quickly caught on! In 1924 President Calvin Coolidge recognized Father’s Day and urged the other states to do likewise. Today Father’s Day is celebrated from Austria to Zimbabwe in over 50 countries around the world.

The YMCA recognises the invaluable role of Fathers and Carers who fulfil that role in children’s lives. We provide programs and services to ensure the whole family can become healthier and happier. These include health and fitness programs, camping, gymnastics and aquatics, vacation care and Outside School Hours Care.

Special OFFER for Dad's!

Because we think our Dads are great and really value all the good things that our Dad’s do – the YMCA is offering all Father’s a special $7 for & 7 Days fitness membership! So get your Dads, Grandads or special Father figure in your life to come in to one of our Fitness Centres and be on the way to a healthier happier life!

YMCA and P&Cs Qld Partner to provide high quality Outside School Hours Care

From 1 July 2014 YMCA and P&Cs Qld will partner to bring the best Outside School Hours Care (OSHC) service to state schools across Queensland. The move is as a result of the identification of a common vision to provide a safe and fun environment for children outside of regular school hours.

The CEOs of YMCA and P&CS Qld, Alan Bray and Kevan Goodworth met last week to sign off on the agreement that will see the organisations work together to develop a service that identifies and addresses the needs of Queensland school communities.

“Many P&Cs in Queensland run high quality OSHC services and will continue to do so” stated P&Cs Qld CEO Kevan Goodworth.

“By partnering with YMCA we are promoting an alternative for those P&Cs and schools who can no longer provide the time and resources to provide the best level of care. YMCA offer a very high standard service by working closely with school communities.”

YMCA CEO Alan Bray said “The YMCA is delighted to be partnering with P & Cs Qld and we look forward to bringing our extensive experience and dedicated staff to create a positive alternative to those schools looking for a high quality OSHC program.”

Over the next year P&Cs Qld and YMCA will work together and with the communities we support in order to establish the best out of school hours care in Australia.

Book your Kids in for a Summer of Fun!

Jumping Castle

From jumping castles to gymnastics and from building cubbies to playing soccer, the YMCA has a fantastic summer Active Kids Holiday Program at a centre near you!
All of our staff are trained to provide the very best care for your kids and we guarantee they’ll have a great time!

For more information on our Recreation Centre based Active Kids Holiday Programs > Click here.
Or call your nearest recreation centre.

For more information on our Child Care Centre based Vacation Care Holiday Programs > Click here.
Or call your nearest child care centre.

Coast to benefit from YMCA community recreation facility

Sunshine Coast Council announced the approval of a YMCA request to enter into a 20 year head lease over the Arthur Street Hall and adjacent land within the Caloundra Central Park Sport and Recreation Precinct on the 12th of December.

Division 2 Councillor Tim Dwyer said the council approval recognises the important role that sport and active recreation plays in our region.

He said that this outcome was as a result of a YMCA approach to council in late 2012 when the Association made an offer of funding to operate and construct a district level gymnastics facility in Caloundra.

“A facility site analysis was conducted identifying the preferred location as the Caloundra Central Park Sports and Recreation Precinct,” Cr Dwyer said.

“In 2012/13, I utilised divisional allocations to fund the initial site investigations and schematic drawings. The preferred location within the Caloundra Central Park Sports and Recreation Precinct was identified as Arthur Street Hall - a council owned and managed facility. Since this time, council has been negotiating with Gymnastics Queensland and YMCA to make better use of the Arthur Street Hall including accommodating gymnastics and kinder/ junior gym activities."

YMCA is the largest provider of gymnastics in Queensland with over 3000 registered gymnasts at five locations. The proposed facility will require approximately 2500 square metres of land to cater for gymnastics and associated community facilities, and will include the existing Arthur Street Hall and land immediately adjacent to the east, and access to car parking.

The decision to grant a 20 year head lease was exercised in line with an exception to inviting written tenders, as provided under section 236(1)(b)(ii) of the Local Government Regulation 2012 and provides a beneficial outcome for the Sunshine Coast community.

It is anticipated that planning and approvals would be sought over the next six to nine months with staged construction commencing in mid-late 2014.

This decision further positions the Caloundra Central Park Sport and Recreation Precinct as a premier sporting precinct for the region.

Economic Development (Tourism, Sport and Major Events) Portfolio Councillor Jason O’Pray said the decision supported council’s recently adopted Economic Development Strategy in which sport and leisure is identified as one of 11 industry sectors which should be developed to broaden the region’s economic base.

“For this reason, council produced the Sunshine Coast Sport and Active Recreation Plan 2011 to 2026 to guide current and future provision of facilities and services,” Cr O’Pray said.

“This Plan recommends the planning and development of a dedicated gymnastics facility to service the needs of the community within the southern end of the Sunshine Coast.”

YMCA Marlin Coast

YMCA Awarded Management of the Marlin Coast Recreation Centre In Cairns

On the 1st of October the YMCA of Brisbane took on the management of the Marlin Coast Recreation Centre in Smithfield, Cairns, for a term of 10 years for the Cairns Regional Council. The centre houses a 2 court stadium and multipurpose rooms. We will be working hard with council and community groups to expand programs and services in the local community.

Click here to view the programs and services on offer.

YMCA mobilises millions to break basketball world record

Millions of people were mobilised on Saturday 13th October, for the YMCA World Challenge 2012 Hoop Springs Eternal - a coordinated celebration of the YMCA and the work it does to build strong communities and empower young people.

YMCA events took place in thousands of local communities across five continents and included a global basketball shoot-out. Invented in a YMCA in 1890, basketball is one of the most popular sports in the world and has been used as a tool to empower people and promote a healthy life style.

To celebrate, local YMCAs hosted free events for the whole family. The YMCA at Bowen Hills and YMCA Redlands, Victoria Point, hosted free family fun days from 8am.

Local residents were invited to visit the two centres – for free group fitness classes, free gym workouts, and for the kids – a free gymnastics class.

Queensland Youth Parliamentarians take their seat

More than 90 young leaders from across Queensland will be in Brisbane this month to take their seats at the YMCA Queensland Youth Parliament (25-29 September). The young leaders, aged between 15 and 25, cover all 89 Queensland electorates with an additional four positions for Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander members.

Now in its 17th year, the YMCA Youth Parliament kicks off in April when coordinated committee meetings, mentoring, training and research help produce the Bills to be debated at Parliament House during the residential week.
Mr Alan Bray, State Director of the State Council of YMCAs, said “we started the program to empower young people to have a positive impact on their local communities and the future of Queensland. Like all YMCA programs, Queensland Youth Parliament fosters the potential of people and builds community engagement. For emerging young leaders, it offers a unique opportunity to gain exposure to our political system and become involved in a meaningful way,” Alan said.

YMCA campaign aims to get every child swimming in safety

On 1st November 2012, a new national TV campaign from the YMCA, in partnership with the SBS Foundation, called for all Australians to learn to swim as annual drowning rates continue at alarming levels.

The 30-second campaign launched on SBS in an attempt to raise awareness about the importance of learning to swim to save lives among our nation’s most “at risk” communities, namely our Indigenous population and new migrants, many of whom have not grown up around open water. These communities are also more likely to be faced with financial and geographic barriers to learning to swim, barriers that need to be broken, according to the YMCA.

The YMCA’s plea – that it’s never too early or too late to learn, swimming is a skill for all ages, genders and ethnicities – echoes that of Royal Life Saving Society Australia which is currently calling for swimming lessons to be compulsory for all school children. However, the YMCA believes the need for swimming lessons extends a lot further than among children, with 205 of the 284 drowning deaths in Australia in the year to June 2012 aged 25 and over

What’s more, Indigenous Australians are over three times more likely to drown than other Australians.