Without you, there is no Y.

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Your YMCA believes in creating safe and welcoming spaces for all. We believe there is no place for racism and intolerance, and we're committed to listening, learning and making the changes needed to make this a reality.

A year ago, I wouldn’t have imagined that I’d be sharing that we were still in the midst of a global pandemic. I couldn’t have imagined that we would have seen a number of disruptions – or complete cancellations – to our programming and services. At the same time, had I known all of this, I don’t think I could’ve imagined myself standing here now looking ahead with such optimism. Optimism, only made possible because of the community that is the Y.  

When the pandemic and our first shutdown happened in March 2020, we made the commitment to continue showing up for our communities where and how they needed us the most. We weren’t sure what this would look like with closures and social distancing measures, but we were certain that we would find a way to make it happen.  

Over the past two years, how it looked was different, depending on how open – or closed – the province was. Through it all, however, we continued to provide essential services to our communities. In 2021 alone this included:  

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By the Numbers

Your Gifts at Work

Thank You Donors

Financial Statements

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Strong. Safe. Connected.  
These three words are a call to action for us at the YMCA of Three Rivers. It is how we want our members and clients to feel when they come to the Y. It is how we want to be known in our community. And we are doing intentional work to ensure that we are fostering welcoming, supportive, and inclusive programming and spaces that will allow us to achieve this.  
In 2020, we embarked on a three year $3M community campaign. Thanks both to the generous support of our campaign donors (including pledged commitments through to 2024), and through pandemic-relief supports, we’ve been able to reach our ambitious goal!  


That’s right – thanks to your generosity (including pledged payments through 2024) we’re able to proudly declare that you are why, we’re here for good!  


To date, you’ve helped us reach our goal in three key areas:

“After my daughter and I were hit by a car, the YMCA became a place of refuge for us. My anxieties get so strong the exercise I get at the Y helps me stay calm. Between the indoor track and the pool, my sanity and health stayed on track throughout COVID. My daughter has been anxious too, and has found her outlet through racquet ball and pickle ball. Without fee assist, my family wouldn’t be able to afford the Y. With everything the Y gives us in physical and mental health, I don’t know where we’d be without it.” 

- Jenn, YMCA Member

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Your community still needs your support 

Thanks to the support of this campaign, we have the resources required to provide equitable access to Three Rivers’ programs and services to at least 7,000 individuals – including 3,000 youth. You can continue to remove access to barriers to services by becoming a monthly or one-time greatest need donor:

DONATE MONTHLY

Connecting with youth and fostering strong, healthy relationships. Overwhelmingly, the pandemic has had a negative impact on the overall experience of health and well-being for all individuals, disproportionately so for youth in our communities. The friendships and social networks fostered at the Y create communities of support, especially during this time of adversity. With pandemic restrictions around participant numbers, and at times, closures of our locations, we’re continuing to adapt where and how we can maintain vital relationships.

Because of your ongoing support, we’ve been able to reach our goal, while growing our programs and showing up for youth (both virtually and in-person) throughout the pandemic.

Yosan is part of our Moving Black Lives Forward program – a newly launched Black Advocacy program for youth ages 13-21. A 15-year-old from Eritrea, Yosan moved to Canada from Sudan. Yosan shared her feelings of pride and privilege in being black with Ibti, our Coordinator of Newcomer Youth Programs, saying “I look up to Ibti as a black leader. She shows empathy and understands everyone around her. She helps and motivates everyone with the same energy – no matter their skin colour, religious beliefs, or the language they speak. She inspires me to stay positive, do well for myself, and help my community. I have learned from her actions that us immigrant black females can contribute, work hard and make a difference as much as everyone else.” 

- Yosan, Moving Black Lives Forward Program Participant

 

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Your community still needs your support.

Because of donors like you, we’re able to continue showing up for youth like Yosan, helping them learn and grow in safe and welcoming programs. You can continue to help us serve youth across our Three Rivers community, please consider supporting youth programs today.

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Your community still needs your support 

You can continue to have a positive impact on our Health Management programs by becoming a monthly or one-time donor: 

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“Participating in Diabetes Fit helped me to understand why exercise was so important to control my blood sugars and to live a healthier lifestyle.  My questions were answered.  I felt very alone in my journey to wellness before, but knowing I could ask questions in this group really helped me to feel calmer about my pre-diabetes diagnosis and gave me lots of inspiration on setting goals to help improve my health.” 

- Diabetes Fit Graduate

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Addressing the needs of people in our community in spirit, mind, and body has been the cornerstone of our work since our beginning. Our success has been our can-do attitude and our ability to adapt in changing times. Although the Y has always been recognized for our physical health programs, this is only part of our story. We are so much more than a gym. We are a place of exploration, growth, and learning. 

As a charity, the Y provides a breadth and depth of services to our community. Through the generous support of our donors, we’ve been able to continue to meet individuals how they need us most throughout the pandemic. Here are some highlights.

CHILD CARE

Over the past year, we’ve worked to provide consistent, safe, high-quality child care to families in our communities. We’ve worked closely with local public health units to ensure we meet or exceed guidelines, including increased cleaning, PPE, and daily screening. Throughout the various provincial shutdowns, we were proud to be able to provide 471 children in nine (9) Emergency Child Care Centres.  

EarlyON

2021 looked different for EarlyON. We continued to explore innovative ways of engaging with families throughout shutdowns, and to accommodate safe in-person activities when we were able. Throughout the year, EarlyON continuously offered online programs through Zoom and provided supports and warm referrals to families through our web-based chat service, one-call number, email and social media channels.  

CAMP

Despite continued provincial restrictions on a number of our programs, we were excited to be able to offer Day Camp to families across our Three Rivers communities.  We ran 13 Day Camp locations across six (6) different cities, proudly welcoming 2,758 campers from 1,915 families, which is more than three (3) times the amount in 2020.  Of those Day Camps, 150 campers received financial assistance, from both internal and external funders.  We were thrilled to hire 248 seasonal staff with the support from Canada Summer Jobs.  In addition to our regular Day Camp offerings, 157 youth ages 13-16 participated in our Camp Leadership program.

 

EMPLOYMENT SERVICES

The ongoing pandemic has had a real and lasting impact on employment within our communities. Capacity restrictions, business shut downs, disruption to in-person learning, as well as sick time to care for family members impacted by COVID, all contributed to a shifting labour market. Throughout 2021, our Employment Services team continued to offer in-person, virtual, and hybrid supports to individuals in Cambridge and Kitchener, assisting them in securing employment or skills upgrading.  

IMMIGRANT SERVICES

Throughout the pandemic, the Y’s Immigrant Services remained, for many, their first stop upon arriving in Canada. Through in-person, virtual, and hybrid program delivery, we’ve continued to be a safe and welcoming space for new Canadians to access the supports they need to transition to life in their new home country.  

Throughout 2021, we served

  • 8,154 clients 
  • 3,217 new clients  
  • 2,893 youth clients (0-24 years)  
  • 2,732 participants at 170 group sessions

Highlights throughout the year included:

  • Continued support of newcomers with pandemic safety in place  
  • Assisted newcomers as they accessed COVID-related benefits and supports  
  • Partnering with Public Health and community partners to provide mobile clinic vaccinations, booking 16,366 doses for vulnerable populations in hotspots 
  • Supported newcomer clients with census completion  
  • Provided income tax clinics for Government Assisted Refugees (GARs) and Private Sponsored Refugees (PSRs)  
  • Provided Newcomer Orientation Week and Starting School in Canada (including expansion to Stratford-Perth)  
  • Assisted newcomers with online and in-person school registrations

HEALTH AND WELLNESS

The YMCA of Three Rivers has five Health & Wellness locations: A.R. Kaufman (Kitchener), Chaplin (Cambridge), Guelph, St Marys, Stork (Waterloo), and Stratford-Perth. 2021 was another unique year for us as we continued to work through a number of pandemic restrictions - including facility closures, public health mandates, and more. We were buoyed by the number of members who continued to pay their fees during closures - having this support enables us to continue providing virtual programming and also be prepared to reopen as restrictions eased. While we've always suspected that we were more than just a gym and swim, it was hearing from our members throughout the pandemic - learning what it was they missed about the Y - that reminded us of what makes us great.

The second annual community report was released in early 2022. The Insights to Action workplace well-being report highlighted how many employees are feeling depleted, overworked, and underappreciated. While the data seemed daunting, the team again provided concrete, actionable steps leaders and employees could take to help shift this balance.

You are Y we’re here. You are Y we are able to do what we do. Without our donors, there would be no Y.  

To everyone who has donated their time, talent, or treasures to the Y: thank you. It is because of the generous support of individuals, organizations, and funding partners that we are able to continue showing up for our communities. More importantly, it is because of these gifts that your Y will be here for good.

To see the list of donors, click on the relevant button below.

INDIVIDUAL DONORSFUNDING PARTNERS
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For more than a century, the Y, your Y, has served individuals across the Three Rivers community. From camp to child care, swim lessons to wellness programs, employment services to newcomer programming, and so much more, we’ve continued to help our community members feel seen, valued, supported, and, most importantly, connected.  

We’re a community – a collection of individuals from diverse walks of life who are finding connection through programs and services. And the strength of our community is rooted in the generous support of individuals, like you, who know the value of connection.

Today, more than ever, your community, your Y, needs you to keep showing up with us. With your support we can continue to adapt programs and services to ensure that everyone has the chance to feel strong, safe, and connected at the Y.  

This report highlights all the good we’ve done together. Now, imagine all the good we’ll be able to do in the future. This is all that the Y is. And it’s all because of your continued support.


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About

The YMCA of Three Rivers marks the official unification of the YMCAs of Cambridge and Kitchener-Waterloo, the YMCA-YWCA of Guelph, and the YMCA of Stratford-Perth as one regional entity. Through this process, we're bringing together our strengths and expertise to better serve our communities, where and how they need us most.

Throughout our combined history, we've demonstrated our commitment to our communities by showing up and delivering the programs, outreach, and services to our people need. This is the good stuff that we’re all about. And in unifying, we’re equipped with a re-commitment and a bold, new shared vision and purpose.

Our goal? Keep showing up for our communities - where, when, and how they need us most.

DISCOVER OUR MISSION, VISION, AND VALUES

Hello from the Board

Your 2021-2022 Board: 

Cooper, Stephen – Treasurer  
Eaton, Anne – Vice Chair 
Fernandez Walker, Rosemary 
Hatherly-Martin, Jackie 
McAleese, Seann 
Mutumba, Margaret  
Nguyen, Thien 
Nieva, Karl 
Protich, Milena 
Schultz, Kelly 
Theberge, Nancy 
Whiteside, Harold – Chair  
Zur, Tamara 
 

Your generosity allowed us to serve more than 1,804 seniors and at-risk community members across our communities in 2021:  

“My doctor introduced me to the YMCA’s Rock Steady Boxing program shortly after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. I wasted no time in joining boxing classes at the Kitchener Y. For the past year I have participated in between two to three classes weekly. I find the coaches are knowledgeable and work hard to keep the program fresh.  My classes are enjoyable in part because of my classmates.  We share stories, issues of concern and play games that keep us sharp. I would, and have, recommended this program to others.” 

- Aggie, Health Management program participant

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“Diabetes and prediabetes is one of the fastest growing health challenges of our time, affecting 11.5 million Canadians. With the number of people impacted growing every year, it is important to invest in programs that have a lasting impact and help people take charge of their health. Since 2012, we have proudly committed more than $42 million globally in support of diabetes awareness, prevention, care and research initiatives. Supporting the YMCA and their Diabetes Fit program is one way we are making a difference for people affected by diabetes and helping them live healthier lives.”  

- Dave Jones, President, Sun Life Health

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Our Health & Wellness programs help thousands of at-risk community members find community, connection, and health. With your help, we can continue to meet the rising needs of this population across our Three Rivers’ communities. 

“Next week I return to work, so I won’t be using the virtual classes to the extent I was before.  But, I wanted to say a truly heartfelt thank you. We have had a wonderful time and learned so much from each and every fabulous staff member we’ve met...I think we all know after this past year how seemingly small gestures can make a big impact, and your team had a very big impact on my family.  Thank you.”

- EarlyON Participant

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Due to continued provincial shutdowns, we were once again unable to offer overnight camp experiences. That said, we didn’t want to waste the opportunity to engage families with the amazing wonder of camp. As the province lifted restrictions, we opened our Camp Wabanaki cabins to families for weekly rentals. In total, 147 families joined us for swimming, canoeing, kayaking and more, keeping the wonder of camp alive.  

“With pandemic restrictions in place, we were wondering how to get away safely as a family. When we learned that Camp Wabanaki was doing weekly cabin rentals for families, we jumped at the opportunity. Picture glamping – lots of amenities, great surroundings, and even meals prepped for you. Plus, we knew the money would help support YMCA camps through the pandemic. While we’re happy overnight camp is back, we’re sad we won’t be able to come back to WAB as a family again this summer.”  

- Doug Zister, YMCA Member

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  • Total youth (under 29 years) served across all Employment Services programs: 194 
  • Total clients employed: 334 
  • Total newcomers served: 213 
  • Total clients who received assisted services: 475 
  • Total clients who participated in training (e.g. Second Career, post-secondary, ESL, academic upgrading): 75 
  • Total workshop participants: 1,154

What makes the Y great is our people - our staff, volunteers, donors and members. Individuals, like you, who have helped to create safe and welcoming spaces where all can belong. We're excited to continue to build our community with you. 


YMCA WorkWell

In 2020, the YMCA of Three Rivers launched YMCA WorkWell. Throughout 2021, this new initiative continued to engage in outreach and training rooted in the belief that we can build stronger, healthier communities, one workplace team at a time. Our WorkWell team is very proud and excited to support many organizations throughout our communities, all over Ontario, and across Canada. We help organizations grow in the understanding of the well-being of their staff, train their leadership teams on why it is important, and consult with them on integrating well-being into their organizational strategic plan. We're grateful for the trust and commitment of our partners and the invitation to be their expert guides on their journey.

In 2021, YMCA WorkWell released two community impact reports. In the spring we released our first special interest report: The Loneliness Epidemic. This report underscored the importance of social connection and the impact of loneliness throughout the first year of COVID-19. The report underscored the precarious reality facing our communities: that feeling underappreciated at work, combined with social isolation, and the stress of the pandemic, was making us unwell. The report highlighted community leads and provided actions that workplace leaders and community members could take to address the realities of this loneliness epidemic.

"I couldn't wait to get back to the YMCA because of the people. You can do exercises at home but it is not the same. I missed the many friends and companionship I have at the gym."

- Mary J, YMCA Member

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"How long can someone be new to a town or a community? I think I will always be new, 'til I die! I bought my new home close to the Y with the intention of becoming a member. COVID interfered with that dream. Finally, I was able to use the pool last week. As I swam (one of four in the pool) the lifeguard stopped to chat. It was so lovely. I feel we have lost our communication skills over the past few years so it was actually lovely to meet someone new and feel so welcome. So, if you can't ease yourself into The Stratford Community for one reason or another then the YMCA is certainly a community all of its own. Thank you."

- Miriam R, YMCA Member

"My wife and I are life-long Cambridge residents, and the YMCA has always been very important to us. We enjoyed the Y circus when we were little. The aerobic and strength programs over the years have been exciting. The pools have always been a focus for us because we understand the value of water. But the best thing about the Y are the people who work there and the members. Everyone has been so kind and friendly and always very interesting, and we love them all! World travel is another passion we have, and wherever we go, if the YMCA is nearby, we pay a visit. To this day, we are volunteering at the Y and hope to continue to do so as long as we can."

- Robert F, YMCA Member

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DISCOVER THE INSIGHTS

JUSTICE, ACCESS, INCLUSION, DIVERSITY,  AND EQUITY - JAIDE

Over 2021, with the support of our Board of Directors, the commitment of our Senior Leadership team, and the leadership in our Employee Advisory Groups, we continued our intentional Equity, Diversity and Inclusion and Anti-Racism work. We’ve committed to creating a more just, equitable, diverse and inclusive organization so that everyone can belong, and are doing the work to make this happen. We have committed to honestly evaluating ourselves through a JAIDE lens and acknowledge that we have much work to do on this journey.  

Our Employee Advisory Group, in partnership with Peter Sweeney, our CEO, finalized the search for external expertise to partner with us to develop our JAIDE Action plan. To help us complete this work, we secured the help of AgentsC Inc. In their own words, “AgentsC Inc. is an international, B Corp-certified, non-profit consultancy firm that delivers unique solutions to fundraising challenges and organizational sustainability. Our specialty includes organizational change management, board and stakeholder engagement, and fundraising strategy. As a diverse team, all of AgentsC’s work is firmly grounded in principles of Justice, Access, Inclusion, Diversity and Equity (JAIDE).”  

In the spring of 2021, with AgentsC’s guidance and leadership, our employees and leaders began our change journey towards the development of a JAIDE and Anti-Racism Action Plan -- holding us to our vision of being a leader in challenging systemic bias and barriers to create and provide equitable access for individuals and communities to support overall well-being.  

In the summer and fall of 2021, our Y created our JAIDE Advisory Groups with representation across our employees and leadership team, coming together to execute this crucial work. These groups completed important discovery work to establish a clear sense of how JAIDE was operating within our Y and examine how to benchmark areas of change towards equity for our association. AgentsC conducted an assessment of our Y’s current JAIDE and systemic Anti-Black racism footprint using mixed-method research and analytics. This work has included a jointly led thorough review of our organizational and operational policies and practices with our employees; deployment of an organization-wide AgentsC-led JAIDE Survey (shared with employees and Board members); and hosting of focus group discussions to dig deeper into themed areas and findings in the survey results to help us gain better understanding around what we need to do to get to where we want to be.

2021 was a pivotal year in this intentional work to align to our Mission, Vision and Values, and we are looking forward to 2022 with the goal of creating our JAIDE Action Plan – which will include training our leaders, and doing the work to become the Y we know we can be for our employees, volunteers, members, and communities.  

We are humbled by the magnitude of this critical work within our Y. We stand by our commitment to do good and to ensure our Ys are a safe and inclusive space for everyone.

In addition to these free community reports, the YMCA WorkWell team also

  •  Collected data regarding 14,000 people  
  • Generated insights from 34 organizations, 22 not-for-profits (including 8 YMCAs across Canada)  
  • Provided 6 free community webinars and roundtables to share our learnings with as many as 50 attendees in each 
  • Delivered over 75 training sessions to our clients 
  • Advised over 100 local senior leaders on how to create a healthier workplace for their teams

“Most consultants support you with one item (measuring data, strategize, training and development). I am so grateful to have a strategic partner (who has become a trusted part of our leadership team) that are walking the full journey with us. Together we measure the wellbeing of our staff, we train and develop our staff and work strategically. Our shared goal is to create a great place for all staff to work, to improve our work and to execute on our organizational goals better than ever before.”

- YMCA WorkWell 2021 Client

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And so much more. All of this work was made possible because of the ongoing, transformational support of our donors, members, and employee teams. It is because of you, that the Y, your Y, is here for good.  

As we emerge from the pandemic the Y community – our staff, volunteers, donors, members, and families we serve – will remain our focus. All decisions throughout the pandemic have been from a people-first lens, and this will continue. Our work and our emergence from the pandemic is made possible because of our community. On behalf of all of us at the YMCA of Three Rivers, thank you for standing with and supporting your Y. #ThisIsY 

Equitable access for all regardless of financial circumstances, cultural backgrounds, religious beliefs, age or gender. When we closed our doors, approximately 1 in 4 of our memberships was subsidized. Based on current community realities, including increased unemployment rates, we are planning for an increase in requests for subsidized memberships by at least 30%. This need will only increase with unprecedented unemployment rates and economic uncertainty.

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Your Y - #ThisIsY

  • 406 support conversations through our web-based chat  
  • 4,240 visits by children to virtual programs
  • 3,952 visits by parents/caregivers to virtual programs
  • 2,378 visits by children to in-person programs
  • 1,917 visits by parents/caregivers to in-person programs  

When we were permitted to do so (August – December) we also offered in-person programming at five (5) centre-based locations, and four (4) mobile locations across Waterloo Region. In September 2021, we also opened our newest EarlyON Centre, St. Boniface, in Breslau, which is co-located in St. Boniface Catholic School with a YMCA of Three Rivers Child Care.


2021 Workplace Well-being Report

In our second annual report, Insights to Impact: The Depleted, The Overworked, and The Underappreciated we provide an update on the ongoing impact of the pandemic on workplace well-being, and how leaders and organizations can respond to the enduring pressures on their employees in 2022.

DISCOVER THE INSIGHTS

The Loneliness Epidemic: 2021 YMCA WorkWell Special Issue Report

The Loneliness Epidemic looks at the importance of social connection and the impact of loneliness throughout COVID-19. In this report, we examine what many are calling the “loneliness epidemic,” how it is affecting our collective well-being, and what we can each start doing today to tackle loneliness in our communities.

LEARN MORE

Message from our Interim Leader & CEO Mike Ennis

At the time of writing this report, I’ve been the Interim Leader & CEO at the YMCA of Three Rivers for about a month. And what a month it’s been. So, who am I? I’ve been with the Y(National Capital Region, YMCA Ontario and Southwestern Ontario) for 22 years, most recently as the Chief Operating Officer at the YMCA of Southwestern Ontario. Throughout my tenure, I’ve participated in unifications, and have worked closely with members of the Three Rivers Senior Leadership Team throughout their own unification work, and so I was excited when I was approached by the Board for the Three Rivers to serve as an interim leader. While this report is a reflection on all the things that happened – thanks to the generosity of our donors, and the commitment of our members, families, campers, staff, volunteers, and partners – I wanted to also take a moment and frame some other exciting changes happening in our organization.
 
Our Board of Directors is currently heading up an executive CEO search committee with the support of Ketchum Canada Inc. (KCI), with the hopes of starting 2023 with welcoming the new leader. I’m also excited to share that while there have been challenges throughout the unification process, including the realities of a global pandemic, we’ve also seen significant opportunities for growth at Three Rivers, including all our facilities and programming being fully opened (Health & Wellness, Child Care and day camp) as well as a return to our overnight camp experience, and the opening of both new Child Care and EarlyON centres. We’re also excited to announce a newly created JAIDE Manager (Justice, Access, Inclusions, Diversity & Equity) role, focused on helping the Three Rivers continue to show up for our communities, where and how they need us most, including intentional efforts to make our YMCA programs and services as safe, welcoming, supportive, and inclusive as possible for all. You’ll be able to read more about all of these programs in the following report.  
 
I’m excited to be a part of the Three Rivers’ community during this time, and hope to meet as many of you as possible. I know that change can be scary, and that we’ve all dealt with a lot of change and uncertainty over the past couple of years, but I’ve also experienced first-hand the amazing opportunities and outcomes that result from change. I’m excited to see what the remainder of 2022 brings to the YMCA of Three Rivers, and to see all that will result from the passion, dedication, and commitment not just of the staff and volunteers, but also of you – our supporters and friends – in the years to come.