YMCA brought to life the Remembrance Day poppy tradition

MILLIONS wear a red poppy on Remembrance Day worldwide as a tribute to the fallen in the war but did you know the ritual commenced at the YMCA?

The idea of the Memorial Poppy was the brainchild of Moina Michael at the Canadian YMCA Overseas War Secretaries' headquarters in November 1918. Moina stumbled across the poem ‘In Flanders Fields’, written by Canadian Lt Col John McCrae in 1915. She answered his poem with “We Shall Keep the Faith” and vowed to always wear a red poppy as a sign of remembrance.

At a meeting of YMCA secretaries from other countries, held in November 1918, Moina talked about the poem and her poppies. An attendee, Madame Anna Guerin of the French YMCA secretary, took the idea further by selling poppies to raise money for widows, orphans, and needy veterans and their families.

The poppy soon became widely accepted throughout the allied nations as the flower of remembrance to be worn on Armistice Day.

Today, YMCA’s worldwide have carried on the tradition. At YMCA Brisbane the red poppy is proudly worn on Remembrance Day throughout our myriad of services and instilled within the ethos of the community.

YMCA Brisbane Chief Executive Officer Alan Bray said the red poppy significance has its origins in the work of the YMCA, which has a long and proud history of supporting our defence forces in times of war.

“We are extremely proud of playing a pivotal part in worldwide history,” he said.

“The humble bloom has come a long way on its journey since the symbolic representation of both war, peace, hope and sacrifice was initiated in YMCA Headquarters so long ago.”

Alan said “YMCA Brisbane will launch a Red Poppy campaign from early 2018 as part of recognising 100 years since the end of WWI.”

“Tributes will be given to those who gave their lives in the Great War and staff, volunteers, members, families and children will be invited to play a part in remembering those Australians who died by making, buying, selling, wearing and donating red poppies.”

The poppy possesses a universality, shared by few other such emblems and is increasingly used as part of Anzac Day observances.

The poppy remains today a symbol of bloody death, remembrance and a defiant rebirth.

Embark on a career in childcare

A child’s first years of life set the foundation stone for a lifetime and you could be part of the journey. Here are five reasons why you should become an early childhood educator.

  • Childcare is a rewarding career - No day is the same. You will walk away from work knowing you supported another person.
  • You can become a better version of yourself - Early childhood gives you the opportunity for reflection of yourself, your actions, your communication, your relationships or your personal goals.
  • Flexible work options/work life balance - Early childhood has many diverse environments where the need for educators to work flexible hours gives you the options to suit your lifestyle.
  • Career growth and pathway opportunities - The early childhood sector has many pathways for educators from educators to service directors and organisational managers.
  • High demand for child care professionals - The early childhood sector is a booming industry within Australia where there is a constant high demand for educators and child care professionals. Employment is predicted to be in high demand over the next three to five years.

YMCA is at the forefront of childcare enriching children's learning from birth to five years. To find out more visit

Turning motivation into momentum

Let’s talk about a mysterious thing called motivation. Motivation is fickle. We have all had bouts of motivation where you think: “I am ready to start this fitness program,” or “I am going sugar free” or “I am going to train to run the Brisbane marathon.” Then, three days later your best intentions fly out the window. Motivation comes and goes for everyone. One day you feel like you can move a mountain, the next day you don’t want to leave the house. Motivation is an example of how strong our mind is when we are functioning at optimal levels mentally.

Motivation is a fleeting sense of determination which makes you believe you can accomplish anything and then it fades. But let me tell you a little secret, this is the same for everyone. Everyone has days when the last place they want to go is the gym. So what is the difference between people who achieve their goals and those who don’t? The people who achieve their fitness goals don’t rely on motivation, they create good habits and stick to them.

People who have created good habits have used their motivation to create momentum. Motivation is impossible to sustain for long periods of time, but you can make changes to your life today that can make the effects of motivation remain. So how do you capitalise on motivation and create the lasting change you need to achieve your fitness goals?

  • Prioritise your health by making time to exercise. Schedule time for fitness in your diary like you would a meeting or appointment and don’t cancel!
  • Exercise with someone to help keep you accountable. When you are going to the gym on your own it’s easy to turn the car around and go home. It’s different if your friend is there waiting for you – you don’t want to let them down.
  • Do something you enjoy. You might like lifting weights, you might like going to a spin class. Whatever it is, find something you enjoy doing – you are much more likely to stick with it.
  • Exercise earlier in the day. Everybody is busy. Between work, traffic, family commitments and paying the bills the days can slip away and all of a sudden your exercise program suffers. By exercising earlier in the morning you are less likely to skip your training due to other commitments or fatigue. Our resolve and determination is also at its strongest in the morning.

It’s time to motivate yourself and make a commitment to regular exercise. YMCA Brisbane has 6900 fitness members across five locations, join them and try out some classes. For more information visit:

Three reasons why camping is a catalyst to children’s growth

The benefits of camping and outdoor education have been shown to be an important part of the development of young people. An outdoor camp or experience offers many benefits including the ability to inspire people through natural surrounds, to learn through shared experiences and to grow on a personal level after overcoming adversity. It’s time for children to put away their lPhones and IPads and instead spend time outdoors. YMCA Brisbane throws a spotlight on three reasons why you should encourage your child to spend time camping:

Camping inspires children

  • Children build resilience and are given encouragement to endure setbacks, try new (and sometimes frightening things) and to see improvement when they give challenges another try.
  • Children can reconnect with nature. Outdoor experiences enrich children’s perception of the world and supports healthy development through active recreation in nature.

Camping facilitates learning in children

  • Children learn to cooperate and respect fellow campers. They learn social skills including how to share, resolve disagreements, communicate effectively and how to work as a team.

Camping gives children an opportunity to grow

  • Camping teaches children they can! Children build self confidence and self-esteem by participation in non-competitive activities and experiencing diverse opportunities to succeed.
  • Camping offers the perfect place for children to develop independence and to practice making decisions for themselves (without the influence of parents). Children learn to manage their daily choices and develop who they are.
  • Children can relax, have fun and build connections with their peers and teaching staff.

To learn about more about the great outdoors and about YMCA Brisbane’s Camp Warrawee, Camp North Pine and Camp Leslie Dam visit:

Five health and fitness tips to get you ready for summer

Spring has sprung and it’s time to get fit for summer. YMCA Brisbane reveals five fitness tips you can take on board to make a real improvement to the way you look and feel. Let’s get physical!

1) Strength training is just as important as Cardio
Many people believe they have to smash out their cardio training to work off all the extra weight they have placed on during their hibernation months, however this is not completely true. Cardio training done correctly is a great way to burn energy, but this only helps during the session and for a short period after the competition of the training session. The introduction of strength training helps to supersede your cardio session by allowing you to burn more energy while you are not exercising. Strength training helps to increase your lean muscle mass which leads to a greater resting metabolic rate. The greater your resting metabolic rate is the more energy your body is burning while you are not exercising. So invest in strength training in your workouts

2) Don’t just plan your exercise, also plan your meals
May people plan what days they are going to exercise and what they will complete during session. However it is just as important to plan your weekly meals the same way. This will ensure when you are doing your grocery shopping you are not just binge shopping for food but actually purchasing what you require. The planning of meals will also ensure that if you are coming home after a long day you do not have to think about what to cook and in turn take the lazy option of picking up some fast food on the way home. Eating healthy can help shrink your waistline.

3) Be realistic
Around this time each year people are setting their summer goals to have their beach bodies ready for summer. However, when you are setting your goals ensure you are taking a realistic approach to these. Be sure to set small milestones to reach your desired outcome and keep your motivation high.

4) Make the most of longer days
During winter the days are short and it is so easy to stay in bed for a little longer. Now the days are becoming longer this is the best opportunity to get up that little bit earlier for a morning workout or come into the gym at the end of the work day and you will still get home before the sun sets.

5) Make an excuse to exercise, not one not to exercise
Everyone finds it easy to make excuses as to why they did not exercise for the week. This spring try to make excuses to exercise. It could be as simple as taking the stairs to the office instead of the lift or parking that little further away from the shops. In time you will start to find it easier to make excuses to exercise rather than say no to exercise.

YMCA Brisbane has 6900 fitness members across five locations. Join now and for more information visit:

Mindfulness matters at the centre of childcare

It’s important to support children’s emotional growth through providing a safe environment and promoting a hands-on connection with nature. With this in mind, here are five strategies to facilitate mindfulness with children.

1. Validate their emotions
How many times have we said, “You’re okay,” “Stop crying,” “It’s not that big of a deal…”? Well, it is a big deal to children. In fact, children are probably better than all of us at mindfulness –¬ they live almost completely in the present moment. They don’t have past regrets or some of the future worries grown-ups carry around. The frustration, anger, or fear they feel is very real. Let them know it’s okay to be angry or sad. What we can focus on is what we do with that emotion.

2. Help them understand what emotions feel like
If your child is angry, ask “How does your body feel when you are angry?” Teaching children to recognise how their emotions feel in their body will help them become more aware of them even if they can’t yet label them.

3. Teach them mindful breathing
Mindful breathing is not as difficult as it sounds, here are a few exercises you can try:

  • Noticing the breath: Encourage children to really notice their breath by putting their fingers under their noses to feel the warmth and moisture of the out-breath. Have them put their hands on their tummies to feel the rise and fall of their bellies as they breathe. Let them know when they are angry, it can be calming to focus on what our breathing actually feels like.
  • Five-finger starfish meditation: Make a starfish with one hand (with your fingers spread out wide). Using their pointer finger from their other hand, gently trace the outline of the starfish hand, slowly going up and down each finger. The focused concentration on the hand, combined with the soothing touch, often has an immediately calming effect.
  • Counting the breath: You can start with the basics – count the in-breath and out-breath. One breath in and out is ‘one’, then ‘two’, and so on, up to 10.

4. Lead them through a guided relaxation
Focus first on the breath, and then work through the various parts of the body to release tension. We can remind children they can do this type of relaxation when they need to, either lying down or while seated.

5. Practice what you preach
This advice probably applies to everything regarding children. When we react with anger based on our emotions, without a pause to encourage a more skillful response, children can see and imitate it. They need to see us practicing mindfulness as well. Do these exercises with your children, breathe with them, make starfish hands with them and lay down on the floor with them.

You can find out more about the new SCUH and YMCA childcare centre at

YMCA opens a new childcare and education facility on the Sunshine Coast

YMCA opens a new childcare and education facility on the Sunshine Coast

YMCA and The Sunshine Coast University Hospital have joined forces to provide a state of the art childcare and education facility for hospital employees and local Sunshine Coast families.

The building has been designed to allow toddlers and children up to the age of five to move freely between indoor and outdoor spaces. Parents are welcome to drop in any time to see their children, and many breastfeeding mothers take advantage of the hospital's paid breastfeeding breaks to stop in for feeds.

A huge outdoor space equal in size to the indoor classrooms and baby nurseries includes a community garden, a rock climbing wall, swings, sandpits and a mud pit.

YMCA Centre Director Anita Corney said the mud pit is a unique and very popular part of the centre’s outdoor play space.

“Regardless of age, race and religion, covered in mud, we are all the same,” she said.

The building was among the winners at the Australian Institute of Architects' 2017 Queensland State Architecture Awards and is an entrant in the Landscape QLD award (due to be decided in November).

YMCA SCUH Hospital childcare hold a philosophy to support the SCUH community-based upon mindfulness and positivity, supporting children’s emotional growth through a promoting a secure environment and building a hands-on connection with nature.

YMCA Education and Training puts learning in the limelight

Education sets a solid future foundation in terms of opening doors to future employment opportunities also offering individual learning and growth. There are a myriad of learning pathways to get students’ upskilled for work.

Sometimes schools with a focus on academic outcomes are not suited to peoples’ different type of learning styles or are aligned with their personal goals.

YMCA Brisbane empowers young people to love learning. It offers a wide range of vocational pathways through three vocational schools with about 282 students. Focus areas include: hospitality, child care, automotive, hairdressing, sport and recreation, youth work, horticulture, construction, warehouse operations and carpentry.

At the YMCA young people experience student-centred programs dedicated to enhancing practical and personal skills, at a pace which ensures school attendance, engagement and confidence are maintained.

YMCA of Brisbane Vocational Principal Andrew Kerr-Stevens said “we aim to ensure the quality of students graduating is as high as possible.”

Andrew cited the success story of Joseph who was referred to the YMCA Vocational School in 2017 with his goal to gain employment.

“His most significant struggle at school was English,” he said. “Joseph was encouraged and supported by staff who enabled him to break through this barrier. He loved the school’s gym program which gave him a positive outlook each day with a focus on physical and mental health.”

Andrew said Joseph excelled in the engineering course where he became a student leader within the class and offered great support to students who he would mentor and encourage.

“Joseph became a natural leader within the school, he built great rapport with students and staff and got involved with all school activities, helping to build a community based culture.

“Joseph’s biggest achievement was gaining work experience over the school holidays, which subsequently lead to a four year apprenticeship.”

Joseph’s words of advice for people wanting to reach an educational milestone are: “if you want something, look ahead to your goal and do your best to achieve it.”

At the YMCA we believe young people have the right to achieve their full potential irrelevant of circumstance. For others the classroom setting is not the ideal learning environment and they may prefer work experience.

Simon is a positive example of someone when placed in the ideal setting flourished and achieved real results.

With the support of his parents and a YMCA automotive trainer Simon commenced a placement at a local business.

He did so well he was offered a school-based traineeship. He responded positively to the opportunity which helped him take on more responsibility and to develop a mature outlook on life.

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 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.