Mid-Shore Health: The YMCA’s Winning War against Diabetes

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There are a few things that the local health community knows about type 2 diabetes. The first is that it is an epidemic, with close to 28 million Americans already diagnosed facing a lifetime of a disproportionately higher risk of heart attacks, strokes, kidney disease, and a variety of other conditions that often lead to chronic disabilities and death.

The second is that close to 100 million Americans are assumed to be prediabetic. That’s right, about 100 million folks are walking around who could very quickly transition to a condition is experts say is the 7th leading cause of death.

The third is that those whose blood tests indicate a prediabetic condition can dramatically reduce the odds of developing full-blown diabetes by shedding 7% of their weight and committing to some form of exercise for at least 150 minutes a week.

That third fact is what the YMCA of the Chesapeake is now focused on.

Working with adults who are prediabetic, the Y has created year-long classes and support groups throughout the Mid-Shore to slowly and methodically educate their members that their pre-diabetic condition can be controlled or even eliminated with simple, common sense eating and light exercise.

Under the direction of Bridget Wheatley, the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program Director, these outreach efforts are now starting to show some stunning results in the first two years of operations. The three formal classes are running at capacity, and more and more participants are forming informal support groups to maintain personal goals.

The Spy caught up with Bridget and several members of the Y’s support group in Denton a week ago to talk about their experience and the extraordinary sense of well-being that has come with modest changes in lifestyle.

This video is approximately five minutes in length. For more information about the YMCA of the Chesapeake and its Diabetes prevention programs please go here

 

The YMCA of the Chesapeake “The Best Summer Ever”

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Over 200 counselors from across the Shore, some returning and some new, gathered at the Richard A. Henson Family YMCA for extensive training to skillfully serve 1,000 kids a day this summer at YMCA of the Chesapeake locations. Robbie Gill, CEO of the YMCA of the Chesapeake, opened camp training and welcomed staff to the #bestsummerever. As CEO, a parent and a former camp counselor he understands the experience everyone is looking for with camp whether you are a camper, parent or staff. He addressed the assembled group.

“We get moments in our lives where the opportunity to give back and make a difference appear before us. This is one of those moments. As much as we all would love to be a camp counselor for the next 20 years, that’s just not how life works out. But, here you are, a camp counselor, this summer, with an opportunity to make a lasting positive impact in the lives of children every day. Make the most of this opportunity. There will be kids who are so excited to meet you; they can’t sleep the night before camp starts. Let’s be ready every day, to make this the best summer ever. Your best summer ever, the Y’s best summer ever and the kids we’re blessed enough to serve, let’s make it their best summer ever.”

We are ready and waiting for your children to come to camp. Every child deserves to just be a kid during the summer. Here are five reasons why children and teens should attend summer camp:   

1.    ADVENTURE: Summer camp is all about a wide variety of new experiences and exploring the outdoors. YMCA camps have a new adventure for every child and teen. Visit www.ymcachesapeake.org for details.

2.    HEALTHY FUN: Day and resident camps offer fun, stimulating activities that engage the body and mind, and also help children and teens learn the importance of nutrition to help improve their healthy eating habits. 

3.    PERSONAL GROWTH: While in the welcoming environment of camp, youth have a chance to learn new skills, and develop confidence and independence by taking on new responsibilities and challenges. Camps offer cognitive learning and social-emotional development opportunities for achievement.

4.    FRIENDSHIPS: Amidst the fun of camp games, songs, swimming, canoeing and talent shows, campers meet new friends and strengthen existing friendships. The bonds formed at camp are important and lasting for many youth.

5.    MEMORIES: Summer camp is an unforgettable experience that will give each camper memories (and camp traditions) that will last a lifetime. Youth return to school with plenty of camp stories to share!

And, to ensure that all youth have the chance to experience camp, the YMCA of the Chesapeake offers financial assistance to those in need. If you’re interested in helping send kids to camp this summer, you can donate to the Y at ymcachesapeake.org or contact your local branch of the YMCA of the Chesapeake.

The “best summer ever” is right around the corner and the YMCA of the Chesapeake is offering a variety of camp to make sure kids and teens on the Eastern Shore are adventurous, active and healthy this summer. YMCA camp programs offer youth fun and unique experiences with an opportunity to explore the outdoors, meet new friends, discover new interests and create memories that last a lifetime. The Y has Traditional, Specialty, Sports and Outdoor camps. There truly is something for everyone. We have ten different locations that, when combined, offer over 400 different camps. Come and register for camp at your local YMCA of the Chesapeake branch. Make this the best summer ever!

About the Y

The Y is one of the nation’s leading nonprofits and the largest Human Service organization on the Eastern Shore of Maryland; strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Across the Shore Ys engage over 27,000 members; men, women and children – regardless of age, income or background – to nurture the potential of children and teens, improve the shore’s health and well-being, and provide opportunities to give back and support neighbors.  In 2016, the YMCA of the Chesapeake provided over $1,226,000 in assistance to over 12,422 community members, turning no one away due to inability to pay. www.ymcachesapeake.org

Senior Nation: Pickleball (Yes, Pickleball) Takes off on the Mid-Shore

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While there is a good chance that the vast majority of residents on the Mid-Shore have no idea what Pickleball is, let alone that it has become one of the country’s fastest-growing recreational sports games, it comes as very little surprise to the almost 100 active participants in the YMCA of the Chesapeake pickleball program throughout the year.

The wiffleball-based racket sport has been hugely popular with all ages but has had an explosion of popularity with the over 55 crowd, and for good reason. The court is small, the ball is easy to hit, and the action takes place indoors. And while the game that might sound rather benign in the abstract, when the Spy made a recent reconnaissance trip last week to watch Pickleball in real time, it is clear that this sport is no walk in the park.

To get a better sense of the game, and those who play it, the Spy spent a few minutes with one of the game organizers on the Mid-Shore, Nick Papson to get the lowdown on this extraordinary phenomenon.

This video is approximately two minutes in length. For more information on Pickleball please go here

Adam Hollis Named Director of Easton Family YMCA Take the Helm Program

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The YMCA of the Chesapeake (YMCA) in Easton, MD has announced Adam Hollis of Easton, MD will serve as the Director for the new Easton Family YMCA outreach program, Take the Helm. Take the Helm is a new boat building program for high school students in Talbot County that focuses on building row boats teaching job, and social skills. 

adam-hollisHollis joined the YMCA of the Chesapeake in June of 2011 as a camp counselor for the Y summer camps, after graduating from the University of Maryland- College Park. Shortly after Adam took over as the Sports Coordinator for the 2011-12 sports season and was quickly hired as a Program Director in March of 2012. As a Program Director, Adam oversaw the YMCA summer camps, sports, childcare, and outdoor programs from March of 2012 to October of 2014. After a brief move to Savannah, Georgia, Hollis came back to the YMCA in July of 2016 to head the innagural season of FC Tred Avon; a new year round soccer program at the YMCA.   

Since joining the YMCA of the Chesapeake, Adam has lead multiple new programs, including the Summer Learning Program with Talbot County Public Schools, and FC Tred Avon. He has also served on the Martin Luther King Jr. Basketball Tournament committee, and has also volunteered as a coached with Special Olympics Maryland.  

“Having Adam join the Easton Family YMCA in this position is great for our team,” said YMCA Executive Director Derek White. “The vision for this program was cast by some key volunteers for our organization and Adam is a natural fit to connect kids to a program that not only builds boats, but also confidence, self-esteem, and passion for something greater than themselves.” 

The Take the Helm program will continue to work with several key partners in the community including the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, Talbot Mentors, and others.  Natalie Costanzo, Executive Director of Talbot Mentors shared “There are so many incredible youth programs that the YMCA offers, with Take the Helm fitting right in.  The YMCA always works closely with Talbot Mentors to make their programs available to our youth.  This not only strengthens the day to day experiences for these youth, but also the community as a whole.” 

“I am honored to be joining the YMCA of the Chesapeake and happy to be in the position of offering leadership to Talbot County as we seek to develop quality, mission driven programs. There is a huge need in the community for meaningful after school programming for high school students and I plan to use Take the Helm as a program that can help fill this need. I will continue to work hard to create strong connections within the community to create a solid foundation for our members and program participants” commented Hollis.

The Y is one of the nation’s leading nonprofits and the largest Human Service organization on the Eastern Shore of Maryland strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Across the U.S., 2,700 Ys engage 21 million men, women and children – regardless of age, income or background – to nurture the potential of children and teens, improve the nation’s health and well-being, and provide opportunities to give back and support neighbors.  In 2016, the YMCA of the Chesapeake provided over $1,000,000 in assistance in our communities, turning no one away due to inability to pay. Form more information about the YMCA of the Chesapeake, visit www.ymcachesapeake.org or call 410.822.0566.

Senior Nation Profile: Janet Pfeffer on Using It or Losing It

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Whether it’s her classes at the YMCA in St. Michaels, Easton, or at Londonderry on the Tred Avon, Janet Pfeffer’s name has almost achieved cult status in her efforts to encourage older people to exercise on the Mid-Shore for many years.

Retiring in 2007 from the Talbot County Health Department, she came to the YMCA as a volunteer to help teach strength training, but as class size increased as did demand, Janet now runs a program that can serve up to 300 to 400 individuals year with her message of staying fit at any age.

The secret, she says, is as much to do with strength building and cardiovascular activity as it does with staying mentally fit. She, therefore, combines her classes with current event conversations, a word of the day, and other mental stimulation that not only motivates her students but makes their life more rewarding in a universal way.

The Spy caught up with Janet at the St. Michaels YMCA last week to discuss per observations about senior fitness and the phenomenal upside of remaining healthy as one ages.

This video is approximately three minutes in length. For more information about Janet’s classes, please go to the YMCA here.