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YMCA MEMBER FITNESS CHALLENGES

YMCA, as we all know, stands for Young Men’s Christian Association. It was founded on 6th June 1844 by George Williams in London. This organization is based in Geneva, Switzerland with more than 58 million beneficiaries from 125 national associations. YMCA’S primary goal is to put Christian principles into practice. This goal is achieved by developing a healthy spirit, mind and body. This organization has shown rapid growth and has become worldwide movement founded on principles of muscular Christianity.

30 DAY CHALLENGE- YMCA of Greater Louisville

It’s composed of 3 exercise challenges namely;

  • Abdominals
  • Thighs and Glutes
  • Arms

You have the freedom of choosing any of the above. The challenge is simple and yields positive character that will enormously help you along the way. Following simple daily program not only reinforces your confidence but also motivates you to press on.

You will be provided with exercise sheets with daily exercises in it – inclusive of rest days. You are then expected to adhere to the daily routine either in your home or the wellness center.

Upon completion of the challenge, you are required to plan an appointment with the center’s healthy living coach and do the exercises assigned for the 30th day. After, there is a prize to be won.  This challenge charges $10 regardless of whether one is a YCMA member, program member or a guest.

FINISH STRONG 50 WORKOUT CHALLENGE- Jefferson city area YMCA

The challenge comes at the end of summer where a large number of people are busy. Then, Work takes over, and we tend to neglect our body fitness. This challenge, therefore, presents an excellent time to regain your health and fitness goals starting October 1st all the way to December 31st.

The aim of the challenge

  • To complete 50 times workouts: this implies a weekly average of 4 times exercise.

Registration is from October 1st to November 5th.  You are required to log your workouts on the tracking sheet. Upon filling the first sheet, you qualify for the halfway mark. Then submit to the welcome desk of any of the Jefferson city area YMCA locations, and you will receive exceptional t-shirt exclusively to finish strong challengers.  Also, after 25 workouts, one can also receive a t-shirt.

As soon as you complete the 50 times workout,  turn in your completed sheet, and you will enter into YMCA prizes draw inclusive of personal training sessions and free membership months. You can also earn bonus entries when you check into YMCA on Facebook after the workout.

The charges are $20. There is no better way of finishing the year stronger and fitter other than being part of 50 times workout.

Young Men’s Christian Association fitness challenges offer everyone an exciting opportunity to the world of fitness and healthy living. The organization charges a small fee, but the outcome is unbelievable. The challenges organized are simple, and anyone can participate in them at any given time. Also, these challenges enhance youth development and social responsibility. A life in YMCA member fitness challenge is an all positive life.

 

 

 

Top unexpected benefits of working out

In the last post, we talked about actions you can take to encourage yourself to work out. Well, if you haven’t found any reason that motivates you to start a healthier life, you should read the following benefits of exercising. You may not see it right now but being active can change your life forever and you’ll be grateful.

The most important thing isn’t losing weight or having that “beach body”, exercising has more benefits and meaning than those aspects, from your daily happiness to your mental health. Regular training is a habit that everybody should have to enhance the quality of life, so do not be discouraged, you can do it!

Here you have some surprising benefits of exercising that you probably did not know:

  1. Stress-free. As soon as you start walking on the treadmill or in a cross trainer, your tension will start to blow off completely. Exercising is like a soothing, it will increase some chemicals in your brain that will help you to be a stress-free person. Is a fact that working out will decrease any negative feeling as anxiety, depression, etc. Plus, exercising frequently produce positive feelings and thoughts that will reduce your perception of pain.
  2. Improves learning. Yes, that’s right. Exercising will increase chemicals in your brain called growth factor that makes easier learning. When you play tennis or you dance, you’re challenging your brain because he needs to coordinate and improve your capacity. So, you don’t have to be in a gym if you don’t like it, choose any sport or activity that you’ll enjoy and you’ll notice great changes in your life.
  3. Boost self-esteem. When you make exercising a habit, you’ll start feeling better about yourself. Every time you look yourself in the mirror, you’ll feel a confidence you didn’t have before. Doesn’t matter how intense your workout is, from running to go to a gym, any activity will make you feel better about your body image.
  4. Better skin. Working out can be the best thing for your skin. Every time you exercise you’re increasing the blood flow to your body, which means your skin is receiving a new dose of nutrients and oxygen. The most effective exercises to ameliorate your skin are those where you challenge your muscles with your own bodyweight. Example: planks, lunges, and any resistance activity.
  5. Refine memory. Regular physical activity will help you to boost your memory and learn new things. While you’re exercising you’re producing cells that are the hippocampus responsible for your memory. Exercising will reduce your chances to suffer ay memory disease like Alzheimer’s.
  6. Better nights. Working out on a daily basis will help you to sleep faster and have comfortable nights improving your quality of sleep. Is recommended to do it early inasmuch as when you exercise at night, you’ll boost your energy. Find the perfect spot during your day to make sure you’ll have pleasant nights.

What do you think? Are you ready now to change your life for better? Cheer up!

Smart tips to encourage yourself to work out

“I want to work out,” “I want to start a healthy lifestyle,” have you ever said those things without any result? Don’t stress yourself, starting a new habit is very complicated and we’ll share with you some great tips to encourage you to start your resolution. The first thing you need to do besides just say it out loud is really getting your mind on board. Feel it, desire it, focus on it. You can do it! Try the following tips, and you’ll make it.

Determine your purpose. Why? It’s the question that you should ask yourself. If you want to start a new healthy lifestyle, you must be clear about the reasons for starting a big commitment to this one. For you should be the response; to feel better, being healthier, fell more energized, being stronger, gain self-confidence, and so on.

Say bye to negative thoughts. You have not started, and yet, negative thoughts pop up into your mind. Don’t let them! Identify the possible obstacles and think positive strategies to overcome them.

Love yourself. You’re beautiful the way you are; your body is a unique machine that makes everything possible, be gentle. Exercising is not only for the abs you’ll see, is you’re your wellness.

Buy your clothing. You’ll feel motivated if you wear something that you like. Buy the outfit you want and be ready for starting your new journey.

Plan your workout schedule. If you don’t know how to organize your time because you have a lot of work, activities, children, etc. Set aside a few minutes and plan your workout schedule. Commit yourself to your calendar, if you write something in there is non-negotiable, just go.

Don’t forget your playlist. Music can be your biggest ally, don’t forget it. Music can make you feel motivated and happier.

Consider a personal trainer. If you don’t know much about what you should do, consider a personal trainer that will help you to elaborate the best plan for you. Be open to new ideas, workouts routine, and be enthusiastic. You can do it!

Start slow. Flexibility, cardio, and strength. Don’t rush yourself; if you’re starting, you should begin with flexibility workouts that will help you to increase your blood circulation. Try incorporating light cardio routines to invigorate your mind and body. After you feel motivate and ready to make a step further, add strength workouts.

Track your workout. Keep a journal or use an app to record your progress. You’ll feel proud of yourself when you know you’re aware of your development.

Pause if you need it. Whenever you feel that your muscles sore after an intense workout, you can take a rest day if you consider. Also, you have to be aware of your mental health; if you feel overwhelmed, your mind deserves a rest too.

Don’t quit! If you finally started a new habit, stick to it. “One of the greatest moments in life is realizing that two weeks ago, your body couldn’t do what it just did.”

Planning Your Workout Week

With the new year still in its infancy, what are some of the resolutions you made and want to see through? If one of them is to get back in shape, then there are things that you need to work out in order to realize your fitness goals. For this reason, the Y has done some research for you on some of the ways to reach these goals. Here is a weekly workout plan that we believe will do you good. So, if you are interested, read on.

But before moving any further, it is worth noting that a lot of people struggle when they start to work out and that even includes dedicated athletes. Therefore, one of the most important things that you need when venturing into getting fit is dedication, plus lots of motivation – you really need to motivate yourself.

So, how do you come up with a workout schedule you will follow? Here’s advice and some tips that we believe will help you plan an exercise program you can commit to.

Set Goals That Are Reasonably Within Your Lifestyle

Before coming up with a weekly workout plan, it is essential that you, first of all, assess your current activity level stand. Do you have any physical limitations? Ever had a fitness plan before? What amount of time a week can you dedicate to work out? The answers you give to these questions will be the foundation on which your workout schedule will be built on. Setting an unachievable plan is a waste of time, and you’d be letting yourself down. Therefore, consider your availability and ability to commit and work around that.

Schedule Your Workouts Like They Are an Important Appointment with Your Boss

I can bet that you’d never cancel a meeting with the boss. I know I’m right! It is, therefore, vital that you carry your fitness plan with the same importance. With a goal in mind, come up with workout times and add them to your calendar like you would your appointments. Once you’ve done that, force yourself to avoid canceling them and block out time in your day to exercise as if it is something you value – just like your career.

Settle For A Place You’re Going To Work Out

Decide on where you want to go work out. Is it at home? The gym? A class with friends? Or running outside? Considering such details to the narrowest detail will help you create a consistent routine. It is important that you find your preferred workout location first; consider different options.

Decide Work Out Routine

Once you’ve decided on the above details, the fun part can begin. Start by determining your workout activities. The great thing is that there are plenty of options. It is, therefore, important that you pick exercises and workouts that suit your body. There are guidelines that you could follow when it comes to this. For instance, physicians suggest 180-minutes of aerobic activities every week and about two to three days of strength training. It is also advisable that you set apart days of rest to give your body a chance to recover.

Once you are done with planning, it is time to put things into perspective. Here are a couple of tips that will help you stay accountable to your fitness plan.

Find Someone To Keep You In Check

If you find it hard to motivate yourself, then consider finding a workout partner that you can go to the gym with. This way, it will be harder for you to cancel plans since you will already have committed to another person that you can work out with.

Try Out New Things

It is also advisable that you consider trying out new and different things when exercising. Adding variety to your workout regimen, will spice things up and keep you motivated. This way, it will be easier to enjoy your workouts and to build endurance.

Reward Yourself

Reward yourself every time you meet your weekly workout goals – do not be afraid of celebrating your achievements! Doing so will keep you motivated to continue following your workout routines.

Have any extra tips on how to plan a workout week? Feel free to share with us. For any questions on fitness plans, you should consider exploring, contact us today and we’ll be more than glad to help you out.

Nutrition Hacks For A Healthier You

People, in general, have become increasingly committed to better health. As such, the YMCA is dedicated to having their members be the best version of themselves. Top of the line amenities, professional staff, being some of the ways YMCA aims to bring about holistic health. Being healthy is much more than the exercises or exertions that you put your body through. The YMCA is always invested in finding out how to make nutrition a topic that their members be fully knowledgeable in.

Today, we’ll be discussing some hacks that may be the key to being healthier!

Nutrition Hack 1: Water up

A lot of YMCA members fall prey to the latest trend in health beverages. Not that we blame you. It can be pretty tempting to get into something that many have claimed to have worked wonders for them. Protein shakes and juice cleanses are just some of these trends. What a lot of people don’t realize is that the best beverage for a healthier version of themselves has been readily available for years. Of course, we’re talking about plain old H20.

The human body is made up of mostly water and it also relies on water to help perform different functions. Our bodies uses lots of water and it would be in our best interest to keep replenishing it. It is best if YMCA members make water their first choice as a beverage. Summer is coming up and water will help cool bodies while they enjoy vigorous physical activities.

Nutrition Hack 2: Quality Snooze Time!

The importance of getting enough quality sleep cannot be overstated. Getting proper rest is as important as proper diet and exercise.

Poor sleeping habits can drive insulin resistance, throw appetite hormones off their groove, and reduce physical and mental performance. Since the YMCA is committed to the overall better health of their members, suitable emphasis is placed on quality sleep.

Non-quality sleep is one of the strongest individual risk factors for future weight gain and obesity. It increases this risk by 89% in children and 55% in adults. So if this is something you’s want to avoid–get started on training yourself for quality sleep.

Nutrition Hack 3: Let Your Plate Shrink!

Studies have shown that using smaller plates can be an effective strategy for reducing the quantity of food intake. The tendency to fill that plate when serving food often leads to a larger portion in sizes than what is needed.

To combat this, consider serving your meals on smaller plates in general. In the event of wanting seconds, prep additional servings of fruit and vegetables instead of a more calorie rich viand. Vegetables and fruits are the “default” health food of choice. This is for a very good reason. They are loaded with prebiotic fiber, vitamins, minerals, and all sorts of antioxidants. Some of these have potent biological effects.

Studies have shown that people who eat the most vegetables and fruits live longer. They also have lower risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and all sorts of diseases. So not only are you lessening the usually large amount of food you take in, you’re also getting more fiber and vitamins!

Trainer Relevance in 2017 is Questionable?

We’ve received some interesting feedback with our previous discussion. We’re quite thankful for that! One of the topics that met with a number of requests is to discuss trainers in the YMCA setting. This is quite understandable as those who are wholly invested in the YMCA experience want to get the most of it. A trainer will always be available to help any member reach their health goal.

However, there has been some views that express the contrary. They wonder, with the availability of information regarding best health practices, are trainers still relevant? While YMCA does encourage their members to be proactive about practices and routines that the deem most suitable for them, having a trainer can only benefit members more. How so?

A YMCA Trainer Is Up To Date With Best Practices

In the branches we’ve consulted for our sustainability research, we got to converse with several trainers and asked them regarding new age practices and how it may affect them. In the age of online and digital learning possibilities, YMCA trainers have made it a priority to be discerning. They take the time to learn new trends and develop their own findings based on their own experiences.

Trainers are still crucial in the quest for a healthier lifestyle. They come armed with the necessary hands-on experience to help members carve out a path that best suits them. Yes, information is more readily available to whoever seeks it. However, there is really no replacing the human element. The human interaction that people often crave. Sadly, it also because of technological advancements that people are often feeling disconnected from others and their community.

A YMCA Trainer Is A Cause-Driven Leader

A trainer isn’t just someone who encourages people. A YMCA trainer is also a cause-driven leader who will employ time tested methods in each session. Strong leadership helps to encourage long-term change in the younger set of members. Trainers are and have always been driven to espouse the four core values of respect, responsibility, honesty, and caring upon every person they come across.

It isn’t just about having a healthy body. It’s also about having a healthy outlook on life and becoming a positive addition to the community. With society becoming increasingly agitated, it is even more important that positive leaders exist in our lives. It is crucial to be able to reach out and make a connection at a deeper level.

One of the best things about the YMCA experience is that the organization is your partner in your growth both in body and in personal development. Recently, diversity and inclusion are both important topics that have dominated the strata of conversation. YMCA trainers understand this and strive to incorporate leadership driven competencies in their interactions with both the youth and the adult members of this organization.

So even in the year of 2017, trainers are still quite relevant. In fact, having a trainer has never been quite as relevant as it is today. The entire process of staying relevant falls under the category of self-development and by working to do so, trainers are not only enhancing their teaching skills, they’re bettering themselves, and their community as a whole.

Take Advantage of Your YMCA Membership

Previously, we’ve tackled the methods in which the YMCA can improve their sustainability. Now, we turn our attentions to helping our audience with their YMCA experience. Today, we’ll discuss the ways in which you can take advantage of your YMCA membership.

We’ve established that the YMCA is more than just a gym–it is a point that the YMCA itself has been pushing to its audiences. It’s goal is to lead its members to healthier and happier lives using the YMCA resources available for use.

Take advantage by establishing and maintaining a schedule

A lot of members neglect the opportunity to get fit and healthy as they may think they’re ‘too busy’ or ‘don’t have enough time’. However, a focused mindset is necessary at achieving success. You can fully take advantage of your YMCA membership by setting a clear schedule of when to go and sticking to it.

Let’s say you pick out Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday to work out. Establishing hours within those days and keeping to that schedule will ensure that you are actually getting the workout you need even if it’s a small start.

Take advantage by making use of the childcare services

A common excuse used by members who have children is that there is no one to mind their children. YMCA have staff that are more than happy to watch your child for you while you work out. Members can take advantage of the childcare services available at the branches of YMCA.

It is important to never forget that family membership includes access to childcare. Competent staff are on-hand at no extra charge to mind and entertain your children while you can get started on your health routine. The kids are given a great time at a safe, educational, and enriching environment while you become good examples of being healthy. Also, working out is a good way to battle the stress of parenting.

Take advantage by actively seeking feedback and asking questions

It has been a common sight that after a health class, members are rushing out the door. Members can take advantage of their membership more by sticking around after classes and actively seeking feedback or by approaching the instructors with any concerns.

Not only will this improve your personal routine, you can also help improve the class by offering feedback. If approaching the instructor isn’t your thing, you can fill out a comment card. These are located on the fitness desk and by the front desk. YMCA strives to constantly improve their services and you can help them reach this by offering your thoughts and questions.

Take advantage by getting the whole family involved

It is common knowledge that activities are more fun when shared with loved ones. So a pretty good way to take advantage of your membership is getting the whole family involved. Having your partner along with help keep motivate up for the whole of the routine. Having your kids see your seriousness as getting or staying healthy, it’ll lay the foundation for their own healthy lifestyles.

Children and teens can join the many different programs available for the youth like team sports, the YMCA camp for the summer, or even an after school program. Doing age-appropriate workouts is a great way to live healthy lives.

With this, it’s time to get started on a healthier routine for the new year!

The Importance of Sustainability

In line with the discussion in the previous post, we’ll take a more in-depth discussion on sustainability. In the recent decade, more and more organizations are coming to understanding the need for sustainability. To begin with, the concept of sustainability—particularly for an organization, is a complex one. The sustainability of an organization is often misunderstood and is usually believed to be related to the financial aspect of an organization.

This is the usual misconception as when an organization is no longer sustainable the symptoms mostly reflect itself in the group’s finances. Just what is sustainability anyway? Sustainability is the concept of a natural system function that must remain diverse and able to produce the needs of a system in order to retain its balance. In business, the concept of sustainability becomes known as corporate sustainability. This would be the management and coordination of environmental, social, and financial demands and issues to secure responsible, ethical, and continued success. In order for YMCA to continue its presence, it needs to meet their triple bottom line.

Corporations, organizations, and others can enjoy some very clear benefits to adopting a sustainable business plan for themselves. Adopting a sustainable business practice will save money in the long run. Employing technologies or practices that cut down the waste in energies and resources will better generate income. This occurs since the employees or different department members keep their energies directed to better projects, keeping their time productive. Keeping the concept of sustainability as an overall theme in your marketing concepts can and will boost an organization’s market share. When an organization trims the fat, so to speak, their better processes will put forth a stronger and positive reputation that will attract the interest of smart investors, new customers, and even the information hungry media.

An even more attractive benefit to maintaining a sustainable market plan in an organization is that it will help attract and maintain employees. A business or organization with a clear direction and clear sustainable practices will be like a platter of honey for eager and highly qualified employees.

A good example of an organization that is currently reaping the rewards of sustainability practices is Disney. They integrated environmental practices when the decided to run their trains on biodiesel. This helped show that Disney was committed in creating a sustainable resource to keep their trains running for a long period that would not up their operational costs. This showed investors that Disney would be looking for more sustainable means and will be around for much longer.

The YMCA truly needs to enact clear and effective sustainable practices in all their branches to lower their operational costs and to attract new members and investors. Their goal should be to enact practices that will extend the timeline for the return of investment but once initiated will lead to an increase in their profits. There might be a bit of a spike on costs for now but will lead to an enhanced performance across the board in all aspects of their business.

Sustainability Education

The third part of the plan focuses on sustainability education for the 2,000 children that are served daily by YMCA employees across 50 childcare sites.  The YMCA offers full and part time daycare for infants and toddlers, after school childcare, kindergarten childcare, as well as holiday and vacation camps.  Because the YMCA reaches such a broad base of capital region children from all socio-economic backgrounds, this is an essential place to implement simple, but long-lasting sustainability lessons.

Sustainability education fits in very closely with the other aspects of our strategic plan and highlights the YMCA’s mission to build strong kids, strong families, and strong communities through programs that build healthy mind, body, and spirit – a mission statement that the YMCA is working to bring back to the forefront of their organization.  Studies are beginning to emerge that show the importance of sustainability education to children.  It is in the early childhood period that children begin to develop their basic values, attitudes, skills, and habits which they carry with them throughout their lives.  This is a perfect opportunity to develop these behaviors in a way that supports sustainable development.  It is important that while the lessons have overarching themes, they also have local relevance that children can directly relate to, as this will give the lessons real meaning and impact.  The YMCA provides an ideal setting for this, as the lessons can be shaped to properly support each location.  A useful framework for shaping sustainable education center around the integration of three key themes:  a foundation of ecological ethics (respect, compassion, sustainability), the overarching focus of climate change / global warming and renewable energy, and a backdrop of environmental and ecosystem health.  These themes build on one another to create a basic knowledge of sustainability that stays with children when they go home and as they grow older.

The initial target for this education should be the after-school programs offered at the YMCA branches.  While the staff will have had exposure to the role of sustainability at the YMCA during orientation, we feel that a partnership may be beneficial in providing basic sustainability lessons to both the staff and the children.  There is no specific curriculum in an after-school program, as it basically serves as a place for the students to work on homework with the guidance of the staff.  We would encourage the YMCA to explore a relationship with the University at Albany Go Green program, specifically with the direction of environmental sustainability.  There is a program that will begin in the fall of 2011 in which 60 students at the University at Albany will be part of a living and learning sustainability program on campus.  Through coordination between the YMCA and the University at Albany, a program can be created in which these college students can volunteer monthly at all of the branches, providing simple sustainability lessons to the children of the after-school programs.  The YMCA should concentrate initially on green tips, such as recycling programs and simple energy saving measures that the children can translate to their home life.  The SUNY students can also do relevant arts & crafts projects to make these lessons fun and easy to understand.  There can be relevant tie-in to homework as well by using topics like math and science to reinforce sustainability.  For example, in a school in Florida, four students with strengths in math measured the amount of paper collected in recycling bins and converted these measurements to number of trees saved.  The students then hung a huge bar graph of trees saved at the entrance of school.

There are also opportunities for community impact and fundraising, as well as whole-family programs offered in the evening that could help increase the YMCA’s impact on the community as a whole.  The YMCA in conjunction with SUNY Albany could implement Go Green Nights to help bring the message of sustainability to the parents of the children, as well as all of the members of the branch.  This would be a beneficial relationship to both the YMCA and SUNY Albany to provide the message to the community that both organizations are working together to bring sustainability to the Capital Region.

After one year of the program, it would be important to update the executive team and board on the status of the initiative and how it has helped to highlight sustainability at the YMCA to the children it serves, as well as their families, the members of the YMCA, and the community as a whole.  This would help to achieve board buy-in to education initiatives and allow for the possible expansion of sustainability education to other segments of children within the YMCA.  For example, the same themes and lessons indirectly taught during daycare can be applied to camp programs as well; there’s an Earth Day, why not make an Earth Week?

Final Proposal Part 3

Measuring the Effect of the Green Team
The YMCA should create impact surveys that can be handed out to the employees and placed on the YMCA website. At first, these will measure the employees’ personal sustainability efforts and their current knowledge of the YMCA’s green initiatives. Later in the year, the surveys can be modified to see if there is improvement in employee motivation, inspiration, retention, or excitement towards the YMCA’s initiatives. The Green Team can also track the number of employees that have gone through the updated orientation program and the children that have taken part in the after school programs and “Go Green” events.

Costs and Benefits of a Green Team
The primary cost of the Green Team is that all individuals involved in the Green Team must take some time away from work in order to participate. Although we are unable to quantify the cost, the benefits are numerous. Carrie Freeman, a Corporate Sustainability Strategist at Intel, stated,

“When it comes to looking at ways to reduce our footprint, we very much see a direct correlation between reducing our costs and engaging our employees. Be it changing light bulbs, turning off the lights or getting your employees to innovate greener solutions in their jobs, engaging your employees to identify easy, low cost efficiency initiatives can result in significant cost savings.”
Libby Reder, Head of Environmental Initiatives at eBay, believes that their green team is one of main reasons some employees choose to stay with eBay. According to eBay’s recruiters, the presence of their green team also allows them to attract the best talent because the green team gives employees an outlet for their personal interests and shows the authenticity of the organization’s commitment to becoming more sustainable. PwC’s Managing Tomorrow’s People survey, found that 86% of employees surveyed would consider leaving an employer whose corporate responsibility behavior no longer met their expectations. Furthermore, a recent poll on green employment by MonsterTRAK.com found that 80% of young professionals are interested in securing a job that has a positive impact on the environment, and 92% would be more inclined to work for a company that is environmentally friendly. In regard to employee turnover, Reder believes that the presence of a green team helps to raise morale and improve an employee’s loyalty toward eBay because it is engaging. According to the popular book Engaged!, losing and having to replace an employee can cost more than 70% of an employee’s annual salary. If the YMCA were to create a green team as part of its sustainability strategy, it would likely reap many of the aforementioned benefits.

 

Part 2 – Integrating Sustainability into Employee Orientation
In order to build sustainability into the YMCA’s culture, awareness needs to be created in the beginning. Currently, the YMCA’s employee orientation is 4 hour long, which includes 2 hours of relationship training at the administrative office on customer service and 2 hours of new employee orientation at branches on a rotating basis. The new employee orientation covers everything the employees should know about the YCMA: its history, mission, culture, safety issues, rules, expectations, etc. We believe that the YMCA should also incorporate 15 minutes of discussion on the topic of sustainability. Before this can be done however, the trainers need to be trained.

At the Guilderland branch of the YMCA, new employee orientation is handled by Patrick Barrington, John J. Hayden, and 2-3 other individuals known as the Orientation Task Force. These five individuals need to completely understand sustainability before they can teach others about it, so they will need some form of training. The SUNY Albany Sustainability Program offers free education on the topic of sustainability. Working in conjunction with members of the SUNY Albany Sustainability Program, Mr. Barrington, Mr. Hayden, and the Orientation Task Force, can develop a standardized video and/or PowerPoint presentation on sustainability for use in the YMCA orientation program; it would be seen as a message from the CEO. This video and/or PowerPoint would likely debut in the Guilderland YMCA, and eventually be used across all YMCAs with the approval of the CEO. As the CDYMCA is currently re-vamping their training process, this new initiative can be built in immediately.

The 15-minute sustainability part of employee orientation can be divided into 3 sections (see below). While part of the presentation should include a standardized message for all YMCA orientations, some sections will need to be tailored to each branch, at the discretion of the management team, depending on specific programs and service offerings.

Section 1 – This is an introduction to the importance of sustainability. This would likely contain the video and/or presentation standardized for all YMCAs. Two potential items that could be included are: (1) an indication of why sustainability is important to the employees and to the CDYMCA and (2) how the actions of the employees can impact the environment and the organization.

Section 2 – This provides a specific description of what the YMCA has done in the past to become more sustainable. For example, by implementing paper reduction rules (double-sided printing, use of recycled paper, limited packaging), the YMCA has reduced its paper usage by about 25%, saving approximately one million sheets of paper. The advantages of implementing the solar panels in Guilderland YMCA facility should be introduced as an example as well.

Section 3 – The final section could include suggestions of how the employees can help the YMCA continue to progress toward sustainability in the future. Here, employees could be introduced to the Green Team, informed about what the team does, and encouraged to participate in and/or join the team. In addition, new employees could be encouraged to “like” the Green Team’s YMCA Facebook page, should the YMCA choose to put that on the existing page. As an example specific actions that employees can take to make their office green, see Exhibit 1 and Exhibit 2 in the appendix.

Costs and Benefits of Integrating Sustainability into Employee Orientation
There are two costs to integrating sustainability into employee orientation: (1) The time spent educating the five individuals who will be training the employees, and (2) the time required to create the video and/or PowerPoint presentation customized for the YMCA. The total time spent on these two areas should only be a couple of hours. The benefits to this would be more engaged employees and an important reminder that the employees can have a huge effect on the success of the YMCA.