Cannon Memorial YMCA
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Cannon YMCA

Off to a Great Start

The Share the Harvest YMCA farm is off to a good start, thanks to great volunteers, and suitable weather and soil conditions, as well as all the preparations that we accomplished last year.  Roughly, about a quarter of the farm has been planted with another eighth going in on April 22. So far, we have planted onions, carrots, beets, beans, lettuce, broccoli, tomatoes and radishes.  Cannot wait to see the fruits of our labor! The need for volunteers will gradually increase as weed control and more plantings continue for the next month.  We are looking forward to the harvest that will start within a month.

I asked two young volunteers what they do for a hobby.  Both said they watch TV.  Kudos to their parents for getting them out to the farm.  It is such a joy to see them working at the farm, having fun and accomplishing a goal.  Watching TV is not a suitable hobby for a healthy kid.  It will turn their brains to jelly.  If this is normal, it should not be.  Check with your kids and grandkids.  If they consider TV a hobby, get them out to the farm for a Saturday morning in the fresh air and sunshine. We start at 8am and would love to have them join us.

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Transforming Lives: Reign Watson, Kannapolis YMCA Member

mynextlevel 2Reign Watson enjoys a challenge; largely because he is driven to overcome every obstacle in his way. But one day, he realized that he still had not faced one large obstacle – his weight.

Weighing himself on a scrap metal scale, he took a picture of the number: 525.

“I remember sitting on the side of my vehicle wondering what I did to let my weight get that out of control.” Reign had always been heavy but never noticed just how much that number had grown over the years.
 
At first, he walked for exercise and modified his eating habits with the help of a chef friend. “I was eating a loaf of bread every day, drinking at least two 2-liter bottles of Coca Cola daily with meals and I never passed on dessert. Now I have cut soda completely out of my diet and stopped eating bread.” Knowing that just diet and exercise wouldn’t be enough to make the lifestyle change he needed to, Reign saw a doctor and decided to have a duodenal switch (gastric surgery) performed. The surgery was a success but, for Reign, the battle was just beginning.

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Meet Kirk Angel

Kirk Angel PhotoKirk Angel did not know what the Y was, aside from a place to work out, until he and his wife Donna saw a series of advertisements around Harrisburg for the Y’s Youth Sports Program and decided to sign their oldest son up for soccer. Immediately, they loved everything about the Y. Kirk remembers the knowledgeable, talented coaches that had real playing experience, and notes that he and Donna are still close friends with some of their children’s earliest coaches. Kirk was especially impressed by the Strong Kids Campaign (similar to the Change Wars program), which helped to teach children and parents about other great things going on inside the Y, like the Open Doors Scholarship Program and the Empty Stocking Fund.

After a few years of working out and becoming increasingly involved at the Y, Kirk was nominated for the Corporate Board of Directors as a representative from the Harrisburg community. Several months later they voted to open the Harrisburg branch, which is celebrating its 10th Anniversary this year. Even then, there were talks of expanding Harrisburg to better accommodate the growing population in the area, which is something Kirk has strongly advocated for since.

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Meet Alyce Luna

Alyce Luna PhotoAs a teenager, Alyce was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, which is an endocrine system disorder that often leads to weight gain and difficulty losing weight. She struggled to balance her life with the additional side effects of PCOS, including depression and anxiety, until her doctor ultimately recommended that she stop working in order to focus on her health.  

Now the mother of four children, Alyce and her family had been program members of the West Cabarrus YMCA for several years. She signed her sons up for soccer at the Y because she appreciated the safe, welcoming environment of Y Youth Sports. With only her husband working, and in need of some motivation to get healthy again, her friends at the West Cabarrus Membership Desk suggested she apply for an Open Doors scholarship.

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Meet Bobby Pickrel

Bobby Pickrel Photo

Bobby Pickrel (known to many as Larry, or Bobby Larry) has been a member of the Kannapolis YMCA for most of his 77 years. Growing up in a two-room house, he notes that there was little to do but go to the Y after school. “Life was different when the mill was here,” he remembers. “Everybody came to the Y then. After work, after school – the Y was where everybody came together.” But despite the loss of Cannon Mills and much of his old lifestyle, Bobby still sees high school friends at the YMCA when he works out every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Bobby was in the Army for three years, and later pursued a career in interior design and furniture sales in Chattanooga, Tennessee. After almost 20 years there, he returned to his hometown of Kannapolis to take care of his ailing mother. It was then that he returned to the Cannon YMCA. Despite being in excellent shape during his time in the Army, Bobby had put on a significant amount of weight and his own health was declining. Several years later, he suffered a stroke and had to undergo extensive speech therapy to regain full control of his speech. In addition to this, Bobby had to have a ligation procedure done on veins in his legs in order to relieve pain from walking and standing.

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Beep Beep - The Y's New Wheels

Thanks to a generous anonymous donor, you’ll be seeing a brand new activity bus around the Cannon YMCA this year. A white 2017 Thomas C2 72-passenger bus with “Cannon Memorial YMCA” painted on the side is the newest mode of transportation for our After School Program, as well as some association-wide activities.

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Thank You for Your Donations

Thank You for Your Donations

The 2017 Empty Stocking Fund wrapped up on Saturday, December 10th. This year, the Cannon YMCA served 257 families in Cabarrus County, providing 1,028 children in need with Christmas presents. In conjunction with the Empty Stocking Fund efforts, the 14th Annual Arzie Rogers Memorial Toy Run, sponsored by Speedway Harley Davidson, brought in over $1,000 to the Cooperative Christian Ministry Fuel Fund. At the Toy Ron, enough toys were collected to fill a mini bus for the Empty Stocking Fund Toy Closet! Due to the generous donations of our members and community partners, over $10,000 worth of gifts were also purchased and given to participating families.

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Tyler Jameson

Senior Program Director

Why do you work at the Cannon YMCA?
I really enjoy that each day, we as an organization, have the ability to impact the community and truly make a difference through Christian programs that promote a healthy mind, body and spirit.

What is your favorite memory on the job?
Last year, during one of our basketball games, I had an unforgettable experience. A kid who played basketball at the YMCA growing up had never scored a basket during his entire career. With two minutes left in his final game, this player received a pass right in front of the basket and threw up a shot. It bounced around for a while, and finally went in the basket. The player’s father, who was one of the coaches that year, was brought to tears of joy watching his son score. Both teams surrounded the player and lifted him up in the air to congratulate him.

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Chrystal Crabtree

Membership Administrator - Kannapolis Branch

Why do you work at the Cannon YMCA?
I work at the Cannon YMCA because I love the Christian atmosphere. It’s great to work in a place where I can share my beliefs with other people, and truly make people feel welcome and part of the YMCA family. I like that the Y is a place where everyone’s talents and personality are valued, which inspires us all to do our best work every day.

What is your favorite memory on the job?
There are so many little moments at the Y that are special to me. I love connecting with our members. We’ll see the same kids coming in to talk to us about school or their families and it’s great to be able to help them grow. I do remember developing a special relationship with one member who often had a negative attitude when she came into the Y. I got to know her name and started greeting her every day with a smile. She slowly opened up to me and began to enjoy her time at the Y. It meant a lot to her that somebody was taking the time to get to know her and I enjoyed making her days a little bit brighter.

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Lina Hammonds

Membership Administrator & Open Doors Coordinator - Harrisburg Branch

Why do you work at the Cannon YMCA?
I believe in the cause of the Y. What got me interested in working here was that it is a Christian establishment, and that I am able to share my God-given talents openly here. Before working for the Y, I never realized how involved we are in the community and all the different things we do. The Y, as an organization, is very selfless.

What is your favorite memory on the job?
One of my favorite memories during my time working here is something that you don’t see in many other workplaces. One day, a female member came into the Harrisburg Y in tears. She needed somebody to talk to, so I asked her if she would like to join me in my office to pray. It was wonderful to be able to support her in a way that she needed, and in a way that brought us closer.

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Collards Vs. Kale

The farm is sending collards to various charities. When I gave my Community Supported Agriculture customers a choice of collards or kale, 100% of them chose kale. When I started asking why, the only reason was that somewhere along the line kale had hired a better public relations firm. I can do anything with collards that you can do with kale, and some of it I can do better. Collards and the rest of the brassicas (cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage and more) have similar nutritional profiles with excellent vitamins, minerals and cancer fighting phyto nutrients.

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Breakfast with Santa Recap

Earlier this month, the Cannon Memorial YMCA hosted Breakfast with Santa at the Kannapolis Y. Santa, played by Kannapolis Y member Dr. James Litaker, had many friends with him; including Spiderman, Princess Elsa from Frozen, balloon animal artists, a face painter and a magician. A tasty hot chocolate bar was available for adults and children and the Mott Club cooked hundreds of pancakes for guests to enjoy with their fruit and juice. All of the food and refreshments were donated by our local ALDI, which also sent a few of Santa’s Helpers to serve the pancake breakfast.

Santa girl

Thanks to many generous donations and sponsorships, this event raised over $2,500 for the Cannon YMCA Annual Support Campaign, which directly funds the Open Doors Scholarship Program. Guests were encouraged to bring gifts for the Empty Stocking Fund and many families donated toys, clothes and other items. Most importantly, over 250 children from Cabarrus County were able to participate in this memorable experience with their families. Keep your eyes peeled for Breakfast with Santa next December and join in the fun!

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Share The Harvest Community Farm

harvest farmWhat healthy exercises will you do as you get older? Here are my observtions. In high school I played three years first string varsity football and dearly loved the game. After high school I played a few pick up games, but with no pads and no referees, you needed to be as good at fighting as you were at football. I quit playing football by age twenty.

Volleyball and running are less intense activities I learned in high school and college. I have seen plenty of people play volleyball and run into their 70s. In my experience, as people get into their 80s and 90s only two activiites predominate and those are dancing and gardening. The only person I ever knew who was active after age 100 was a serious gardener. At age 90 he married somebody he met at a dance. In any logical society there would be more high school gardens than high school football fields.

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Delivering the Real Meaning of Christmas

Delivering the Real Meaning of Christmas

Delivering the Real Meaning of Christmas

Once a year at Christmas time the stress level in 30 year old Sharell Mitchner’s household rises. A mother to six children, all under the age of 15, she wonders how she will give all a piece of Christmas. “They’re good kids. Beautiful kids. Every child deserves to have a good life,” says Sharell.

Several years ago, Sharell opened her home to five of the children, rescuing them from a parent who wasn’t able to take care of them. Only one child is hers biologically, the others are not blood related. A courageous decision to make as a young woman and Sharell is determined to provide a structured household full of love. Although she works full-time and has learned how to stretch a meal and a dollar, Christmas can be challenging, especially as the children get older.

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One Member's Transformation of Body and Spirit at the Y

One Member's Transformation of Body and Spirit at the Y

In April of 2016, the Y’s healthy living staff developed a 12-week transformation program for members that included an initial weigh-in and a consultation to set goals for diet and exercise. The program also included an invitation to members to weigh in with a fitness staff person once a week over the 12-week period to evaluate progress and offer encouragement.

The Y promoted the program to members on social media and through internal communications and the response was huge! Over 250 members responded that they were interested in signing up! Y staff had to close registration early to keep the program manageable, but were thrilled to know that this was something that members found valuable.

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Allyson's 5K Personal Accomplishment

Written by Y Member Allyson Hucks

allyson hucks webI've never been a runner, like EVER. That was until my husband and I decided that we needed to get in shape and eat healthy. This was also our chance to have some one on one time with each other as well. No complaining from me on that one!

So, earlier that year we began our journey of working out and eating healthy. It wasn't easy at all, but we stuck to it. About 4 months into our journey we saw results and grew closer in our marriage. About that time, sign ups began for the Y's Pumpkin Roll 5K. I did a daring move. I signed us up.

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A Sweet Harvest

Sweet potatoes are an excellent food to grow for charity. It has a nutritional profile similar, but better than carrots. It is a good source of vitamin A, several of the B vitamins, calcium, magnesium, iron, fiber and antioxidants. The potassium content is slightly less than bananas, but will substitute if bananas are not in the budget or you happen to be a locavore. Plus, pound for pound, sweet potatoes have more calories than potatoes, which is enough to kick starvation down the road.

In addition to the nutritional benefits, sweet potatoes store easily. If you put them in a back room that stays above 50 degrees, they will last for several months. And, if you have an excess of sweet potatoes, you can easily can them for longer storage if you have a pressure canner. But wait, there's more. This long lasting super food is very versatile. Everybody has heard of sweet potato pie and sweet potato casserole, but there are a zillion more ways to serve up some sweet potato goodness.

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Solving Childhood Obesity: A Family Affair

The Cannon Y wants families in Cabarrus County to understand how families adopting healthy habits together can help reduce childhood obesity.

September is Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, and while the dangers of childhood obesity are well chronicled, many families need support changing their children’s habits with the ultimate goal of improving health. That’s why the Cannon YMCA — a leading community-based organization dedicated to improving health—wants families to understand the dangers of childhood obesity and ways to reverse course through improved eating habits and increased physical activity.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), childhood obesity has more than tripled in children and adolescents over the past 30 years. Today, obesity affects one in six children and one in three are overweight, which poses greater risks for a number of health problems such as Type 2 Diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and some cancers. 

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September is Healthy Aging Month

PHYSICAL ACTIVITY IS ESSENTIAL TO HEALTHY AGING

for a better youAs an older adult, regular physical activity is one of the most important things you can do for your health. It can prevent many of the health problems that seem to come with age. It also helps your muscles grow stronger so you can keep doing your day-to-day activities without becoming dependent on others.

Not doing any physical activity can be bad for you, no matter your age or health condition. Keep in mind, some physical activity is better than none at all. Your health benefits will also increase with the more physical activity that you do.

If you're 65 years of age or older, are generally fit, and have no limiting health conditions you can follow the guidelines listed below.

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Johanna Hiza, Active Older Adults Coordinator

johanna 300Originally from Finland, with an educational background in Kindergarten teaching, she moved to North Carolina 22 years ago and now resides in the Concord area. She has two teenagers, one in high school and one in college. Johanna is very excited to be joining the Y team.

Her goal is to grow the Active Older Adults program throughout Cabarrus County’s three YMCAs in order to reach a wider audience.

She plans to continue programs already in place, as well as adding additional field trips for our active older adults.

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Yolanda Pitchford, Executive Director

youlanda pitchfordWe are pleased to introduce Yolanda Pitchford, who will assume duties as Executive Director at West Cabarrus beginning September 26. Yolanda has a great track record of success building teams and communities with 10+ years of experience in Virginia and Central Florida YMCAs. She is a graduate of the University of Richmond and earned an MBA from Strayer University.

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Okra Tasting at the Share the Harvest Community Farm

Have you ever heard the question, “How do you cook okra?” On August 20, the question became, “How can’t you cook okra?”

okra

Staff, volunteers and visitors to the YMCA farm took the opportunity to taste okra that was pickled, fermented, fried, deep fried or grilled. One even took the opportunity to eat okra raw. While there is nothing to dislike about fried okra, Brent Rockett, Executive Director at West Cabarrus was able to win several converts to the grilled okra with a super job on the grill.

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Immunization Awareness Month

niamImmunization, or vaccination, helps prevent dangerous and sometimes deadly diseases. To stay protected against serious illnesses like the flu, measles, and pneumonia, adults need to get their shots – just like kids do. National Immunization Awareness Month is a great time to promote vaccines and remind family, friends, and coworkers to stay up to date on their shots.

How can National Immunization Awareness Month make a difference?

We can all use this month to raise awareness about vaccines and share strategies to increase immunization rates with our community.

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Share the Harvest Farm Delivers

After years of planning, the YMCA Share the Harvest Community Farm planted the first edible crops on April 23, 2016. Harvest started on May 18 and as of July 24, over 2,700 lbs. of produce has been donated to Cooperative Christian Ministry. The farm is on track to meet the first year goal of 7,500 lbs.

farm

A few more tomatoes along with a few more beans and some peas should take us to the 3,000 lb. mark. If all goes well, we are looking for 2,000 lbs. of butternut squash, 1,600 lbs. of sweet potatoes and 1,000 lbs. of cabbage. (The cabbage may be donated to Meals on Wheels, another partner for this effort.) We are also planting lettuce, collards, and carrots. Next year we will get started with early spring planting and our goal will be 10,000 lbs. for charity.

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Love: the Heart and Soul of Your Y

camp counselorIt is a blessing to be working with the children at the West Cabarrus YMCA. I have always known that I wanted to work with children; even be a teacher. However, I had no idea how much I would love them until I became a Camp Counselor. They have really impacted my heart. I learn every day how to care, love and have fun from the children that God created.

Children carry a sense of adventure with them and their imaginations are so big. Each week of Summer Camp has a theme. Superhero week gave the campers the opportunity to be whoever or whatever they wanted to be while playing superhero games, which encouraged creativity - a vital part of life.

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Stay Active and Healthy This Summer

Stay Active and HealthyIt’s that time of year - school is out and many are taking vacations from work to take advantage of the summer weather and cookout and picnic season! While you can treat yourself to a treat occasionally, make sure not to overdo it at your next summer outing with these healthy tips:

Have a colorful plate! It’s farmers market season, enjoy all the wonderful produce we can get locally that provides us with all the “good” stuff (vitamins, minerals, fiber), and less of the “bad” stuff (sodium, added sugar, saturated and trans fat).

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Tara Larish, Aquatics Coordinator

Tara LarishMy name is Tara Larish and I am the new Aquatics Coordinator at the West Cabarrus Branch. I recently moved here from Minnesota where I was an Aquatics Coordinator for almost 2 years. I really enjoy seeing the children’s confidence grow as they swim during our open swim or through programs such as swim lessons. I am thankful to join such a great team and am excited about our aquatics program.

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You Never Know Where You'll Find a Friend

You Never Know Where You'll Find a Friend

This comical pair can be seen around the gym most days. Cohorts in fun, the two veterans have made a name for themselves, constantly joking with anyone lucky enough to be nearby. Whether they are working the room or working out, those who encounter this dynamic duo are sure to start their day with a smile.

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Men's Health Month

Men's Health MonthEach June we celebrate Men’s Health Month, especially the week leading up to Father’s Day, which is Men’s Health Week (June 13-19). The purpose of Men’s Health Month is to heighten the awareness of preventable health problems, and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys.

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Personal Trainer Rhoda Waters

Rhoda Waters June 2016My name is Rhoda Waters and I have been a Personal Trainer for 3 years. I have several certifications in Sports Nutrition, Yoga, Group Exercise, Cross Fit, Maximum Interval Training and SilverSneakers® just to name a few. My hobbies include, weight training, running, biking and competing, but most of all, spending time with my wonderful husband, granddaughters and children. I am a member of the National Physique Committee of North Carolina. I have competed in several Master bikini shows and have placed in the top 5 three times making me a National qualifier for the Sport.

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Mothers' & Women's Health Month

Mother's and Womens Health MonthWomen tend to be great at taking care of others, but sometimes forget to take care of themselves. Very often women need a reminder that their health needs to be a priority in order to be able to take care of others. Use these strategies below to get a step up on your overall health:

1. Focus on a plant-based diet. Despite gender, you always want to focus on a nutrient dense diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, low-fat dairy and lean protein, but women do have some specific concerns during each phase of life:

  • For pre-menopausal women it is important to get adequate iron, as there is iron loss with
    blood loss. Iron rich foods include red meat, chicken, turkey, pork, fish, kale, spinach, beans, lentils and
    fortified grains.
  • For women of child-bearing age it is important to get folic acid/folate in your diet to
    decrease the risk of birth defects. Sources of folic acid/folate include citrus fruit, leafy greens, peas
    and fortified cereals and grains.
  • For post-menopausal women and women of all ages, it is important to get adequate calcium
    along with vitamin D for bone health and to prevent osteoporosis. Good calcium sources include low fat
    dairy products, sardines, tofu, and dark leafy greens. Get outdoors for some vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin!

2. Get Active & Stay Active! It is important to get at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week to maintain good health. As we age we tend to lose muscle and have an increase in fat mass, but if we incorporate regular cardiovascular and strength exercise we can prevent those less than desirable changes from happening. Maintaining lean mass can be even more challenging once women reach menopause, so start as early as possible and make exercise a habit!

3. Set Aside Leisure Time. Many experts have noted that women seem to be more susceptible to stress due to the fact that women are socialized to be caretakers. More women than men have both a career outside the home and continue to try to juggle traditional responsibilities after hours. Women are now more often trying to achieve the “male standard” at work, while trying to maintain the perfect wife and mother standards at home. Also, as women age and go through different life stages they are at risk for stress and depression related to hormonal changes. Go ahead and schedule some leisure time, and consider it a necessity, not a reward!

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One Day at a Time...at the Y

pamela youngPeople often fight battles we know nothing about. Every day, people like 39-year old Pamela walk through a Cannon Y branch, not trying to create the perfect body, but just to make it through the day.

“Depression weighs on me really heavy so I need to get out and be around positive people and I find that at the Y. The staff and people there encourage me and pray for me. It means a lot,” said Pamela.

Four years ago, Pamela was diagnosed with breast cancer.

It took several office visits and second and third opinions before she could find a doctor to listen. “I knew something wasn’t quite right, but doctors thought I was too young to get a mammogram. I kept telling them and then, finally, one doctor listened and found 2 large masses.”

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Healthy Families

Healthy Families

Parents are children’s biggest influencers when it comes to healthy habits, so make sure to be a good role model by staying active, getting adequate sleep and making healthy food choices. Try to commit to all the healthy behaviors you would like to see in your child. Some suggestions to help create a healthy family include planning regular activities that the whole family can participate in, encouraging children to take part in afterschool sports and letting children help plan and prepare meals. While you cannot fight food choices, you can set limits and boundaries on the types and amounts your child and family eat on a regular basis. You don’t want to be too lax with sweets and unhealthy foods, nor do you want to be too controlling. The best way is to end up somewhere in the middle, enjoying treats occasionally.

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Do You Know What Your Y Does for Your Community?

Do You Know What Your Y Does for Your Community?

One of every twenty members who walks through the doors of a Cannon Y branch is receiving financial assistance through our Open Doors scholarship program. The member could be a single parent, a teen who needs a safe place to hang out and have fun, an active older adult on fixed income, or someone like Jeff who was between jobs.

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Bo Morrison, Property Manager, West Cabarrus Branch

Bo Morrison"My name is Bo Morrison. I am the Property Manager at the West Cabarrus YMCA. I lived in Kannapolis until I got married and moved to Rowan County. I have been married to my wife Lori for 27 years as of June 2016. I really enjoy seeing improvement being made to our facility to make our Y better for our members. In my spare time, I enjoy playing golf and going to the Outer Banks to fish and relax. I am very proud to part of the team here at our Y."

 

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Abby Manning, Group Exercise Instructor, Harrisburg Branch

“I love working at the Y! It is such a welcoming place to go. The Y is a great place for families and its members are amazing. The Y feels like home to me. When I first joined the Y, I immediately felt welcomed and learned so much. I will forever feel indebted to them. That now motivates me to be the best instructor possible for our members. They really are the best!” Abby Manning, Group Exercise Instructor, Harrisburg Branch.

Abby web

The photo is of Abby and her Couch-to-5K running club. They will be running the 9th Annual Harrisburg 5K on April 9. Based on this photo, we think Abby is not only teaching great skills, but that exercise is FUN! Thank you Abby for being a part of the Y Family!

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Without the Y, I Wouldn’t Be Where I am Today

Without the Y, I Wouldn’t Be Where I am Today

Sandra Merritt suffered a back injury after a fall in early 2013 left her in severe pain. Eventually, she had to go on disability. After several doctor visits and a surgery, Sandra went to rehab at the West Cabarrus YMCA. She instantly felt results and the pain began to go away. When her rehab was complete, Sandra decided to join the Y, yet knew that paying for her membership would be a challenge. Nonetheless, she applied for and received a scholarship and immediately began water aerobics.

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Her Mission is our Mission

Her Mission is our Mission

“When my husband and I lived in Sweden I was able to stay home with my four kids. In Sweden there wasn’t any programs for children. Every day I would see kids with keys around their necks,” says Lidija Krvaric. Seeing what we in the United States refer to as latchkey-kids, left an impression on her heart. “My heart was broken watching these kids go home to empty houses. When I came to the United States and joined this Y, I saw the After School kids.

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National Colon Cancer Awareness Month

National Colon Cancer Awareness Month

Dress in Blue Day  Friday, March 4

Research suggests that about 45% of colorectal cancers (or 64,000 cases each year) in the United States are preventable through proper diet, maintaining a healthy weight and being physically active.

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Savor the Flavor

Savor the Flavor

The National Nutrition Month campaign from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics focuses on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits. Not only should we focus on what we eat, but also on how, when, why and where we eat for a more mindful eating approach. A mindful eating pattern includes nutritious and flavorful foods, while also taking the time to enjoy and be more aware of everything that a healthful and delicious meal offers from start to finish.

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Finding Love at the Y

Finding Love at the Y

It was more than nine years ago that two of our longtime members’ hearts found one another. Scott Todd, who worked part-time at our West Cabarrus branch, stepped out of his comfort zone when he decided he would try a 40 mile bike ride organized by the Lake Norman Y. Scott didn’t know anyone riding that day, He found himself pedaling next to Cheryl. It was also her first time and earlier she had asked God to provide direction.

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The Kannapolis YMCA’s After School Program

The Kannapolis YMCA’s After School Program

Kannapolis YMCA Reading Stars Attend ACC Championship Football Game

In the inaugural year of their five-year partnership with the Atlantic Coast Conference, the ACC donated $10,000 to United Way during the Dr Pepper ACC Football Championship Game. The funds will be invested in programs focused on reading comprehension and student attendance – two key components in United Way’s work to raise graduation rates.

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Delivering the Real Meaning of Christmas

Delivering the Real Meaning of Christmas

The holiday season is here and the Smith family is like many parents who want to give their children a nice Christmas. Like dozens of Cabarrus Community families, the Smiths were struggling last year.

“We were not stable financially; it was challenging and I didn’t know how we were going to be able to do it,” said Raquel Smith as she described how she and her husband would possibly be able to afford enough to purchase gifts for their two children. Then, an employee at the Kannapolis Y told them about Cannon Memorial Y’s Empty Stocking Fund, helping families in Kannapolis and Cabarrus for over 70 years.

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Easing Moms Worries

Easing Moms Worries

Newly single and financially strapped, the Kannapolis Y helps ease some of Latiya Conway-Hilts’ worries. The mother of four moved here from New York about a year ago. Now she is newly divorced and finds herself adjusting to a change in finances.

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Y Summer Camp is Building Youth Confidence

Y Summer Camp is Building Youth Confidence

Harrisburg's Camp Pinnacle - Each summer, kids build character at Cannon Y camps, while hanging out in a safe, fun place. “Camp helped build my child’s confidence,” says Michelle.

Last summer, her daughter Journi reluctantly attended Harrisburg Family Y’s Camp Pinnacle. Camp counselor “Gizmo” immediately recognized that, as this particular camp was a new experience for Journi, making friends was important for overcoming any social fears.

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Y Without Borders

Y Without Borders

Dancing Their Way to Fitness

Zumba is a fun, energetic dance workout with Latin-American roots.  Even though it’s offered at all three of our branches, for those in our community who have a language barrier, the dance instructions may as well be in gibberish.  “Most of the women don’t understand English that well, so they get intimidated and won’t try it,” said Sandra Torres, Outreach Worker for Cabarrus Health Alliance (CHA).  

As part of CHA’s Southeastern Diabetes Initiative, Torres teaches nutrition and health classes for the Latino and Hispanic community which is mainly a group of women. While promoting exercise as a healthy lifestyle, Torres discovered it was challenging finding classes in Cabarrus County which are offered in Spanish. “Dance is part of our (Latin) culture so I knew if I could find someone to teach Zumba, it would be well received.”

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Thank You for Your Support!

Thank You for Your Support!

111. That's the number.

Loretta Stancil, single mother of 3 and legal guardian of two mentally challenged children is always proud of her kids but Stone has gone above and beyond.

Thanks to the Open Doors scholarship program, her son Stone has been coming to the Kannapolis Y. Stone is an avid Y user and has gone from 300 pounds down to 189. 111 pounds!

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Diet and Exercise Help Y Member Succeed

Diet and Exercise Help Y Member Succeed

Annual Support Campaign Supports Open Doors Program

“Eighty percent diet; twenty percent exercise!” This was the advice that changed Bethany’s outlook! Bethany Knoblauch began coming to the Harrisburg Y just over a year ago, working out 5-6 days a week. Early on, she had a conversation with Mandie Condie of the fitness department. “Mandie helped me see that I had my method backwards.

I worked out hard but I wasn’t eating healthy. Once I changed my eating habits and continued to work out, I started losing three pounds a week!” Six months later, Bethany is 50 pounds lighter and feels healthier. Reflecting on the past year, she says, “I put in the hard work but I know I could not have done this without the Y family in my corner and for that I am thankful.

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Good Luck, Noel!

Good Luck, Noel!

If you thought you saw a four-legged friend walking around the Y, you were not mistaken! Since 2007, our YMCA has hosted approximately 40 Guiding Eyes for the Blind puppies in pre-training! Noel, a 16-month-old Labrador Retriever, left for New York Friday, January 23rd, for her In-for-Training Test. Her raisers, the Mulcahy family, Daniel, Danny, and Teresa, brought Noel to the West Cabarrus Y frequently because the facility offers diverse training opportunites for these puppies with a purpose. 

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Walking Against the Odds

Over 18 years ago, David Blackwelder was driving his Volkswagen when a tractor-trailer ran a red light, hit David and sent him through the windshield. His injuries were so severe that he laid in a coma in a Boston hospital for eight months. David woke up to a strange city, a strange state and a different body. Doctors told him it was doubtful that he would walk again but David was determined. “I didn’t want to come back to Concord in a wheelchair,” he said. David did return home in a wheelchair but slowly improved. He walked again but the mostly sedentary condition created other challenges such as weight gain and arthritis. In the midst of the discouragement, a friend recommended that David try the YMCA.

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Peace of Mind

Peace of Mind

Daniel Rogers is currently away on a military assignment while Diana handles everything on the home front. She likes to run on the indoor track at the Y whenever possible.

Son Michael and Daniel are very close; they love to ride bikes and play video games together. Diana, Michael and little brother Evan are proud of Daniel for serving our country but they miss him deeply when he is deployed.

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Autism Speaks Grants Swim Lessons to the Cannon Y

Autism Speaks Grants Swim Lessons to the Cannon Y

The Cannon Y is thankful for a $2,000 grant from Autism Speaks to offer five, 30-minute, private swim lessons to 20 individuals on the spectrum. This program allows us to fulfill our mission as we develop youth through healthy living.

As a socially responsible community partner, the Cannon Y welcomes many to our pools daily. Specifically, this program is individually tailored to meet the needs of those putting their face under the water for the first time to those advancing their swim stroke. “We are ready to celebrate any and all successes,” says Alisa McNiffe of the Aquatics Department.

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The Y Gives Hope Where There Was None

The Y Gives Hope Where There Was None

“It was amazing; like a light turned on. The Y has given me hope where there was none.”

Following a car accident, Clifford White was wheelchair bound, in severe pain with limited mobility, depressed and lonely. He started swimming at the Y and things really changed.

“The aquatics instructors know my name. I began coming to the pool regularly and met others struggling with health issues. I no longer felt isolated.” Outside the pool, Clifford walks with a cane and can’t stand for more than a few minutes. In the pool, he is able to walk 10-15 laps, gaining freedom.

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Meet Jayston Patterson

Meet Jayston Patterson

Parenthood has given Jonathan and DeAnna Patterson a clear goal in life: to open their arms to children they describe as “uniquely and wonderfully made.”

Their son Jayson, age 7, is like every other boy his age in many ways. After navigating hip surgery in the spring of 2013, his doctor suggested that the best thing Jayson could do to improve his mobility and stamina was to spend time in the pool.

The Pattersons have been amazed by his results, crediting his swim instructor, Mr. Denny, for his patient and caring manner in teaching their son.

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The Y - A Safe and Healthy Place to Go

The Y - A Safe and Healthy Place to Go

17-year-old Jeremy Murray practically lives at the West Cabarrus YMCA when he’s not at school. A basketball player for Northwest Cabarrus High School, Jeremy dribbles and shoots on the YMCA courts whenever he has free time. Some Sunday afternoons he’s there from the time the Y opens until closing!

His mom is thrilled that, thanks to the Open Doors Scholarship program, her son has a safe, healthy place to improve his game on the court and hang out with his friends. She praises the positive role models provided by Y staffers and fellow members.

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Surviving Cancer Through Wellness

Surviving Cancer Through Wellness

In 2007, Sabrina Goble, a single mom of two sons, learned she had breast cancer. As if the diagnosis wasn’t difficult enough, Sabrina learned she was highly susceptible to ovarian cancer as well. Sabrina’s doctors recommended a double-mastectomy plus the removal of her ovaries. As Sabrina was recovering from surgery, her oncologist recommended the Y as a potential resource for regaining strength, stamina and range-of-motion.

Thanks to the Y’s Open Doors program, Sabrina started exercising at the Harrisburg YMCA and found an immediate community of support. “I’ve made some great friends,” Sabrina says. “I connected with one of the instructors – Angie Buchanan – because we’re close in age and she offered me lots of encouragement.”

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Open Doors Program Makes a Difference

In 2007, Sabrina Goble, a single mom of two sons, learned she had breast cancer.  As if the diagnosis wasn’t difficult enough, Sabrina learned she was highly susceptible to ovarian cancer as well. Sabrina’s doctors recommended a double-mastectomy plus the removal of her ovaries.  As Sabrina was recovering from surgery, her oncologist recommended the Y as a potential resource for regaining strength, stamina and range-of-motion. 

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