West Cook YMCA

October 2016 CEO Message

Refresh, renew, and rejuvenate

Published 10.04.16 2:35 pm

Phillip's Message


Ah, October.

A time to refresh, renew, and rejuvenate after summer's lazy hazy days.  Fall is nature's paintbrush gone wild and is surely a favorite month by any measure.  

Here at the West Cook YMCA, October is a time to welcome and to thank all the many new members who have joined the Y in recent weeks.

Since August 29, we welcomed 338 new family members and an additional 181 individual members have joined.

We continue to maintain the momentum of accepting new members who now have the opportunity to take full charge of their wellness by enjoying refurbished facilities, free classes, and focused programs designed to attain well being and achieve a greater sense of vitality.

We also wish to thank the many Y members who offered thoughtful and productive comments about our continuing commitment to Social Responsibility. These thoughts and recommendations will greatly assist us in planning programs and initiatives designed to advance the lives of our neighbors who may be in need of assistance.

We know that when we all work together -- board, staff, members, and volunteers-that we can make a difference in the lives of individuals, families, and our communities.

The West Cook Y has a long history of responding to our community's most pressing needs. We've listened and responded with innovative, community-based solutions to assist those in need reach their full potential or just give people a much needed leg up.
This spirit of service is so evident here at the West Cook Y, where individuals from all walks of life, all ages, and backgrounds, come together to work for positive social change through our Social Responsibility outreach and initiatives.

A major vehicle that propels us to succeed in our mission of Social Responsibility is the West Cook YMCA's Annual Gala.  The Gala evening to celebrate Spirit, Mind, and Body, will be held this year on Saturday, November 12 at the Oak Park Country Club in River Grove.

Funds raised through the Gala will improve the well-being and health literacy of some 1,000 children, adults, and seniors who otherwise would not be able to participate in programming offered by the Y.

Thank you to our Gala Sponsors:
    •    Chicago Tribune
    •    Cornerstone Advisers
    •    Forest Agency Insurance
    •    Goldy Locks, Inc.
    •    Housing Center
    •    Mohr Oil Co.
    •    Meara Technologies
    •    Westlake Hospital.


Jorge Perez, Keynote Speaker

Our keynote speaker is Jorge Perez, Senior Vice President of Programs and the Y Experience at the YMCA of the USA. Jorge, who leads a team that supports local Ys in their efforts to impact the lives of some 22 million individuals annually, will draw on his many years of Y experience to share with Gala guests his insight into how the YMCA changes lives. Jorge has served in local Ys in Texas, Indiana, Ohio and Illinois and has led numerous national and state-wide YMCA initiatives.

Danielle Villari Swets, Mission Moment Speaker

The evening's Mission Moment speaker will be Danielle Villari Swets, Hospital Systems Manager of the American Cancer Society. Danielle is focused on creating strong partnerships between the Society and hospitals in the Chicago metropolitan area.

Kristin Carlson Vogen, Scott Gaalaas Awardee

And this year's Scott Gaalaas awardee is Kristin Carlson Vogen, President & CEO of the Oak Park-River Forest Community Foundation. A philanthropic specialist, Kristin is a valuable resource to charitable organizations because of her expertise in the areas of private foundations, donor advised funds and endowment management. At the OPRFCF she engages with families and community members and local social impact organizations to ensure that the vitality of our community remains robust and diverse.

About our EMCEE for the night

Alfonso Gutiérrez works as a news anchor for Noticiero Telemundo Chicago, which airs Monday through Friday at 4:30 PM, 5:00 PM, and 10:00 PM on Telemundo Chicago/WSNS, the local station which serves the Spanish speaking community of Chicago.

As part of Noticiero Telemundo Chicago, Gutiérrez reports the latest and most important news for Chicago area viewers. Gutiérrez first joined Telemundo Chicago in 2003, when he worked in the creative services department as an intern.

To learn more about Alfonso Gutiérrez, please see our Annual Gala page or visit his Facebook page at www.facebook.com/alfonso.telemundo. Follow him on Twitter @alfonsoreporta.

Let me share with you some highlights of our fall programming and special promotions.

Chronic Disease Prevention Programs

Health & Wellness lectures co-sponsored with the Oak Park River Forest Chamber of Commerce are scheduled as follows:
    •    Thursday, October 20 at 12 noon "Supplemental Health Insurance and Medicare Supplements, Lawanda Shelton of Combined Insurance.
    •    Thursday, November 17 at 7 p.m. "Back Pain," Dr. Mahmoud Lotfi of Royal Health Care.

LIVESTRONG at the YMCA will launch its fourth group on Tuesday, October 4 at 7 p.m. The group, which meets weekly on Tuesday and Thursday, is open to adults who have had any type of cancer in their lifetime, from patients in treatment to those in remission. The focus is on assisting participants build muscle strength, increase flexibility and endurance and improved confidence and self-esteem. The program is free to cancer survivors and includes comes a one-year membership at the Y.

Diabetes Prevention Program's next class, our fourth group, will open Tuesday, October 11 at 11 a.m.

EnhanceFitness, a new program for arthritis prevention and management will launch Monday, October 24.  The group will meet three times a week for sixteen weeks for low intensive cardio and strength training.

As we move into the fall, I want to encourage members to take advantage of some key programs:

Register now for Preschool

Only 11 spots remain open in the program that is geared to 2 ½ to 5 year-olds

The WCY Preschool program focuses on hands-on-learning and helps children connect literacy, math, science, cognitive processing, fine and gross motor skills and language. Music, dance, culinary arts as well as performing and visual arts and language are part of the program.  What's most important is at Y, very young children have the opportunity to experience early literacy and learn about their world while having fun!

Register now for Private swim lessons

Private and semi-private swim lessons for adults or children with a single instructor at a mutually convenient time are now available at the Y.  

Join the WCY Competitive Swim Team

The WCY has a long tradition of helping young people become champions of themselves and of life through the sport of swimming.

By striving to achieve their personal best, members of our Competitive Swim Team achieve their own goals and help teammates achieve theirs. The program is scaled by age and meets the needs of developing athletes as they master the fundamentals of the sport and progress to master the basic swimming strokes.

Join a Group Exercise Program "Don't go it alone-there's strength in numbers," is the rallying cry of scores of WCY members who have discovered the benefits of group exercise.  

There are free group exercise classes and some special programs to serve a wide range of needs.  "Let's Get Moving" focuses on cardio to improve endurance and strength training to tone muscles.

"Power Hour" is a fast 60-minutes of cardio, agility, weights, resistance training and core-strength exercises. "Strictly Strength," is a non-aerobic total body strength training session using a variety of weights and training equipment that challenges every major muscle group in the body.

Another popular class is "Warrior Training," a high-intensity circuit interval session that utilizes a variety of equipment and challenges, including sprints, bodyweight exercises, jump rope and free weights.

And, if you want to put a little fun into your life, try Zumba. This high energy fitness dance party is inspired by traditional salsa, samba and meringue. Great fun and a great cardio workout!

Personal Training Sale ends October 31. To celebrate the opening of our new Spa Level Studio, members 16 years and older can enjoy the benefits of a Personal Training package, of 6, 12 or 24 sessions, either 30 or 90 minutes long, at substantially reduced prices. The program begins with a personalized fitness consultation.


Family Spooktacular

Saturday, October 22 from 1 p.m. to 3pm.
    •    Compete in the Costume Contest
    •    Observe Mad Scientist Experiments
    •    Participate in Pumpkin Painting
    •    Enjoy the Photo Booth
    •    And much, much more!

School's Out Special
Monday, October 10
The first "School's Out Special" of the year will be when Oak Park District 97 observes Columbus Day, Monday, October 10. Our Specials, which run from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., include in-house enrichment programs, field trips to local museums, plays and local attractions, morning and afternoon snacks and swimming.

I hope you have an opportunity to savor these golden days of fall as nature puts on an annual spectacular show of color coupled with beautiful days of cool comfort.


Phillip Jiménez
President & CEO

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