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Years ago, I was diagnosed with a heart murmur. I did not think much of it because I lived a very healthy lifestyle, and my job kept me physically fit. I gained a lot of weight after my retirement, so I began attending the Silver Sneakers class at the Richmond County Family YMCA. I made dear friends and could feel the physical improvements!

In 2016, I discovered that my heart murmur was not benign. The murmur created many complications, having me not only battle anemia but also a bad aortic valve in need of surgery. I met with the best heart specialist in Maryland and went into open heart surgery.

After my successful surgery, I was instructed not to use my arms for eight whole weeks! I was, however, already very strong from all the workouts I had done at my local Y. This strength was a blessing during this recovery period! With following instructions for incorporating 30 minutes of cardio into my day, I returned to my YMCA. I continue to strengthen my body with workouts, I am making new memories with my friends there, and I’ve even added a personal trainer to the mix!

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Our daughter Sophia entered the YMCA preschool program in September. We have been amazed by the learning Sophia has accomplished over the past couple of months. She loves to talk about HALO (Healthy Alternatives for Little Ones), the part of the preschool curriculum that focuses on healthy choices. We have enjoyed several fun and informative conversations in the car and at the dinner table sparked by what Sophia has learned through HALO. Not only is Sophia more aware of healthy versus harmful choices, but she has made us think twice about some of our choices especially when it comes to the foods we eat. Sophia loves to talk about how healthy choices help build a healthy body. The Y has become an extension of our family and encourages us to make healthy choices for our family. We enrolled Sophia in the Y to help her early learning experience; we had no idea what we would learn as a family.

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After suffering a stroke, Richard joined the Y in 2012 when he completed his rehabilitation sessions. When Richard joined, he started working with one of our wellness instructors, Joanie. He nicknamed her the Drill Sargent and attributes much of his success to how she has pushed him and was there for him. Richard says, “Since joining the Y I am in better physical shape than I have ever been, it has helped to improve my equilibrium immensely, and I have lost about 30lbs.”

Richard feels that if it had not been for the Y, he would be in terrible shape and would have never recovered from his stroke. In November 2015, he had another clot, this time in his heart. He had a surgery called the Five Box Maze to remove the clot. Through all of this, Richard has continued to use the Y and is faithful in his workouts. He says, “It’s the best choice I ever made.”

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“The First Tee program has helped my son, Sean. Sean is diagnosed with Autism, and has struggled with self-control, discipline, concentration, and social skills throughout his young life. I have noticed that Sean has had a marked increase of self-control and discipline since he has started with the program.

His concentration on homework, reading, and classroom behavior has also improved dramatically. The area he has grown the most in is his ability to interact in a social environment. I have seen Sean use golf etiquette while playing with his friends and classmates. This might seem odd to most people, but in the case of Autism, this level of social integration and skill is very hard to teach. I want to express my pleasure for allowing Sean to be part of your program, and I thank all the wonderful people that are involved on the team.”

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There is something so sweet about cherished chatter over of a cup of coffee with your female friends. Women often desire the closeness that comes from sharing daily joys and struggles. After becoming members of the Y, Lauren, Sara and Adrian’s commitment to fitness and passion for power lifting drew their paths closer to crossing. Their trio of strength manifested quickly.

“The YMCA provides a synergistic atmosphere where relationships and goals like ours flourish. Our formidable team is able to accomplish all that our training requires via the continuous encouragement and necessary equipment. We have been tremendously blessed to have our coach, Ernie, at the Y. None of our training would be possible without his support which has led each of us to hold Virginia State records.

We do life over coffee. We do empowerment under barbells. We never met before joining the Y, and found that we share a love for lifting at the Y. We are being sharpened by inner and outer strength. We aren’t just going to the gym, we’re powerlifting at the YMCA.

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APYC/YMCA Camp Kekoka is a summer camp that is more than just fun activities and meeting new friends; it helped me see a better me. It has impacted my life in the best way; I now understand the importance of kindness and that it is okay to be myself.

They Y teaches us core values and caring is one of them. Before I went to Camp Kekoka, I understood that it is good to be nice to people but camp helped me apply it. I was usually nice to people when it helped me; now I’m nice to people all the time. I have learned that saying one nice thing can positively impact someone’s day. When I am positive, I impact others to be positive.

An example of this is when my group was trying to settle a challenging situation. One of our friends in the group began telling us how funny we are; it made us realize the fight was unecessary and her words were impactful.

Before camp, it was hard to be myself because I believed what other people thought about me was important. At camp, it’s such a safe environment that you can genuinely be yourself all the time. It is an amazing feeling. Camp has impacted my life. -Kaity, YMCA Camper

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Eat Bell Peppers!

I simply love bell peppers, particularly the brightly colored ones. Although they belong to the chili pepper family, bell peppers are mild and can jazz up a salad in an instant, lend a perky crunch to your pizza, and taste fantastic when roasted.

But the appeal of bell peppers goes way beyond their stunning good looks. Here’s a short list of the good things they can do for your health:

  1. Bell peppers are low in calories! So, even if you eat one full cup of them, you get just about 45 calories. Bonus: that one cup will give you more than your daily quota of Vitamin A and C!
  2. They contain plenty of vitamin C, which powers up your immune system and keeps skin youthful. The highest amount of Vitamin C in a bell pepper is concentrated in the red variety.
  3. Red bell peppers contain several phytochemicals and carotenoids,  particularly beta-carotene, which lavish you with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.
  4. The capsaicin in bell peppers has multiple health benefits. Studies show that it reduces ‘bad’ cholesterol, controls diabetes, brings relief from pain and eases inflammation.
  5. If cooked for a short period on low heat, bell peppers retain most of their sweet, almost fruity flavor and flavonoid content, which is a powerful nutrient.
  6. The sulfur content in bell peppers makes them play a protective role in certain types of cancers.
  7. The bell pepper is a good source of Vitamin E, which is known to play a key role in keeping skin and hair looking youthful.
  8. Bell peppers also contain vitamin B6, which is essential for the health of the nervous system and helps renew cells.
  9. Certain enzymes in bell peppers, such as lutein, protect the eyes from cataracts and macular degeneration later in life.

So, pop some bell peppers into your shopping basket, and start reaping their rich health benefits!

By: Shubhra Krishan, downloaded 2/26/2018 from:

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YMCA Announces CEO’s Retirement

Carroll’s 28-year tenure is distinguished by remarkable growth and community impact.

Newport News, Va. (September 21, 2017) — Danny Carroll, a 40-year YMCA veteran who has served as the CEO of the Peninsula Metropolitan YMCA for over 25 years, informed the Y’s Board of Directors of his intent to retire, effective March 31, 2018.

“Danny Carroll has been a tireless advocate for children and families in this community. Thousands benefit every day from our YMCA, and thanks to his vision the organization has never been stronger than it is today. It is an honor to speak on behalf of the Board and the entire YMCA community when we thank Danny for all he has done, and will continue to do for the Y,” stated YMCA Board President, Leigh Houghland.

Carroll retires as the longest-serving leader of the Peninsula Metropolitan YMCA, during its 121-year history. “The Peninsula Metropolitan YMCA is part of the fabric of this community. Above and beyond our buildings and program centers, it’s the staff, members, and volunteers that truly are the lifeblood of this organization. I can say without hesitation that this has been one of the most rewarding times in my career, and I’m confident in the future of this Y,” said Carroll.

“I have been blessed to have a career that has provided opportunities and experiences that have been beyond my wildest dreams,” continued Carroll. “For 25 years, I have been honored to serve as the CEO for this Y. I have met and learned from some of the most amazing people in both my coworkers and the volunteers. The Y has been a huge part of my life, and that of my family and I am extremely grateful for all that the Y has provided us.”

Carroll’s Impact

When Danny Carroll took the helm of the Peninsula Metropolitan YMCA in 1990, it had just over 50 employees and a budget less than a million dollars. The Y had two Branch locations that served 30,000 program participants each year.

Over the last 25 years, the values of the Y, the commitment of its volunteers, and the passion of the staff have remained, but the size and reach of its programs have grown exponentially.

Today the Peninsula Metropolitan YMCA employs more than 1,100 people, has more than 1.5 million service opportunities annually in 15 communities with a service area that spans over 120 miles. It, has 18 Branches, 67 off-site program locations throughout the Virginia Peninsulas and an annual operating budget of $21,000,000.

During Carroll’s tenure, the Y’s service to the community has remained the sole focus. In the past year alone, the Y provided more than 2.9 million dollars in free and assisted services to over 103,000 local kids and adults.  Moreover, Danny’s leadership and commitment to improving our community have resulted in the YMCA investing more than 40 million dollars in these communities through capital endeavors. Under his stewardship, the YMCA Endowment has grown from $100,000 to $3,000,000 and has committed to providing Safety Around Water, by offering free swim lessons and water safety classes to every second-grade student in its service area.

What’s Next?

The Y, founded in Newport News, has been a part of Virginia Peninsula communities since 1896. As an organization that is founded, governed, and supported by volunteers, the Y’s volunteer Board of Directors will coordinate the search for the next CEO and will work with YMCA of the USA to ensure a seamless passing of the reigns to this great organization’s next leader.

The hiring process is expected to take approximately 6 months. Longtime volunteer and new board president (2018), Don Buckless, will lead this process with the assistance of Y-USA. This process includes reaching out to key community leaders and stakeholders.

“The Board intends to move quickly through this process,” noted Buckless. “However, we will take as much time as necessary to find the leader who not only possesses talent and passion, but is the best fit for our community, our organization, and our vision.”

Since the Peninsula Metropolitan YMCA is well recognized nationally, the CEO search is expected to draw an outstanding pool of candidates.

While the Board of Directors conducts the search, Carroll will continue as CEO, focusing on efforts already underway to combat childhood obesity and provide Safety Around Water to every second grader in the Peninsula Metropolitan YMCA’s service area.


The Peninsula Metropolitan YMCA is a non-profit organization that serves 50,000 members. The Y’s impact is not limited to our buildings, however. We reach beyond our walls and meet our community members where they live. Our Y’s presence can be found in schools, churches, community centers, parks, libraries, senior centers, and in partnership with local hospitals. We believe in community affiliation and work tirelessly to collaborate with other non-profits, municipalities, and businesses because we know that together we are stronger which, in turn, strengthens the foundation of our community.

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I needed to take charge of my life.

Eleven years ago, I played college football. I pretty much ate whatever I wanted and trained hard to play ball. After being confined to a hospital bed following an accident, Ches states “I was definitely in the worst physical shape of my life.” This is something I wasn’t used to, I needed to make a change. I looked to the YMCA for a healthier lifestyle.

It was then he decided to begin his journey to a healthier lifestyle. He was no longer going to limit himself because of his size. Through hard work, goal setting, dedication and guidance, Ches has been successful on this journey. For more than a year, he has been a member of the Y and shortly after starting, he had lost 136 pounds.

He believes being motivated is one key to his success. The motivation he needs comes from his faith in God, his family, kind words, and the success of others. His workout plan includes eating six small meals a day and spending 45 minutes a day working out with weights and doing cardio activities. He has access to fitness coaches to help guide him along the way.

Ches follows his motto, “don’t do anything you can’t do every day for the rest of your life.” His overall goal is to be healthy and have an active lifestyle so he can continue to keep up with his daughters. His advice to other people who are trying to lose weight is, “you are capable of far more than you could ever imagine; press on and pursue greatness.” Ches is truly and inspiration.

The Y brings people together every day, providing opportunities to promote healthier decisions that support physical, intellectual and spiritual strength. Track your fitness through our new app, yConnect. Download today!

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By Mayo Clinic Staff
Downloaded 4/28/2016:

You know fitness is important for your health and well-being. And you want to get more active, but your days are a blur of work, household chores, errands, and time with family and friends. Setting aside enough time to sleep — let alone exercise — can be tough.

So how can you find time for fitness? The key is to be flexible and make fitness a way of life. And remember all physical activity — not just formal exercise programs — adds up to a healthier you.

Fitting in fitness at home

Time spent at home doesn’t have to be couch potato time. To make fitness a priority at home:

  • Wake up early. Get up 30 minutes earlier than you normally do and use the extra time to walk on your treadmill or take a brisk walk around the neighborhood.
  • Make chores count. Mop the floor, scrub the bathtub or do other housework at a pace fast enough to get your heart pumping. Outdoor work counts, too. Mowing the lawn with a push mower is a great way to burn calories. Raking and hoeing strengthen your arms and back, and digging works your arms and legs.
  • Be active while watching TV. Use hand weights, ride a stationary bike or do a stretching routine during your favorite shows. Get off the couch to change the channel or adjust the volume.
  • Involve the whole family. Take group walks before or after dinner. Play catch. Ride your bikes. It’s best to build up to about 30 minutes of continuous activity, but you can exercise in shorter bursts, too.
  • Get your dog into the act. Take daily walks with Fido or Fluffy. If you don’t have a dog, borrow one. An enthusiastic dog may give you the motivation you need to lace up your walking shoes.

Work out at work

To fit in more physical activity while you’re on the job:

  • Make the most of your commute. Walk or bike to work. If you ride the bus, get off a few blocks early and walk the rest of the way.
  • Take the stairs whenever you can. If you have a meeting on another floor, get off the elevator a few floors early and use the stairs. Better yet, skip the elevator entirely.
  • Take fitness breaks. Rather than hanging out in the lounge with coffee or a snack, take a short walk. Or invite colleagues to join you for a walking meeting.
  • Start a walking group. The regular routine and the support of your co-workers may help you stick with the program.
  • Put it on the calendar. Schedule physical activity as you would any other appointment during the day. Don’t change your exercise plans for every interruption that comes along.
  • Take it on the road. If you travel for work, plan ahead. Bring your jump-rope or choose a hotel that has fitness facilities. If you’re stuck in an airport waiting for a plane, grab your bags and take a walk.

More tips for fitting in fitness

Here are a few more ways you can add more activity to your routine:

  • Get more out of errands. When you go to the mall or grocery store, park toward the back of the lot and walk the extra distance. If you have a little extra time, walk inside for a lap or two before you start shopping. Keep a pair of walking shoes in your car so that you’re ready when you find a few minutes for exercise.
  • Get social. Make a date with a friend to hike in a local park, or take a family trip to the zoo. Try a dance club, hiking group or golf league. Encouragement from others can help you stay with a new activity.
  • Team up. Sign up for a softball, soccer or volleyball team through your local parks and recreation department. Making a commitment to a team is a great motivator.
  • Join the club. Sign up for a group exercise class at a nearby gym or fitness center. The cost may be an added incentive to stick with it.

There’s no single best way to fit physical activity into your day. Your lifestyle, job and family responsibilities will point to the most convenient time and place for fitness. Do what works for you — and make daily physical activity a habit you keep.

The YMCA is here to help and is the perfect place for women to begin, re-commit, or continue an exercise routine to strengthen your spirit, mind and body. We’re friendly, smart, caring, and excited to work with you on your health goals. Our certified personal trainers, group exercise instructors, and wellness center instructors can design, lead, and suggest classes that best suit your wellness needs. And all YMCA staffs are CPR and first aid certified.

Here at the Y we have classes and programs that burn calories and will get your pulse racing. We have a long list of choice classes like Group Cycling, SandBell, RIPPED, Zumba, Turbo Kick, Water Fitness and many more on land or in the water* (*at selected locations) so you can find the classes that suit you best — high-intensity & high impact to low-intensity & low impact — we have classes for all fitness levels. And our expert wellness center instructors and personal trainers can design a personalized cardio and/or strength training program just for you. We even have nutrition consultations at some locations.

The YMCA suggests you check with your doctor to make sure you are healthy enough to begin your exercise plan.

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Our mission is to put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all.