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Creating Positive Experiences for Youth

I stand high above the ground and tell myself; the opportunity is mine, I need to seize it, just go for it. Encouraging words ring in my ears; I can’t let this moment pass by me. As I step off the zipline platform, the wind slips over my skin. I feel a rush of adrenaline pulse through my body. My heart beats as though it could explode as I soar quickly over the earth below. Could this be happening? I feel free from all worry; the world is mine and I can do anything I set my mind to. Am I afraid? Yes! Did I conquer that to experience a feeling I will never forget? Yes! I have done something exciting, something I could have never done without being at this camp. I’m not sitting in front of my computer or wandering the streets looking for something to do -anything to occupy my time. People believe in me! I believe in myself! Camp Kekoka brings out the best in kids.

Have you ever felt anything like this? Let’s make this feeling a reality for campers at our sleep-away camp, Camp Kekoka. Join us to help get S’More for kids! What is S’More for kids? It is a high & low ropes course, climbing tower, & zipline which equals S’More memories, S’More fun, S’More life changing moments at CAMP KEKOKA! The goal is to raise $80,000. We have a $40,000 grant if we raise the other $40,000. So, for every dollar you give we get 2 – now that’s S’More!

We can’t do it without you, help us reach our goal!

Be part of building an adventure and making a difference in a child’s life. Donate before November 11 to make this dream come true for generations to come!

Help a child, donate today.

Your gift matters, whether it is $10, $100 or $1000. Here’s why: highcourse

Ropes Courses, Climbing Towers and Ziplines help children with:

  1. Self Esteem
  2. Confidence
  3. Focus and Concentration
  4. Hand-Eye Coordination
  5. Problem-Solving Skills
  6. Overcoming Fears
  7. Trust and Teamwork
  8. Physical Strength
  9. Setting and Achieving Goals
  10. Stress Reduction
  11. Building Relationships
  12. Sense of Accomplishment



By Sheryl M. Ness, R.N. September 3, 2015

Having a diagnosis of cancer can take over your life. This is especially true during the intense period of initial diagnosis, treatment and immediate recovery. All of a sudden, you become defined by your diagnosis. Your life is filled with doctor’s appointments, tests, scans, treatment and check-ups. You may no longer be working, and roles may have shifted at home as well as with friends.

It’s easy to lose yourself during this time. However, you aren’t defined by your cancer. What makes you you? Find ways to reconnect with your many life accomplishments during this time. Never lose sight of the gifts that you have. Perhaps it is your ability to make others laugh, or your love of adventure, music, art, reading or photography.

As you consider what makes you happy, try to think of creative ways to keep the strong connection to doing what you love. Here are a few ideas:

  1. Make a short list of what defined you before you were diagnosed with cancer (mother, father, friend, runner, engineer, traveler, artist, musician, etc.)
  2. Go through the list and make notes next to the things that are the most important to you at the moment.
  3. Create a new list to keep the things that you love in your life during this time.
  4. Add anything new that you’d like to accomplish, including steps on how you think you might accomplish your goals.

When the Mayo Clinic teaches their Moving Forward after Cancer Treatment class, they try to encourage participants to write down a few ideas to bring back the things that are meaningful to them. This idea also gives you permission to not think of yourself as your cancer diagnosis, but who you are as a person. It’s so wonderful to see the person light up as they talk about what’s important to them.

Consider what defines you as a person. How have you reconnected with yourself during and after treatment? Try the ideas above and share your experience with other cancer survivors.


By Sheryl M. Ness, R.N. July 2, 2015

If you’re a caregiver for a person who is going through cancer treatment, you’re probably giving your all to them as they endure it.

It’s so essential for the person living with cancer to take the time to heal their body and recover. However, if you’re the caregiver, it’s also important to take care of yourself.

Taking care of yourself includes nurturing both your mind and body. It may include reconnecting with what brings you energy, happiness and joy. The following are a few ideas to help you reconnect and start your self-care plan:

  1. Be grateful and appreciate what you have
  2. Take time every day to smile and laugh
  3. Enjoy 5-10 minutes to relax, breathe deeply and just be alone
  4. Eat well to nourish your body
  5. Read a good book
  6. Enjoy nature
  7. Set priorities and make a plan
  8. Listen to music
  9. Invest time and energy in things you value
  10. Learn about something new
  11. Trust yourself
  12.  Connect with your spiritual self
  13. Ask for help whenever you need it
  14. Communicate in an open and honest way
  15. Get plenty of sleep


What is breast cancer?

Cancer is a disease in which cells in the body grow out of control. When cancer starts in the breast, it is called breast cancer. The breast is made up of three main parts: glands, ducts, and connective tissue. Sometimes breast cells become abnormal and grow faster than normal cells. These extra cells form a mass called a tumor. Some tumors are “benign,” or not cancerous. Other tumors are “malignant,” meaning they are cancerous and have the ability to spread to other parts of the breast and body and disrupt normal functions in those areas.

Who gets breast cancer?

All women are at risk for breast cancer. Men can also get breast cancer, but this is rare. Not counting skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer in women of all combined major racial and ethnic groups in the United States. Among Hispanic women, it is the most common cause of death from cancer, and it is the second most common cause of death from cancer among white, black, Asian or Pacific Islander, and American Indian or Alaska Native women.

How can I prevent it?

Scientists are studying how best to prevent breast cancer. Ways to help you lower your risk of getting breast cancer include the following:

  1. Stay physically active by getting regular exercise.
  2. Maintain a healthy weight.
  3. Avoid using hormone replacement therapy (HRT), or find out the risks and benefits of HRT and if it is right for you.
  4. Limit the amount of alcohol that you drink.

What raises a woman’s chance of getting breast cancer?

There are several factors that may affect your risk of developing breast cancer. These include:

  1. Getting older
  2. Not having children, or having your first child later in life
  3. Starting your first menstrual period at an early age
  4. Beginning menopause at a late age
  5. Having a personal history of breast cancer or certain benign breast diseases, such as atypical ductal hyperplasia
  6. Having close family relatives (such as a mother, sister, father, or daughter) who have had breast cancer
  7. Having a genetic condition, such as certain mutations in your BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes
  8. Having been treated with radiation therapy to the breast or chest
  9. Being overweight, particularly after menopause
  10. Using hormone replacement therapy for a long time
  11. Using oral contraceptives
  12. Drinking alcohol
  13. Being physically inactive

What are the symptoms?

When breast cancer starts out, it is too small to feel and does not cause signs and symptoms. As it grows, however, breast cancer can cause changes in how the breast looks or feels. Symptoms may include:

  1. A new lump in the breast
  2. A lump that has changed
  3. A change in the size or shape of the breast
  4. Pain in the breast or nipple that does not go away
  5. Flaky, red, or swollen skin anywhere on the breas.
  6. A nipple that is very tender or that suddenly turns inward
  7. Blood or any other type of fluid coming from the nipple that is not milk when nursing a baby

If you have any of these symptoms, talk to a health care professional. They may be caused by something other than cancer, but the only way to know is to see a health care professional.


The answer: Most people think they come out of the blue–either they strike you down, or (if you’re lucky) they don’t. But that’s where the similarity ends. Far more people die from cancer than get hit by lightning–it’s the second leading cause of death in the United States (heart disease is first).

Current estimates say that 30 percent of all Americans will develop some kind of cancer in their lifetimes, the most common forms being cancer of the skin, lungs, colon and rectum, breast, prostate, urinary tract, and uterus. Of course, that means 70 percent of us won’t get cancer. And luck is only part of the explanation.

Cancer free people may be doing something right–like not smoking, eating the right foods, drinking little or no alcohol, or protecting themselves from workplace chemicals.

Cigarette smoking is estimated to be responsible for 83 percent of all lung cancers.

Diet is considered a factor in 35 percent of all cancers. And other lifestyle factors that increase the risk of cancer include alcohol use, work-related exposure to dangerous chemicals, and exposure to radiation. (But whether or not you practice preventive measures against cancer, it’s a good idea to be alert to early possible signs of the disease. If you can detect cancer early and get proper treatment, your chances for survival increase considerably.)

Check with your doctor if you notice any of the following symptoms.

  1. Any change in bladder or bowel habits
  2. A lump or thickening in the breast (or anywhere else)
  3. Unusual vaginal bleeding or rectal discharge or bleeding
  4. Persistent hoarseness or nagging cough
  5. A sore throat that won’t go away.
  6. Noticeable change in a wart or mole
  7. Indigestion or difficulty swallowing

Source: A YEAR OF HEALTH HINTS – 365 Practical Ways to Feel Better and Live Longer by Don R. Powell. American Institute for Preventive Medicine.

Concerned about cancer prevention? Take charge by making changes such as eating a healthy diet and getting regular screenings.

By Mayo Clinic Staff, downloaded on September 1 from

You’ve probably heard conflicting reports about cancer prevention. Sometimes the specific cancer-prevention tip recommended in one study or news report is advised against in another.

In many cases, what is known about cancer prevention is still evolving. However, it’s well-accepted that your chances of developing cancer are affected by the lifestyle choices you make. So if you’re concerned about cancer prevention, take comfort in the fact that some simple lifestyle changes can make a big difference.

Consider these seven cancer prevention tips:

1. Don’t use tobacco

Using any type of tobacco puts you on a collision course with cancer. Smoking has been linked to various types of cancer — including cancer of the lung, mouth, throat, larynx, pancreas, bladder, cervix and kidney. Chewing tobacco has been linked to cancer of the oral cavity and pancreas. Even if you don’t use tobacco, exposure to secondhand smoke might increase your risk of lung cancer.

Avoiding tobacco — or deciding to stop using it — is one of the most important health decisions you can make. It’s also an important part of cancer prevention. If you need help quitting tobacco, ask your doctor about stop-smoking products and other strategies for quitting.

2. Eat a healthy diet

Although making healthy selections at the grocery store and at mealtime can’t guarantee cancer prevention, it might help reduce your risk. Consider these guidelines:Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Base your diet on fruits, vegetables and other foods from plant sources — such as whole grains and beans.

  • Avoid obesity. Eat lighter and leaner by choosing fewer high-calorie foods, including refined sugars and fat from animal sources.
  • If you choose to drink alcohol, do so only in moderation. The risk of various types of cancer — including cancer of the breast, colon, lung, kidney and liver — increases with the amount of alcohol you drink and the length of time you’ve been drinking regularly.
  • Limit processed meats. A report from the International Agency for Research on Cancer, the cancer agency of the World Health Organization, concluded that eating large amounts of processed meat can slightly increase the risk of certain types of cancer.

In addition, women who eat a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil and mixed nuts might have a reduced risk of breast cancer. The Mediterranean diet focuses on mostly on plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts. People who follow the Mediterranean diet choose healthy fats, like olive oil, over butter and fish instead of red meat.

3. Maintain a healthy weight and be physically active

Maintaining a healthy weight might lower the risk of various types of cancer, including cancer of the breast, prostate, lung, colon and kidney.Physical activity counts, too. In addition to helping you control your weight, physical activity on its own might lower the risk of breast cancer and colon cancer.

Adults who participate in any amount of physical activity gain some health benefits. But for substantial health benefits, strive to get at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic physical activity. You can also do a combination of moderate and vigorous activity. As a general goal, include at least 30 minutes of physical activity in your daily routine — and if you can do more, even better.

5. Protect yourself from the sun

Skin cancer is one of the most common kinds of cancer — and one of the most preventable. Try these tips:

  • Avoid midday sun. Stay out of the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the sun’s rays are strongest.
  • Stay in the shade. When you’re outdoors, stay in the shade as much as possible. Sunglasses and a broad-brimmed hat help, too.
  • Cover exposed areas. Wear tightly woven, loose-fitting clothing that covers as much of your skin as possible. Opt for bright or dark colors, which reflect more ultraviolet radiation than pastels or bleached cotton.
  • Don’t skimp on sunscreen. Use generous amounts of sunscreen when you’re outdoors, and reapply often.
  • Avoid tanning beds and sunlamps. These are just as damaging as natural sunlight.

6. Get immunized

Cancer prevention includes protection from certain viral infections. Talk to your doctor about immunization against:

  • Hepatitis B. Hepatitis B can increase the risk of developing liver cancer. The hepatitis B vaccine is recommended for certain high-risk adults — such as adults who are sexually active but not in a mutually monogamous relationship, people with sexually transmitted infections, intravenous drug users, men who have sex with men, and health care or public safety workers who might be exposed to infected blood or body fluids.
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is a sexually transmitted virus that can lead to cervical and other genital cancers as well as squamous cell cancers of the head and neck. The HPV vaccine is recommended for girls and boys ages 11 and 12. It is also available to both men and women age 26 or younger who didn’t have the vaccine as adolescents.

7. Avoid risky behaviors

Another effective cancer prevention tactic is to avoid risky behaviors that can lead to infections that, in turn, might increase the risk of cancer. For example:

  • Practice safe sex. Limit your number of sexual partners, and use a condom when you have sex. The more sexual partners you have in your lifetime, the more likely you are to contract a sexually transmitted infection — such as HIV or HPV. People who have HIV or AIDS have a higher risk of cancer of the anus, liver and lung. HPV is most often associated with cervical cancer, but it might also increase the risk of cancer of the anus, penis, throat, vulva and vagina.
  • Don’t share needles. Sharing needles with an infected drug user can lead to HIV, as well as hepatitis B and hepatitis C — which can increase the risk of liver cancer. If you’re concerned about drug abuse or addiction, seek professional help.
  • Get regular medical care. Regular self-exams and screenings for various types of cancers — such as cancer of the skin, colon, cervix and breast — can increase your chances of discovering cancer early, when treatment is most likely to be successful. Ask your doctor about the best cancer screening schedule for you.

Take cancer prevention into your own hands, starting today. The rewards will last a lifetime.

Cancer: Clues That Can Save Your Life

Cancer Caregivers

Breast Cancer

Living With Cancer


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The YMCA employs experts in the field of health & fitness. All of our locations have certified personal trainers, group exercise, and wellness center instructors, all of which who are available to help guide, coach, support and inspire your journey to a healthy lifestyle. Enjoy these articles and wellness tips for a healthier and happier you.

October is Cancer Awareness Month

Cancer Prevention: 7 Tips to Reduce Your Risk

Cancer: Clues That Can Save Your Life

Cancer Caregivers

Breast Cancer

Living With Cancer


pinterest-icon Enhance Your Health Board

Healing the Whole Person Board

Educating your children about being safe online may be as fundamentally important as teaching them how to cross the road. The internet makes it easy for youth to see and hear inappropriate content, meet online “friends” that you will probably never know and converse quietly with strangers while sitting right next to you. Parents should understand and accept that their children will grow up differently than those of their generation. This does not mean you have to step back and just watch it happen. Parenting has taken a turn over the years and the bar has been raised!

As your children grow up, invite them to talk with you about what they do online in the same way they do about offline activities. Equip your child so that they don’t feel bad about telling you what they see and do online. There are so many things to consider when teaching your children online safety and ensuring it is happening. To help guide you and narrow down the steps to take depending on their age, click below for an online agreement between you and your child from



Parent Pledge

Did you know that those born between 1977 and 1998—about 83 million people—are making smart choices when it comes to their financial and charitable futures? This is good news considering that the results of the 2015 NMI Healthy Aging Database® study show that one major concern among millennials is having enough money to retire.

Read about the top four financial things millennials are doing right:

  1. Saving for retirement. A recent study conducted by T. Rowe Price found that 40 percent of millennials increased their 401(k) contributions in 2015, which is nearly double that of boomers. In addition, millennials are sticking to their budgets and not overspending, which helps account for the extra contributions to their 401(k) accounts.
  2. Minimal debt. Research shows that nearly 66 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds don’t have a single credit card. Fewer credit cards allows them to handle debt in a way that doesn’t overwhelm their financial situation.
  3. Online savvy. As technology continues to drive our economy and the world at large, millennials are using the internet more than ever before for investment transactions. According to a FICO report, they use email, text messages, websites and mobile apps as their preferred communication channels for most financial institutional interactions.
  4. Donating to charity. As the millennial generation continues to increase their presence in social media, such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, they are being invited to support a myriad of charitable organizations by sharing and/or liking.

Imagine Your Impact at The Peninsula Metropolitan YMCA

Don’t just imagine your impact—make it. To learn more about the impact you can make with a gift to The Peninsula Metropolitan YMCA, please contact Danny Carroll at 757.223.7925 ext 203 or

Achieving Goals at the Y

I’ve always been an active person, but after college, the pounds really began to pack on. I had a vision of being in the military; I wanted to join the United States Air Force. However, I did not meet the weight requirement. This is when I began my weight loss journey. I worked out on my own and was able to drop some weight but after 8 months I hit a plateau. This past March I had my first fitness appointment at the YMCA with my Wellness Coach, Aaron. He was very professional and I was able to share my goals and aspirations.

We began this journey with a shared vision of what the outcome would be if I changed my eating habits and new fitness training principles. Within three weeks I could see my body changing. During the first few months, the workouts were very challenging, but he would not let me give up or quit. I have now lost 15 pounds and reduced my body fat by 9%! Coach Aaron has a saying that will stick with me forever; we are “making a hero.” Because of Aaron and the Y, I am ready to serve my country with pride.

The Y Has Many Opportunities to Help You Achieve Your Goals

Whether you are just starting your journey, stuck on a plateau, or just need a change in your regular fitness routine we’re here to help.

  • You can check out our Personal Training options here and schedule an appointment to meet with one of our Personal Trainers to discuss your well-being goals.
  • Our FITQUEST exercise program can be custom tailored to fit your needs. FITQUEST has something for everyone, all ages and fitness levels. Use FITQUEST’s online tools at home, work, or at the Y. See what it can do for you! Make an appointment with a FITQUEST Coach to get started today.

The Y brings people together every day, providing opportunities to promote healthier decisions that support physical, intellectual and spiritual strength.


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