YMCA Offers Free Memberships to Seventh Graders

YMCAThe Greater Scranton YMCA believes all kids have enormous potential. We work every day to help children set and achieve their goals in settings where they can have a sense of belonging and feel comfortable exploring new interests and passions. The 7th Grade Initiative allows us to do just that. 

As youth begin to face the many challenges of adolescence, they are more likely to begin distancing themselves from formal organizations, friends and family, and to experiment with unhealthy and illegal behaviors. Research shows that 7th grade is a critical time in a young person’s life when exposures to risk factors greatly increase. These risk factors include alcohol and drug use, skipping school, teen pregnancy, lack of physical activity, poor nutrition and more. The goal of the 7th Grade Initiative is to help the youth we serve discover their passions, develop and maintain a healthy lifestyle and grow into socially responsible teens and adults. The initiative provides our Y an opportunity to engage, cultivate and connect with youth at a time that is most crucial to their development. 

Through the 7th Grade Initiative, 7th graders in our service area are provided a free annual membership to the Y. In order to retain their membership, 7th graders must maintain a C+ average in school, complete quarterly volunteer work and log two workouts per week at our facility. The initiative helps fulfill our Ys mission and areas of focus; youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. 

For more information on registration, visit the Y’s website or contact Brandon Whipple, Health & Wellness Director, at bwhipple@greaterscrantonymca.org or (570) 828-3116. 


YMCA Offering Children’s Yoga Practices

Greater Scranton YMCA now includes yoga in its menu of physical and enrichment activities incorporated into the After School Program. Yoga will be practiced weekly on Tuesday afternoons. The Greater Scranton YMCA’s Before and After School Program serves children in kindergarten through sixth grades.

The program is built on a foundation of values – the values of caring, honesty, respect and responsibility are the pillars of the program.

Before care begins at 6:30 a.m. until bus pick up and after care runs from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m.

For more information, contact Jim Condon at condon@greaterscrantonymca.org or by calling 570-828-3115.

February is American Heart Month

american-heartmonth-3February is American Heart Month, and as a leading community-based organization committed to improving the nation’s health, the Greater Scranton & Wilkes-Barre Family YMCAs urge everyone to get a blood pressure screening.

Revised blood pressure guidelines from American Heart Association mean that nearly half of all Americans (46 percent) have high blood pressure. High blood pressure is often referred to as “The Silent Killer” because there are typically no warning signs or symptoms.

To address the prevalence of heart disease, the Y has made a national commitment to the Million Hearts campaign, an initiative spearheaded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, CDC and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that aims to prevent one million heart attacks and strokes.

While high blood pressure and heart disease are serious conditions the good news is that a healthy heart is an achievable goal through lifestyle changes such as lowering sodium intake, eating healthier and getting more physical activity. Getting help can be as easy as going to your local Y and take part in the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program.

YMCAThe Greater Scranton & Wilkes-Barre Family YMCAs are increasing the availability of the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program – which is part of the CDC-led National Diabetes Prevention Program. The YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program helps adults at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes adopt and maintain healthy lifestyles to help reduce their chances of developing the disease. Type 2 diabetes is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease and people with diabetes are twice as likely to have heart disease or suffer a stroke as those who do not have it.

The program provides a supportive environment where participants work together in a small group to learn about eating healthier, increasing their physical activity and making other behavior changes with the goal of reducing body weight by 7 percent in order to reduce their risk for developing diabetes. A trained lifestyle coach leads the program over a 12-month period. Increased physical activity and moderate weight loss not only reduce diabetes risk, but also have an impact on lowering blood pressure and cholesterol. For more information on the YMCA Diabetes Prevention Program, contact Patti Goodenow at 570-828-3230.

Reducing sodium intake is a great way to keep your heart healthy. Per the American Heart Association (AHA), too much sodium in your system puts an extra burden on your heart and blood vessels. In some people, this may lead to or raise high blood pressure. Everyone, including kids, should reduce their sodium intake to less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium a day (about 1 teaspoon of salt). Having less sodium in your diet may help you lower or avoid high blood pressure.

“There are many factors in keeping your heart healthy and having a handle on your blood pressure and sodium intake are effective tools in the preventing heart disease,” said Patti Goodenow, Senior Director of Chronic Disease Prevention, Greater Scranton & Wilkes-Barre Family YMCAs.  “Whether you have high blood pressure, are at risk for heart disease or want to keep your heart healthy the Y has resources that can help achieve better health.”

In addition to programs and services offered, the Y offers the following tips from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to help reduce sodium in your diet.  

  1. Think fresh: Most of the sodium Americans eat is found in processed foods. Eat highly processed foods less often and in smaller portions—especially cheesy foods, such as pizza; cured meats, such as bacon, sausage, hot dogs, and deli/luncheon meats; and ready-to-eat foods, like canned chili, ravioli and soups. Fresh foods are generally lower in sodium.
  2. Enjoy home-prepared foods: Cook more often at home—where you are in control of what’s in your food. Preparing your own foods allows you to limit the amount of salt in them.
  3. Fill up on veggies and fruits—they are naturally low in sodium: Eat plenty of vegetables and fruits—fresh or frozen. Eat a vegetable or fruit at every meal.
  4. Adjust your taste buds:  Cut back on salt little by little—and pay attention to the natural tastes of various foods. Your taste for salt will lessen over time. Additionally, keep salt off the kitchen counter and the dinner table and substitute spices, herbs, garlic, vinegar or lemon juice to season foods.
  5. Boost your potassium intake: Choose foods with potassium, which may help to lower your blood pressure. Potassium is found in vegetables and fruits, such as potatoes, beet greens, tomato juice and sauce, sweet potatoes, beans (white, lima, kidney), and bananas. Other sources of potassium include yogurt, clams, halibut, orange juice and milk.

The Greater Scranton YMCA offers a community of diverse individuals who can support all people in meeting their health and well-being goals. Learn more by visiting www.greaterscrantonymca.org or www.wbymca.org or by stopping into your local Y.