Special Initiatives

Fee Assistance For Recreation

Fee Assistance For RecreationIn the spirit of collaboration and integration, the YMCA was successful in attaining funds to develop a web-based community portal to ease the process of applying for and accessing financial assistance for recreation programs in Waterloo Region. 

Engaging multiple providers across the community, families only need to tell their story once, and can pre-qualify for multiple services through one system.The website was launched in October 2017.   

To learn more or start your application visit feeassist.ca.

First 2000 Days Strategy

The First 2000 Days is an intentional strategy that increases knowledge of the importance of the first 2000 days of a child’s life by connecting with parents and linking them with programs such as “Sleep and My New Baby”, “Preparing for Parenthood" and “Parenting My Baby”. These programs are operated by EarlyON Child and Family Centres, providing information, early intervention, and continued supports throughout the parenting journey.  Community Connectors connect with families through one-on-one meetings in identified locations, presentations, and events providing warm referrals to gateway services and other existing resources and ongoing supports through the parenting journey.

This strategy is designed to build upon existing community resources to provide a lift to awareness and embed practice in key stakeholders connected to children and families throughout the community. This will in turn strengthen the service system for families by promoting a no wrong door philosophy. 

Generously funded by the Lyle S Hallman Foundation.

Please email for more information.

Physical Literacy

Physical Literacy is the motivation, confidence, physical competence, knowledge and understanding to value and take responsibility for engagement in physical activity for life.”International Physical Literacy Association, 2014.

Physical Literacy

YMCAs across Canada are integrating physical literacy into programming to ensure people have all the tools they need to live active, healthy lives.  The concept of physical literacy naturally aligns with the work of the YMCA.  Physical literacy will enable us to evaluate current programming and intentionally embed physical literacy philosophy, concepts and language into children’s programming throughout the association, aligning them with the Sport For Life framework.

Movement is fundamental to health and development, and our children need to learn how to walk before they can run.  Many children fall behind in learning basic movement skills for a number of reasons.  Physical literacy training addresses the need for a return to basic, and helps make learning movement fun and meaningful in a way that promotes feelings of success, self-esteem and accomplishment.  These skills will motivate and empower youth to build positive connections to movement for their whole life. 

Please email for more information.

The Value of Intentionality:  A Report on Demonstrating Impact in our YMCAs

In 2013, a group of thirteen YMCAs came together with the goal to strengthen their ability to answer these questions.  Focusing on children and youth programming, over the course of three years, the Demonstrating Impact in our YMCAs community of practice worked and learned together to enhance their ability and capacity to demonstrate impact and tell their story.

This report is a story of the value of intentionality; thinking how and why choices are made, the value of planning and measuring actions, seeing the results and then planning for more.  It provides tangible examples, stories, tools, and tips to dig a little deeper into the work that you do.  The report is both a demonstration of the value of measuring impact but also a call to join the journey of learning.

Click here to see the full report.