Response to COVID-19
- Y Member & Community Supporter Update - April 9 - 5:30pm
We still miss you terribly. Next Tuesday will mark a month since our health & fitness and childcare facilities were closed.
This morning a few of us participated in a Zoom meeting with Y leaders from around the world. It was heartening to see and hear from so many individuals facing the challenges of this pandemic in different communities. We were inspired by the reaction and mobilization from organizations that are serving our most vulnerable, and we commiserated with those who are not able to provide the support and services that keep our members and communities healthy. Many Y’s are facing similar financial challenges given that a majority of our revenues stopped when we closed, and many members from around the world are sharing your experience.
We are reminded that most Y’s were born of crisis. When our Y was first formed in 1875, we served a need in our community. First for young men, and shortly thereafter for young women, the Y represented a hand up, a place to stay, and a connection to people and activities that improved their health while making the community stronger. We have shown our resilience over the past 145 years (through wars, and even pandemics) by responding to the changing needs here and expanding our services. We will weather this current crisis and continue to redefine ourselves based on the same values of caring, respect, honesty, responsibility and inclusion.
The triangles in our logo reflect a balanced and healthy life. Three lines represent Body, Mind and Spirit. While the Y is decidedly non-denominational, we still promote this balance and respect the many ways that people can achieve it. As we move into a time of various religious holidays, with Easter, Passover and Ramadan among them, we encourage you to practice with distanced and virtual alternatives as we have in our physical and mental health offerings. We will soon be all back together, and our sacrifices will be worth it.
A couple of updates and opportunities.
Through our relationship with Herowork (who are scheduled to renovate our Y Young Moms building after the pandemic subsides) we learned that they have helped source more than 600 tents for the temporary shelter spaces being created in local parks. The organizers at Topaz Park, (Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness) are seeking volunteers to support this effort and we wanted to share the link for healthy individuals to help out and give back.
We have heard from many of you who have been accessing our online sessions, and encourage you to check out our website for programs and activities for various ages and abilities, including physical and mental health. Starting Tuesday there will be daily updates in each category. You may also want to check out the Y USA’s Y 360 online offerings, or link to Y’s around the planet through the World YMCA or World YWCA
Our housing initiatives, Y Young Moms and Pandora Youth Apartments, continue to operate and we need additional support. The participants, and past participants are facing significant challenges due to the social isolation and limited access to healthy food that is compounded by the physical distancing requirements in place.
Please take care of yourselves, and each other, and stay healthy.
- Join Stay Health-Y 600
The Y’s Young Moms and Pandora Youth Apartments
These programs continue to operate through these challenging times. The youth participants and their children housed in these supported facilities are already particularly vulnerable to social isolation and financial challenges. The current conditions are greatly affecting their ability to stay connected and to stay healthy.
We recently received a very welcome and generous donation of some new technology for the participants in these programs. This will help enhance their access to online supports and networks and will make a tremendous difference.
Currently we need additional financial support to help access healthy food choices for the program participants, and to cover the accumulating cost of increased staff support time.
The need for physical distancing has greatly increased the level of support needed in a number of ways and we would welcome your donations.
Please take care of yourselves, and each other, and stay healthy.
- Y Member & Community Supporter Update - March 26 - 9:45pm
The past couple of weeks since our closures have been the fastest and the longest that I can remember. We wanted to reach out, as we’re committed to do, in order to maintain a connection to you and help support your ongoing health as best we can.
Our Y is an integral part of the community we serve, and our facilities are communities unto themselves.
We miss you. Our thoughts are with you, and we all look forward to a future state when we are back at the Y. We miss laughing with each other, cheering each other on, and contributing to the positive health of ourselves and our community. We miss looking out at the kids from our childcare centers playing in the yard or a park nearby.
While certainly not the same experience, one of the resources that we wanted to share with you is a link to Y Thrive Home
This resource has been developed by Canadian Y’s to allow members to continue with a workout during this time that Y’s across Canada are closed. It is a challenging time, but we are heartened by all the examples of people still coming together to support each other, and the innovation that is happening.
We are in the process of gathering a variety of additional resources to help you pass the time and to stay with us – please check the website early next week.
Stay safe, and healthy.
- Camp Thunderbird Program Update - March 25 - 9:45pm
We hope that you and your family are safe, in good health and not too negatively impacted by the circumstances around the COVID-19 responses. As with many local nonprofits, it’s certainly been a challenging time here at the Y, including the recent closure of our Health & Fitness Centres and Child Care Centres on March 17th. Spring sessions for school groups at Camp have also been cancelled. At this time, we are continuing with our planning and preparation for summer camp and are monitoring the situation daily.
At this time, we will continue to process scheduled payments for summer camp. We understand the financial pressures that families are facing. If in the future a decision is made to cancel any of our summer camp operations, we will offer full refunds even if it is after the refund deadline of May 1st.
During this rapidly evolving situation, we remain committed to the health, safety, and well-being of our staff, volunteers, members, participants and families. This work includes continuous communication with local health authorities, monitoring of updates from provincial and national governments, coordination with our municipal partners across the region, discussions with our peers across the country, and conversations with our dedicated staff team.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions. We hope to see you soon.
Please note due to the high volume of requests the YMCA-YWCA is not answering phone inquiries at this time.
If it is within your means to do so, please consider a charitable donation during this challenging time, to help ensure that we all have a Y to come back to.
Donate to Camp Thunderbird
- Membership, Childcare and Program Update - March 16, 2020 - 7:45pm
Our charity is responding to COVID-19 across all of the programs we deliver. The health of our staff, volunteers, participants, and broader community members is our priority.
We are following the advice of public health agencies and continue to pay close attention to their evolving updates.
Based on the most current information and guidance available, the Vancouver Island Y has temporarily, but indefinitely:
- Closed all Health, Fitness and Aquatic Centers (Downtown Y, Eagle Creek Y, Westhills Y)
- Closed Licensed Child Cares
- Suspended all programs and services including Healthy Living and Mental Wellness
Our Housing programs remain open.
This means that, until further notice, with the exception of housing programs, all programs and services of the Y are closed.
The Y will not be charging fees during this disruption in program and service delivery. Here’s what you need to know:
If you are a Y Health, Fitness & Aquatics Member
All memberships and additional services (such as towel service or plus changerooms) payments for future services have been stopped effective March 17, 2020.
Memberships will be set to automatically resume when we are able to re-open. We will communicate reopening dates when they become available. Any member that made a payment and only received partial service because of the closure will be credited.
If you have recently submitted a request to cancel your membership and still want it to be cancelled, please complete a new cancellation confirmation form. Without this new confirmation your Y membership will not be cancelled as previously requested and will restart with all other Y members when we are able to re-open.
Annual members who have paid for a full year will have their memberships extended for the duration of the closure. No further action is required.
Members with swimming lesson registrations will continue to keep their timeslot during this closure. Please do not complete the Missed Swim Lesson form.
If you have registered for a Y workshop or advanced aquatic course
Anyone registered for a workshop, additional personal coaching sessions or an advanced aquatic course that has been disturbed by the closure, will receive a credit (pro-rated if applicable) on their account and will be able to re-register once new dates have been scheduled. No further action is required.
If you are a Y Child Care family
All child care payments for future services have been stopped effective March 17 . Any child care family that made a payment and only received partial service because of the closure will be credited.
If you are a valued donor to the Y
All monthly donations will continue unless requested. Now more than ever, your contributions to our charitable work are greatly needed and appreciated at this time.
We ask for your patience as we begin to process large numbers of payment adjustments. We are aware that some automatic payments may have already been processed. We recommend you visit https://vancouverislandy.com for the latest updates. Due to the high volume of requests, we are unable to respond to phone inquiries at this time. As a result, if you need to reach us, please email email@example.com
As always, we are committed to keeping you informed about the Y’s response to COVID-19 as it unfolds. Your membership in our organization is greatly valued. We are hopeful that this unique and unprecedented time will represent an opportunity for our community to come together and become stronger as a result of our collective efforts.
- Updated March 16, 2020 12:53pm
We understand that this is a chaotic time for all of us, and we appreciate your patience as we continue to provide updates and information. At the Y, we’re committed to building strong individuals, families and communities, which means we’re working hard to keep our branches open and safe so you can pursue wellness in the long and short term.
We are open with a reduction in programming.
If you are feeling well and wish to come to the Y we welcome you to do so. If you are ill or have traveled internationally, please stay home for the health and safety of all. We have required this of our staff and volunteers.
While facing this unprecedented circumstance we are taking the following actions to enable social distancing and are following updated Health Authority recommendations to limit groups to maximum 50 people, we have:
- Limiting group fitness classes
- Decreased capacity of small group classes and training
- Limiting pool capacity
- Increased signage to remind people of social distancing
- Updated March 13, 2020
During this unprecedented time, the Y is committed to maintaining a healthy environment and supporting the health of our community. Our leadership staff are adjusting our practices and making decisions based on the information available. As information changes so will our practices and decisions.
We are continuously monitoring how we operate programs and our facilities daily. A Risk Assessment Team of senior leadership staff has been formed, who are monitoring the situation closely and will be guided by Health Authorities as we make decisions about Y programs and services. We will communicate through email and our website should there be the need to close our facilities
We expect you are seeing Y staff out and about cleaning frequently touched surfaces regularly. We have standardized the use of cleaning products known to be effective against corona virus and tested their strength to ensure it meets the required standard.
All group exercise, swim and child/youth programs are running as currently scheduled. Child Care programs continue to operate as scheduled.
Members who choose not to attend the Y during this time are able to put their membership on hold or cancel as per current hold/cancellation policies.
We have increased signage and messaging to build awareness and adherence to general health and flu prevention guidelines.
We are encouraging all members, patrons, participants, staff and volunteers to stay at home if they are feeling unwell and follow proper protocol if they have recently returned from travel [following Health Authority recommendations]
If you have any questions regarding COVID-19, please contact the local health authorities.
The Y recognizes that this situation is constantly evolving and is committed to staying informed about the situation, taking our guidance from public health agencies and implementing any required measures to prevent the spread of illness at the Y. We will be sure to keep you updated as things develop and if additional measures are implemented.
Thank you for your cooperation in helping to maintain a healthy and safe environment for everyone in our Y community.
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES TO KEEP YOU BUSY
The Y staff team is compiling additional resources and activities to help you pass the time and stay connected with the Y.
We will continue to add to these in the coming days.