Y Notes

Swim team is lifelong, family affair

  •  

    Three days a week since last September, kids have streamed through the YMCA lobby, headed toward the swimming pool for the YMCA youth swim team practice.

    The kids rush through the building to the locker room - hopefully all taking a shower - before heading out to the pool for an hour of laps, treading water and stroke perfection. O.K., maybe not perfection, but still better than most of us can ever fathom.

    The YMCA youth swim team wraps up its season this weekend with a championship swim meet in Fremont. Dozens of swimmers will make the long haul from McCook to Fremont to compete against fellow YMCA swimmers from across the state.

    And almost all will be bringing their entire family along.

    For many, being part of the YMCA swim team is a family affair and one that has been part of their lives since they could walk. For some, even before they could walk as they sat through their siblings’ practices.

    Almost all of the swimmers - and not just in McCook - seem to have a brother or sister on the team or have had a sibling who swam in the past.

    When a swim team mom pulls up in front of the Y, multiple kids pour out of the vehicle. Bathrooms at home have piles of wet towels draped over the shower stall. And personally, we buy goggles in bulk, just because someone is going to use them and they seem to grow legs and wander off.

    Swim meets are truly family events. Once a month, the families drive to a YMCA for a swim meet where the parents have the “privilege” of sitting through a day-long meet.

    But what makes swimming truly unique is that kids of all ages are competing on the same team. They are all in the same place at the same pool on the same day. Rarely are the parents split between different venues...except for the occasional high school and Y meet overlap.

    Swimming is also a lifelong sport. A sport that athletes are able to compete in from the moment they can make it across the pool until….well, until they don’t want to be seen a swimsuit any longer.

    So after the swimmers hit the water this weekend for the last time this winter, they’ll take a break for a couple months. But most will be right back at it soon after Memorial Day as the summer swim league begins.

    There will still be towels piled up in the bathrooms and goggles will be lost on a daily basis. The only difference will be that the kids will be able to ride their bikes to the pool, while mom gets a short break from carpooling.

    ***

    With winter continuing to hang out, the youth soccer season at the YMCA has been pushed back several weeks. Originally scheduled to start this Saturday, teams haven’t even had the chance to hit the fields for practice yet, much less get the fields ready for games.

    While teams are being formed, parents who are the true epitome of procrastination can still sign up their kindergartners through eighth graders. Games are planned to begin Saturday, March 23. Of course, that’s presuming we can find the fields at Barnett Park by that point.

     


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  • 07-Mar-2019

 

Three days a week since last September, kids have streamed through the YMCA lobby, headed toward the swimming pool for the YMCA youth swim team practice.

The kids rush through the building to the locker room - hopefully all taking a shower - before heading out to the pool for an hour of laps, treading water and stroke perfection. O.K., maybe not perfection, but still better than most of us can ever fathom.

The YMCA youth swim team wraps up its season this weekend with a championship swim meet in Fremont. Dozens of swimmers will make the long haul from McCook to Fremont to compete against fellow YMCA swimmers from across the state.

And almost all will be bringing their entire family along.

For many, being part of the YMCA swim team is a family affair and one that has been part of their lives since they could walk. For some, even before they could walk as they sat through their siblings’ practices.

Almost all of the swimmers - and not just in McCook - seem to have a brother or sister on the team or have had a sibling who swam in the past.

When a swim team mom pulls up in front of the Y, multiple kids pour out of the vehicle. Bathrooms at home have piles of wet towels draped over the shower stall. And personally, we buy goggles in bulk, just because someone is going to use them and they seem to grow legs and wander off.

Swim meets are truly family events. Once a month, the families drive to a YMCA for a swim meet where the parents have the “privilege” of sitting through a day-long meet.

But what makes swimming truly unique is that kids of all ages are competing on the same team. They are all in the same place at the same pool on the same day. Rarely are the parents split between different venues...except for the occasional high school and Y meet overlap.

Swimming is also a lifelong sport. A sport that athletes are able to compete in from the moment they can make it across the pool until….well, until they don’t want to be seen a swimsuit any longer.

So after the swimmers hit the water this weekend for the last time this winter, they’ll take a break for a couple months. But most will be right back at it soon after Memorial Day as the summer swim league begins.

There will still be towels piled up in the bathrooms and goggles will be lost on a daily basis. The only difference will be that the kids will be able to ride their bikes to the pool, while mom gets a short break from carpooling.

***

With winter continuing to hang out, the youth soccer season at the YMCA has been pushed back several weeks. Originally scheduled to start this Saturday, teams haven’t even had the chance to hit the fields for practice yet, much less get the fields ready for games.

While teams are being formed, parents who are the true epitome of procrastination can still sign up their kindergartners through eighth graders. Games are planned to begin Saturday, March 23. Of course, that’s presuming we can find the fields at Barnett Park by that point.

 


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Venturing out of the comfort zone for a good cause - blog post image

Venturing out of the comfort zone for a good cause

  •  

    Over the past week, dozens of people have ventured outside their comfort zones on two separate occasions, all on behalf of the YMCA.

    Last Wednesday, the YMCA conducted its’ annual Partners With Youth (PWY) phone-a-thon campaign, where dozens of volunteers made hundreds of calls on behalf of the YMCA’s scholarship program.

    First, thank you to everyone who made a donation or a pledge to the 2019 PWY campaign. Every dollar stays local, providing financial assistance toward youth sports fee, the Live Y’ers after-school program and memberships for both families and individuals. If you did not receive a call and would like to support this program with a donation, please contact the YMCA.

    But it was those volunteers, who were asked to call people and ask for a donation, who really pushed their boundaries.

    For many volunteers, asking for money is harder than speaking in front of room full of people. Asking for donations is more uncomfortable than walking around in a swimsuit in public. Asking for a pledge is tougher than getting through Martha Chmiel’s weight-lifting class at the Y - no small task.

    The situation was eased a bit, thanks to the generosity of Matt and Shelly Sehnert, who opened up the bakery for the evening, which is a wonderful home-base to make the calls. Asking for money is always made easier with pizza and drinks and friends nearby.

    Another group of people also tested new waters this weekend…literally.

    On Sunday, 22 people participated in the YMCA’s Indoor Sprint Triathlon with proceeds going toward the Partners with Youth scholarship program. Of those nearly two dozen triathletes, half had never competed in a triathlon. Most likely, they had never done swimming, biking and running all on the same day ever before. And one person, a YMCA member, admitted that he had never even been in the YMCA pool...ever.

    Leading up to the triathlon, questions from participants were all over the board. “Can I wear floaties?” - If you aren’t too embarrassed to look like a four-year-old, knock yourself out.

    “I’m in my 60s. Am I too old?” - There was no age limit. In fact, our triathletes ranged in age from 12 to 65, showing there is no age limit when it comes to being active.

    “Do I have time to shave my legs between the swim and the bike?” - I think they were joking. But when we had to tell one triathlete to rinse the shampoo from her hair so we could start the bike portion, I’m not sure.

    Thank you again to who donated to the Partners with Youth campaign this year, who volunteered to ask for donations or who decided trying not to drown for 10 minutes in a triathlon was a great way to make a donation.

    ***

    In case you hadn’t noticed, there is a bit of snow here and there on the ground. And if the weather forecasts are even a wee bit accurate, there is likely going to be more winter weather on the way this weekend...and next weekend...perhaps coming to an end by the Fourth of July.

    And while I personally love the snow, it does inhibit the start of soccer season at the YMCA. Even you can get past the cold and the wind, it is difficult to hold a soccer game in the snow when you can’t see the out-of-bound lines. Not impossible, but very difficult.

    So there will be a delay to the YMCA’s soccer season. If you have already signed up your child, don’t start to worry yet if you haven’t received a call from a coach. And if you still haven’t signed up your child, whether in kindergarten or eighth grade, there is still time to get your child registered and not have to face the wrath of a 7-year-old who wanted to play soccer but can’t.

    And the Y will be contacting coaches and players soon with an updated plan for the soccer season, as soon as snow isn’t in the forecast every day...so possibly April.

     


     Text

  • 01-Mar-2019

 

Over the past week, dozens of people have ventured outside their comfort zones on two separate occasions, all on behalf of the YMCA.

Last Wednesday, the YMCA conducted its’ annual Partners With Youth (PWY) phone-a-thon campaign, where dozens of volunteers made hundreds of calls on behalf of the YMCA’s scholarship program.

First, thank you to everyone who made a donation or a pledge to the 2019 PWY campaign. Every dollar stays local, providing financial assistance toward youth sports fee, the Live Y’ers after-school program and memberships for both families and individuals. If you did not receive a call and would like to support this program with a donation, please contact the YMCA.

But it was those volunteers, who were asked to call people and ask for a donation, who really pushed their boundaries.

For many volunteers, asking for money is harder than speaking in front of room full of people. Asking for donations is more uncomfortable than walking around in a swimsuit in public. Asking for a pledge is tougher than getting through Martha Chmiel’s weight-lifting class at the Y - no small task.

The situation was eased a bit, thanks to the generosity of Matt and Shelly Sehnert, who opened up the bakery for the evening, which is a wonderful home-base to make the calls. Asking for money is always made easier with pizza and drinks and friends nearby.

Another group of people also tested new waters this weekend…literally.

On Sunday, 22 people participated in the YMCA’s Indoor Sprint Triathlon with proceeds going toward the Partners with Youth scholarship program. Of those nearly two dozen triathletes, half had never competed in a triathlon. Most likely, they had never done swimming, biking and running all on the same day ever before. And one person, a YMCA member, admitted that he had never even been in the YMCA pool...ever.

Leading up to the triathlon, questions from participants were all over the board. “Can I wear floaties?” - If you aren’t too embarrassed to look like a four-year-old, knock yourself out.

“I’m in my 60s. Am I too old?” - There was no age limit. In fact, our triathletes ranged in age from 12 to 65, showing there is no age limit when it comes to being active.

“Do I have time to shave my legs between the swim and the bike?” - I think they were joking. But when we had to tell one triathlete to rinse the shampoo from her hair so we could start the bike portion, I’m not sure.

Thank you again to who donated to the Partners with Youth campaign this year, who volunteered to ask for donations or who decided trying not to drown for 10 minutes in a triathlon was a great way to make a donation.

***

In case you hadn’t noticed, there is a bit of snow here and there on the ground. And if the weather forecasts are even a wee bit accurate, there is likely going to be more winter weather on the way this weekend...and next weekend...perhaps coming to an end by the Fourth of July.

And while I personally love the snow, it does inhibit the start of soccer season at the YMCA. Even you can get past the cold and the wind, it is difficult to hold a soccer game in the snow when you can’t see the out-of-bound lines. Not impossible, but very difficult.

So there will be a delay to the YMCA’s soccer season. If you have already signed up your child, don’t start to worry yet if you haven’t received a call from a coach. And if you still haven’t signed up your child, whether in kindergarten or eighth grade, there is still time to get your child registered and not have to face the wrath of a 7-year-old who wanted to play soccer but can’t.

And the Y will be contacting coaches and players soon with an updated plan for the soccer season, as soon as snow isn’t in the forecast every day...so possibly April.

 


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Creating a tradition of giving

  •  

    Now in its 30th year, a tradition has formed at the YMCA which has an impact on swimming, on basketball, on yoga to name just a few areas of influence.

    Yet, it doesn’t involve the basketball courts, nor the exercise equipment, not even water...unless you count the beverages consumed between phone calls trying to soothe vocal cords.

    Next Wednesday, Feb. 20, the tradition of making phone calls for the YMCA’s Partners with Youth program will take place. On one evening, several dozen volunteers will make hundreds of phone calls around the community, asking for donations or pledges for Partners with Youth.

    At the YMCA, no one is turned away because of an inability to pay. That is made possible in part because of the Partners with Youth program, which provides financial assistance for youth sports, for family and individual memberships, for the after-school program.

    With partial payment from the beneficiary, the Partners with Youth program provides part of the fees for a child to play soccer, for a family to have a membership so they can attend recreational swimming together, for a senior citizen to stop by the YMCA every morning at 8 a.m. because that is their routine.

    And Partners with Youth is made possible because of the generosity of our community. Year after year, local businesses and individuals step up with donations to make the program possible. They step up because they know this program is important for those families who simply could not afford these programs without assistance.

    There is also the added benefit of knowing that every single dollar donated or pledged to Partners with Youth stays local, benefitting local families, local kids, local adults.

    Over the 30 years since Partners with Youth’s inception, there really haven’t been that many changes. There are generous donors and there are families in need.

    The biggest change isn’t visible to the public, but rather to the volunteers. Fourteen years ago, all the volunteers began gathering together in one location on one evening to blanket the community with phone calls.

    For the volunteers, this has actually turned into a fun, annual ritual. While it isn’t easy to ask for money, the volunteers realize this program is vital to many families in our community. There are many children who simply wouldn’t be able to participate in youth sports without the financial assistance. There are adults who wouldn’t have that daily socialization during their walk on the track without their membership.

    So if your phone rings next Wednesday, please don’t ignore it. Let the volunteer explain the program and explain its’ purpose. The needs in our community are not going to go away, so please be generous and join the tradition of giving to Partners with Youth.

     


     Text

  • 15-Feb-2019

 

Now in its 30th year, a tradition has formed at the YMCA which has an impact on swimming, on basketball, on yoga to name just a few areas of influence.

Yet, it doesn’t involve the basketball courts, nor the exercise equipment, not even water...unless you count the beverages consumed between phone calls trying to soothe vocal cords.

Next Wednesday, Feb. 20, the tradition of making phone calls for the YMCA’s Partners with Youth program will take place. On one evening, several dozen volunteers will make hundreds of phone calls around the community, asking for donations or pledges for Partners with Youth.

At the YMCA, no one is turned away because of an inability to pay. That is made possible in part because of the Partners with Youth program, which provides financial assistance for youth sports, for family and individual memberships, for the after-school program.

With partial payment from the beneficiary, the Partners with Youth program provides part of the fees for a child to play soccer, for a family to have a membership so they can attend recreational swimming together, for a senior citizen to stop by the YMCA every morning at 8 a.m. because that is their routine.

And Partners with Youth is made possible because of the generosity of our community. Year after year, local businesses and individuals step up with donations to make the program possible. They step up because they know this program is important for those families who simply could not afford these programs without assistance.

There is also the added benefit of knowing that every single dollar donated or pledged to Partners with Youth stays local, benefitting local families, local kids, local adults.

Over the 30 years since Partners with Youth’s inception, there really haven’t been that many changes. There are generous donors and there are families in need.

The biggest change isn’t visible to the public, but rather to the volunteers. Fourteen years ago, all the volunteers began gathering together in one location on one evening to blanket the community with phone calls.

For the volunteers, this has actually turned into a fun, annual ritual. While it isn’t easy to ask for money, the volunteers realize this program is vital to many families in our community. There are many children who simply wouldn’t be able to participate in youth sports without the financial assistance. There are adults who wouldn’t have that daily socialization during their walk on the track without their membership.

So if your phone rings next Wednesday, please don’t ignore it. Let the volunteer explain the program and explain its’ purpose. The needs in our community are not going to go away, so please be generous and join the tradition of giving to Partners with Youth.

 


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Information overload

  • If you are reading this from your computer, take a glance at all tabs open on your browser. Or if you are reading this in the newspaper, try to count all the reading materials laying around your desk.

    However and wherever you get your information, there just seems to be more of it.

    I am the first to admit that I have a problem - a problem of trying to take in too much information. As a journalist by training, I love magazines and newspapers and books. Heck, I can’t even pass by a poster without taking it all in.

    I am constantly clicking on suggested news articles. Put the word “exercise” or “healthy eating” in a headline and it’s a guarantee that I’ll click on the article. At one point last week, I had 12 tabs open with articles covering everything from fasting to carb cutting, from beating depression through exercise to a 105-year-old marathoner.

    But with all that information at our fingertips, it’s nearly impossible to figure out what we should believe.

    For years, we were told that breakfast was the most important meal of the day. Now, studies have appeared which refute that idea. Butter was once frowned upon, but now is a mainstay in many diets. We can’t even agree on how much water we should consume in a day.

    Soon enough, it becomes overwhelming trying to figure out what is best, so I’ve come to a sweeping conclusion: I’m not going to do any of it.

    Actually, that’s not true. I read another article - ironically - which said don’t follow a diet plan, just eat healthy; don’t beat yourself up if you don’t fit in your workout, just try to get active the next day. Just try to do your best day after day.

    That being said, there is one element which doesn’t seem to change: exercise.

    While fitness has different fads which come and go - think Jazzercise and Jane Fonda’s workouts - keeping active is never going to go out of style.

    I would like to offer a few more pieces of reading materials: the fitness class schedule, pool schedule, soccer registration forms, Shamrock Shuffle entry forms, all offering plenty of opportunities to keep active for both young and the not-so-young.

    As I walked around the Y on Tuesday night, I got giddy with all the activity. The racquetball court was full, both exercise rooms were busy, the pool was rippling with the YMCA youth swim team practice and nearly every piece of cardio equipment was whirring along.

    And those were just the adults. The basketball courts were buzzing with first and second graders running up and down the courts, missing more than making baskets but they were still trying.

    Ultimately, there is no one-fits-all diet. There is no one-fits-all exercise plan. You have to figure out what works best for you. And if that includes pedalling away on an exercise bike while scrolling through fitness articles or walking on the treadmill as you bookmark healthy recipes, so be it. I just may be speaking from experience.

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  • 07-Feb-2019

If you are reading this from your computer, take a glance at all tabs open on your browser. Or if you are reading this in the newspaper, try to count all the reading materials laying around your desk.

However and wherever you get your information, there just seems to be more of it.

I am the first to admit that I have a problem - a problem of trying to take in too much information. As a journalist by training, I love magazines and newspapers and books. Heck, I can’t even pass by a poster without taking it all in.

I am constantly clicking on suggested news articles. Put the word “exercise” or “healthy eating” in a headline and it’s a guarantee that I’ll click on the article. At one point last week, I had 12 tabs open with articles covering everything from fasting to carb cutting, from beating depression through exercise to a 105-year-old marathoner.

But with all that information at our fingertips, it’s nearly impossible to figure out what we should believe.

For years, we were told that breakfast was the most important meal of the day. Now, studies have appeared which refute that idea. Butter was once frowned upon, but now is a mainstay in many diets. We can’t even agree on how much water we should consume in a day.

Soon enough, it becomes overwhelming trying to figure out what is best, so I’ve come to a sweeping conclusion: I’m not going to do any of it.

Actually, that’s not true. I read another article - ironically - which said don’t follow a diet plan, just eat healthy; don’t beat yourself up if you don’t fit in your workout, just try to get active the next day. Just try to do your best day after day.

That being said, there is one element which doesn’t seem to change: exercise.

While fitness has different fads which come and go - think Jazzercise and Jane Fonda’s workouts - keeping active is never going to go out of style.

I would like to offer a few more pieces of reading materials: the fitness class schedule, pool schedule, soccer registration forms, Shamrock Shuffle entry forms, all offering plenty of opportunities to keep active for both young and the not-so-young.

As I walked around the Y on Tuesday night, I got giddy with all the activity. The racquetball court was full, both exercise rooms were busy, the pool was rippling with the YMCA youth swim team practice and nearly every piece of cardio equipment was whirring along.

And those were just the adults. The basketball courts were buzzing with first and second graders running up and down the courts, missing more than making baskets but they were still trying.

Ultimately, there is no one-fits-all diet. There is no one-fits-all exercise plan. You have to figure out what works best for you. And if that includes pedalling away on an exercise bike while scrolling through fitness articles or walking on the treadmill as you bookmark healthy recipes, so be it. I just may be speaking from experience.

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More than a class, Stacie's Otters is a life lesson

  • In 2010, the McCook YMCA started a new program, “Stacie’s Otters,” which promoted “Float Early, Float First, Float for Life.”

    The purpose of the class was simple: to promote safety around water from a young age, as young as 9 months old.

    Since then hundreds of infants and toddlers have taken the class, which gives them skills to use throughout their life and also includes parental education. While we can never know how many lives have been saved because of the program, it remains a valuable introduction to water safety.

    The program is named in memory of Stacie Shaddock, who along with her husband, Jeff, were both actively involved at the YMCA. Among their many roles at the Y, Stacie taught swim lessons for a time and Jeff led the fund-raising for the “Save the Wave” pool renovation.

    After she passed, it was a natural fit to create a program in her honor at the YMCA, with her family and friends underwriting the program through financial gifts to the Y.

    The one-on-one classes are designed to teach children how to breath in the water by rolling onto their back and floating. This life-saving technique can give a child those few extra seconds that could save their life.

    Stacie’s Otters does not replace regular swim lessons, but rather enhances a child’s ability to be safe around water...and we’ve got plenty of opportunities in Southwest Nebraska from the surrounding lakes to the public and private pools, even the Republican River, although that idea seems unfathomable most of the year.

    I contacted Gigi Slatter about her twins’ experience in Stacie’s Otters. Jackie and Kale were enrolled in the inaugural class in 2010 and completed both Otter I, designed for 9-18 month olds, and Otter II for 18-month to 3 year olds. And while she loves Stacie’s Otters and recommends it to everyone, the class did not start off too smoothly for the twins.

    “The kids did not like it at all,” Gigi said. “I remember them just crying a good part of the time in the beginning.”

    But after just a short while, they got used to the water and even started to enjoy their time in the pool.

    “I remember that at just two years old, Jackie was able to float and swim the entire length of the pool with no fear,” Gigi said. “I know it would not have been possible without those classes.”

    Even today, Gigi thinks the program is must for all kids.

    “To this day, the kids love the water and it gave them the courage at any pool or lake,” she said. “And the program gave us the security of knowing they can handle the water.”

    Because the program is designed for the attention span...and patience...of 9-month-olds through 3-year-olds, each class is just 15 minutes: 10 minutes in the water for the instructor and child and 5 minutes of parent education. Each session is one day a week for two months or two days a week for one month, depending on the session enrolled in.

    The cost is $20 per session, but financial assistance is available by calling the Y.

    For more information about Stacie’s Otters or any of the swim programs at the Y, visit the Y website, www.mccookymca.org or call 345-6228.

     

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  • 31-Jan-2019

In 2010, the McCook YMCA started a new program, “Stacie’s Otters,” which promoted “Float Early, Float First, Float for Life.”

The purpose of the class was simple: to promote safety around water from a young age, as young as 9 months old.

Since then hundreds of infants and toddlers have taken the class, which gives them skills to use throughout their life and also includes parental education. While we can never know how many lives have been saved because of the program, it remains a valuable introduction to water safety.

The program is named in memory of Stacie Shaddock, who along with her husband, Jeff, were both actively involved at the YMCA. Among their many roles at the Y, Stacie taught swim lessons for a time and Jeff led the fund-raising for the “Save the Wave” pool renovation.

After she passed, it was a natural fit to create a program in her honor at the YMCA, with her family and friends underwriting the program through financial gifts to the Y.

The one-on-one classes are designed to teach children how to breath in the water by rolling onto their back and floating. This life-saving technique can give a child those few extra seconds that could save their life.

Stacie’s Otters does not replace regular swim lessons, but rather enhances a child’s ability to be safe around water...and we’ve got plenty of opportunities in Southwest Nebraska from the surrounding lakes to the public and private pools, even the Republican River, although that idea seems unfathomable most of the year.

I contacted Gigi Slatter about her twins’ experience in Stacie’s Otters. Jackie and Kale were enrolled in the inaugural class in 2010 and completed both Otter I, designed for 9-18 month olds, and Otter II for 18-month to 3 year olds. And while she loves Stacie’s Otters and recommends it to everyone, the class did not start off too smoothly for the twins.

“The kids did not like it at all,” Gigi said. “I remember them just crying a good part of the time in the beginning.”

But after just a short while, they got used to the water and even started to enjoy their time in the pool.

“I remember that at just two years old, Jackie was able to float and swim the entire length of the pool with no fear,” Gigi said. “I know it would not have been possible without those classes.”

Even today, Gigi thinks the program is must for all kids.

“To this day, the kids love the water and it gave them the courage at any pool or lake,” she said. “And the program gave us the security of knowing they can handle the water.”

Because the program is designed for the attention span...and patience...of 9-month-olds through 3-year-olds, each class is just 15 minutes: 10 minutes in the water for the instructor and child and 5 minutes of parent education. Each session is one day a week for two months or two days a week for one month, depending on the session enrolled in.

The cost is $20 per session, but financial assistance is available by calling the Y.

For more information about Stacie’s Otters or any of the swim programs at the Y, visit the Y website, www.mccookymca.org or call 345-6228.

 

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Learning the Ropes and other hints at the Y

  • As I said last week, this is my favorite time of year at the YMCA because there are so many new faces, as well those we haven’t seen since...well, let’s just say it’s been a while for some people.  Text

  • 17-Jan-2019

As I said last week, this is my favorite time of year at the YMCA because there are so many new faces, as well those we haven’t seen since...well, let’s just say it’s been a while for some people.  Text

What gets your moving?

  • What gets you moving? What keeps you from moving in the first place? The answers vary as much as we do.

    Perhaps the answer to the second question could help with the first.

    Maybe your excuse is: “My son has basketball practice three times this week.” Then, you could use the time your child is in practice to walk around the block. Or better yet, help with practice, even if it’s just running up down the court or partnering up with a lone player to pass the ball.

    Maybe the excuse is routinely: “I don’t like working out.” Then, try something new...every time. Between fitness classes, lap times in the pool or pickleball in the gym, there is a variety of ways to get moving without really “working out” at the YMCA.

    As we roll into the new year, it’s the perfect time to figure out what will get you moving. For many it is organized activities, such as group workouts or group events.

    The Republican River Fitness Series, a collaboration between the YMCA and Community Hospital, was created to get people moving and to develop a healthy community. We hope it motivates people to try their first triathlon or improve their time on 5K or push their boundaries with a half-marathon. The first event of the 2019 season is the Shamrock Shuffle in March, so now is the time to get moving and prepare.

    The YMCA’ 2019 Team Fitness Challenge kicked off Sunday with a massive group workout in the YMCA gym. This will translate to a lot of new faces in the fitness classes, additional people on the exercise machines and lots of additional vehicles in the parking lot. Be warned that in the evening, the lot will be full, so be prepared to walk.

    And that’s not a bad thing.

    We are spoiled in McCook and Southwest Nebraska because we can drive and park close to our destinations. People would rather circle a block for 10 minutes, rather than walking two blocks to their destination.

    But returning to the original topic,: what will get us moving? What keeps us from moving?

    This weekend, my college-aged daughter and I discussed - sometimes heatedly - what motivates a person to walk or bike, rather than drive, to reach their destination.

    She leaned toward improving infrastructure such as installing bike lanes on city streets and expanding the walking trails across town.

    I agreed that McCook’s walking trail should be lengthened, but that the current trail provides a lot of opportunities and sidewalks are available to get from one destination to the other. But people still choose to drive.

    A bigger issue in our area is societal norms. People just don’t bike or walk to get to their destination, whether it is because of time constraints, it just doesn’t look cool, or my favorite - and most honest answer - laziness.

    Bike commuters are looked upon as a novelty and sometimes a nuisance. Someone out for a stroll is most likely getting a breath of fresh air, rather than walking as a mode of transportation.

    So what would create a shift in our community? What would get people moving?

    Again, the answers are as varied as the people in our community. Maybe it’s installing more bike racks around town so people are encouraged to use two wheels instead of four. Maybe it’s dimmed lighting in the pool so people are more comfortable in their swimsuits. Or maybe it is as simple as encouraging others to take that first step and just getting moving.

     

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  • 10-Jan-2019

What gets you moving? What keeps you from moving in the first place? The answers vary as much as we do.

Perhaps the answer to the second question could help with the first.

Maybe your excuse is: “My son has basketball practice three times this week.” Then, you could use the time your child is in practice to walk around the block. Or better yet, help with practice, even if it’s just running up down the court or partnering up with a lone player to pass the ball.

Maybe the excuse is routinely: “I don’t like working out.” Then, try something new...every time. Between fitness classes, lap times in the pool or pickleball in the gym, there is a variety of ways to get moving without really “working out” at the YMCA.

As we roll into the new year, it’s the perfect time to figure out what will get you moving. For many it is organized activities, such as group workouts or group events.

The Republican River Fitness Series, a collaboration between the YMCA and Community Hospital, was created to get people moving and to develop a healthy community. We hope it motivates people to try their first triathlon or improve their time on 5K or push their boundaries with a half-marathon. The first event of the 2019 season is the Shamrock Shuffle in March, so now is the time to get moving and prepare.

The YMCA’ 2019 Team Fitness Challenge kicked off Sunday with a massive group workout in the YMCA gym. This will translate to a lot of new faces in the fitness classes, additional people on the exercise machines and lots of additional vehicles in the parking lot. Be warned that in the evening, the lot will be full, so be prepared to walk.

And that’s not a bad thing.

We are spoiled in McCook and Southwest Nebraska because we can drive and park close to our destinations. People would rather circle a block for 10 minutes, rather than walking two blocks to their destination.

But returning to the original topic,: what will get us moving? What keeps us from moving?

This weekend, my college-aged daughter and I discussed - sometimes heatedly - what motivates a person to walk or bike, rather than drive, to reach their destination.

She leaned toward improving infrastructure such as installing bike lanes on city streets and expanding the walking trails across town.

I agreed that McCook’s walking trail should be lengthened, but that the current trail provides a lot of opportunities and sidewalks are available to get from one destination to the other. But people still choose to drive.

A bigger issue in our area is societal norms. People just don’t bike or walk to get to their destination, whether it is because of time constraints, it just doesn’t look cool, or my favorite - and most honest answer - laziness.

Bike commuters are looked upon as a novelty and sometimes a nuisance. Someone out for a stroll is most likely getting a breath of fresh air, rather than walking as a mode of transportation.

So what would create a shift in our community? What would get people moving?

Again, the answers are as varied as the people in our community. Maybe it’s installing more bike racks around town so people are encouraged to use two wheels instead of four. Maybe it’s dimmed lighting in the pool so people are more comfortable in their swimsuits. Or maybe it is as simple as encouraging others to take that first step and just getting moving.

 

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Learning a life skill

  • Over the years, the activities my family and I have become involved in seem to have fallen into two camps, those needing a helmet and those involving water.

    For example, I personally own three different types of helmets, one for skiing, one for riding my scooter and a large variety of bicycle helmets, depending on the type of bicycle and terrain.

    We are also regularly around water, both indoors and outdoors.

    All my kids have been or currently are members of the YMCA swim team and the McCook High School swim team. We participate in triathlons, which finds us swimming in pools, ponds, lakes and even oceans.

    And I love the Christmas gift from my husband, an inflatable stand-up paddle board, even though I can’t use it for few more months. Our collection of kayaks and paddle boards now just about covers everyone in our family.

    It’s this involvement in aquatics which recently prompted me to add to my list of certifications: as a certified lifeguard.

    My four oldest children were all lifeguards, so I decided I would join their ranks.

    The training involved a lot of common sense such as calling for the EMS because they know more than I’ll ever know.

    But the class also instilled confidence. I now feel better that I will have a clue what to do in an emergency…although I pray that I never have to use the skills I learned in class. I will likely never take a formal job as a lifeguard, but it’s still great knowledge to have.

    The YMCA offers Red Cross Lifeguarding Classes throughout the year, especially in preparation for the outdoor summer pool season. Anyone considering a job as a lifeguard this summer should check back regularly to see when the classes are scheduled. Anna Sis does a great, comprehensive job of training and showed great patience, especially when her “drowning victims” wouldn’t stay “drowned.”

    Another valuable life-skill - swim lessons - also begins soon.

    The next swim lesson sessions begin Saturday, with the Tuesday/Thursday classes starting next week. It is never too early to prepare your child to be around water and to become proficient with their swim strokes. And when I mean early, I mean that summer will be here before you know it, as well as children as young as nine months can become accustomed to the water.

    A full listing of classes as well as times and dates are available on the YMCA website, www.mccookymca.org or just stop by the YMCA for a listing of classes. Do it for your kids, who may or may not thank you later, but also do it for yourself for your piece of mind.

    ***

    While the YMCA has resumed regular hours with the holidays passed, there are various activities which will affect availability within the facility.

    For example, the YMCA’s gym will close at 4 p.m. Sunday to prepare for the kick-off and group workout for the 2019 YMCA Team Fitness Challenge.Good luck to everyone participating in the three-month fitness challenge. We expect to see less (through weight loss and muscle gain) and more (visits to the YMCA) of each you.

    The YMCA Board of Directors also approved opening earlier on Saturdays, with the doors opening at 7 a.m., allowing those with Saturday activities to get in a workout before the craziness of the day really sets in.

    And finally, the YMCA/Parker Hannifin youth basketball league begins next week, which means the gym will be filled with dribbling and shooting on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday nights. With the men’s basketball league on Wednesday nights, the gym is regularly busy but there is still time for Pickleball every morning, in the evenings after the games and on Saturday mornings.


     Text

  • 03-Jan-2019

Over the years, the activities my family and I have become involved in seem to have fallen into two camps, those needing a helmet and those involving water.

For example, I personally own three different types of helmets, one for skiing, one for riding my scooter and a large variety of bicycle helmets, depending on the type of bicycle and terrain.

We are also regularly around water, both indoors and outdoors.

All my kids have been or currently are members of the YMCA swim team and the McCook High School swim team. We participate in triathlons, which finds us swimming in pools, ponds, lakes and even oceans.

And I love the Christmas gift from my husband, an inflatable stand-up paddle board, even though I can’t use it for few more months. Our collection of kayaks and paddle boards now just about covers everyone in our family.

It’s this involvement in aquatics which recently prompted me to add to my list of certifications: as a certified lifeguard.

My four oldest children were all lifeguards, so I decided I would join their ranks.

The training involved a lot of common sense such as calling for the EMS because they know more than I’ll ever know.

But the class also instilled confidence. I now feel better that I will have a clue what to do in an emergency…although I pray that I never have to use the skills I learned in class. I will likely never take a formal job as a lifeguard, but it’s still great knowledge to have.

The YMCA offers Red Cross Lifeguarding Classes throughout the year, especially in preparation for the outdoor summer pool season. Anyone considering a job as a lifeguard this summer should check back regularly to see when the classes are scheduled. Anna Sis does a great, comprehensive job of training and showed great patience, especially when her “drowning victims” wouldn’t stay “drowned.”

Another valuable life-skill - swim lessons - also begins soon.

The next swim lesson sessions begin Saturday, with the Tuesday/Thursday classes starting next week. It is never too early to prepare your child to be around water and to become proficient with their swim strokes. And when I mean early, I mean that summer will be here before you know it, as well as children as young as nine months can become accustomed to the water.

A full listing of classes as well as times and dates are available on the YMCA website, www.mccookymca.org or just stop by the YMCA for a listing of classes. Do it for your kids, who may or may not thank you later, but also do it for yourself for your piece of mind.

***

While the YMCA has resumed regular hours with the holidays passed, there are various activities which will affect availability within the facility.

For example, the YMCA’s gym will close at 4 p.m. Sunday to prepare for the kick-off and group workout for the 2019 YMCA Team Fitness Challenge.Good luck to everyone participating in the three-month fitness challenge. We expect to see less (through weight loss and muscle gain) and more (visits to the YMCA) of each you.

The YMCA Board of Directors also approved opening earlier on Saturdays, with the doors opening at 7 a.m., allowing those with Saturday activities to get in a workout before the craziness of the day really sets in.

And finally, the YMCA/Parker Hannifin youth basketball league begins next week, which means the gym will be filled with dribbling and shooting on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday nights. With the men’s basketball league on Wednesday nights, the gym is regularly busy but there is still time for Pickleball every morning, in the evenings after the games and on Saturday mornings.


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Fitting it all in during the holidays

  • As I stood in the check-out line for what seemed like the sixteenth time this week – a close estimate - I determined the items on the conveyor belt would get me through the next 48 hours.

    Not that my cupboards were bare, but rather that the activities and events for the following two days were covered.

    As the items were scanned, I had food for a group lunch and gifts for donations at youth group and at school. Everything after that, such as an upcoming gift exchange or baked items for a concession stand, would be dealt with the next day.

    Between the holiday lunches, teacher gifts and Christmas parties, every day is filled with something that needs to be done or to be purchased or to be made or to be attended.

    But I am not going to get everything done that I want to and that’s o.k.

    The world will keep on turning even if my Christmas tree doesn’t get lit because the segments don’t connect or my Christmas cards evolve into Valentine’s Day or St. Patrick’s Day cards.

    They will just stand out more upon their arrival.

    During this especially hectic time of year, it is easy to get overwhelmed with everything that needs to be done.

    Rather, we need to take a step back and enjoy each event as it comes along.

    That being said, there are a few things which can’t be put off and need to be attended to in a timely manner, such as the YMCA Board of Directors elections.

    In theory, we could just make the out-going members – Jim Hall, Janet Hubert and Michael Kuhlen - serve another three-year term, but we want them to like us when they leave the board.

    All YMCA members should have received a ballot for the Board of Directors election in the mail this past week.

    They are due by 5 p.m.on Sunday.

    The out-going members have given of their time and talent for the past three years.

    And those who have agreed to run for the board are willingly agreeing to add another item to their already busy schedules.

    When they agreed to run, we didn’t ask if their Christmas cards were done yet.

    We also can’t put off preparing for upcoming events such as a high school swim meet on Friday.

    (The pool will close Friday at 12:30 p.m. with diving at 4 p.m. and swimming events at approximately 5 or 5:30 p.m.)

    Why such a large chunk of time between closing of the pool and the meet starting?

    A swim meet is no small endeavor, asking of time and involvement from a variety of people including the high school coaches, volunteer assistant coaches, parents and school staff who volunteer to be doused – I mean – time at the end of each lane, the YMCA youth swim team which hosts a concession stand and the Y staff, including Aquatic Director Anna Sis and the lifeguards, who spend time before and after the event to make sure the pool is in tip-top shape.

    So over the next few weeks, evaluate if something really needs to be done like putting up a fourth Christmas tree in your house or would that time be better spent making cookies for your neighbor?

    Of course, some things are not optional.

    I would like to say that I got everything I needed for the next two weeks when I was at the store.

    But I didn’t even get out of the store before I ventured back for the forgotten items for a team dinner.

    And for the swim team members, the pre-meet dinner is not optional.

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  • 14-Dec-2018

As I stood in the check-out line for what seemed like the sixteenth time this week – a close estimate - I determined the items on the conveyor belt would get me through the next 48 hours.

Not that my cupboards were bare, but rather that the activities and events for the following two days were covered.

As the items were scanned, I had food for a group lunch and gifts for donations at youth group and at school. Everything after that, such as an upcoming gift exchange or baked items for a concession stand, would be dealt with the next day.

Between the holiday lunches, teacher gifts and Christmas parties, every day is filled with something that needs to be done or to be purchased or to be made or to be attended.

But I am not going to get everything done that I want to and that’s o.k.

The world will keep on turning even if my Christmas tree doesn’t get lit because the segments don’t connect or my Christmas cards evolve into Valentine’s Day or St. Patrick’s Day cards.

They will just stand out more upon their arrival.

During this especially hectic time of year, it is easy to get overwhelmed with everything that needs to be done.

Rather, we need to take a step back and enjoy each event as it comes along.

That being said, there are a few things which can’t be put off and need to be attended to in a timely manner, such as the YMCA Board of Directors elections.

In theory, we could just make the out-going members – Jim Hall, Janet Hubert and Michael Kuhlen - serve another three-year term, but we want them to like us when they leave the board.

All YMCA members should have received a ballot for the Board of Directors election in the mail this past week.

They are due by 5 p.m.on Sunday.

The out-going members have given of their time and talent for the past three years.

And those who have agreed to run for the board are willingly agreeing to add another item to their already busy schedules.

When they agreed to run, we didn’t ask if their Christmas cards were done yet.

We also can’t put off preparing for upcoming events such as a high school swim meet on Friday.

(The pool will close Friday at 12:30 p.m. with diving at 4 p.m. and swimming events at approximately 5 or 5:30 p.m.)

Why such a large chunk of time between closing of the pool and the meet starting?

A swim meet is no small endeavor, asking of time and involvement from a variety of people including the high school coaches, volunteer assistant coaches, parents and school staff who volunteer to be doused – I mean – time at the end of each lane, the YMCA youth swim team which hosts a concession stand and the Y staff, including Aquatic Director Anna Sis and the lifeguards, who spend time before and after the event to make sure the pool is in tip-top shape.

So over the next few weeks, evaluate if something really needs to be done like putting up a fourth Christmas tree in your house or would that time be better spent making cookies for your neighbor?

Of course, some things are not optional.

I would like to say that I got everything I needed for the next two weeks when I was at the store.

But I didn’t even get out of the store before I ventured back for the forgotten items for a team dinner.

And for the swim team members, the pre-meet dinner is not optional.

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Trying to get it all done

  • As I stood in the check-out line for what seemed like the sixteenth time this week – a close estimate - I determined the items on the conveyor belt would get me through the next 48 hours. Not that my cupboards were bare, but rather that the activities and events for the following two days were covered.

    As the items were scanned, I had food for a group lunch and gifts for donations at youth group and at school. Everything after that, such as an upcoming gift exchange or baked items for a concession stand, would be dealt with the next day.

    Between the holiday lunches, teacher gifts and Christmas parties, every day is filled with something that needs to be done or to be purchased or to be made or to be attended.

    But I am not going to get everything done that I want to and that’s o.k. The world will keep on turning even if my Christmas tree doesn’t get lit because the segments don’t connect or my Christmas cards evolve into Valentine’s Day or St. Patrick’s Day cards. They will just stand out more upon their arrival.

    During this especially hectic time of year, it is easy to get overwhelmed with everything that needs to be done. Rather, we need to take a step back and enjoy each event as it comes along

    That being said, there are a few things which can’t be put off and need to be attended to in a timely manner, such as the YMCA Board of Directors elections. In theory, we could just make the out-going members – Jim Hall, Janet Hubert and Michael Kuhlen - serve another three-year term, but we want them to like us when they leave the board.

    All YMCA members should have received a ballot for the Board of Directors election in the mail this past week. They are due by 5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 16. The out-going members have given of their time and talent for the past three years. And those who have agreed to run for the board are willingly agreeing to add another item to their already busy schedules. When they agreed to run, we didn’t ask if their Christmas cards were done yet.

    We also can’t put off preparing for upcoming events such as a high school swim meet on Friday. (The pool will close Friday at 12:30 p.m. with diving at 4 p.m. and swimming events at approximately 5 or 5:30 p.m.) Why such a large chunk of time between closing of the pool and the meet starting? A swim meet is no small endeavor, asking of time and involvement from a variety of people including the high school coaches, volunteer assistant coaches, parents and school staff who volunteer to be doused – I mean – time at the end of each lane, the YMCA youth swim team which hosts a concession stand and the Y staff, including Aquatic Director Anna Sis and the lifeguards, who spend time before and after the event to make sure the pool is in tip-top shape.

    So over the next few weeks, evaluate if something really needs to be done like putting up a fourth Christmas tree in your house or would that time be better spent making cookies for your neighbor?

    Of course, some things are not optional. I would like to say that I got everything I needed for the next two weeks when I was at the store. But I didn’t even get out of the store before I ventured back for the forgotten items for a team dinner. And for the swim team members, the pre-meet dinner is not optional.

     Text

  • 13-Dec-2018

As I stood in the check-out line for what seemed like the sixteenth time this week – a close estimate - I determined the items on the conveyor belt would get me through the next 48 hours. Not that my cupboards were bare, but rather that the activities and events for the following two days were covered.

As the items were scanned, I had food for a group lunch and gifts for donations at youth group and at school. Everything after that, such as an upcoming gift exchange or baked items for a concession stand, would be dealt with the next day.

Between the holiday lunches, teacher gifts and Christmas parties, every day is filled with something that needs to be done or to be purchased or to be made or to be attended.

But I am not going to get everything done that I want to and that’s o.k. The world will keep on turning even if my Christmas tree doesn’t get lit because the segments don’t connect or my Christmas cards evolve into Valentine’s Day or St. Patrick’s Day cards. They will just stand out more upon their arrival.

During this especially hectic time of year, it is easy to get overwhelmed with everything that needs to be done. Rather, we need to take a step back and enjoy each event as it comes along

That being said, there are a few things which can’t be put off and need to be attended to in a timely manner, such as the YMCA Board of Directors elections. In theory, we could just make the out-going members – Jim Hall, Janet Hubert and Michael Kuhlen - serve another three-year term, but we want them to like us when they leave the board.

All YMCA members should have received a ballot for the Board of Directors election in the mail this past week. They are due by 5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 16. The out-going members have given of their time and talent for the past three years. And those who have agreed to run for the board are willingly agreeing to add another item to their already busy schedules. When they agreed to run, we didn’t ask if their Christmas cards were done yet.

We also can’t put off preparing for upcoming events such as a high school swim meet on Friday. (The pool will close Friday at 12:30 p.m. with diving at 4 p.m. and swimming events at approximately 5 or 5:30 p.m.) Why such a large chunk of time between closing of the pool and the meet starting? A swim meet is no small endeavor, asking of time and involvement from a variety of people including the high school coaches, volunteer assistant coaches, parents and school staff who volunteer to be doused – I mean – time at the end of each lane, the YMCA youth swim team which hosts a concession stand and the Y staff, including Aquatic Director Anna Sis and the lifeguards, who spend time before and after the event to make sure the pool is in tip-top shape.

So over the next few weeks, evaluate if something really needs to be done like putting up a fourth Christmas tree in your house or would that time be better spent making cookies for your neighbor?

Of course, some things are not optional. I would like to say that I got everything I needed for the next two weeks when I was at the store. But I didn’t even get out of the store before I ventured back for the forgotten items for a team dinner. And for the swim team members, the pre-meet dinner is not optional.

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