At the YMCA, we don’t often reflect on where we have been, what we have learned, and the impacts we have had on the many people who have used our programs and services. Yet when we do, we realize we have had a significant impact on our community… Not just over the past year, but over our history of delivering locally important community programs and services. We realize our experience provides critical insights for the development of new solutions that strengthen our community today and tomorrow.
Over the past year, our Board and our staff have been developing an updated Strategic Plan. We have taken time to assess our strong history of program delivery to consider how we will apply what we have learned to drive new, modern solutions to meet local needs. Two years of the pandemic have severely limited our delivery, but did not nullify our commitment to building a healthier and more resilient community. We are excited about our future!
Our YMCA has a strong history of delivering Licensed Child Care programs. With humble beginnings in the late 1980s, our Licensed Child Care department has grown to encompass many schools in Oakville. Programs have diversified according to changing community needs. Licensed Child Care now includes services for Infants, Preschoolers and Toddlers as well as Before/After School programs. Our YMCA has long been committed to high-quality, Licensed Child Care and has advocated for affordability and higher wages. The pandemic cast more light on the essential needs for these services and highlighted the dedicated staff team charged with educating our most precious assets. The new Pan-Canadian Child Care system is a response to the importance of this service. Federal and Provincial governments are partnering to assure a more robust, accessible, and affordable system where the workforce can be compensated more fairly and will rely on the know-how of the YMCA to deliver a more efficient system. Over the next few months and years, we will continue to assist the governments on this strategy. We are excited about the future!
Our YMCA has a strong history of delivering aquatic, fitness, recreation, and other health-giving programs including operating virtual health programs and using our facility as a vaccination center during the second and third waves of the pandemic. The old Oakville YMCA, constructed in 1967, was replaced with our Peter Gilgan Family YMCA building which will celebrate an important 20-year milestone in 2022! We have maintained and modernized our facility continuously to ensure it remains functional for many years to come. We have recently upgraded equipment and performed renovations to enhance accessibility, environmental efficiency, and invest in state-of-the-art equipment. Our YMCA couples local trending with a worldwide network where best practices and newly developed programs and systems are scaled to ensure continuous improvement. Although we had to step back during the pandemic, we look forward to stepping forward to provide the next chapter of YMCA programming. We are excited about the future!
Our YMCA has a strong history of delivering a wide variety of programs out in the community both independently and with partners. We have many years of experience building networks where we learn of local community needs to respond with critical services. These responses are diverse…Together as Girls, Just the Guys, Halton Sport Leadership, and YMCA Peace Week, to name but a few, are all signature programs delivered across Oakville. As the pandemic limited delivery, our team was able to leverage our long-term relationships and adapt delivery for a new set of needs. During the pandemic our YMCA delivered new innovative programs such as Balcony Fitness, Food distribution, Youth Peace Project, and Truth & Reconciliation Training. Summer Day Camp restarted in summer 2021 after being closed in 2020. This was made possible through the generous support of donors and community relationships. We look forward to launching a full menu of day camp experiences for 2022 where our children and youth can develop skills, experience leadership opportunities, and make new friends. Our children’s opportunities have been limited lately and new experiences are critical for development. We are excited about the future!
As we reflect on our history, we feel a responsibility to take what we have learned and apply it to realize community potential. The YMCA has reinvented itself many times over its 170-year history and we are pleased to be reflecting on where we have been in order to assure relevance for many years to come. We are excited about our future!
Ian Troop, BBA, ICD.D, Chair Principal, Demickmore Limited
Binu Dhas, 1st Vice Chair
VP of Operations, Hoskin Scientific
Paul Nieweglowski, BSc., M.Eng., 2nd Vice Chair
Retired Assistant Deputy Minister, Ministry of Environment
Alice Strachan, BSc., ADR, CPF, IA, CTDP
QI Specialist, Ontario Health
Juzar Pirbhai, CPA, CA, CFA
Director, Stakeholder Engagement, Canadian Public Accountability Board
Eileen McCormack, MSc
Retired, Head, New Product Planning, AstraZeneca
Sam Greiss, CA
Retired, EVP & COO, Parkbridge Lifestyle Communities Inc
Denis Dinsmore, BComm., CPA, CMA
VP, Finance & Administration, Re:Sound Music Licensing Company
Owen Duguid, B.E.S., J.D.
Lawyer, O’Connor MacLeod Hanna LLP
Michael Wells, MBA
Sr. HR Strategic Partner, McMaster University Faculty of Health Sciences
Heather Angel, M.Ed., PCC, ICD.D
Principal, Heather Angel & Associates,
Sr. Consultant, Phelps
Richard Pratt, B.Comm., LLB
Senior Counsel, RBC Law Group, Royal Bank of Canada
President & CEO
Vice President, Finance, Risk Management & IT
Vice President, Operational Development & Program Growth
Vice President, Human Resources
Vice President, Child Care
Taylor first connected with the YMCA of Oakville when she had the opportunity to participate in an employment mentorship program through local a charity, Home Suite Hope. She worked in a placement with Crichton in our facility department, part-time, while attending school. Taylor then graduated from Sheridan College, completing a program in Electro-Mechanical Engineering, and got a full-time job with an engineer firm. This transition was exciting and hard because it meant long days.
A single mother of two, Taylor enrolled her two children—Aiden and Alice—in YMCA Licenced Before and After School Care. She says she would feel guilty at times because her long commute to school meant that on many days, she was the first parent to drop her children off and the last to pick them up. These feelings however were quickly replaced with relief as she discovered her children were happy and enjoying their experience so much, they would often be pushing to leave the house in the morning in a hurry to get back to school. Knowing her children loved the YMCA and school so much meant Taylor really could focus on building her career. There were tough times—receiving no child support and, once as a new employee, her employer messed up her paycheque that resulted in some missed childcare payments.
Noticing her struggle, the YMCA staff offered Taylor the option to apply for additional YMCA financial assistance that would top-up her regional subsidy and create some financial breathing room for her and her family. The subsidized membership ensured her children enjoyed swim lessons and were able to participate in many other recreational activities such as rock climbing, besides sports and games in the Peter Gilgan Family Y’s multi-purpose rooms. Taylor would herself get some exercise doing spin classes or playing volleyball while Aiden and Alice were safely in child minding. With a little less stress and with continued, steady focus Taylor and her children thrived, and she found an even better job. She is now a Machine Builder for Stackpole International.
Taylor says this was all made possible by the YMCA and she is very grateful for the family of staff who have cared for her and her children at St Mike’s, including Julie, Naz and Miss Anna. Aiden and Alice now also enjoy YMCA Summer Camp and look forward to another summer of fun. No matter what brings you into the YMCA, new doors can open, and Taylor’s story illustrates the range of impacts our YMCA can have on the lives of a special family.
2021 was a year where YMCA staff from across the YMCA had to step up and serve in new ways. Our Licensed Child Care Programs, despite some disruptions due to lockdowns proved to be a reliable essential service for our families and YMCA staff adapted to new health and safety protocols, and ratios and more and all the while maintained their commitment to high quality, caring daily child care.
The following stories are examples of the ways in which our YMCA provides a first stop to new employees and can provide opportunities for a meaningful careers.
2021 forced us to work in new ways and introduced new ways to learn. Here is a photo of some of our team participating in the Harvard Leadership Development Program online!
“Harvard Leadership Academy (HLA) at the YMCA of Oakville has been quite an enriching experience. The ManageMentor program offers a variety of concept-based courses and I find them to be among the best ways to learn and apply concepts on the job. It is also a great way to grasp certain fundamentals in a lucid, interactive, and engaging fashion. I often look forward to the larger group discussions each month where there is so much knowledge and information exchanged across peer groups. There’s always something for everybody—regardless of our education and service background! This wouldn’t have been possible without the support of our Senior Leadership team and such motivated colleagues.”
Skylar is an example of a YMCA Kid. Her mom works for the YMCA in our Licensed Child Care and Skylar grew up in YMCA programs, attending Summer Camp and learning to swim in our pool.
When she was old enough, Skylar volunteered at the YMCA at 410 Rebecca St because it was a natural extension of her experience and because the YMCA felt like an extension of her family.
Skylar’s first volunteer gig was as a ten-year-old when, on Waffle Day, she served waffles to participants at the fundraising event. She then applied to work part-time for the YMCA while attending school, and she worked running birthday parties, child minding for Child & Youth programs, and later as a Membership Sales staff.
She says she knew from an early age that she would end up working with either animals or children, and she chose children. A recent graduate and Early Childhood Educator, Skylar is now working in our YMCA Licensed Child Care program. She says she enjoys fulfilling her dream of working with children and that the sense of togetherness she finds at the YMCA makes it so much better. She thinks there is no other place like this.
At the YMCA, we work with people of all ages, and across various stages of their lives. Skylar is a fitting example of how we build strong children, create leaders, and foster a bright and healthier community. And for her part, Skylar wants to stay and build a career and is excited about the future she has created for herself. She wants to be a part of something bigger.
Aki does not remember the first time she attended the YMCA, because she has been a member for as long as she can remember! Over the years, she has enjoyed everything from Yoga to Cycling to TRX and Zumba. She has worked out on the conditioning room floor, with people in classes, and more recently, in the pool.
Aki struggled with some back problems for a few years, and when this condition was at its worst, she reluctantly turned to the pool for water exercise. Not an avid swimmer at the time, she put on a flotation belt, paddled around the deep-end, and discovered that she liked it! Now, swimming is a regular part of her weekly workout rotation.
During the pandemic, when the YMCA was closed, Aki participated in our online classes from her home, and then when classes resumed outside, she did those too. Aki is at the YMCA five days a week. Her husband and son are members too. According to her, the Y feels like family and that is what she likes about the YMCA. She loves to interact with people at all ages and stages of life. Young children, families, older adults… everyone… and she appreciates the affordability for families and accommodations for all abilities.
Aki says the fitness instructors are fantastic and that the variety of the classes is “really great.” She tells friends and families, “You can do anything you want any day of the week.” Aki was also featured in our YMCA’s Health and Fitness Come Back campaign— ′I Came Back to Lift′—where she is the face and spirit, which is a little ironic because Aki never left!
Through her amazing commitment to health and well-being, and now her passion for the environment, Aki is helping our Y create a pollinator patch garden at 410 Rebecca St. She is a positive role model, demonstrating her commitment to investing in her own health and in the health of the environment. We are delighted that she is a part of our YMCA family!
In September 2022, our YMCA at 410 Rebecca Street will be 20 years old! As we prepare for the celebrations to mark this occasion, we have been reflecting on two decades of service at this location. We look forward to sharing stories about our anniversary celebration in next year’s annual report.
2021 has been a time of reflection on the lessons we have learned through the pandemic, the ways our programs and services have changed over the past few years, and how our incredible staff—many of whom were with us in our “old” building—remain part of our YMCA today.
“The Youth Peace Committee has tremendously helped me grow as an individual. Throughout my time with the group, I have strengthened my public speaking skills, gained networking opportunities and made creative marketing materials. We have planned events such as our summer sustainability event, Fundraiser for Technology for underprivileged youth, the National Youth Week event, and the National Day of Truth & Reconciliation documentary to name a few. One of my favourite events was the documentary we made because I got to hear from Indigenous people themselves about the need for action on Truth and Reconciliation. This group of individuals has helped me learn about many topics that would not be spoken about in a school setting such as gaslighting and the LGBTQ2+ community. I am grateful to be a part of this group because without it I would not be as knowledgeable as I am today on real world topics.”
In 2021, our YMCA’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) Committee has been hard at work refreshing policy and sourcing new training and support resources that help educate and provide support for our staff and volunteers. Comprised of both staff and volunteers from across the Association, this committee has been actively working on an action plan to increase efforts and advance the Association’s work in Truth and Reconciliation, anti-racism, and accessibility.
There are three priority areas of focus including: Policy, training and education, and recruitment.
The committee is producing a quarterly newsletter and will provide insights for key objectives, and indicators that will be included in our new Strategic Plan.
The DEI Committee has also organized some amazing learning opportunities through workshop and meeting experiences. One such highlight from 2021 included our speaker series, where we hosted Curtis Carmichael as a guest speaker. Curtis discussed his book and personal story, Butterflies in the Trenches.
The summarized financial information is extracted from Annual Financial Statements audited by BDO Canada LLP, Licensed Public Accountants. A copy of the complete financial statement is available online at www.ymcaofoakville.org. Requests for a copy can be made by email to [email protected], by phone at 905-845-3417 or by written request to YMCA of Oakville, 410 Rebecca Street, Oakville, Ontario L6K 1K7.