Lowering Risk, Gaining Energy

Risk of developing type 2 diabetes is at an all-time high. In fact, more than 84 million Americans have pre-diabetes, elevating their risk of developing diabetes.

It is critical that people with pre-diabetes or a high risk of developing diabetes act NOW to lower their risk. While diabetes has no cure, pre-diabetes can be reversed through proper nutrition, physical activity, and lifestyle changes.

Changing your lifestyle is easier said than done, which is why the Y offers the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP). Designed to support participants each step of the way, a trained lifestyle coach introduces topics in a supportive, small-group environment. Participants receive continuous support and encouragement as they explore how healthy eating, physical activity, behavior changes and weight loss can reduce their risk of developing diabetes.

Sarah, pictured right, before beginning the Y’s Diabetes Prevention Program.

42 year old mother of three, Sarah Maxey was one of these high risk Americans just nine months ago. Sarah has struggled with her weight her entire life, and making lasting lifestyle changes on her own proved frustrating and delivered unsatisfactory results. When she received an official diagnosis of pre-diabetes, heading into the New Year, she resolved to make lasting lifestyle changes.

Sarah was excited to find the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program, which is part of the CDC-led National Diabetes Prevention Program and uses a CDC-approved curriculum. As a member of Valley Health Plan, Sarah’s insurance covered the program fee, allowing her to participate in the program at no cost. In addition, the YMCA of Silicon Valley offers a free membership as part of the program, providing access to the gym, pool, and fitness classes to encourage participants to be physically active.

From the moment she began the Y’s Diabetes Prevention Program, she was fully committed. “I was doing everything they said. One of their recommendations is to watch your fat grams. With my weight, I get 50 fat grams per day. When you make nutrition changes by yourself, you wonder, is it sugar, is it fat, is it carbs? But with this program it’s clear. I started to lose the weight, and then once they opened up the gym membership it started to go off a little bit faster.”

The clear cut guidelines gave Sarah the tools she needed to make smart food choices, while still enjoying the foods she loves. “The instructors provide you with the guidelines. It’s like they know where you are mentally every session. They know when to ask, do you need to restart? Do you need to revamp your food choices? Do you need to go back and look at your notes?” With help from supportive instructors, Sarah was mentally prepared to make healthy choices at every turn. Sarah’s children are very supportive of her healthy lifestyle at home, making her health journey a family effort.

With every pound lost, Sarah’s energy level increased, supporting her motivation to keep up with the program and commit to the gym.

Sarah and her daughter enjoy being active together.

Currently, Sarah works out 6 times a week at Central YMCA, often joined by her daughter. With a starting weight of 271 pounds, Sarah is down to 229 pounds and still going strong.

“I’m finally able to shop in a normal store and that’s really exciting for me. One of my goals was to be able to ride the rides at Great America with my children. I used to hold the bags but now I actually can ride the roller coasters, not just the ones without a seatbelt.”

Sarah’s energy levels are at an all-time high. Just waking up in the morning to take care of her kids used to zap Sarah’s energy supply. Thanks to the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program, she has the energy to be the mom she wants to be, and then some.

“I’m going to stick with it.” Sarah says of her new lifestyle, “The gym membership is a key part of it. You can’t eat well and not exercise — it doesn’t work. It’s a full picture.”

The Y’s Diabetes Prevention Program has helped Sarah turn her life around, but she feels confident that she now has the tools to support her daughter, who shares her higher risk of diabetes.

Sarah’s daughter has learned what foods fuel a healthy heart and body through her health journey. The two hit the gym together regularly, having fun with yoga balls, taking family ZUMBA classes, and encouraging each other on family hikes.

Sarah leads her family on a hike.

Sarah hopes to serve as a source of inspiration for her children, and other people with pre-diabetes. “It’s about health first. The way you feel inside is most important to me. Being able to sleep, not being in pain, having patience with my kids, and knowing that I don’t have to worry about health issues like a heart attack or high blood pressure. You have to focus on that.”

42 pounds lighter and so much healthier than when she started, Sarah isn’t done yet. She is determined to keep up her healthy lifestyle to lose another 80 pounds, and ultimately be healthy enough to summit Mission Peak, a Fremont mountain with an elevation of 2,517 feet, with her family by her side.

A 100 Year Journey

Prepared to celebrate his 100th birthday on October 27, Antonio Ridolfo, affectionately known as Tony, shares his secret to healthy aging.

While he admits good genetics play a role in longevity, the key to a long and happy life lies in the people you surround yourself with. Good friends, strong family ties, and a supportive partner make every day worth living.

Tony’s life experiences have taught him the power of being part of a strong community. Growing up in an Italian immigrant family, his cultural ties never held him back from befriending people with different backgrounds. “I was fortunate.” Tony recalls, “I grew up in a big depression. It wasn’t so bad. In fact, as a youngster, I enjoyed most of the things that I did because everyone else was in the same boat, and we grew very close.”

He’s grateful to many of his teachers and classmates for encouraging him to continue his education, and enabling him to do so by opening doors and offering opportunities he never thought possible. The gesture of one teacher, Mr. Farkas, stands out clearly even 75 years later.

Tony recalls the encounter, “He said, ‘Tony, I thought you were going to college?’ I didn’t have enough money to even dream about going to college. He said, ‘If I get you a scholarship, will you go to college in September?’ So I said yes. I pursued school and received my Masters and PhD.”
Tony enjoyed a rewarding career as a pharmacist and medical professor. Now retired, he still believes strongly in the power of education and he donates his personal resources in the hopes of opening the door to education for the next generation of youth.

Since his wife passed over 12 years ago, Southwest YMCA has become his support system. A member since 2009, the Y is a place where Tony can take the values he’s treasured throughout his life and connect with like-minded individuals to make an impact. His strong sense of community, passion for education, and desire to help others make the Y community the perfect place for him.

Attracted to meeting new people and learning about journeys that differ from his own, he enjoys time spent at the Y. “You make friends. That’s what keeps me coming back. People are great and I’ve been very fortunate to meet them.”Whether he is chatting with new people in the lobby, taking aqua aerobics classes to stay active, or playing bridge in the rec room with friends Tony has a knack for making those around him feel a part of the Y community — his community.

 

 

 

 

 

As he approaches his 100th birthday, he shares sage advice for his younger self that all can benefit from, “Always be helpful, but also, really be mindful of what people need. Always strive to help people. There’s always someone worse off than you.”

Tony is filled with gratitude for all those who have been a part of his journey and contributed to the accepting communities he’s cherished throughout his life.

The ABC’s of Dealing with Bullies

Dealing with bullies is an unfortunate reality faced by 1 in 7 students grade K – 12 nationwide. Bullying is at epidemic proportions in this country, and millions of children and youth face similar situations every day in school. Together, we can put an end to this behavior.

Just like youth weren’t born knowing the alphabet, no one is born equipped to handle bullies alone. That’s why YMCA of Silicon Valley’s Project Cornerstone strives to empower youth with the skills they need to stop bullying and create an inclusive and compassionate culture.

Anne Ehresman, Executive Director of YMCA of Silicon Valley Project Cornerstone shares, “Our hope is that by teaching youth positive values, and giving them the tools to support one another, that bullying behavior becomes less prevalent in the community. We can create a safe and supportive culture when we teach youth how to prevent and address bullying behavior and equip adults to respond appropriately.”

Whether it’s you, your friend, your child, or a student who’s being bullied, be prepared to stand up to bullying, be it online or in person. Here are some tips and techniques for bullying prevention, easily remembered as the ABC’s.

The ABC’s of bullying prevention:

A – Adult
The single most effective way to stop a bullying situation is to get an adult involved. When it comes to bullying, there is no such thing as tattling. Confiding in a trained adult, like teachers or counselors, is the best way to stay safe and put an end to bullying.

** Adults, learn how to help when youth confide in you.

B –Body Language
Bullies tend to look for victims who don’t have a lot of self-confidence. Fake it until you make it by standing up straight, making direct eye contact, and walking with shoulders back, to deter bullies from choosing you as a target.

C – Comebacks
A creative verbal comeback can help diffuse a bullying situation. The following types of comebacks can help depending on the specific situation.

  1. Pretend to agree. Rather than arguing back if a bully says something rude like, “You stink!” try agreeing to confuse them, saying, “Stinking is my specialty!”
  2. Be honest. If the bully says, “Hey, you have really ugly clothes!” Try telling them the truth, saying, “Wow! This is my favorite outfit. Sorry you don’t like it!”
  3. Use humor. If the bully asks, “When was the last time you washed your hair – its nasty!” Respond comically, “Hmmm… I think it was when George Washington was the president of the United States. When was that, 1776?”
  4. Be direct. Calmly look the bully in the eye and express that you are done being bullied, “I’m tired of this and I’m not going to take it anymore.”

D – Draw Attention
In a threatening or unsafe situation, use your voice to let other people know you need help. Loudly yell things like, “Stop that now!” or “Leave me alone!” Whatever you shout, what matters most is using a loud volume.

E – Evade
The best fight is the one never fought. Avoid bullying encounters by walking away, sticking with friends, or standing near a trusted adult.

F – Friends
There is safety in numbers. Sticking with friends and people you trust to be UPstanders, someone who will do the right thing, will discourage a bully from choosing you as a target.

If you or someone you know uses these techniques and bullying persists, speak up and take action.

Even if you aren’t the one being bullied, you have a responsibility to take action. Six out of 10 teenagers say they witness bullying in school once a day, meaning that those 6 people have the ability to help stop bullying in its tracks. When bystanders intervene, becoming UPstanders, bullying stops within 10 seconds 57% of the time. Bullying is a serious issue that needs to be addressed before the situation escalates.

YMCA Project Cornerstone has compiled a plethora of resources to help adults offer guidance, youth become UPstanders, and everyone to get the help they need.

Giving Help to Others the Way I Was Helped

cancer survivor

Karen is now a Wellness Coach at Sequoia YMCA

Karen Biddle is a cancer survivor. She was diagnosed with estrogen receptor positive breast cancer in September of 2016. Soon after, she had a double mastectomy and reconstruction surgery as treatment for her breast cancer.

Prior to her diagnosis, she had been struggling with depression from the loss of her mother due to ovarian cancer the year before. Her cancer diagnosis put her in the fight for her own life. After the treatment was done, she felt all alone again. Her body felt worse, she was weak, and had aches and pains from the side effects of the tamoxifen. She knew she needed to exercise to start feeling better but didn’t know how she was going to do it by herself. She went to the local library looking for something entirely different and saw a flyer about the Living Strong Living Well cancer survivor program at the Y. She realized right then that she had to try and be in this program – that God was leading her there – so even if there was a waiting list she knew she would get in – so she called and signed up.

At the first class, the YMCA staff was very welcoming. The Living Strong instructors were also very attentive, supportive, caring, encouraging and compassionate. They were of course knowledgeable, but it was their hearts that really made the difference for her.

“The program helped me with my focus, concentration, memory, balance, coordination and strength. The most important thing I received from the program was that it brought my soul back to life. I am no longer alone. The wonderful women of the small group gave each other support and encouragement to keep going on our journey back to good health. We had fun, danced and laughed together. I am truly grateful and blessed to have had the opportunity to be a part of such a wonderful program that helps people get their body and their lives back – it truly helped me Mind, Body and Soul. “

After her twelve week program, Karen began volunteering for the next Living Strong Living Well group. She was instrumental in providing the same kind of support as others had provided her. Since that time, Karen has joined the staff at Sequoia YMCA. She enjoys staying active; from her high school days of being a pompom girl at Sequoia High School to earning her Kettlebell certification and most recently completing her Living Strong Living Well certification. As a former Living Strong Living Well graduate she enjoyed the program so much she wanted to pay it forward. She has compassion and the drive to help adult cancer survivors increase their quality of life.

wellness coach

Karen is glad to coach others on their journey to healthy living

“I am so happy to be able to give help to others the way I was helped. It is so rewarding to give back and be a part of other people’s journeys to good health and wellness.”

Strong Bodies, Strong Minds

The Y’s Living Strong Living Well program connects people recovering from any cancer — from thyroid cancer, to lung cancer, to breast cancer. Participants strengthen in spirit, mind, and body, regaining strength, rebuilding muscle mass, and increasing energy. Under the guidance of trained support staff, program participants recover together, building confidence as their bodies heal. The program  is offered at no cost, thanks to support from generous donors, the Stanford Health Improvement Program, and the Y.

Jeff, a Living Strong Living Well program participant from Palo Alto Family YMCA was initially diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2017. Later that year biopsy results revealed he also had bladder cancer. He went through two surgeries to remove the cancerous regions, and in February 2018 he began chemotherapy treatments.

Jeff, back row fourth in from the right, is back in action with his competitive softball team.

As an active member on a competitive softball travel team, getting back on the field after treatment motivated Jeff to recover. Down 20 pounds from the 2 surgeries and chemotherapy treatments, his energy was at an all-time low. Realizing that he couldn’t jump right back into his normal life without support, he joined the Y’s Living Strong Living Well program to build strength and confidence.

“It was almost like group therapy in a way, because everyone would do their strength training together, and then would move into stretching and meditating as a group, and we did all of it together,” Jeff describes the program experience. “For me this was a tremendous help. Getting myself back to playing condition and building strength was huge, but also being around other people going through similar things really helped me heal mentally.”

Now 6 months out from treatment, he is cancer free and grateful to the Living Strong Living well program for giving him his confidence back. “It was a tremendously uplifting and revitalizing experience.” Jeff continues to practice many of the strength and stretching routines at home as he continues to rebuild strength.

Audrey shows off her blessings of hope bracelet while at the doctors.

When breast cancer survivor Audrey was first diagnosed, she was overwhelmed with resources and support groups to choose from. The more she read and researched, the more obvious her choice became. Other programs offered support when you needed it, boasting low commitment, and schedule flexibility. Audrey’s approach to beating cancer did not align with these programs.

Fully committed to beating cancer and living life to the fullest as she recovered, she wanted a support program that would connect her with other committed cancer survivors and dedicated instructors – making South Valley YMCA’s Living Strong Living Well program the perfect fit.

The program offered Audrey the support and encouragement she needed to start taking small steps towards better health. In Audrey’s case, this was quite literal. She started walking on the treadmill at the Y. She enjoyed the results so much that she began to walk on her own too. Audrey explains that with every step on the treadmill, she felt her battle with cancer fall further behind her. Now a Living Strong Living Well program graduate, Audrey continues to walk daily.

Throat cancer survivor, Joe, became a member of Living Strong Living Well program after he had finished cancer treatment, but still wasn’t mentally or physically well. Counselors, doctors, and family members encouraged him to strengthen his body, advising that the mind would follow suit. Ready to make a positive change, Joe enrolled in Living Strong Living Well at Southwest YMCA. Sure enough, his strength returned with the support of program members and staff.

As his mental and physical health improved, Joe decided he wanted to give back. At the conclusion of the 12 week program, he had made up his mind. He would volunteer as a Living Strong Living Well Coach. Now 3 years from his initial cancer diagnosis, Joe is coaching a new batch of Living Strong Living Well program participants. “I want them to know that they have already overcome one of the hardest things possible and that they can get their strength back.”

Learn more about Living Strong Living Well here. 

Parent Power in STEAM Programs

When adults power up the jet and invite students on board, the sky is the limit. That’s exactly what Li Liu was already doing for her own children when she decided to open up her heart to other community youth.

Determined to set her son and daughter on the path to success, Liu introduced them both to STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) at an early age through robotics. When her son hit middle school, Liu’s family got involved in Los Altos Botball Robotics, an educational program designed to engage middle and high school students in a team-oriented robotics competition.

The organization allows students to learn by doing and explore technology in a team environment. Since joining, Liu and her family have been loyal to Los Altos Botball Robotics, as the program has helped her children enhance their academic and social skills.

Amidst all of her children’s academic success, Liu felt something was missing. She set out to add a life lesson to their extracurricular activity list – giving back to the community. Liu recognized that her son and daughter’s talents as successful STEAM students was due in large part to the experiences they had been given to learn and grow at a young age, so she sought to give that same opportunity to others.

Motivated to make an impact alongside her children to demonstrate the rewards of giving, Liu reached out to Lewis and Joan Platt East Palo Alto YMCA with an idea to bring robotics programs to the community. Working closely with Y staff, the Y Full STEAM Ahead program launched in 2017. Every summer since, Liu has rallied youth and adult volunteers from the Botball Robotics community to share time, energy, and resources with East Palo Alto youth. One parent volunteer built a robotics table with his own two hands for Y students to learn and experiment on.

Participants are learning applicable STEAM skills that could inspire career dreams. Liu explains, “It’s a good introduction program for the kids to understand robotics and Artificial Intelligence (AI). Robotics skills will help you succeed and AI is crucial in every tech field in the world right now. It’s really good for the kids to get equal exposure to understand what AI can do. This is great exposure for them to understand all the different things they can do with this type of knowledge.”

The Y Full STEAM Ahead program offers more than just academics, as teenage volunteers teach robotics and coding skills to their peers. By having teens teach teens, underserved youth are empowered to explore STEAM in a safe environment. They gain the confidence needed to try new things academically, and reach outside their comfort zone. At the same time, young leaders like Liu’s son and daughter build confidence as leaders by engaging and educating peers.

2018 marks the second summer of the Y Full STEAM Ahead Program and Liu has seen so much progress in program participants robotics and coding skills that she thinks they could enter a local robotics competition as a team, representing Lewis and Joan Platt East Palo Alto YMCA. As summer comes to a close, all youth involved emerge empowered young leaders, ready to make a difference in the world and succeed academically this fall.

5 Tips to Fight Childhood Obesity at Home

Happy, healthy kids need physical activity, social stimulation, and proper nutrition to maintain a healthy weight. If left unchecked, obesity puts children at risk for many chronic diseases seen in adults, such as high cholesterol, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. Empower your family to fight childhood obesity at home with these 5 family friendly tips for a healthy lifestyle.

1. Healthy Family Meals

Put technology aside and gather together as a family to enjoy a healthy meal. Not only does this ensure you know your child is learning to eat healthy foods, but sharing meals allows for fun and memorable family conversations. Consider incorporating a new fruit or vegetable into each meal, and incorporating your kids in the cooking process to teach them about nutrition. Encourage everyone at the table to fill their plates with half fruits and vegetables.

2. Hydrate

Make proper hydration a priority. There is no drink healthier than water. Keeping soda and sugary juices out of the house helps eliminate the temptation to reach for less healthy options. Instead, keep water bottles and pitchers readily available, so everyone in the family has a healthy hydration option ready to enjoy.

3. Get Outside and Play

Studies show that developing youth need at least an hour a day of unstructured play and they need to enjoy vigorous physical activity at least three times a week. Maximize health benefits for the whole family by joining your kids in active games outside, whether it’s a game of basketball, tennis, or just running around!

4. Power Down Technology

As a family, commit to spending screen free time together. Adults and youth alike benefit from time away from technology, so aim for two hours or less per day. Talk as a family about where you can cut back on screen time, to get everyone on board. Whether you commit to powering down for dinner, leaving technology at home for a family walk, or banning screens after 7 PM, choose an option that everyone can participate in together.

5. Prioritize Sleep

Everyone needs sleep to recharge the body and mind. The whole family can benefit from a regular sleep schedule, as adults need 7-8 hours of sleep and kids need 10-12 hours. Try unwinding as a family to prepare your bodies for bed by reading together, listening to music, and powering down screens.

YMCA of Silicon Valley is proud to support families on the path to a healthier lifestyle. Together, we can prevent childhood obesity in our community.

Dive into Outdoor Swimming

While aquatic legends, like mermaids or the Loch Ness monster, are highly debatable, the health benefits of outdoor swimming are undeniable. Studies show that outdoor swimming boosts the immune system, improves circulation, and reduces stress. People of all ages, abilities, and fitness levels can improve muscle endurance, core strength, and stamina with aquatic exercise, while burning around 400 to 500 calories per hour.

If you want to improve your health with outdoor swimming but don’t know where to start, look no further than Y member Al Jaurique. He is living proof that anyone, at any age, can conquer the challenge of outdoor swimming.

When Al enrolled his children in swimming lessons at the Y almost 25 years ago, he decided to get in the water himself. He rediscovered the joy of swimming and got hooked on the benefits. At age 50, he had built up enough confidence in the water to test his swimming skills in the open ocean. Now 62, Al has swam to Alcatraz, beneath the Golden Gate Bridge, and the width of Lake Tahoe.

While he encourages everyone to get in the water, Al urges all swimmers to put safety first. “Safety is the big thing.” He says, “You always have to be respectful of the water.”

Al believes that youth and adults alike should learn to be safe around water, which is why he enrolled his children in swim lessons and got back in the water himself as an adult. While many parents enroll their kids in swim lessons to keep them safe, it’s important that parents empower themselves to learn water safety skills as well.

Al encourages all adults to take swim lessons at the Y. “Swimming is one of those sports that anybody can do. You can come in a wheelchair, you can be injured, and you can have a bad ankle or a bad hip or anything. You can find a way to adapt.”

Starting small and slowly building up to swimming is how Al advises newcomers to build confidence in the water. Whether it’s hanging onto the edge, blowing bubbles by the stairs, or just dipping your toes in, consistent effort ads up fast.

Al’s personal experience with open water swimming taught him that consistency is key, but community is crucial. Al became such a constant figure in South Valley YMCA’s lap lanes that members, staff, and lifeguards began to hold him accountable for staying on top of his aquatic exercise. If he is absent from the pool for too many days in a row, Y friends and staff call to check on him. The strong support of the Y community has encouraged Al to keep swimming for 25 years and counting.

“It’s fun coming here, talking to so many people that I know,” Al says of South Valley YMCA. “This place has been my home for over 25 years.”

All ages and abilities are welcome at Y aquatic centers. Ready to find your passion? Register for Swim Lessons at your Y!

Building Robots, Friendships, and Futures

Despite an abundance of cutting edge technology a stone’s throw away, Silicon Valley youth from low-income families have limited exposure to the inner workings of high-tech companies. Marginalized students lack access to technology learning experiences and exposure to STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) career opportunities. The absence of technology in the lives of underprivileged youth hinders exploration of their true potential.

On the other end of the spectrum, youth from high-income Silicon Valley communities are surrounded by STEAM education from a young age. With parents and role models in technology and engineering jobs, students are overloaded with opportunities to learn skills like robotics and coding.

When these two groups of students come together with a shared desire to learn and grow, pure magic happens. For 6 weeks this summer, learning runs rampant every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at Lewis and Joan Platt East Palo Alto Family YMCA, where teens teach teens the fundamentals of robotics and coding as part of the Y’s Full STEAM Ahead program.

Liu (far left) poses with program participants and volunteers.

The collaboration came to life through the initiative of a Los Altos Botball Robotics parent, Li Liu. Coordinating with Y leaders, Liu organized student and parent volunteers from Los Altos Botball Robotics to bring equipment, expertise, and enthusiasm to East Palo Alto teens. Volunteering offers academically driven teens the chance to slow down, appreciate the opportunities they have, and pay it forward.

Now in its second year, the peer to peer program engages middle and high school students in a fun and accessible technology experience. The unique learning environment offers participants a safe space to explore technology through robotics and coding, while volunteers develop leadership skills and experience the joy in giving back.

Reluctant participants have changed their minds with heavy doses of peer encouragement. Meera Srinivasan, a volunteer and rising senior at Homestead High School in Cupertino is excited to inspire girls her own age to consider a STEAM career. “Even if they’re not feeling confident in themselves, I’m fortunate to be in the position where I can build them up. I can help them and maybe push them farther into STEAM than they thought they could ever go.”

Whether the teens acknowledge it or not, both participants and volunteers are learning valuable life skills and building self-esteem. Volunteer Andy Wang, a rising junior at Gunn High School in Palo Alto, sees so much potential in the teens new to robotics that he’s inspired to push himself in pursuit of his own potential.

“I really enjoy trying to teach someone.” Ashwin Hingwe, rising senior at Mountain View High School says of volunteering. “I feel like this leadership experience is valuable because not only is it helping others, which is a goal for the rest of my life, but it’s also reinforcing for me the concepts that I’m teaching.”

Each week, bonds strengthen and excitement towards coding and robotics grows. “With robotics, it may seem hard at first, but it’s never as hard as they think. I like that we’re able to break down barriers with STEAM,” Srinivasan says of watching her peers start to recognize their own potential. “They realize they can do whatever they set their mind to.”

In addition to gaining technology skills, Full STEAM Ahead participants receive access to a variety of wellness activities, including swim lessons, nutrition counseling, and career exploration field trips.

“Although other programs offer coding or robotics, ours is the only one that offers everything,” Y Staff Loree Watanabe explains. “It’s an outlet for youth during the summer. We’d rather have them here being interactive and engaged versus being home alone or playing video games all day.” Instead of spending summer at home glued to the TV, these teenagers are learning building blocks for a bright future. Wang describes, “It doesn’t matter your background — if you put an equal amount of work into robotics you get the same result. It’s all built on hard work.”

Summer Day Campers Sharpen Football Skills, Expand Minds

The Bay Area Host Committee and College Football Playoff Foundation’s Extra Yard for Teachers joined  YMCA of Silicon Valley to offer Y Summer Day Campers a STEAM & Football Training Camp program. Campers sharpened both football and STEAM skills with 5 stations of engaging activities.

 FITNESS PHYSICS: Campers got moving to learn the 4 forces of movement.


NUTRITION: Youth designed healthy plates and enjoyed a healthy snack.


20 YARD DASH: Campers tested their speed while learning about human error and precision measurement.


HYDRATION: Youth learned the importance of adequate water intake.


DYNAMIC STRETCHING: Campers practiced measurement skills with stretches to improve cardio health.


Participants enjoyed 15 minutes at each specially-designed station, learning  the fundamentals of football and STEAM, while demonstrating respect, responsibility, sportsmanship, and teamwork.