catching up with Anne fall blog
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Dear YMCA of Long Island Family,

We are in the final stretch of 2018 and as we enter the holiday season, it is a great time to reflect on all of our many blessings. 

"Thanksgiving" means more than just getting together with family and friends. This is the time to reflect on what each of us is thankful for in our lives. 

  • With all that is happening in the world today, I am thankful for all the first responders, volunteers and everyday heroes who help to make the world a better place.
  • I often receive stories about our members and how the Y has helped change their lives. I am thankful to our members for sharing these special anecdotes. 
  • I am thankful to our donors and partners who make our mission of youth development, healthy living and social responsibility come to life by supporting programs that transform lives, lift those who need our help, and strengthen the community. 
  • I am thankful for our staff and volunteers working tirelessly to make Long Island a better place to live, work and play. 
  • I will take the time to marvel in how far we've come as we embark on the 100th Anniversary of the YMCA of Long Island in 2019.  (Keep your eyes and ears peeled for lots of festivities to celebrate with YOU; our members, friends, and supporters).

In this time of "thanks" and "giving", let us gather with our family and friends to remind ourselves how grateful we are for our health and the love around us.

If you haven't done all your holiday shopping yet, please consider joining us for Americana Manhasset's Champions for Charity shopping benefit. The benefit event will be held on Thursday, November 29th through Sunday, December 2nd. For every full price, pre-tax purchase using your CHAMPION NUMBER, the YMCA of Long Island receives a 25% donation. Proceeds from this event benefit our annual campaign used to nurture children and teens, improve community health and well-being, and support those in need. Learn more here.

Wishing you and yours a blessed Thanksgiving and a joyous holiday season!


Anne N. Brigis


2018 Diamonds & Burlap Celebration & Auction

On Thursday, November 8th, hundreds gathered at The Heritage Club at Bethpage for the Diamonds & Burlap Celebration & Auction. Honorees Winnie Mack, YMCA Board Member and Senior Vice President of Health System Operations at Northwell Health and Northwell Health were awarded a citation for their incredible commitment to making Long Island a healthier place to live, work and play. With this year's theme as "Liberty to Lighthouse", guests enjoyed live entertainment, a live and silent auction, festive food stations, and a photo booth designed to look like a day at the beach.

With a special thank you to all of our sponsors and supporters, we raised more than $171,932! Proceeds from this event will benefit our Island-wide FREE Pre-Teen & Teen Centers. Our Pre-Teen & Teen Centers provide a safe, supervised and fun environment for pre-teens and teens to make new friends, stay active and develop healthy habits. At the Y, we are committed to helping our youth become productive and self-assured young adults.

Photos: Courtesy of YMCALI /Jim Lennon.

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15th Annual Boulton Center Gala 

This was a great year for us to recognize the impact that "the arts" bring to our communities across Long Island for adults and children alike. The YMCA Boulton Center for the Performing Arts hosted its 15th Annual Gala on Friday, November 2nd, honoring The Racanelli Family. The event raised more than $210,000 to support our arts programs! Throughout their 15 years, the Boulton Center has presented more than 1,200 performances ranging from live theater, rock, comedy, and singer songwriters. The Boulton Center's mission to provide high-quality arts programs that entertain, educate, and inspire was evident in their lineups this year. 2018 also brought the introduction of live stage productions as well as school age performance programs. The Great South Bay Y Act Out Theater Program and our Performing Arts Camp continue to be a beacon for children to creatively express themselves and share their talents on the stage. Guests dined on cuisine by Tullulah's in Bay Shore and enjoyed an inspiring evening that included a performance by the cast of the Y Act Out Theater production of Les Miserables School Edition, singing "One Day More", an award presentation to our honorees, Nick Racanelli and the Racanelli family, and an acoustic performance by Richard Marx. Thank you to all of our supporters for keeping the arts alive and well! 

Boulton Center Gala minicollage


The YMCA of Long Island has several partners and friends that make our work possible every single day.  Last month, we had an incredible Halloween surprise when New York State Senator Carl Marcellino, and Senator and State Majority Leader John Flanagan awarded the Huntington YMCA a $1,000,000 grant to make critical pool and infrastructure repairs, as well as purchasing Smart Boards for our youngest learners. 

This award will ensure our Norton Pool is working well and can continue to accommodate young swimmers, local swim teams, and hundreds of dedicated lap swimmers of all ages.  We are so grateful for our New York State Representatives, and for their advocacy!

Norton Pool Check Presentation

Water Safety

One of my great passions as a resident and CEO of the YMCA of Long Island is Water Safety. I want everyone to be safe in and around the water. I was delighted to receive a $20,000 check and commitment from Stew Leonard III Children's Charities to continue our partnership focused on safety around water.  During the special Water Wise Water Safety event, held at Stew Leonard’s in East Meadow, Kim and Stew Leonard Jr. presented the YMCA of Long Island with a donation of $20,000 to underwrite swim lessons for 210 local children, teaching them critical water safety skills, and to certify 10 young adults to become American Red Cross Certified Life Guards. Another highlight of the event was the Water Wise Water Safety Kids Art Contest launched to help make children more aware of the importance of water safety. This unique opportunity was intended to encourage children age 12 and under to express their artistic interpretations of water safety and share their tips with peers. More than one hundred submissions were received by the YMCA of Long Island and Stew Leonard’s. The contest winner was Isabella Goutevenier, age 9 of Huntington, N.Y.

Stew Leonards Water Wise Event 2018

Active Older Adults Day

May 31st was our annual Active Older Adults Day underwritten by PSEG Foundation and PSEG Long Island.  In addition to being able to sample health and wellness classes, our YMCAs offered Health Fairs, and “Lunch and Learn” sessions, sponsored by PSEG Long Island on energy efficiency, financial savings, and avoiding scams. PSEG Long Island and the PSEG Foundation support the YMCA in delivering Moving for Better Balance, a fall prevention program using the principles and movements of Tai Chi, in addition to a weekly social hour designed to give participants an opportunity to share fitness regiments, nutrition tips, favorite books, and other information that help keep the community healthy. The connections made in both the group exercise settings and social environments will lay the foundation for establishing meaningful communities of support and creating a sense of belonging for senior participants.

PSEG Active Older Adults Day 2018

Summer Day Camp

As we kicked-off camp at the end of June, we are deeply grateful to several philanthropic partners that make summer day camp both academically enriching and engaging.  Now in its third year, Capital One Y Readers provided campers an opportunity to read a book of their choice for 30 minutes each camp day that worked in tandem with the Imagination Station (summer literacy) Program. The Capital One Y Readers Program allows our campers to build their reading comprehension skills throughout the summer. Each camper has a dedicated independent reading time or reads with his or her group of peers for a total of 30 minutes a day. Campers may bring their favorite book to camp or choose from our Camp Library, which offers a variety of subjects and interests at each camper’s reading level. Camp Readers allows each camper, over 12,000 hours of reading during the last three summers, to continue their love of reading in a fun and exciting day camp environment. We have offered the program over the last several summers and is based on a successful YMCA of the USA Program.

As the school year got back into swing, we were beyond grateful that summer was all about literacy; Imagination Station was created and piloted by a small team of branch leaders using foundational work developed by the YMCA of the USA in summer learning-loss prevention. Now in its fifth year, Imagination Station offers innovative, engaging, and interactive activities to review and build upon specific literacy skills. Camp provides vital context to the Imagination Station program. YMCA Camp is available at all locations across Long Island The program has incredible outcomes with 98.9% of participants either maintaining or increasing their reading level (assessment tool is the Qualitative Reading Inventory (Leslie & Caldwell, 2000). 

We are grateful to our philanthropic partners, the Rauch Foundation, for significant underwriting support, the Pritchard Foundation for sustaining support, and Sterling Bank National Foundation for providing 25 full scholarships and the New York Community Bank Foundation for providing 10 full scholarships for six weeks of camp to children referred by their school districts as needing academic and economic support. 



Lighthouse to Liberty

Swimming is a great way to keep healthy all year long. With the summer behind us, our members continue to take advantage of the amazing workout that swimming can provide through the use of our pristine indoor pools. We encourage our members to try the Lighthouse to Liberty Swim Challenge! Swim 109.6 miles from the Montauk Lighthouse to the Statue of Liberty between September 1, 2018 and February 28, 2019. Members can pick up a Challenge Card at the Member Services Desk. Hold on to the card and record your laps after each workout. When you complete the cards, drop them in our Raffle Box for a chance to win a $100 Visa Gift Card.

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New Les Mills Releases 

This past month, new releases of Les Mills group exercise classes were launched across the island. We had an amazing turnout with more than 100 participants for our launch and demo classes of BodyPump 107, BodyCombat 77, Grit 27, and CXWorx 32. Even more so, we are thrilled with the feedback from our new and die-hard Les Mills fans. We hope you have the chance to experience the Les Mills news releases coming up in 2019. More information can be found here on our website.

BodyPump 2018

For the Student in Your Life

Our student special is back just in time for the holidays! Students may be off from school but they can stay active and fit this holiday season with our special limited-time membership. Students, ages 13-22, can join the YMCA for $50 for $0 joiner fee between November 17 and January 14.  For more information, you can visit our website here.

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Too Much Stuffing This Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is just days away and even as we may try—sometimes it is hard not to indulge. Should you enjoy a little too much stuffing this Thanksgiving, we have just the solution for you. Join the YMCA between 11/23 through 11/30 with $0 joiner fee. We call it our After-Turkey Joining Special! Gobble gobble! For more information, click here

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Black Friday Personal Training Offer

To celebrate Black Friday, we have an amazing Personal Training offer you don’t want to miss. Our one-day sale includes $25 off a package of 8 sessions, $50 off a package of 12 sessions or $100 off a package of 24 sessions. This is the perfect gift to start your 2019 off right. For more information, click here.

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Member Monthly Fitness Challenges

Each month, we offer a special guide to help you keep on top of your health and wellness goals and challenge yourself! This month's focus on balance and strength is sure to get you moving.

Check out our fitness challenges


Early Childhood Development 

Our Huntington YMCA Preschool received Smart Boards this year and we are quickly learning the many uses for this tool and its software. In addition, the staff will be implementing developmental screenings with "Help Me Grow Long Island" and "Docs for Tots" to create intentional goals for each child in our classrooms.

At the Patchogue Family YMCA, Preschool has incorporated new iPads into the Creative Curriculum unit on the "First Days of School". Our 4 year-olds enjoyed a sense of accomplishment in discovering new things with the iPads to start the school year off right. The 4 year-olds went on their first field trip to the Patchogue Fire Department, while our 2’s and 3’s had a visit from the firefighters and enjoyed the opportunity to try on some of their equipment! Last month, our preschoolers began swim lessons.

The YMCA at Glen Cove Preschool hosted their first Fall Carnival last month. Due to our overwhelming interest in our 2 year-old program, a new Toddler Playtime program was opened to accommodate more families. We are also pleased to collaborate with our local Soccer Shots program. Our preschool classes visited Hick’s Nursery pumpkin patch last month where we had the opportunity to add hands-on learning to our fall season unit.

The Great South Bay YMCA Preschool hosted its fall festival, had a visit from the fire department, and hosted family fun night.  We also received two new Smart Boards! It has been quite a successful school year so far.

School Age Child Care

The Great South Bay YMCA hosted a "Lights on After School" Family Event. We were proud to participate in this nationwide event celebrating After School programs and the important role it plays in the lives of children, families and communities. Each of our After School programs held festivities and activities to mark the day. The kids also walked to the YMCA Boulton Center for the Performing Arts to watch the movie "Coco" on the big screen. Our Massapequa SACC sites have loved the addition of using the Remind App to communicate with the parents.

In the New Hyde Park School district, the YMCA at Glen Cove opened up two new after school programs; Garden City Park Elementary School and Manor Oaks. We received a STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) grant for our Valley Stream site where the kids are taught different STEM lessons. They made slime, learned about volcanos and built bridges. Each after school program had a fall festival party the last week of October. 

The Huntington YMCA's Countrywood After School site's fall accomplishments include the "Lights on After School" event.  We had a wonderful turnout and parents joined in the fun with their kids in a spaghetti and marshmallow tower challenge.  For Halloween, we created spooky-themed Escape Rooms that allowed them to work in teams to solve puzzles and challenges to successfully "escape the room". We created an awesome leaf project with our Kindergarten to 3rd graders to celebrate the fall. We used tissue squares and glued them onto wax paper with a leaf outline.  The kids had a great time making art and the finished product was something they could decorate their windows at home. 

LightsOnAfterSchool 2018

Heisman Trophy Trust Competitive Edge Basketball

We are grateful for a partnership with the New York Community Trust in which we launched the Heisman Trophy Trust Competitive Edge Basketball program at the YMCA at Glen Cove. The program allows teens, ages 13-18, to participate in a free 8-week program. The program improves basketball skills, sportsmanship, creates strong personal development skills, increases self-confidence, provides the opportunity to play competitive games, and overall become a better student.