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Are We Too Preoccupied With Rare Large Injuries?

Over the past 10 years we have seen a  climb in the rate of sports’  injuries, especially ones that require surgery. 

In the U.S., approximately 30 million children participate in organized sports each year.  Just because playing sports is fun doesn’t mean there isn’t potential for injury.  According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), more than 2.6 million children 0 – 19-years-old are treated in the emergency department each year for sports-related injuries. There are between 250,000 and 300,000 ACL injuries per year, and they're almost exclusively happening to athletes. (http://lbpost.com/life/health/2000004217-concussions-and-acl-injuries-a-duo-that-is-on-the-rise-in-youth-sports )

Image result for acl injury Image result for acl injury

While these numbers seem high, they actually represent 1%  of the youth athlete population that may tear their ACL.  The question arises:   Are the numbers to the point that our training programs need to strictly address the prevention of these specific injuries? 

Data from a brief case study  over the past 2 months at the Sports Performance Center illustrates a different scenario.  Out of 30 athletes, five  had some type of soft tissue injury.  These injuries either prevented them outright from doing their training program, or decreased their ability to perform at 100%.  Roughly 15% of our athletes are walking in the door with some sort of painful dysfunction.

Instead of focusing on the 1%, why not  focus on the much higher number of athletes that will develop a chronic injury that prevents them from training hard and can become a precursor to a larger injury?  Frequently, coaches and parents inquire about specific injury prevention strategies  when it might be smarter to look at the bigger picture.                                                                           

When we look at injuries, Mike Boyle said it best, “you either have a traumatic event (concussion) or overuse issues”.  These overuse issues are easily preventable or managed.  One of my athletes has intermittent left medial knee pain.  When she moves too much, the inside of her knee hurts.  Initially we screened for potential causes of pain. Nothing hurt, but she did have limitations in left ankle mobility and motor control of her right hip.  We removed a lot of the jumping and cutting that originally caused her knee pain to flare, and added in exercises that addressed her ankle and hip limitations.  As a result, in just one month, she is experiencing no pain with training, and her pain after 2hr goalie sessions has decreased to “barely noticeable”.     

 

The statistics cited by Mark Hyman in his book Until It Hurts: America’s Obsession with Youth Sports and How It Harms Our Kids, are sobering indeed: “Every year more than 3.5 million children under 15 require medical treatment for sports injuries, nearly half of which are the result of simple overuse.”   (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/25/health/25brod.html)                                                                                                                              

Here is the best part.  SMART TRAINING = TRAUMATIC INJURY PREVENTION.  The take home message here is that soft tissue/overuse injuries far exceed the number of traumatic injuries that most people are scared of.  In addition, they are huge contributors to traumatic events.  External force, a fatigued state where muscles can’t keep up with demand and poor mechanics that put a joint in a compromised position are the three main factors in acute injury.  Smart training that addresses mechanics, strength and recovery, and workload management of practices, training and games, have far greater impact on overall injury prevention than simply a few targeted exercises.

Other great resources

http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/healthlibrary/conditions/pediatrics/sports_injury_statistics_90,P02787/

http://www.apta.org/APTAMedia/Handouts/PT2013/youngathletes_McNeff_1.pdf

 

 

 

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Sleep Part 2

   recovery
   

We already touched on how important sleep is, and what a drastic effect it has on keeping your cognitive function optimal.  Remember our buckets?  Movement, nutrition, recovery and mindset.  These buckets do not act in isolation.  In other words, a lack of optimal attention in one bucket can affect the functioning of another bucket.  Let's look at how Mindset can affect Recovery.

I like to do at least 1-3 visualization sessions with athletes at the end of a training cycle because it is a great way to initiate the recovery process after some heavy lifts, and it also allows time to shed light on one's current state. We will lie on a bench or floor and go through some guided relaxation techniques and follow up with some visual cues to help plant a seed for success.

One thing that is readily apparent are the athletes who can shut down/sleep well and those that can't. When I first ask the athletes to check in with how their bodies feel, and go through some "contract and relax" techniques to become aware of tissues, I see who is able to focus and who has a harder time narrowing their attention. The idea of the practice is to feel what full contraction is like and then completely relax, rather than staying in a state of constant tension. This interrupts the cycle of signaling from the brain and hopefully allows for the athlete to fall into a state of low muscle neural tone. With the athletes that have a harder time slowing down, usually their hands are moving around and their facial features are twitching. This occurs even if the cue they just heard is to check in with how their legs are feeling. 

Typically they never reach a state of relaxation, and when asked if they have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep the answer is usually "yes". I have only been wrong once so far out of about 40 athletes, so I wont say its 100% accurate, but its highly correlated. This type of athlete typically goes to bed around 11-1am and wakes up at 6-7am. This would seem like enough sleep if we are shooting for 6-8hr, but what is really important is that he is in bed, but not asleep because his mind is running. Or he falls asleep, but wakes up in the middle of the night and can't get back to sleep. His mind is running systems all day/night, which even though it isn't physical stress, it definitely is mental strain. The consequence is a lower quality of sleep.  Lower quality of sleep=lower quality of recovery.

This is where your mindset bucket is having a detrimental effect on your recovery bucket. What sometimes stinks is that same mindset might make you a beast in your training, but also crushes your ability to recover from it. Everything is always a balancing act.

Here is what I usually suggest for our athletes to try at least once.

headspace

They offer a free trial that you can use as often as you like.

Till next week!

Coach Tom

 train
 
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Sleep Part 1

cat

 
 remember  
   

Over the years we have seen more information come out about sleep and its importance. When we are going to embark on a new goal: getting stronger, losing body fat, improving our 40yd time or just starting a new habit it's important that we pay attention to the major buckets that have the most impact on these outcomes.

In my opinion there are really only 4 buckets. Movement, nutrition, recovery and mindset. Sleep fills up most of your recovery bucket.

As you'll see in Chad Waterbury's post it is highly correlated to motor learning. So trying to pick up or improve an athletic movement can be hindered or enhanced based on how much sleep you are getting.

Check it out here.

Chad's article

Part 2 will be next week.

Have a great week!

Coach Tom

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Being Sick Isn't Just About Feeling Bad For A Few Days!

Less Sickness For Better Results

In this latest post by Eric Cressey, he demonstrates how being sick can really lead to big changes in one's athletic career.  A lot of times we think of it as a nuisance and something that only alters the present, but what Eric shows is it can alter the way things turn out further down the road as well. Now we aren't dealing with MLB superstars, but this can affect even a high school athlete looking to make varsity or obtain a starting position.

This past week is a perfect example of how illness can rapidly change outcomes. I had a baseball player that is supposed to train 2 days a week. With the season right around the corner, every training opportunity is critical.  He was sick on Tuesday, and then the facility was closed on Thursday due to snow.  If his only training were those 2 days and he missed both, then he just lost a full week. That may not sound like much over the course of a career but slimmed down to a 4 week prep phase before season, it turns into 25% of training is lost. Even if he had been able to come in on Thursday, would he have been at 100%? 

You can quickly see how it becomes a much larger issue than we make it out to be.

Check out Eric's article to see what his tips are for staying healthy!

less-sickness-for-better-results

"Handwashing is like a "do-it-yourself" vaccine—it involves five simple and effective steps (Wet, Lather, Scrub, Rinse, Dry). Regular handwashing, particularly before and after certain activities, is one of the best ways to remove germs, avoid getting sick, and prevent the spread of germs to others. It's quick, it's simple, and it can keep us all from getting sick." https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/

Till next week,

Coach Tommy

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Benny Cammuso has been selected as the Southington Community YMCA’s Person of the Year.

The Ys Person of the Year Award is presented to someone in the community who through his/her actions makes Southington a better place to live.  Benny more than qualifies for this honor and recognition.  For nearly the past 20 years, Benny has been the consummate volunteer for many groups and organizations in Southington. 

At Bread4Life where Benny has been a devoted fixture five days each week since his retirement doing whatever it takes to provide lunches in their rented kitchen as well as lunches and dinners-to-go for the hungry. He cooks, he cleans the dining area, he washes dishes, and he delivers meals to the homebound and to those in senior housing in Southington, adding camaraderie for many who may not experience any other human interaction during the course of their day. He also helps to stock, arrange, and maintain offsite food storage space.

He is a long-standing member of the Town’s Senior Citizen Commission and a member of the Community Emergency Response Team.  He is a member and volunteer for the Calendar House Senior Center, where his talent for gardening and fixing things is well utilized.  He has long served as a volunteer for the American Red Cross at bloodmobiles at several different Southington locations.  Benny is a member of the Knights of Columbus and the Free Masons, serving as the backbone of all of their community events targeted at helping others.  He is an active volunteer for the local chapter of the AARP and also volunteers regularly at the Southington Care Center, a one hundred thirty bed rehabilitation and nursing care facility. 

Benny is active in his Church, serving as an Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist for the past fifteen years and in addition to his services at weekly Mass, he also brings Holy Communion to the homebound.  Each year he makes it his mission to trim all the bushes and evergreens on the property of Mary Our Queen Church in town. Benny has also been an active participant in an annual local Church production of the Passion Play over the past twenty five years.

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A slice of Singapore recently landed in the United States to work at YMCA Camp Sloper this summer. Twenty-one-year-old Chloe Chee from Singapore, will spend 2 months at YMCA Camp Sloper.

Chloe made her journey to the northeast through a partnership between the Southington Community YMCA International Committee and YMCA Camp Sloper. The committee is made up of volunteers, who help facilitate housing for the international counselor, while also running other international programing during the year at the Southington Community YMCA.

In order to be a part of the program, students need their J-1 visa, which offers educational and cultural exchange. Jordan’s first stop in the United Sates was YMCA Camp Sloper. Chloe currently has a group of all girl Trail Blazers, campers who are in 8th and 9th grade. She has been guiding her group through all sorts of adventures and activities including, arts and crafts, rope course, boating, climbing tower, field games, archery, and swimming. She has also been leading a skill clinic, teaching campers how to speak Mandarin.

Camp in Singapore is very different from what she’s already experienced in just a short time at YMCA Camp Sloper. “ We have camps, but since we don’t have a long summer break, nothing can compare to this.”  Chloe also enjoys how open, friendly and energetic everyone has been.

Chloe says she has already learned a lot more about herself since starting at YMCA Camp Sloper. She has gained more confidence in her skills with working with kids.

YMCA Camp Sloper Director, Shane Altwies said “Having an international counselor helps bring cultural awareness to the camp community. Having international staff helps make the world a little smaller and teach our campers about the differences in all people. It has been a long standing tradition since the mid 1970’s at YMCA Camp Sloper and just one of the many things that makes our camp extra special.”

This summer, Chole has already visited Albany, NY, along with Mystic Seaport and plans to see more of CT and the North East while she is here.  Chole hopes that her experience at YMCA Camp Sloper will help her eventually obtain a career in International Relations.

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On Saturday June 11th, Southington YMCA and Southington Track team will be sponsoring the 2nd Annual Knights Cup Track Meet.  The Knight’s Cup is a community wide event designed to introduce youth to track and field.  Only half of the events in a normal meet are being offered to ensure a safe and timely meet.  All 10 Elementary schools and both Middle Schools will be competing against each other in order to win the Knight’s Cup – a perpetual trophy that will reside with the winning school.  The meet also has an All Comers division for any age runner.  John Myers, the Director of Southington YMCA says, ‘We are thrilled to partner with the Southington High School Track Team to bring our running and track community together for the Knights Cup. I’m confident that all participants will be invigorated and feel like winners.’  

Dan Dachelet, the Head Cross Country coach at Southington High School says, that, “This meet is a fantastic way to introduce Southington Youth to the sport of Track and Field.  Setting the meet up as a competition between schools is a great way to develop school spirit in what could be a life-long sport.” 

Held at the Southington High School track with events starting at 9 a.m., the meet will be composed of the following events; the 4x100 meter relay, 100 meter dash, 400 meter dash, 1600 meter run, the 1600 meter relay, youth shot put, turbo jav and the long jump.  Athletes may sign up for a maximum of 2 events not including relays.  Registration can be done online at www.sccymca.org/knightscup.  Use Keyword Knight to find the event.  We will run the events in the following order: Elementary School, Middle School, All Comers Division.  Registration forms were sent through the schools and can also be picked 
up at the Y 

Medals will be given out through 8th place for youth events.  Ribbons will be given out to all youth participants.  Athletes should show up at 8 a.m. to check-in.  

PE coaches will be able to choose a single relay to represent their school.  As well, students are free to come up with their own relays.  Meet staff will organize relays on the day of the meet for anyone who wants to be on a relay.  

The meet is a team competition with each event being scored and points being awarded to your school.  There is an elementary and middle school division.  Last year’s winners were Derynoski and Kennedy. 

On Tuesday June 7th from 6- 7 p.m. all field events will be taught by SHS athletes.  Weather date for the Knights Cup event is Sunday June 12th at 5p.m.

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Please join us in making February at our Y, HEPA Awareness Month!

Our Y is expanding its longtime commitment to children and youth by adopting a set of Healthy Eating and Physical Activity (HEPA) standards that will be disseminated through early childhood, afterschool programs, camp and the culture of the Y as a whole. The standards we are adopting will build a healthier future for our children by providing environments rich in healthy opportunities for eating and physical activity. These standards, when implemented fully throughout the Y, will be the basis for which the Y’s commitment to being one of the largest and healthiest providers of early childhood education and afterschool programming in the nation is recognized. Throughout 2016, we will be taking steps to make our Y healthier!

Specifically we will:

·      Have each department take a HEPA self assessment of their area

·      Identify HEPA Champions in each department/program area

·      HEPA Champions will lead the HEPA Task Force for designated departments; meeting quarterly to discuss plans and implementation

·      Market our HEPA initiative to the community as a competitive advantage

·      Increase family engagement by having:

o   2 annual events and/or program enhancements that are HEPA Driven

o   HEPA tips, recipes, activities

·      Develop a Staff Training Plan for nutrition and physical activities

·      Start conversations with Community Leaders on our HEPA plans

·      Update all job descriptions to include some HEPA language and responsibilities 

·      HEPA wording and descriptions to be added to Parent Handbooks and newsletters

 

Every Tuesday, keep an eye out on social media for our HEPA Tips and Tricks!

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A new YMCA Signature Wellness program, Enhance Fitness was launched at the Cheshire Community YMCA in May 2015.  Our Y is one of only 65 YMCAs in the US offering the program.  Enhance Fitness has been nationally recognized by the Centers for Disease Control, the U S Department of Health and Human Services, the U S Administration on Aging and the National Council on Aging.  With a generous grant from the Connecticut Community Foundation, we were able to purchase equipment and train staff to deliver this senior fitness/arthritis management program. 

Participants meet three times per week for an hour of exercise focusing on reducing arthritis symptoms while improving endurance, stamina, muscle strength, flexibility and balance.  After the first sixteen week session, participants were reassessed and all showed improvement in one or more areas tested.  For more information on Enhance Fitness, contact Donna Paxton@dpaxton@sccymca.org.

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The Cheshire Community YMCA Penguin Plunge started with an idea from the Southington Community YMCA’s Polar Plunge - People jumping into freezing water to raise funds for our Annual Campaign.  Based on the success Southington has had, we wanted to have a similar event here in Cheshire. We started with a cute penguin as our mascot and the idea of jumping into Mixville pond in February.

The weather in early 2015 started out cold and then the snow started to fall with a vengeance.  Mixville Park looked like a winter wonderland. Our brave penguins where determined to jump in to the frigid water, but we were in the middle of the coldest month ever recorded in Connecticut and the ice was getting thicker and thicker.

The day had come when we need to make the decision to either cancel the fundraiser event or come up with a plan B. During the summer of 2014, there was a great fundraiser idea going around:   the Ice Bucket Challenge. Our group decided to meet up a Mixville Park and take on our very own bucket challenge.

All of our volunteers, staff and community leaders came out for a fun-filled but ice cold morning. Everyone came with their best costumes. We had men with blond wigs and tutus. Our camp director wore her shorts and camp T-shirt, and our Branch Director came out with her shorts, tank top and angels wings. Buckets where filled with ice cold water and snow, and everyone lined up. It started like a domino effect. Not even the snow and cold could stop people away from donating their time for a great cause.

With the help of our volunteers and staff, the YMCA was able to raise over $9,000.00 for our Annual Campaign.  For information about this year’s Bucket Challenge, contact Monica Napolitano at mnapolitano@sccymca.org.

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It’s hard to believe that a camp which started as 12 campers walking from the YMCA to Norton School to use the playground has grown into the YMCA Camp Quinnipiac we know today.  What began as a program to serve a few Y families in need of childcare of during the summer months has developed into a camp providing new and exciting experiences for over 500 campers each summer. 

From the beginning, YMCA Camp Quinnipiac has relied on its strong relationship with the Board of Education and in particular Norton Elementary School.  Norton has be the home of YMCA Camp Quinnipiac for 18 of its 20 years.  

In the early years, we used a table in a hallway as the camp office and picnic tables set up around the shaded perimeter of Norton’s backfield to run camp activities including arts and crafts, nature and field games.  Children were bused to the home of Dr. and Mrs. Thomas DeLuca for swimming in their backyard pool.  Tom, a board member and Liz, our nursery school teacher, generously donated their pool to YMCA Camp Quinnipiac for 7 summers. 

Driven by a talented and dedicated camp staff, YMCA Camp Quinnipiac grew significantly in size in the early 2000s creating the need for more activity space.   Large tents were added as well as a portable office to act as the center of an ever growing operation.  Swimming was moved to Cheshire Academy.   Camp enrollment climbed to a record high of 175 campers per week in 2005. 

Since then Camp Q has moved locations 2 times to accommodate renovations at Norton; moving to Chapman School in 2007 and Doolittle School in 2013.   Enrollment held strong due to the continued program quality provided by the amazing staff team. 

In 2014 the YMCA of the USA introduced a new Day Camp curriculum.  YMCA Camp Quinnipiac embraced it and introduced skill sessions challenging campers to try something new such as jewelry making, soccer, tennis and movie making. 

For 20 years YMCA Camp Quinnipiac has been a place where children make memories that will last a lifetime.  How could any past campers forget; the world’s largest root beer float, the annual dinosaur egg hunt, the slip-n-slide moonbounce, visits from the fire department, tall sock Tuesdays, dress up Wednesdays, numerous special guests, camp family nights, International Popscicle day, the gold rush, nature tag, gimp bracelets, field trip Thursdays and of course L.O.G.S.

YMCA Camp Quinnipiac 2016 registration will begin on March 1, 2016.  For more information about what the next 20 years will bring contact Lesleigh Drake at the Y, ldrake@sccymca.org or 203-272-3150 ext. 506.

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This year, our Y has started one of YUSA’s signature programs called Togetherhood. Togetherhood invites members to activate their social responsibility by participating in the Y’s cause to strengthen our community.  Togetherhood provides Y members with fun, convenient and rewarding ways to give back and support their neighbors. 

This program invites Y members to lead and participate in volunteer service projects that benefit the community. 

Our Y’s first Togetherhood project took place on November 22 when we had over 70 volunteers of all ages raking leaves out of the yards of four senior citizens in our community who were unable to care for their own yards.  On December 18 we had twenty of our senior Y members gather to stuff bags filled with toiletries that were donated by Y members.  Bread for Life will be delivering the goodie bags to shut-ins in Southington. 

Why do our Y members volunteer for Togetherhood projects?  Y member and volunteer Diane Hunter put it this way when she explained why she, her husband, and their three teenage boys were out raking the lawn of a stranger. “We felt that we needed to make time to do things for other people.  We are running around with all of our own activities and we felt it was time to take time away from thinking of us and give back to others.”  We couldn’t say it better!

Our TOGETHERHOOD program connects Y members with service projects that improve our community.  If you would like to get involved in our TOGETHERHOOD program, please contact Donna Ayer at dayer@sccymca.org

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On October 14th we celebrated the opening of the newly renovated Natatorium, and observation deck. Since the renovation has been completed, members have noticed significant changes to the appearance of the pool. With the new addition of the observation deck, parents are now able to watch swim lessons, and meets without being on a crowed deck. Each part of the pool renovation project has served our members in different ways.

Meet Pricilla: When Pricilla Griffin first joined the Southington Community YMCA she moved very slowly and walked with a walker. Without handicapped accessibility, Pricilla would take the flight of stairs down to the pool with the aid of one of the Aquatic staff. The staff would carry the walker down and wait for her to either go up or down the flight of stairs. The pool was the one place where she could move around and feel better so she made sure to come at least 2 days a week to the Silver Splash Program. Watching Pricilla get stronger was so inspiring and made the staff feel like we were making a difference. Pricilla soon started adding the water running class to her work out so she could get stronger and have a knee replacement. This year with the addition of the elevator, it is awesome to see Pricilla smile as she comes into the pool area without having to ask anyone to carry her walker down the stairs for her. Her knee replacement is done and she attends Water Run and Silver Splash faithfully 2 days a week. She is sure to tell others of her experience and how the Y makes her feel better and makes her stronger all the time. A true inspiration.

 

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This summer we were proud to have had the opportunity to collaborate with the CMAK Foundation and provide a FREE Youth Triathlon Program called Race4Chase.In remembrance of Chase Kowalski, the students and educators of the Sandy Hook tragedy, Chases parents started the CMAK Sandy Hook Memorial Foundation. The Kowalski family wanted to capture Chase’s competitive spirit and vitality in creating a charity in his honor with a focus on health and wellness for children and their families.

The Race4Chase Kid’s Triathlon program is a youth triathlon program aimed to provide kids ages 6 to 12 with a safe, healthy non-competitive environment to discover the sport of triathlon.  It brings together kids from all different backgrounds and educates them on how to adopt a healthy lifestyle, coaches them to develop a foundation of athletic skills, and inspires them to aim high in sports and in life.

Designed as a free six-week goal oriented summer program, the program provides kids with expert instruction in swimming, cycling, running, strength training and flexibility, and teaches them the fundamentals of good nutrition, under the supportive guidance of coaches, lifeguards and instructors.

Our Y was one of the eight YMCA’s in the state that were chosen to participate. After six weeks of training and preparation, the eight Race4Chase Kids Triathlon Program sites in Connecticut descended upon our very own YMCA Camp Sloper to compete in the Race4Chase Kids Triathlon FINALE!

As we reflect on the accomplishments of our Y athletes, the excitement of the FINALE and the way that family, friends, coaches, trainers, volunteers and supporters came together to support the effort of these athletes, we truly can see the good that has emanated from the inspiration provided by Chase Kowalski.  These Race4Chase triathletes have learned that with determination and effort, they can tackle any challenge.  They can also realize that they have a community of support to achieve their goals.  We do not know whether there might be a future Olympic triathlete amongst the finishers, but we can be assured that from their experience from the Race4Chase Kids Triathlon Program that they will be better prepared to accomplish what they desire.

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YMCA Camp Sloper Once Again

Earns ACA-Accredited Camp Status

 

                       

Southington- The American Camp Association (ACA) announced this month that YMCA Camp Sloper has once again received ACA-Accredited Camp status.  ACA Accreditation means that YMCA Camp Sloper has successfully completed a thorough (over 300 standards) review of its operation by the American Camp Association— from staff qualifications and training to emergency management — and complies with the highest standards in the industry.

 

"YMCA Camp Sloper has had a partnership in place with ACA for almost ten years now. Their accreditation program helps camps like ours promote and further develop an environment for kids, teens and staff to be safe and have fun" said Shane Altwies, Outdoor Center Program Director at YMCA Camp Sloper, "ACA accreditation demonstrates our commitment to quality camp programming."  In order to qualify for accreditation status, the camp was required to submit to a lengthy process of evaluation in the following areas: Site & Foodservice, Transportation, Health & Wellness, Operational Management, Human Resources, and Program Design & Activities, including Aquatics, Adventure/Challenge and Horseback Riding. “Our staff and volunteers have worked hard over the past 9 years to maintain the quality of facilities and programs that is required to meet ACA standards. We became accredited in 2007 as a way to assure parents we are offering a top rated day camp program. The accreditation process is a culmination of many hours of hard work and dedication by those committed to improving YMCA Camp Sloper” said Mark Pooler, Outdoor Center Director.

 

ACA is the only independent accrediting organization reviewing camp operations in the country. Its nationally-recognized standards program focuses primarily on the program quality, health, and safety aspects of a camp's operation. ACA collaborates with experts from The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Red Cross, and other youth service agencies to assure that current practices at the camp reflect the most up-to-date, research-based standards in camp operation.  

 

YMCA Camp Sloper’s accredited camp status means that parents can feel confident that their child will have a camp experience that is both fun and safe.   It is another step in a commitment to provide a life changing environment in which children can grow through new experiences while building smiles, character, and lasting memories.  “We are very proud to be an ACA Accredited camp. What this accreditation does, in my opinion, is make good camps better.  It assures our families that the right programs and policies are in place and that we are running a top notch day camp program” stated Pooler.

 

YMCA Camp Sloper was founded in 1949 and is a program center of the Southington-Cheshire Community YMCAs. Located in Southington, programs are offered for children from pre-school through grade 10 beginning at the end of June and running through August.  Along with traditional camp programs, several specialty camps are available.  For more information, parents can contact YMCA Camp Sloper at 860-621-8194, or visit the camp's web site at www.ymcacampsloper.org. “The staff and volunteers have already begun making plans for the 67th summer of YMCA Camp Sloper. Each year we strive to make calculated changes that will improve the quality of our program, staff and facility” stated Altwies. 

 

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Due to a family history of heart disease and diabetes, Darrylhad always taken his health seriously.  He saw his doctor for a complete physical every year with a check-up six months later.  Since he was a teenager, he has always worked out 5 days per week.  His exercise regimen mostly included weight training, along with some cardio. 

Despite life-long exercise habits, the weight of his 5'10' frame steadily climbed to 282 lbs.  Eating out often while traveling for his job had contributed greatly to this unhealthy weight gain.  
 
During a visit with his physician in 2010, he was informed that his A1C blood sugar level had increased to 6.2, which is within the pre-diabetes range (normal is 5.6 and below).  Through Darryl's medical background, he know and understood that the consequences of diabetes include heart disease along with many other health concerns.  Determined to beat diabetes, he began to follow his physician's advice to eat a low carb diet, exercise regularly, and avoid alcohol.  
 
With the help of very knowledgeable trainers, the YMCA helped Darryl reach his goal of beating diabetes.  He learned that resistance training really helped to increase the metabolism when combined with cardio.  After a Cybex orientation with John in 2013, he started resistance training 3 days per week and cardio 3 days per week.  Darryl started to see progress, he lost 30 pounds.  Equally important, he lowered my A1C blood sugar level to 5.6 or within the normal range.  
 
At 245 pounds, Darryl had hit a weight-loss plateau. Determined to lose more weight, he began to work out twice per day at the YMCA and increased his wokouts to 6 cardio and 3 resistance training sessions per week.  After 2 years, he lost another 15 pounds and lowered his weight to 230 pounds.  
 
During Darryl's morning workouts, he noticed the Y360 classes.  The classes looked challenging and different.  Wanting to change up his exercise routine, he inquired about the class with the trainer, Linda Prus. She informed him of the health benefits and encouraged him to sign up. 
 
"The Y360 work outs have helped me to gain muscle, lose fat, and increase my metabolism.  I've lost another 10 pounds and I feel great.  More importantly, my A1C blood sugar level is now 5.5, well within the normal range! With encouragement and support from the YMCA trainers, I am making the commitment to beat diabetes for life. "
 
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Camper for A Day

A large part of what connects people to YMCA Camp Sloper and other Y camps around the world- is our stories. As the Marketing Director for the Southington-Cheshire Community YMCA, I too wanted to be able to share my own story about YMCA Camp Sloper.  Growing up, I unfortunately never had the opportunity to attend a day camp or any camp for that matter.  I spent most of my childhood and even some of my adult life, wondering what it would be like to go to camp.   Over the last year, I have spent many hours out at YMCA Camp Sloper taking pictures and interviewing campers and counselors, however, I myself never got the full camper experience—until last Friday, when I was encouraged to become a “camper for a day.”

I drove into the YMCA Camp Sloper parking lot and was filled with all sorts of emotions; I was excited, nervous and little scared. All these feelings felt all too familiar to me, I was having flashbacks to my first day of school. I knew I would be challenged to try new things, meet new people, and push myself to do things that were not familiar to me. I took my backpack, water bottle and lunch out of my car and headed into the office to sign in.

My first stop: Morning Announcements!

Along with 400 other East Coast Campers, I made my way down to the amphitheater for mornings announcements. As I sat down, I thought to myself “how will the counselors get all of these campers to settle down and listen?” Before I could even finish my thought, Justin, our East Coast Director stood at the front of the amphitheater and he commanded the attention of all 400 campers…I was amazed!  

Archery, Waterpark, Tower, Paddle Boarding… OH MY!

After morning announcements, I was able to try archery, climb the tower and high ropes course, race around the trike track, swim out to the waterpark, paddle board around the pond and explore Crystal Minds. I truly felt like one of the campers. With every obstacle or challenge I was met with, there was either a counselor or camper right there to encourage me to continue. By the end of the day, I was having so much fun, I didn’t want to leave.  Even though I never got to experience camp as a kid, I feel that even as an adult I took away the same experience and memories I would have had I attended as a kid. I left camp feeling more independent and confident, and I overcame fears and surpassed my own goals. I would like to thank Christina Simms, Mark Pooler, and all the campers and counselors at YMCA Camp Sloper for making my day as a camper such a memorable experience.

 

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Earlier this year, two of the Y's long time employees announced that they would be retiring on December 31, 2015.

 

After two successful careers; one with the Y and the other with Southington Savings Bank, Tony Palmieri (Director of Operations) and Tony 'Doc' Priore (CFO) decided it was time to move on to the next part of life's journey.

 

While we were given plenty of time to prepare for this transition, it was a little unnerving knowing our Y would be losing the services of these two legends. 

 

While both Tony and Doc are working till the end of the year, we are now able to announce our restructuring for Tony Palmieri's position.  
 

Starting on January 1, 2016, Mark Pooler, our current Camp Sloper and Outdoor Center Director will become our new Director of Operations. Shane Altwies, our current Outdoor Center Program Director will become our Camp Sloper and Outdoor Center Director.  Justin Hubeny moves from his current Youth Program Director position to the Outdoor Center Program Director. And Tom Sangeloty will be joining our professional team as our new Youth Program Director.

 

While the actual change in positions (except for Tom Sangeloty) begins in January, we will have the fall months to work through a smooth transition so everyone will be off and running at the start of the year.

 

Early in the fall, we will also be posting the CFO position.  It's our hope to have someone in place by December 1 to allow time for the new person to get settled.

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Denise Napoli decided to make 2014 the year she would get healthy. After years of being over weight, Denise decided to join the Y. She decided it was time to love herself and take the necessary steps to get healthy, and that first step was joining the Y. With a loving husband, 2 children and 2 grandchildren, she had so much to live for and all the motivation she needed. After stepping into the Spirit, Mind, Body Center, Denise was hooked! 105 pounds, multiple 5Ks, and a 10K later, Denise says she is physically and mentally stronger. Her confidence to try new things has improved and she loves every aspect of life. In February, Denise joined the Y Running Crew where she gets training tips on a weekly basis. As a way to stay motivated, she has signed up for her first ½ Marathon in October. Denise says, " It is always nice to hear that you look like you've lost weight. Now the motivation is just the feeling of being stronger and healthier. I feel accomplished."

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RACE 4 CHASE- FREE SUMMER YOUTH TRIATHLON PROGRAM

In remembrance of Chase Kowalski, the students and educators of the Sandy Hook tragedy, Chase's parents started the CMAK Sandy Hook Memorial Foundation. The Kowalski family wanted to capture Chase’s competitive spirit and vitality in creating a charity in his honor with a focus on health and wellness for children and their families. CMAK (Chase Michael Anthony Kowalski) Sandy Hook Memorial Foundation has pursued programs and initiatives that encourage personal improvement, healthy lifestyles and strong family and communities.

The CMAK Foundation has created a triathlon program called Race4Chase.  The Race4Chase Kid’s Triathlon program is a youth triathlon program aimed to provide kids ages 6 to 12 with a safe, healthy non-competitive environment to discover the sport of triathlon.  It bring together kids from all different backgrounds and educates them on how to adopt a healthy lifestyle, coaches them to develop a foundation of athletic skills, and inspires them to aim high in sports and in life.

Designed as a free six-week goal oriented summer program, the program provides kids with expert instruction in swimming, cycling, running, strength training and flexibility, and teaches them the fundamentals of good nutrition, under the supportive guidance of coaches, lifeguards and instructors. Implementing a custom-designed training program, the coaches provide the youth athletes with all the equipment, knowledge, and one-on-one support they need to become tri-athletes.  At the culmination of

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the training camp, all the youth athletes come together to compete in a USAT-sanctioned triathlon race.

The Southington Community YMCA is proud to be one of the sites to offer this program. Currently, the Southington Community YMCA has 8 spots still available for kids to join.  The program begins, Monday June 22, but they will be accepting kids until July 3. The program ends Saturday August 1.  The program will run from 8:45 a.m. - 11:45 a.m. daily, Monday- Friday.  On Saturday August 1, all participants will compete in a Youth Triathlon day at YMCA Camp Sloper.

If you’re interested, or would like more information, please contact: Karen DiGirolamo (P) 860-426-9529(E) kdigirolamo@sccymca    

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