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Peter Gilgan Family YMCA
410 Rebecca Street, Oakville

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Add Learning How to Swim to Your Child’s List of Basic Life Skills

There is a list of basic life skills all parents instinctively know they must teach their children to keep them safe and healthy. It includes habits like looking both ways before you cross the street, washing your hands with soap and water and eating the right amount of fruits and vegetables every day. For too many parents, safety in and around water is not on the list; and that’s something we need to change.

Drowning is a leading cause of preventable death in children and the YMCA believes that learning to swim is a critical life skill. Your Oakville Y membership includes a free weekly group swim lesson – for ALL ages.

These classes are just one of the many swim programs that people from toddlers to adults take advantage of at the YMCA. Here in Oakville the Y teaches almost 2000 children and adults water safety and swimming each year. Through Splash Month, the Y hopes to further bridge gaps that prevent families from learning important water safety skills.

If children know how to stay safe in and around water, swimming can be a lifelong source of fun and exercise. Instead of keeping your children away from water, help them learn fundamental water safety skills by enrolling them in swim lessons.

Youth Gain Confidence and Skills at Halton Sport Leadership

On Thursday, June 7 we are proud to be hosting the Halton Sport Leadership graduation ceremony for the class of 2018.

This is Oakville’s fourth group of graduates, but the first for both Burlington and Milton. Three participating schools from Oakville, two from Milton and four from Burlington identified students to participate in this alternative learning experience. These students often have barriers, such as financial strain, family concerns or academic struggles, that don’t allow them to participate in traditional sports teams or extracurriculars. Participants are equipped with certifications in how to work with children, sport-specific leadership and job readiness.

While “sport” is in the name itself, Halton Sport Leadership is so much more than a program designed to teach youth about sports. It’s skill development. It’s employability. It’s self-confidence.

Jerod Hannah, Coordinator of Youth Engagement at the YMCA of Oakville, says “The best part of the program is the relationships they build with their Community Mentors and with each other. It’s so rewarding to see them all become friends.”


The Halton Sport Leadership program is a collaborative asset-based leadership development initiative for youth that was inspired by the success of the Toronto Sport Leadership Program launched in 2005.  The need to replicate the program in Halton region was realized and spearheaded by the Halton Poverty Roundtable, who were concerned about youth unemployment rates in Halton region.  A steering committee was formed and the program was officially piloted in Oakville in 2014.

The program is collaborative in nature and involves a number of partners.  The curriculum & program framework was developed by the YMCA of Oakville & the Town of Oakville, and the pilot project was realized because of an individual donor of the Oakville YMCA. 

Halton Sport Leadership is delivered in partnership with:
City of Burlington, HCDSB, HDSB, HPRT, Town of Halton Hills, Town of Milton, Town of Oakville, YMCA of Hamilton|Burlington|Brantford, YMCA of Oakville

Thank you to our generous funders:

Tips for Healthy Kids: Physical Activity

Children need at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day, including aerobic and muscle strengthening activities. At YMCA Healthy Kids Day, discover new activities and a community for healthy families where everyone belongs.

Here are some tips to ensure your family is active and engaged in a fun, healthy lifestyle:

Take Your Kids with You
Rather than heading out on a walk or jog solo, invite your kids to hop on their bicycles, skateboards and scooters and head out with you. You will come back energized and connected knowing you’ve set a great example and spent quality time together. Everyone wins!

Free is Good!
Many communities have free or low-cost youth activities or programs at facilities such as pools, playgrounds, parks, sporting fields, community centres and (of course) the YMCA! Ask your child’s teacher, contact your local municipality, search online, in your local paper, or contact your local YMCA, rec centre or library for upcoming events.

Think Outside the Box
Who says hockey can only be played in the winter? A frisbee or hula-hoop can be enjoyed any time of year. Take a look at what equipment you already have on hand and encourage your kids to use them in new ways or at times they wouldn’t normally think of. They’ll be excited by the novelty of the idea and the fun-factor will keep them active and inspired.

Go Fly a Kite!
Pick up a kite or make your own and take your kids to a local park or playground for hours of family fun. Check out this link to help you make your own kite!

Invite Friends Along
Playing alone becomes a barrier for some children to engaging in physical activity. Invite some neighborhood buddies over and see how fast they come up with active things to do.

Take a Hike
Kids love to explore and a hike is a perfect way to do it. The summer is the best time to get outdoors to your local conservation areas, trails and parks! Have you taken your kids to all of the parks your city has to offer? Together you can examine trees, cool plants and various animal tracks. Hiking is simple, free, and develops physical literacy.

Leave the Car at Home
Depending on the distance and safety factor, consider letting your children walk to school, the library, their friend’s house, or any other place you would normally drive them to. If you are shopping, park a little farther and have fun by counting the steps to your destination. Some kids may be inspired by tracking their steps with a pedometer. Pedometers are relatively inexpensive and many libraries have them available on loan, all you have to do is ask!

Be Active Inside!
For those extra hot or rainy summer days, plan for indoor activities such as bowling, laser tag, or indoor rock climbing. Try activities together like yoga or relay races (just search YouTube for some inspiration)! Make chores fun and do them together. Plan rewards for helping out and you’ll keep your kids busy and away from screens for most of the day.


Compiled and developed by Lindsay McDermott, YMCA of Western Ontario

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Youth Gain Confidence and Skills at Halton Sport Leadership

On Thursday, June 7 we are proud to be hosting the Halton Sport Leadership graduation ceremony for the class of [...]