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The start of summer means more time outdoors by the pool. It also means an increased risk of accidental drowning. Over the weekend, two water tragedies occurred at two separate lakes in our county. I am deeply saddened by the news of these two young children, and additional children that remain in critical condition. My condolences go out to their families and everyone involved. As a father, I can’t imagine the pain they are experiencing after such a tragic loss.

Drowning is fast and silent – it can happen in just 20 seconds. Children will rarely scream, splash, or call out for help. More children ages 1–4 die from drowning than any other cause of death except birth defects. For children ages 1–14, drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury death after motor vehicle crashes.

Before jumping in the water this summer, please remember these few tips to ensure it is a safe, enjoyable experience:
Never swim alone. Teach your children that they should only swim in locations where a lifeguard is on duty or an adult is watching.
Supervise your children whenever they’re in water. Whether it’s bath time or taking a dip in a pool or lake, make sure your children are within arm’s reach of you at all time.
Don’t engage in breath holding activities. Children shouldn’t hold their breath for a prolonged amount of time while swimming, as this can cause drowning and has several other severe physical side-effects.
Wear a Life Jacket: Inexperienced, non-swimmers and kids should wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket.
Don’t jump in the water to save a friend who is struggling in deep water. If a child finds their friend in deep water unexpectedly, their natural reaction may be to jump in the water to try to save them. Even if a child is a great swimmer, a panicked person will overpower them, pulling them underwater with them. The Y’s Safety Around Water program teaches the “reach, throw, don’t go” concept of using a long object to reach for them and pull them to safety. By using these techniques, children can help their friend without compromising their own safety.

Lastly, the Y offers swim lessons for all, regardless of age, income or background. Keeping children safe around water is absolutely critical and one of the most important life skills we as parents can give our children. To learn more about the YMCA of Snohomish County swim programs, visit ymca-snoco.org/swim

In community,

Peyton Tune
President & CEO
YMCA of Snohomish County

YMCA of Snohomish County Youth & Government Teens attend 75th Youth Legislature Conference

Everett, Wash. May 13, 2022. Youth delegates from YMCA of Snohomish County recently participated in the 75th Youth Legislature, a 4-day conference bringing together students from across Washington State to participate in a mock legislative session.

“I am beyond proud of all of the students in our program and seeing their success is why I enjoy what I do,” said Nolan Martin, Senior Director at the Mill Creek Family YMCA. “Of the 26 delegates from Snohomish County, all of them achieved something while in Olympia. For some it was learning to tie a tie, others it was getting their bill passed.”

Youth and Government is a program that brings students in grades 8-12 together to discuss current events and issues important to them and their community, while developing their public speaking, leadership, and debate skills. The program culminates with Youth Legislature, the annual, state-wide conference that brings students together from all over the state to conduct a real legislative session.

Delegates participated in committee debate and floor sessions in hopes to pass a number of bills presented to the legislature. The YMCA of Snohomish County delegation noteworthy highlights:

· Eva Wagner Awarded Evergreen Award by Governor Pilch-Bison

· Charlotte Galusha Awarded Evergreen Award by Governor Pilch-Bison

· Hugh Carter Awarded Cherberg Outstanding Senator

· Ash Griffin Outstanding Service of Fair Elections

· Ann Duan Elected Editor and Chief of the Press for 76th Legislative Session

· Charlotte Galusha Elected Chief Lobbyist Executive for 76th Legislative Session

· Clyde Carter Elected Lt. Governor for 76th Legislative Session

· Taneum Fotheringill Awarded Linda Medcalf Advisor of the Year Award

“We had an amazing experience at this year’s Youth Legislature and I can’t wait to see how these students shine next year,” said Martin. “We are only getting started.”

To learn about the Youth and Government program, please visit: ymca-snoco.org/programs/teens/#yag. Registration opens for the 2022-23 school year on June 1, 2022.

What are the things that have kept me so invested in the YMCA? While there are many reasons that keep me coming back day after day, the most notable and impactful reason would be the community I found here. Everyone holds each other up, friendships can be easily and quickly formed just by a simple game of basketball or ping pong, and anyone, especially kids, can always find the help they may need with school, family, or general well-being.

The YMCA gave me a place to unwind and relax, a place to study, a place to build my health, and a place to connect with people of all different backgrounds. I would often come here after school to work out or do my homework because I didn’t have exercise equipment at home or a reasonably-priced gym near me. And, I didn’t have a quiet space at home to do my work or someone to help me with my homework. At the Y, I found exactly what I needed and more.

I would tell myself, “just walk in, do your homework, work out, and then walk out.” As each week passed, something new would be added to my sentence, something like “just walk in, play ball with a few people, do your homework, work out, make at least three interactions with people, and then walk out.” That became my routine for about a month until it came to the point where I didn’t want to leave unless my mom called me or the YMCA was closing.

In my opinion, my Y story doesn’t seem that interesting or unique. All I can say is that the YMCA played a huge part in developing who I’ve become now. The Y gave me my first job and gave me a second family – many people who I’m still in contact with today. If it weren’t for the YMCA, I wouldn’t be where I am now. They gave me a passion to help and a desire to do more for the youth in our community.

Everett, WA, September 10, 2021 – The YMCA of Snohomish County is celebrating Welcoming Week from September 10-19, 2021. All six branches will join other YMCAs and organizations nationwide to celebrate immigrants’ contributions to communities and bring together all residents in a spirit of unity.

“We know communities are stronger and more cohesive when people from all backgrounds have the opportunity to get to know one another and work side by side to advance the common good,” said Patsy Cudaback, Chief Operating Officer of the YMCA of Snohomish County.

Each year, Welcoming Week elevates the growing movement of communities that fully embrace new Americans and their contributions to the social fabric of the country. The event is an opportunity for neighbors—both immigrants and U.S.-born residents—to celebrate what unites people as a community.

“This year, we’re reminding our community that ‘Belonging Begins with Us,’” said Cudaback. “Whether it’s starting a new job, moving to a new neighborhood or starting a new school, we’ve all had moments where we felt like we didn’t belong. It’s a universal feeling that we all can relate to—but for people who move to this country experiencing language barriers, cultural differences and more, feeling excluded can take years to overcome. We all have the power to help others feel they belong; each of us can help others, regardless of their background, feel like they are seen, embraced, welcomed and included in our community.”

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About the Y 
The Y is a cause-driven organization focused on three key areas: youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. We believe a strong community can only be achieved when we invest in our kids, our health, and our neighbors. Our programs, services, and initiatives enable youth to realize their potential, offer families ways to have fun together, empower people to be healthier in spirit, mind and body, welcome and embrace newcomers and help foster social responsibility.

Here in Snohomish County, the Y has been serving and strengthening our communities since 1901. We’ve been here through economic booms and busts, wartime and peace, and social upheavals both subtle and life-changing. Our movement is made up of people of all ages and from every walk of life, all working side-by-side to ensure that everyone, regardless of gender, income or background, has the opportunity to live life to its fullest. Please visit ymca-snoco.org for more information.

Youth delegates from the YMCA of Snohomish County recently participated in the 74th Youth Legislature, a 4-day conference bringing together students from across Washington State to participate in a mock legislative session. At the culmination of the event, delegates were elected for positions in the 75th Youth Legislature. Five delegates were elected to Major Officer Positions.

“I am beyond proud of all of the students in our program and seeing their success is why I enjoy what I do,” said Nolan Martin, Youth Development Director at the Mill Creek Family YMCA. “All five elected students have been part of the Youth and Government (YAG) program since their 8th grade year.”

The following Mill Creek Y delegates were elected for the 75th Youth Legislature Session: Terra Pilch-Bisson, Governor, Vidushi Gautam, Lieutenant Governor, Audrey Elwood, Speaker of the House, Heather Mimikos, Chief Lobbyist Executive, and Ann Duan, Editor in Chief of the Press.

Youth and Government is a program that brings students in grades 8-12 together to discuss current events and issues important to them and their community, while developing their public speaking, leadership, and debate skills. The program culminates with Youth Legislature, the annual, state-wide conference that brings students together from all over the state to conduct a real legislative session.

This year’s Youth Legislature was held virtually, but still operated similar to an in-person session. Delegates participated in committee debate and floor sessions in hopes to pass a number of bills presented to the legislature. The YMCA of Snohomish County delegation presented seven bills and six of them were passed and signed.

“We had an amazing experience at this year’s Youth Legislature and I can’t wait to see how these students shine next year,” said Martin. “We are only getting started.”

To learn about the Youth and Government program, please visit: ymca-snoco.org/programs/youth-and-government. Registration opens for the 2021-22 school year on September 1, 2021.

EVERETT, Wash., May 13, 2021 – Teaching children how to be safe around water is not a luxury; it is a necessity. The YMCA of Snohomish County is reintroducing its Safety Around Water program at all six of its branches. This 8-day program teaches children essential water safety skills that will reduce the risk of drowning and give them confidence in and around water.

“Equipping children with water safety skills is critical because we are surrounded by water in the Pacific Northwest,” Patsy Cudaback, Chief Operating Officer. “Teaching safe swimming to all, especially youth, is a top priority of the YMCA.”

Safety Around Water will be held from June 21 – July 1, 2021 at all YMCA of Snohomish County branches. Classes run Monday – Thursday each week for a total of eight lessons. Safety Around Water is open to the community and costs $40 for 8 lessons. The program is free for children on free and reduced lunch and children who are on or qualify for YMCA financial assistance. Safety Around Water is open to all kids ages 3-12.

“Our goal is to get as many kids comfortable in and around water, despite their skill levels,” said Cudaback. “Safety Around Water builds confidence in kids through fun, engaging lessons.”

Certified instructors use fun games and activities to teach exercises that help children adjust to being in the water, skill sets children can use if they unexpectedly find themselves in the water, and safety specific topics such as pool rules and boating safety. Each lesson includes a handout for parents and caregivers with additional water safety tips.

To learn more about the YMCA’s Aquatics program and to register for Safety Around Water, please visit ymca-snoco.org or stop by a local YMCA branch. The YMCA also offers year-round traditional swim lessons. The next session begins July 5, 2021.

 

On August 19, 2020, the YMCA of Snohomish County opened registration for its new Virtual Learning Centers. In partnership with Snohomish County and regional school district leadership, the YMCA’s Virtual Learning Centers will provide elementary-school-age care and middle-school-age programs for families across the county including those in our larger school districts of Everett, Lake Stevens, Marysville, Monroe, Mukilteo, Snohomish, and Stanwood-Camano.

“Safe, affordable, and accessible child care is fundamental to the recovery of our region’s economy. The Y is proud to work in partnership with regional leadership to ensure our children are cared for and working families are supported,” said Peyton Tune, YMCA of Snohomish County President & CEO. “As Snohomish County families seek solutions to the realities of remote learning, they can count on the Y to provide their children with structured, active, and enriching opportunities.”

Y Virtual Learning Centers are designed to help students stay focused, on-task, and engaged in their school district’s remote learning activities, while benefiting from the social enrichment, peer interaction, and physical activity the Y is known for. The majority of elementary-age Y Learning Centers will be embedded in local elementary schools—maintaining a sense of continuity and familiarity for many children and families—while the majority of middle-school-age programs will be in YMCA branch locations.

Managed by professional YMCA school-age care and teen staff, Virtual Learning Centers follow each school district’s planned, daily schedule to ensure children are attending live/synchronous learning sessions and working on current assignments. Students will bring their schoolwork and supplies—including district provided technology tools—to the centers providing a seamless and supportive academic environment.

Children in Y programming will benefit from social and emotional learning; Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (S.T.E.M.); healthy eating and physical activity; and behavioral health support. The Virtual Learning Centers will blend in-person academic support with engaging enrichment curriculum helping children succeed academically and thrive socially.

“The Y staff has gone above and beyond in supporting my family through caring for our daughter. Continuing to work during this pandemic has been the toughest thing I think I’ve ever experienced, but knowing my daughter is safe and well cared for is one less worry. My family relied on Y child care this past spring and we look forward to our daughter attending their new Virtual Learning Center this fall. I can’t thank the Y enough!” —YMCA Child Care Parent

The Y continues to prioritize the health and safety of all children, families, and staff. Virtual Learning Centers will be upholding all guidelines and requirements set by the Snohomish Health District and the Washington State Department of Children, Youth, and Families.

Registration and information for elementary-school-age and middle-school-age Virtual Learning Centers can be found on the YMCA’s website: ymca-snoco.org.

In addition to school-age care, the YMCA operates an Early Childhood Education Center in the South Everett/Mill Creek community. Registration for infant through Pre-K care can be found on their website at: ymca-snoco.org/our-locations/heatherwood-early-ch-ctr/.

 

We are so excited to welcome you safely back to the Y! We have worked hard to align our facilities with the latest health and safety guidelines from the CDC and local health departments while still giving you the best Y experience. Take a look at what has changed in our branches, and we hope to see you soon!